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Why Erdogan can't end PKK war

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s personal agenda precludes a negotiated settlement with the Kurds, and a military solution remains just as out of reach.
A woman with children talks to soldiers in Baglar district, which is partially under curfew, in the Kurdish-dominated southeastern city of Diyarbakir, Turkey March 17, 2016. REUTERS/Sertac Kayar - RTSAV4F
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Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's months-long war against the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) has become unbearably destructive and deadly, and the violence is threatening to spill over into western Turkey. The general picture emerging is that the PKK cannot be eliminated militarily and no negotiated settlement with the organization is foreseeable.

In this context of impasse, Turkey is trying to manage a crisis that becomes deeper and harder to control. The growing casualty toll among security forces is but one dimension of the crisis. During the last week of March, 21 soldiers and police were killed in the urban warfare raging in the southeast. Most of them were killed by PKK-made roadside bombs, in booby-trapped buildings, by vehicle-borne bomb attacks and by sniper fire. According to official figures, fatalities among security forces since July have exceeded 420.

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