Peace With the PKK High Priority for Erdogan Presidency

Peace With the PKK High Priority for Erdogan Presidency
A masked man in a guerrilla outfit holds a flag of the rebel Kurdistan Worker Party (PKK), Diyarbakir, Turkey, March 21, 2014 (AP photo).

Last month, at least one Turkish soldier was killed in an attack by the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which threatened to undermine President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s mandate to negotiate with the organization. In an email interview, Mehmet Ümit Necef, associate professor at the Centre for Contemporary Middle Eastern Studies at the University of Southern Denmark, discussed the prospect of PKK peace talks under the Erdogan presidency.

WPR: What is the current status of Turkey's relations with the PKK given ongoing violence in Syria and Iraq?

Mehmet Ümit Necef: The Turkish government and the PKK have carried out a successful peace process over the past year and a half. Both sides have succeeded in either convincing or isolating hawkish elements in their respective camps. The emergence of the Islamic State has increased the importance of the ongoing peace process for both sides. To fight the Islamic State, which threatens and massacres Kurds in Iraq, Turkey needs the PKK and the PKK needs Turkey.

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