Can Turkey pull back from brink of civil conflict?

Amberin Zaman writes: “Turkey is on the brink of a civil war.” This is how Selahattin Demirtas, the co-chairman of the pro-Kurdish bloc in the Turkish parliament, the Peoples’ Democracy Party (HDP), chillingly described the spiraling violence that has engulfed Turkey after a two-year cease-fire between rebels of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) and the Turkish army ended in July.

While both sides continue to blame the other for the demise of what promised to be the most hopeful attempt yet at ending the 31-year conflict, the news coming out of Turkey’s mainly Kurdish southeastern region suggests that Demirtas’ rhetoric may not be entirely overblown. Eric S. Edelman, the former US ambassador to Turkey, went as far as to predict in an interview with Al-Monitor that Turkey might even “be sucked into the vortex swirling around Iraq and Syria,” unless the prevailing political dynamics are reversed.

In the southeastern town of Cizre, a city of around 120,000 where Kurdish nationalism pulses forcefully, the Interior Ministry said that 30 people have died in clashes with the security forces since the army moved in over a week ago with tanks and heavy artillery to flush out the PKK’s radical youth wing known as the Patriotic Revolutionary Youth Movement (YDGH). [Continue reading…]

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