News / Europe

Kurds, Turks Vow to Continue Talks Despite Killings

Turkish Kurds in Diyarbakir, Turkey protest killings of three Kurdish women in Paris, Jan. 10, 2013.
Turkish Kurds in Diyarbakir, Turkey protest killings of three Kurdish women in Paris, Jan. 10, 2013.
Dorian Jones
In Turkey, Kurdish and Turkish politicians alike say the killing in Paris of three Kurdish rebel activists should not derail efforts to end the decades-long conflict between the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) rebel group and the Turkish state. Those efforts appear to have already achieved significant political momentum.

While Kurdish and Turkish politicians differ on who they believe was responsible for killing the Kurdish activists in Paris on Thursday, there is consensus that the murders should not undermine government efforts to bring to an end the nearly three-decade conflict with the PKK.

Political scientist Cengiz Aktar of Istanbul’s Bahcesehir University says in contrast to previous peace efforts that failed, this time there appears to be widespread support.

"Probably we have reached the largest coalition regarding the peace talks and negotiations. With the exception of the MHP and another extreme rightist party, I think the consensus is there in the political world and the no-sayers, the so-called war lobby, is shrinking everyday," Aktar said.

In recent weeks, Turkey's government confirmed its head of intelligence, Hakan Fidan, met with the imprisoned PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan. According to newspaper reports, those talks made progress.  

A sign of that progress, observers say, is that authorities allowed two senior Kurdish politicians to meet with Ocalan.

The leader of the main legal Kurdish party in Turkey, the BDP, has also requested a meeting with Ocalan.  But the parliamentary leader of the rightist Nationalist Movement Party, the MHP, condemned the efforts and accused Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan of giving in to terrorism.  

Stung by those charges, Erdogan this week ruled out any general amnesty for the rebels and called on them to disarm immediately.

"Our sincerity can be seen in the steps that we have taken in the last few days," he said. "Our aim is to have the separatist terrorist organization’s cadres leave Turkey. We want to make them to lay down their arms and leave."

Political observers say with the Kurdish rebels stronger than they have been in a decade, the demand is unrealistic.  Sinan Ulgen of the Istanbul-based research institute Edam says any disarmament will have to be part of a process.

"One of the first steps would be for the PKK to lay down its arms. But nonetheless, that would come as a package with the steps defined in advance," Ulgen said.

Analysts say those steps are likely to include enshrining Kurdish rights in the fields of education and administration in a new constitution currently being written by lawmakers.  

Ertugrul Kurkcu, a deputy for the pro-Kurdish BDP, welcomes the prime minister's peace efforts but worries about his consistency.

"Tayyip Erdogan can do anything anytime, he is the most unreliable person in the government and he is the most unreliable person in the Turkish state for the time being.  We can talk about coherent arbitrariness of the Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan," Kurkcu said.

Analysts say that patience will be crucial to the talks' success.

But political scientist Aktar says with the country going into two years of elections starting next year, some progress has to be made soon, especially with spring only a few months away.

"What is important is to make visible and tangible achievements in the first year before the elections. I think one of the first aims of these talks is to make sure the PKK fighters will leave the Turkish territory and therefore won't be able to conduct military actions anymore when the snows start to melt down," Aktar said.

Experts estimate that about 2,500 PKK rebels are based in Turkey with the rest camped in neighboring northern Iraq.

Winter usually sees a drop in fighting with the region heavily snowed in.  But the onset of spring traditionally sees a surge in fighting, and observers say both sides will want to achieve progress before the melting of winter snows.

You May Like

China May Be Biggest Winner From Ukraine Crisis

Missile sales, oil and gas shipments are among many areas that may drive Beijing and Moscow closer together in coming years More

Obama Faces Chaotic World, Limits of Power

Current foreign policy issues bring into focus challenges for US policymakers who are mindful of Americans' waning appetite for overseas military engagements More

SADC Meeting Lesotho Officials to Resolve Stalemate

Official says regional bloc has been engaged with leaders in Lesotho to resolve political disagreement that led to coup attempt More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: JKF from: Ottawa, Canada
January 13, 2013 4:44 PM
The original idea that either Turkish, or PPK insiders, from Turkey, directed/carried out the assasination of these women, is starting to look less probable. Media reports that negotiations have been ongoing for a couple of years, between Turkey and the Turkish based PPK group, including the jailed Ocalan, may indicate that neither of the two original possible suspect entities had a good motive to carry out the crime at this time. If it was a political assesination, there is a recent third party that would benefit from talks completely failing, and that are parties relating to the ongoing Syrian conflict. If a formal detente would have been reached, between Turkey and the PPK, then the door was clearly open, for the Kurdish minority in Syria to switch sides, without fearing the fact that Turkey was supporting Syria's opposition, and join the opposition to Assad. It adds the possibility that the henious event event/direction originated in/from Syrian based interests, to ensure the Kurds would not reach an agreement with the Turks, and switch sides.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015i
X
Carol Pearson
August 30, 2014 7:14 PM
A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015

