Erdogan and the PKK

Ali Yenidunya writes: Last week, two car bombs exploded in Reyhanli in southern Turkey, close to the Syrian border, killing almost 50 people and injuring more than 100.

While nobody claimed responsibility for the deadly incident, it raised the immediate question of whether Turkey would escalate its intervention in Syria, either alone or with others.

However, that reaction was too narrow and missed the wider context. This is not just about the Syrian conflict but also Turkey’s internal politics, specifically its attempt to resolve the sensitive Kurdish issue.

The primary concern for the Erdogan government is the ongoing peace drive with the Kurdish leadership, including imprisoned PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan. So the question is not just whether the events in Reyhanli complicated Turkey’s position inside Syria but also whether they threaten these delicate internal negotiations.

Despite the token advance of the initial PKK withdrawal, the fundamental challenge for the process remains: this is not just a negotiation, but a play for power by both Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and the PKK. [Continue reading…]

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