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Will Turkey’s Kurdish movement renounce violence?

If Turkey’s Kurdish politicians want more understanding from Turkey, they can help themselves by opposing the violence of their comrades.
Turkish soldiers stand guard on a main street, as smoke rises in the background from burning tyres set alight by protesters, in Diyarbakir October 8, 2014. At least 12 people died on Tuesday during violent clashes across Turkey, local media reported, as the fate of the besieged Syrian border town of Kobani stirred up decades of tensions with Turkey's Kurdish minority. Violence erupted in Turkish towns and cities mainly in the Kurdish southeastern provinces, as protesters took to the streets to demand the go

On Oct. 25, three Turkish soldiers were shot to death in the back in Yukseova, a predominantly Kurdish town just miles from Turkey’s borders with Iraq and Iran. The killers were two masked men and no one has yet claimed responsibility. Yet the usual suspect for both the government and Turkish society is the PKK, the armed and outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party, a group that Turkey identifies as terrorist and has fought for three decades.

This was just one episode in a series of violent acts committed by pro-PKK militants in the past several weeks. In fact, there has been a “peace process” between the PKK and the government since early 2013, and guns had been silent. Yet the Turkish government’s inaction to help Kobani, a Kurdish town on Turkey’s Syrian border, in the face of the onslaught by the Islamic State, frustrated and enraged Turkey’s own Kurds. In early October, Selahattin Demirtas, the leader of the HDP, the People's Democracy Party, the implicit, legal arm of the PKK, called for street protests against the government for not helping Kobani. But some of the protesters turned violent, engaging not only in vandalism, but also lynching whomever they perceived as sympathizers of the Islamic State.

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