Turkey-PKK negotiations have broad implications

News & Insights
Mar 13, 2013

As Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan pushes toward a peace deal with the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), much more than an end to violence in Turkey is at stake. As Gönül Tol explains, the result of these negotiations will resonate across the region.

No matter where one stands with regard to the initiative, there is one thing everyone agrees on: the eventual success of the initiative will have major domestic and regional implications. Domestically, a peaceful resolution of the Kurdish issue would remove one of the most important stumbling blocks to democratic consolidation in Turkey. It would also boost Prime Minister Erdogan’s image in the run-up to the 2014 presidential elections, sealing his place in history as the leader who ended the country’s nearly thirty years of conflict with the PKK.

A settlement with the Kurds would also have regional implications. Turkey’s Middle East policy has been held hostage to the Kurdish problem for the past decades. A resolution would remove a major stumbling block to Turkey’s aspirations to be the regional superpower. For all the mutual gestures of goodwill, peace remains an elusive goal. But all parties must hold firm in order to finally steer Turkey toward a peaceful accommodation with its Kurds.