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Kurd vs. Kurd: internal clashes continue in Turkey

Islamist and nationalist Kurds in Turkey have recently engaged in violent clashes stemming from events in Syria, raising concerns about the future of the Kurdish movement.

In Turkey, people primarily remember two organizations when recalling southeastern Turkey in the 1990s, when state authority had been badly eroded: the leftist and staunchly secular Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) and the militant, Sunni Islamist Kurdish Hezbollah. Their bloody clashes left behind some 500 unsolved murders, many of them executions.

The scenes from recent violent street clashes in many parts of Turkey protesting the Islamic State (IS) siege of Kobani, across the border in Syria, and Turkey’s inaction toward it make one wonder whether PKK-Kurdish Hezbollah fighting might be on the verge of escalating. Armed violence between the Patriotic Revolutionary Youth Movement (YDG-H), the PKK’s armed youth wing, and Huda-Par, successor to Kurdish Hezbollah, have already resulted in fatalities that might bode ill for the Kurdish political movement. Huda-Par had been trying to become a political actor, steering clear of armed violence.

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