Turkey’s Kurdish Question – Featuring an Overview of Broader Implications of Turkey’s Policy Decisions for U.S. Foreign Policy in the Region

  • 2016

Turkey’s Kurdish Question – Featuring an Overview of Broader Implications of Turkey’s Policy Decisions for U.S. Foreign Policy in the Region

Author:
Hatice Gamze Menali
Abstract:

During the creation of new nation-states after World War I (Treaty of Sèvres, 1920), there was a strong possibility that there would also be a Kurdish state in the Middle East. With Turkey, Iraq and Iran agreeing not to recognize an independent Kurdish state, the issue of Kurdish independence had not even been included in the subsequent Treaty of Lausanne (1923). An almost century-long conflict recently took a new identity with Kurdish fighters including the PKK (currently recognized as a terrorist organization by both Turkey and the U.S.) and its affiliates taking the front lines in the fight against the Islamic State (IS) in Syria, as well as in Iraq (Peshmerga forces). As Turkey’s Kurdish question continues to present a challenge for both the scholars and practitioners of international relations (IR) and diplomacy from the standpoint of conflict resolution, Turkey’s Kurdish policy concerning the century-long Kurdish-Turkish conflict has broader implications throughout Syria and Iraq, considering the two other major conflicts going on in the region. This research mainly focuses on the Kurdish conflict in Turkey with the intent to examine the fabric of the Turkish-Kurdish conflict; identify some of the relevant issues and outside elements factoring in; and elaborate on what has been achieved and what still remains to be done for a long-lasting solution to the conflict.