The Kurdish Paradox

I have an extended article out today in The Middle East Report Online examining the failure of the so-called ‘Kurdish Opening’, and looking in particular at the relationship between the PKK and the wider Kurdish activist movement, and the trial and ongoing detention of hundreds of Kurdish activists and politicians.

Above is a picture of the jailed PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan over a shrine to Ozgur Daghan, who I mention in the story, and who is one of many PKK fighters and Turkish soldiers to have died during the latest upsurge in violence. Despite his incarceration, Ocalan still has a powerful hold over Kurdish society.
I argue in my piece that as long as the Turkish government attacks and rejects the influence of the PKK over Kurdish politics, the more that influence is strengthened.
From the article: 

…the more the government stymies peaceful manifestations of the Kurdish activist movement, the more Kurds regard the guerrillas in the mountains as the only force capable of championing their cause. This dynamic, in turn, feeds the power the PKK holds over the Kurdish people and the political scene… Equally, the PKK finds itself in a bind: By pulling back from the political process, and allowing the Kurdish politicians the independence they need to negotiate meaningfully with the Turkish state, it risks augmenting their power and so losing the position as the voice of the Kurds it believes it has earned through armed struggle.

You can read the whole article here.


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