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Turkey: Recent Study Sheds Light on Plight of Internally Displaced Persons

The recent release of a long-awaited study on the size of Turkey's population of internally displaced persons (IDPs) has refocused attention on this enduring problem, raising questions about Ankara's dedication to addressing the issue.

Turkey's IDP problem is connected to the turbulence of the 1980's and 1990's, when Turkish security forces battled guerillas from the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) in the country's predominantly-Kurdish southeast region. More than 30,000 individuals on both sides are believed to have been killed during the insurgency.

In an effort to root the guerillas out of the countryside, Turkish forces forcibly evacuated thousands of villages. The number of those displaced has always been under dispute. The Turkish government insisted that some 350,000 Kurds were forced to move because of the fighting, while Kurdish groups and human rights organization put the number at anywhere from 1 million to 4 million.

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Yigal Schleifer is a freelance journalist based in Istanbul.

Turkey: Recent Study Sheds Light on Plight of Internally Displaced Persons

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