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

Video VOA EXCLUSIVE: Iraq President Vows to Fight IS 'Until They Are Killed or We Die'

In wide-ranging interview with VOA Kurdish service reporter, Fuad Masum describes conflict as new type of fight that will take time to win More

Russian Anti-Corruption Campaigner Slams Putin’s Crackdown on Dissent

In interview with VOA Alexei Navalny says he believes new law against 'undesirable NGOs' part of move to keep Russian president in power More

Video On The Scene: In Ethiopia, 'Are You a Journalist?' Is a Loaded Question

VOA's Anita Powell describes the difficulties faced by reporters in fully conveying the story in a country where people are reticent to share their true opinions 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.
Expelled from Pakistan, Afghan Refugees Return to Increased Hardshipi
X
Ayesha Tanzeem
May 28, 2015 6:48 PM
Undocumented refugees returning to Afghanistan from Pakistan have no jobs, no support system, and no home return to, and international aid agencies say they and the government are overwhelmed and under-resourced. Ayesha Tanzeem has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Expelled from Pakistan, Afghan Refugees Return to Increased Hardship

Undocumented refugees returning to Afghanistan from Pakistan have no jobs, no support system, and no home return to, and international aid agencies say they and the government are overwhelmed and under-resourced. Ayesha Tanzeem has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Britain Makes Controversial Move to Crack Down on Extremism

Britain is moving to tighten controls on extremist rhetoric, even when it does not incite violence or hatred -- a move that some are concerned might unduly restrict basic freedoms. It is an issue many countries are grappling with as extremist groups gain power in the Middle East, fueled in part by donations and fighters from the West. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video Floodwaters Recede in Houston, but Rain Continues

Many parts of Texas are recovering from one of the worst natural disasters to hit the southwestern state. Heavy rains on Monday and early Tuesday caused rivers to swell in eastern and central Texas, washing away homes and killing at least 13 people. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, floodwaters are receding slowly in the country's fourth-largest city, and there likely is to be more rain in the coming days.
Video

Video 3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Car

Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Al-Shabab Recruitment Drive Still on In Kenya

The al-Shabab militants that have long battled for control of Somalia also have recruited thousands of young people in Kenya, leaving many families disconsolate. Mohammed Yusuf recently visited the Kenyan town of Isiolo, and met with relatives of those recruited, as well as a many who have helped with the recruiting.
Video

Video US Voters Seek Answers From Presidential Candidates on IS Gains

The growth of the Islamic State militant group in Iraq and Syria comes as the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign kicks off in the Midwest state of Iowa.   As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, voters want to know how the candidates would handle recent militant gains in the Middle East.
Video

Video A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensions

When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video Film Festival Looks at Indigenous Peoples, Culture Conflict

A recent Los Angeles film festival highlighted the plight of people caught between two cultures. Mike O'Sullivan has more on the the Garifuna International Film Festival, a Los Angeles forum created by a woman from Central America who wants the world to know more about her culture.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.
Video

Video Iowa Family's Sacrifice Shaped US Military Service for Generations

Few places in America have experienced war like Waterloo. This small town in the Midwest state of Iowa became famous during World War II not for what it accomplished, but what it lost. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the legacy of one family’s sacrifice is still a reminder today of the real cost of war for all families on the homefront.

VOA Blogs