A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video Survivors Commemorate 70th Anniversary of Nazi Liquidation of Jewish Ghetto

When the German Nazi army occupied the Polish city of Lodz in 1939, it marked the beginning of a long nightmare for the Jewish community that once made up one third of the population. Roughly 200,000 people were forced into the Lodz Ghetto. Less than 7,000 survived. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, some survivors gathered at the Union League Club in Chicago on the 70th anniversary of the liquidation of the Lodz Ghetto to remember those who suffered at the hands of the Nazi regime.
Video

Video Cost to Raise Child in US Continues to Rise

The cost of raising a child in the United States continues to rise. In its latest annual report, the U.S. Department of Agriculture says middle income families with a child born in 2013 can expect to spend more than $240,000 before that child turns 18. And sending that child to college more than doubles that amount. VOA’s Deborah Block visited with a couple with one child in Alexandria, Virginia, to learn if the report reflects their lifestyle.
Video

Video Chaotic Afghan Vote Recount Threatens Nation’s Future

Afghanistan’s troubled presidential election continues to be rocked by turmoil as an audit of the ballots drags on. The U.N. says the recount will not be completed before September 10. Observers say repeated disputes and delays are threatening the orderly transfer of power and could have dangerous consequences. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.
Video

Video Ukraine Battles Pro-Russia Rebel Assault

After NATO concluded an emergency meeting to discuss the crisis in eastern Ukraine, the country is struggling to contain heavy fighting near the strategic port of Mariupol, on the Azov Sea. Separatist rebels are trying to capture the city, allegedly with Russian military help, and Ukraine's defense forces are digging in. VOA's Daniel Schearf spoke with analysts about what lies ahead for Ukraine.
Video

Video Growing Business Offers Paint with a Twist of Wine

Two New Orleans area women started a small business seven years ago with one thing in mind: to help their neighbors relieve the stress of coping with a hurricane's aftermath. Today their business, which pairs painting and a little bit of wine, has become one of the fastest growing franchises across the U.S. VOA’s June Soh met the entrepreneurs at their newest franchise location in the Washington suburbs.
Video

Video Ebola Vaccine Trials To Begin Next Week

The National Institutes of Health says it is launching early stage trials of a vaccine to prevent the Ebola virus, which has infected or killed thousands of people across West Africa. The World Health Organization says Ebola could infect more than 20,000 people across the region by the time the outbreak is over. The epidemic has health experts and governments scrambling to prevent more people from becoming infected. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Asian Bacteria Threatens Florida Orange Trees

Florida's citrus fruit industry is facing a serious threat from a bacteria carried by the Asian insect called psyllid. The widespread infestation again highlights the danger of transferring non-native species to American soil. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Aging Will Reduce Economic Growth Worldwide in Coming Decades

The world is getting older, fast. And as more people retire each year, fewer working-age people will be there to replace them. Bond rating agency Moody’s says that will lead to a decline in household savings; reducing global investments - which in turn, will lead to slower economic growth around the world. But experts say it’s not too late to mitigate the economic impact of the world’s aging populations. Mil Arcega has more.
Video

Video Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?

U.S. President Barack Obama has ruled out sending ground troops to Iraq to fight militants of the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, despite officials in Washington describing the extremist group as the biggest threat the United States has faced in years. Henry Ridgwell reports from London on the growing uncertainty over whether the West’s response to ISIS will be enough to defeat the terrorist threat.
Video

Video Coalition to Fight Islamic State Could Reward Assad

The United States along with European and Mideast allies are considering a broader assault against Islamic State fighters who have spread from Syria into Iraq and risk further destabilizing an already troubled region. But as VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports, confronting those militants could end up helping the embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Video

Video Made in America Socks Get Toehold in Online Fashion Market

Three young entrepreneurs are hoping to revolutionize the high-end sock industry by introducing all-American creations of their own. And they’re doing most of it the old-fashioned way. VOA’s Julie Taboh recently caught up with them to learn what goes into making their one-of-a-kind socks.
Video

Video Americans, Ex-Pats Send Relief Supplies to West Africa

Health organizations from around the world are sending supplies and specialists to the West African countries that are dealing with the worst Ebola outbreak in history. On a smaller scale, ordinary Americans and African expatriates living in the United States are doing the same. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.

AppleAndroid