The “Kurdish Spring” in Turkey and its Impact on Turkish Foreign Relations in the Middle Eas

Prof. Ofra Bengio writes in the peer-reviewed Turkish Studies of the impact that the PKK insurgency has had within Turkey.

For many years the world used to hear about the Partiya Karkeren Kurdistan (PKK) terrorist actions in Turkey. Recently, however, a new factor entered the scene with great force—a popular uprising which resembles in some ways the Palestinian intifada and the other uprisings which have taken place since the end of 2010 in Arab countries. In the Kurdish lexicon it is called serhildan. The fusion between well-organized guerrilla activities and an open national movement has brought the Kurdish problem in Turkey into its most crucial phase ever. This essay will analyze the immediate and deeper causes for the Kurdish problem in Turkey and assess its impact on the stability and security of Turkey itself and on Ankara's foreign relations as a whole. The essay's main argument is that only a peaceful solution is likely to pull the rug from under the PKK's feet, thus enabling Turkey to cut the Gordian knot that ties this problem with its foreign relations and prevent Ankara's outside partners from using the issue as a weapon against Turkish interests.