The March 21 ceasefire in the battle between the Kurdistan Workers’ Party and the Turkish state offers Turkey not only the hope of peace after decades of bloodshed, but poses profound implications for the region at large.
“If this [peace] process is successful, Turkey will be in a position to overcome its most strategic vulnerability” - its roughly 30-year-long fight with the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) over greater rights for Turkey’s Kurdish minority, - claimed Sinan Ulgen, head of the Istanbul-based research institute Edam.
Under the proposal, announced by jailed PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan, the group would pull thousands of its fighters out of Turkey and start disarmament.
Ending the conflict with the PKK, which has cost tens of thousands of lives, “would put Turkey strategically on a very different level and would imply that Turkey is becoming a more assertive, influential and confident player regionally,” Ulgen said.
Any such newfound confidence could help temper not only Turkey’s suspicions of its ethnic minorities, but of its neighbors as well.
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Dorian Jones is a freelance reporter based in Istanbul.