Conflict and Fragility

Policy briefs

The Kurdish question and Turkey’s new regional militarism

09 Sep 2020 - 09:31
Source: Cizre çatışmaları 2016, Nedim Yılmaz / Flickr
Waiting for blowback

Recent Turkish interventions in parts of Syria, Iraq and Turkey itself, look like pushing various Kurdish armed forces and political groupings towards ‘defeat’ via a concerted regional strategy that combines battlefield action with repression and co-optation. But the ‘anti-terrorist’ frame and tactics that Ankara uses in a bid to solve its Kurdish problem feature many sticks and no compromises to improve Kurdish collective minority rights. It is likely that this approach will inhibit peaceful resistance and fail to reduce support for armed groups like the PKK and PYD despite their own authoritarian practices. Moreover, Turkey’s new regional militarism risks escalating conflict across the Middle East because of the complex international and transnational contexts in which Ankara’s interventions take place.

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A slightly modified version of this policy brief was also published in Orient (Vol. IV, 2020)

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