Talks between PKK imprisoned leader and Turkey may lead to end of Turkish-Kurdish conflict

(UPDATED. Look down)

Sources:
http://uk.reuters.com/article/2012/12/31/uk-turkey-kurds-pkk-idUKBRE8BU0D420121231?feedType=RSS&feedName=worldNews
http://uk.reuters.com/article/2013/01/04/uk-turkey-kurds-idUKBRE9030M820130104?feedType=RSS
http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/c541c476-3e46-11e2-91cb-00144feabdc0.html#axzz2HVyknDhL

Turkey's conflict with the PKK may see an end if current talks between the PKK's imprisoned leader (by Turkey) Abdullah Ocalan and Turkey's leadership succeed. The negotiations between the two sides include changing and improving the minority rights of Kurds in Turkey and anchoring it in Turkish law. Turkey on the other hand demands the removal of said terrorist group from its territory and its retreat to their 'supposed' base of operations - south Kurdistan, the Iraqi Kurdish autonomy.

Now, why is this interesting? It could just be a bunch of empty talks. Oh, here's why:
Erdogan had been trying to change the constitution of Turkey in order to change the role of President within government. Since he cannot run for Prime Minister and head his party in the next elections (He had already won for three times in a row), he plans to run for the office of Presidency. He wanted to beef up the status of President and add more powers to it, thus enabling him to continue 'ruling' over Turkey from the position of President. The office of president is made by a direct vote (general elections) and would give him powers that could go around Parliament. Some of his opposition warned of this supposedly authoritarian move towards a dictatorship.
The problem in achieving a new constitution was his opposition which would not allow such reforms to pass and denied him the chance to rewrite the constitution to allow that. At the time Erdogan tried to sell it to the people by anchoring other civil rights within the constitution itself and granting 'more rights' to Turkey's citizens. It didn't fly so well in Parliament.
Right - where was I? Oh, the Kurds. One of the suggestions to solve the Kurdish issue in Turkey was cementing their status and special rights within a new constitution . This move, if taken by Erdogan, would allow him to both end the conflict with the Kurdish violent liberation movement (terrorist groups, hurray) and settle unrest in the region by giving them concessions - at the same time the constitution will be rewritten, and Erdogan can add his much needed modifications to the President's office he plans to run to once his time in office as Prime Minister is up. This promise of an end to the 40 year old conflict that had killed over 40,000 lives on both sides and struck terror in the hearts of civilians, Turkish and Kurdish alike, would be irresistible to Turkey's Parliament members.

So... Personal ambitions, or a genuine chance for peace? You decide. I'm putting my money on Erdogan being a smart politician.

UPDATED: Three Kurdish women killed in Paris, first was a close aide to Abdullah Ocalan, second was an information center employee and the Paris representative of the Brussels-based Kurdistan National Congress. Third was a yet to be named local Kurdish activist. This had sparked a row of protests within Paris itself. It also got an interesting reply from Turkey's Prime Minister, Erdogan -

At a meeting in Istanbul, Mr Erdogan said Mr Hollande should "immediately disclose" why he met members of "this terrorist organisation, what was discussed, to what end he was in communication with these terrorists".

"How can you routinely meet with members of an organisation labelled a terrorist group by the European Union and being sought by Interpol? What kind of politics is this?" he added.

He said Turkey notified France as recently as November that Sakine Cansiz was in Paris, but French authorities had taken no action.

Turkey has frequently complained that European countries have failed to co-operate in its fight against the PKK.

Source

So... Is this something to look out for? It looks like France (or maybe the EU) don't give a rats ass about Turkey's demands to find and imprison PKK activists and officials even though they label them as terrorists. I remembered the French parliament and the Armenian genocide fiasco with Erdogan...

Erdogan probably realised it's not something they can even remotely win. It's hard to explain that 10-20 conscripts die every year and there's an occasional bombing, if the sole reason why is suppressing a minority and trying to erase their existance.
I mean, if the PKK was some kind of bloodthirsty group who won't stop before Turkey is destroyed, alright, people will back an endless fight against those kinds of movement. But with the Kurds it's mostly that nationalist Turks have tried to erase them as an ethnic unit, opressed them, and movements like the PKK respond to that.

An end to this conflict is a long time coming. Though I wonder if it can actually permanently be fixed without establishing a seperate sovereign state of Kurdistan. Even with added powers to the presidency and a sensible president it's not a sure bet that nationalist forces don't win out in the end or that when Erdogan steps down someone less sensible gets elected.

On another note though, if this conflict was to be resolved it would certainly make future Turkish membership in the EU a less distant possibility. Assuming the powers that Erdogan wants to add to the presidency are in line with democratic ideals and not pseudo-autocratic.

