Center for American Progress

RELEASE: First Essay in Voices from Turkey Series Looks at the Causes of Current Turkish-Kurdish Conflict
Press Release

RELEASE: First Essay in Voices from Turkey Series Looks at the Causes of Current Turkish-Kurdish Conflict

Washington, D.C. — Today, the Center for American Progress, the Istanbul Policy Center, and the Istituto Affari Internazionali released the first in a series of essays called “Voices from Turkey” and written by prominent Turkish intellectuals on the big issues affecting Turkey. The series is part of Turkey 2023, a trilateral initiative that aims to outline a long-term prosperity vision for Turkey, explore its role in Europe and the trans-Atlantic relationship, assess the state of the republic and its institutions, and examine its position in the region and the world 100 years after its foundation.

The first essay—written by Aslı Aydintaşbaş, an Istanbul-based journalist and a visiting fellow at the European Council on Foreign Relations—focuses on the resumption of the conflict between the Turkish state and the country’s Kurdish minority. The essay looks at what sparked the latest round of the decades-old conflict, how it differs from previous clashes, and the ways in which the violence is reshaping Turkish and Kurdish politics.

Aydintaşbaş concludes that the collapse of the Turkish-Kurdish peace process was mainly a spillover effect of the Syrian civil war. The growth of Kurdish autonomy in Syria raised the specter of a strong Kurdish enclave to Turkey’s south. This was seen as a dire threat by the Turkish government, which was already facing a newly assertive Kurdish political movement at home. New urban warfare tactics by the militant Kurdistan Workers’ Party and the ideological pivot of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to secure support from Turkey’s nationalist and conservative electorate are also contributing to the breakdown of the peace in Turkey’s southeast.

The Voices from Turkey series will continue with forthcoming essays on the closing of the public sphere, economic growth, the showdown with Russia, relations with the European Union, and foreign policy toward the Middle East released on a weekly basis.

Click here to read the first essay.

Follow the Voices from Turkey series and the Turkey 2023 project on Twitter @Turkey__2023.

For more information on this topic or to speak with an expert, contact Tom Caiazza at [email protected] or 202.481.7141.