Skip to main content

Turkish-Kurdish Leader Cautious, Hopeful on Peace Plan

Ahmet Turk, a pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party member, draws attention to a new legislation bringing municipalities under direct tutelage of governors, and argues that is in direct contradiction to the government’s Kurdish initiative.
Selahattin Demirtas, co-chairman of the pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party, greets his supporters during a rally to celebrate the spring festival of Newroz in Istanbul March 17, 2013. A picture of imprisoned PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan is seen in the background. REUTERS/Murad Sezer (TURKEY - Tags: POLITICS CIVIL UNREST) - RTR3F4BY

“I have been to Washington numerous times before, but this time feels different,” Ahmet Turk, a pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) member said on May 22 in Washington at a small gathering of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. “I get a sense in this visit that Kurds are for the first time really recognized as an actor in Middle East politics. [US officials] wanted to learn about our opinions on this and that issue, which suggested Kurds are now regarded as a factor in discussions concerning Turkey and the Middle East.”

The BDP delegation’s visit to the capital of the United States came only a week after Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s visit to the White House. There is evidently great interest inside the Washington beltway to learn more about the Erdogan government’s initiative to resolve the Kurdish issue. The White House, State Department and Congress were on a long list of Turk's meetings. “I believe that for the first time we’re engaged in a hopeful process,” he said. “But things have to show some progress for people to continue feeling hopeful. If and when that feeling is tarnished, people will also respond accordingly.”

Access the Middle East news and analysis you can trust

Join our community of Middle East readers to experience all of Al-Monitor, including 24/7 news, analyses, memos, reports and newsletters.


Only $100 per year.