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Is Turkey-PKK Peace Process At a Dead End?

The Sept. 1 deadline for the second stage in the Kurdish peace process is about to expire, without progress.
A Kurdish woman demonstrates against the conditions of detention of jailed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) leader Abdullah Ocalan during a protest in Strasbourg April 4, 2012. Hundreds of demonstrators protested in support of Ocalan, who was captured on February 15, 1999, and is currently serving a life sentence in Turkey.  REUTERS/Vincent Kessler (FRANCE - Tags: POLITICS CIVIL UNREST) - RTR30BET
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Dark clouds are gathering in Turkey over the Kurdish peace process, which is key to the future of the country’s fragile politics. Although talks between the two sides may be ongoing, and at a snail’s pace, mounting regional tensions, the “state of war” looming over Turkey and the disheartening state of the parliamentary effort to draft a new constitution are all deepening misgivings. Will looming fears be realized?

The Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) and the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) have greatly increased their pressure on the government over the past several weeks. The first of the three stages of the peace process entailed the PKK militants’ withdrawal from Turkish territory, and this has put the PKK-BDP alliance and the Justice and Development Party (AKP) at loggerheads. While the former asserts that the withdrawal is almost complete, Ankara maintains that “only 20%” of the militants have pulled out. The standoff is a clear indication that after months of talks, the two sides still lack mutual trust, which is a prerequisite for success.

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