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Erdoğan and Öcalan Begin Talks. A Paradigm Shift in Turkey’s Kurdish Policy and a New Strategy of the PKK 30 avril 2013

Posted by Acturca in Middle East / Moyen Orient, Turkey / Turquie.
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SWP Comments, 2013/C 13, April 2013, 8 Pages                              Deutsch
Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik

Kevin Matthees & Günter Seufert *

The ceasefire between the Turkish government and the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) is more than just a new attempt by Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s administration to bring an end to the asymmetric war that has been waged for nearly 30 years in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish south-east. For the first time, the Turkish government has demonstrated its willingness to recognise PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan, who has been imprisoned since 1999, as the chief negotiator for the Kurdish side. Although the negotiations are being held as unofficial talks under the aegis of the Turkish intelligence services (MIT), the prime minister himself and members of his cabinet have directly commented on their progress. Of no less significance are the changes on the part of the Kurdish movement. Under Öcalan’s influence, representatives of the pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) have backed away from seeking to establish a Kurdish national state. Öcalan himself has even been voicing doubts about the whole idea of the nation state as such. Thus, the outlines of a new vision for Turkey and for the country’s future role in the Middle East, shared by the Turkish government and the militant Kurdish opposition, are beginning to emerge.

* Kevin Matthees is an intern at SWP’s EU External Relations Division. Dr. Günter Seufert is a Senior Associate in SWP’s EU External Relations Division.

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