Atrocious Joystick:
An end to this conflict is a long time coming. Though I wonder if it can actually permanently be fixed without establishing a seperate sovereign state of Kurdistan. Even with added powers to the presidency and a sensible president it's not a sure bet that nationalist forces don't win out in the end or that when Erdogan steps down someone less sensible gets elected.

On another note though, if this conflict was to be resolved it would certainly make future Turkish membership in the EU a less distant possibility. Assuming the powers that Erdogan wants to add to the presidency are in line with democratic ideals and not pseudo-autocratic.

.
The powers he wants to pin on the President's position is the ability to get cabinet members without the approval of Parliament and not from within Parliament itself. It's a strange system because by doing so Erdogan will change Turkey's politics to a Presidential system of sorts. People call it a 'dictatorship' because this is a way for Erdogan to go around the limitations on how many times he can run as his party's chairman in general elections and continue ruling Turkey as the head of state, but in a different position. This smells similar to the arrangement done in Russia.

Atrocious Joystick:
On another note though, if this conflict was to be resolved it would certainly make future Turkish membership in the EU a less distant possibility.

It wasn't so much the Kurdish issue which put Turkey's membership in the fridge, as it was them violating deals in regards to treatment of occupied Cyprus. Turkey for instance still refuses shipping from the free part of Cyprus, which they had agreed to in a treaty with the EU.

And I've been hearing sounds that Turkey has become less interested in EU membership too, because they were pretty pissed they couldn't do as they liked, and the EU pressed the Cyprus issue.

Blablahb:

Atrocious Joystick:
On another note though, if this conflict was to be resolved it would certainly make future Turkish membership in the EU a less distant possibility.

It wasn't so much the Kurdish issue which put Turkey's membership in the fridge, as it was them violating deals in regards to treatment of occupied Cyprus. Turkey for instance still refuses shipping from the free part of Cyprus, which they had agreed to in a treaty with the EU.

And I've been hearing sounds that Turkey has become less interested in EU membership too, because they were pretty pissed they couldn't do as they liked, and the EU pressed the Cyprus issue.

Turkish people = massively in favour
Turkish rulers = euuuurhhh..

Nikolaz72:

Blablahb:

Atrocious Joystick:
On another note though, if this conflict was to be resolved it would certainly make future Turkish membership in the EU a less distant possibility.

It wasn't so much the Kurdish issue which put Turkey's membership in the fridge, as it was them violating deals in regards to treatment of occupied Cyprus. Turkey for instance still refuses shipping from the free part of Cyprus, which they had agreed to in a treaty with the EU.

And I've been hearing sounds that Turkey has become less interested in EU membership too, because they were pretty pissed they couldn't do as they liked, and the EU pressed the Cyprus issue.

Turkish people = massively in favour
Turkish rulers = euuuurhhh..

.
Since when does the people decide anything for their government? I mean, what is it, a democracy? Preposterous!

Blablahb:

Atrocious Joystick:
On another note though, if this conflict was to be resolved it would certainly make future Turkish membership in the EU a less distant possibility.

It wasn't so much the Kurdish issue which put Turkey's membership in the fridge, as it was them violating deals in regards to treatment of occupied Cyprus. Turkey for instance still refuses shipping from the free part of Cyprus, which they had agreed to in a treaty with the EU.

And I've been hearing sounds that Turkey has become less interested in EU membership too, because they were pretty pissed they couldn't do as they liked, and the EU pressed the Cyprus issue.

.
Aye, the negotiations got stuck and they barely got through one fifth of the issues they had to settle to get Turkey into the EU. The whole situation of North Cyprus is worrisome.

UPDATE: Three Kurdish women killed in Paris, first was a close aide to Abdullah Ocalan, second was an information center employee and the Paris representative of the Brussels-based Kurdistan National Congress. Third was a yet to be named local Kurdish activist. This had sparked a row of protests within Paris itself. It also got an interesting reply from Turkey's Prime Minister, Erdogan -

At a meeting in Istanbul, Mr Erdogan said Mr Hollande should "immediately disclose" why he met members of "this terrorist organisation, what was discussed, to what end he was in communication with these terrorists".

"How can you routinely meet with members of an organisation labelled a terrorist group by the European Union and being sought by Interpol? What kind of politics is this?" he added.

He said Turkey notified France as recently as November that Sakine Cansiz was in Paris, but French authorities had taken no action.

Turkey has frequently complained that European countries have failed to co-operate in its fight against the PKK.

Source

So... Is this something to look out for? It looks like France (or maybe the EU) don't give a rats ass about Turkey's demands to find and imprison PKK activists and officials even though they label them as terrorists. I remembered the French parliament and the Armenian genocide fiasco with Erdogan...

 

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