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The Turkish-Kurdish peace process is on hold

PKK fighters standing in formation

A letter written by a Turkish soldier has been published In The local media in Turkey. The soldier is at the moment combating towards the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Birthday Celebration (PKK) in Cizre, which is a hot spot Within The battle between the Turkish military and
the Kurdish insurgents.

“We’re all the youngsters of this u . s . a .,” he wrote, “and we adore the Individuals of Cizre. We Are right here to make sure the territorial integrity of our united states of america. We came here to not kill or to shed blood; We Are here Just to save lots of your peace and
tranquillity.” Along With His colleagues, the person Used To Be certainly billeted in somebody’s House. “We’ve stayed as friends at your house and we’ve used some of your stuff. Please forgive us and accept this amount of cash which is all what
we got; it might no longer be enough but please forgive us.”

Some historical past to this is useful. The Turkish-Kurdish reconciliation course of Used To Be initiated with secret conferences involving what Was Once later revealed to be senior officials within the ruling Justice and Building Celebration (AKP) and the imprisoned leader of
the PKK, Abdullah Ocalan. The latter ostensibly had inclined to be concerned actively In The political approach and deserted the armed fight. In 2013, Ocalan, because the PKK’s founder, known as on the staff’s fighters to put down their hands
as a part of a ceasefire.

Meanwhile, the AKP-led govt made elementary felony revisions and constitutional amendments in favour of the Kurds, together with the approval of Kurdish as a 2nd language of guideline in regions with a Kurdish majority. The Government additionally approved
the correct to post and compose in Kurdish. In 2009, an reputable Kurdish TV channel Was Once launched and in 2012 Kurdish Used To Be offered as an optional language in Turkish schools. Moreover, in 2013, new regulations allowed defendants to use Kurdish in Turkish courts.

In 2013, the then High Minister (and now President) Recep Tayyip Erdogan introduced a package deal of democratic reforms which ended discrimination in line with ethnicity. The New regulations supplied for harsh penalties for those found guilty of racism and discrimination
on the foundation of language, ethnicity or nationalism.

The constitutional amendments were accompanied by means of economic incentives for investors and entrepreneurs in South-East Turkey’s Kurdish-majority regions. Dozens of Building and infrastructure tasks went beforehand, together with, hospitals, universities,
airports and other amenities.

In The political arena, the Peoples’ Democratic Birthday Celebration (HDP) won Thirteen per cent of the votes in final June’s elections, which Was Once thought to be to be a super triumph. It Was Once the first time that a pro-Kurd Birthday Party had passed the 10 per cent vote threshold,
which Was imposed through the 1982 military coup structure and which the AKP desires to decrease and even cancel in a new reform package deal to be approved by way of parliament or a nationwide referendum. The political success of the HDP precipitated expectations of a political
compromise for the Kurdish query.

The AKP lost nearly 9 per cent of its voters ultimate June, a drop that Was attributed to basic discontent with The Government’s technique to reconciliation with the PKK in addition to an intensive campaign towards Erdogan’s so-called “violations”
of the structure. He Used To Be accused with the aid of the opposition of not sustaining his objectivity as the president of the Republic of Turkey by using participating in AKP situations; the AKP is Erdogan’s own Birthday Party. This Was Once cited through the opposition media as clear
proof of Erdogan’s “dictatorship” for which he strives Along With His all-highly effective, tailored presidential system.

On 20 July last yr, a Daesh suicide bomber killed 32 professional-Kurdish activists Within The metropolis of Suruc In The South-East of Turkey. With Out hesitation, the HDP alleged that The Government Used To Be Just as responsible as Daesh. The PKK retaliated immediately by way of
killing Turkish policemen and infantrymen; that Was Once the straw that broke the camel’s again and ended the almost Three-12 months lull Within The struggle with Ankara.

Within The snap election of 1 November ultimate yr, the HDP misplaced floor, polling Simply 10.6 per cent of the vote and Just scraping previous the brink. It Used To Be seen as a punishment via the electorate for the Celebration’s attitude In The aftermath of terrorist
assaults towards not only defense force posts but also civilian houses. Suggestions that the HDP favour reconciliation and peace over violence were not supported by means of its approaches and media statements which confirmed that the Birthday Party Was unable to distance
itself from the terrorism of the PKK. This underlined the internal battle amongst Kurds; Ocalan desires to move on from armed war and encourages the PKK to disarm in favour of engagement In The democratic process.

Murat Karayilan, on the other hand, does no longer. The PKK military commander Within The Qandil Mountain space of northern Iraq does no longer consider that the peace process is a good method to the Kurdish question; he does not trust the disarming of the
PKK and won’t lay down his hands. Karayilan is believed to be supported by way of regional and world powers which are eager to maintain him in location as an irritant for the ruling AKP in Ankara. Even Supposing the HDP is a sound political Birthday Celebration in Turkey
and the PKK is a designated terrorist motion, many Turks consider that they’re two facets of the same coin.

The PKK is not going to abandon the armed struggle, and Erdogan has mentioned that the conflict in opposition to terrorism is not going to end unless and unless the team’s combatants lay down their arms. He additionally insists that the HDP will have to distance itself from the PKK and reveal
its independence.

The catch 22 situation going through the Turkish govt is that the HDP, despite being a democratically-elected pro-Kurdish Birthday Party, does no longer function a real interlocutor or partner In The peace course of. The HDP, in flip, believes that the reconciliation talks failed
merely because of Erdogan’s need to seize extra authority Within The presidential device that he is keen to adopt.

For This Reason HDP representatives in Europe at all times call on Washington to participate Within The Turkish-Kurdish reconciliation course of. It additionally explains a facet of the usa agenda in vice president Joe Biden’s newest talk over with to Turkey and his criticism of the
Turkish govt’s human rights record and abuse of power.

The Whereas House has declared the PKK to be a terrorist group but it openly backs the Democratic Union Birthday Party (PYD), which is a secular, armed, Syrian-Kurdish staff determining solely with the PKK. This presents a right away threat to Ankara, especially
In The gentle of contemporary talks to install multinational floor troops on the bottom in Syria; there would be ambiguity about such troops and their goals.

The quagmire of Syria’s civil battle has combined-up the entire cards and, if Turkey is lucky, the battle between the Turkish army and the PKK insurgents will likely be a transitory conflict of attrition. If now not, the entire reconciliation process will eventually
be buried, now not Just put on hang.

The leaders of the HDP and spokespersons of the Turkish govt have all declared that the stalled peace talks have reached “a distinct chapter” or even “a point of no return”. On The Other Hand, Leyla Zana, the HDP MP and a leading
Kurdish figure, has said that Erdogan by myself can solve the Kurdish issue. She requested a gathering with the president just lately and Erdogan welcomed her. In Step With Selahattin Demirtas, the co-chairman of HDP, Then Again, this Was Once an old attraction and there
aren’t any such current requests by way of Zana or any other MP. The plot thickens and the peace process remains to be on hang.

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