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Why Turkey’s Kurds matter

After five years of calm, the Kurdish insurgency in Turkey seems to be rekindling. But the government must not return to the heavy-handed methods of its predecessors. With EU membership now a real prospect, the best way to defuse the conflict is by reform

By Jonathan Power   November 2005

Insurgencies may not die, but at least, like old soldiers, they usually fade away. Well, that seemed to be the case with the Kurdistan Workers’ party, the PKK. For the best part of five years there has been a truce in Turkey’s bitter and savage civil war. Ever since in 1999 the PKK’s jailed leader, Abdullah Öcalan, appeared to acknowledge that the central government was bent on introducing the reforms he had fought for, there has been peace in the southeast. But quietly this year the insurgency has been rekindled and nothing that Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has done—including,…

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