Destinations Magazine

Turkey and the PKK: How to Deal with Syria’s Kurds

By Stizzard
Turkey and the PKK: How to deal with Syria’s Kurds

A SENIOR commander of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), a rebel group that has been fighting for Kurdish self-rule inside Turkey since 1984, declared on September 21st that the Ankara government had until October 1st to meet several conditions. “Otherwise we may resume our war,” said Cemil Bayik at the PKK’s headquarters in the Qandil mountains in northern Iraq. On October 1st the government duly issued a directive that lets unspecified observers monitor its peace talks with Abdullah Ocalan, the imprisoned PKK leader (pictured on the flag). A long-running PKK demand was thus fulfilled and an 18-month-old, mutually observed, ceasefire salvaged. But for how long?The question is gaining urgency as fighters calling themselves Islamic State (IS) continue their onslaught against Ain al-Arab (known as Kobane in Kurdish), a Syrian town with a majority Kurdish population on the Turkish border. Kobane and a cluster of villages is one of the three enclaves governed by Syria’s Kurds. Syria’s president, Bashar Assad, ceded them to a group known as the Democratic Unity Party (PYD) so that he could concentrate his fight against rebels elsewhere. The PYD and its armed wing, the…

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