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Could a Murder Derail Turkish-Kurdish Peace Process?

The death of Medeni Yildirim on June 28 has brought the Turkish-Kurdish resolution process to the edge.
Masked supporters of jailed Kurdish rebel leader Abdullah Ocalan stand on the stage as one reads a statement during a gathering to celebrate Newroz in the southeastern Turkish city of Diyarbakir  March 21, 2013. Jailed Kurdish rebel leader Abdullah Ocalan ordered his fighters on Thursday to cease fire and withdraw from Turkish soil as a step to ending a conflict that has killed 40,000 people, riven the country and battered its economy. Hundreds of thousands of Kurds gathered in the regional centre of Diyarb

LICE, Diyarbakir — Lice is no ordinary place. It’s known as one of the most rebellious towns in Turkey, a hotbed of Kurdish nationalism. As documentary filmmaker Veysi Polat put it to Al-Monitor, “Sheikh Said established his main quarters in Lice, and rode to Diyarbakir with 2,000 horsemen, marking the beginning of the rebellion [against the state in 1925]. Kurdistan Workers’ Party, PKK, was founded on Nov. 27, 1978 in a congress held in Fis village of Lice, and (Abdullah) Ocalan was elected its chief. It’s the first place burned by the military (in the fight against terrorism) in 1993.” And the list keeps going, making it an extremely politicized place.

So when the news broke on June 28 that a Turkish soldier killed a Kurdish civilian protesting the construction of a gendarmerie post in Lice, it immediately emerged as the first challenge to potentially derail the resolution process led by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s government and the imprisoned PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan to find a solution to the Kurdish issue.

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