Skip to main content

Turkey trapped between failed Syria policy, Kurds

Turkey’s reluctance to extend full support to Kobani may not be entirely related to the Kurdish issue.
Kurdish civilians march by the Turkish-Syrian border village of Caycara to protest against Islamic State, during a rally in solidarity with the people of the Syrian Kurdish town of Kobani, November 1, 2014.REUTERS/Yannis Behrakis (TURKEY - Tags: CIVIL UNREST MILITARY POLITICS CONFLICT) - RTR4CFSC

What peace means in the context of the Turkish government's negotiations with the Kurds — mainly represented by the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) — has been a big mystery since the beginning of these talks over two years ago. Yet, the siege of the Kurdish Syrian town of Kobani by the Islamic State (IS) for over a month has changed the parameters of the negotiations.

While Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu insists that the PKK should disarm for the negotiations to advance, the Kurdish side asserts that it would be suicidal for the PKK to quit fighting at this time. The talks came to a halt after the call by the pro-Kurdish People’s Democracy Party (HDP) to bring people to the streets on Oct. 6-7 to protest the government’s refusal to open a corridor from Turkey to Kobani. Although many have found ways to cross over to the Syrian side, the protests on Turkish streets killed 40.

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.