Editorial: The PKK's declaration of a truce in Turkey is in everyone’s interest

Turkey’s Kurds show a clear desire for peace after almost 30 years of intermittent war


The ecstatic reception among Turkey’s Kurds for the PKK’s declaration of a ceasefire this week gives Abdullah Ocalan’s announcement the fairest of winds. In a letter from prison to mark Kurdish New Year, the PKK leader wrote: “We have reached the point where weapons should fall silent and ideas should speak.” The Turkish Prime Minister conditionally promised no new military operations.

Ceasefires have been declared before, but there are compelling reasons for more optimism this time, and not only because of the clear desire of Turkey’s Kurds for peace after almost 30 years of intermittent war. For once, the stars in Ankara and Diyarbakir seem to be in alignment. Both the government of Recep Tayyip Erdogan and the PKK have an interest in exploring the prospects for peace. The hope must be that this truce solidifies into a permanent settlement.

The Turkish parliament is finalising a new constitution. Mr Erdogan – for his own obvious purposes – wants to remove the military, once and for all, from the political arena, and formalise the existence of an unambiguously civil state. Mr Ocalan wants the Kurds to have guaranteed rights within Turkey. The Prime Minister needs the votes of Kurdish MPs to pass the new constitution. For once, the requirements of the central government and those of the PKK are not necessarily at odds.

Most promising, however, is the bigger picture, where their interests still more persuasively coincide. With Turkey’s ambition for EU accession essentially on hold, Mr Erdogan turned to regional diplomacy, with overtures described by some, both positively and negatively, as neo-Ottomanism. He was aided by the trade opportunities in post-war Iraq , but far more by the ferment accompanying the Arab Spring.

Seen from Ankara, however, that same ferment presents dangers, specifically from the national aspirations of Kurds, whether in Iraq, Iran, or Syria. If Ankara wants to keep Turkey together in its current borders, it must accord the Kurds rights and recognition in their own country. This is why Mr Erdogan needs to look favourably on Mr Ocalan’s overture, but also why a lasting agreement has acquired new urgency.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Employment Solicitor

Highly Competitive Salary: Austen Lloyd: MANCHESTER - Senior Employment Solici...

Senior Risk Manager - Banking - London - £650

£600 - £650 per day: Orgtel: Conduct Risk Liaison Manager - Banking - London -...

Commercial Litigation Associate

Highly Attractive Package: Austen Lloyd: CITY - COMMERCIAL LITIGATION - GLOBAL...

Systems Manager - Dynamics AX

£65000 - £75000 per annum + Benefits: Progressive Recruitment: The client is a...

Day In a Page

Read Next

Opponents of Israel's military operation in Gaza are the real enemies of Middle Eastern peace

Gabriel Sassoon
The economy expanded by 0.8 per cent in the second quarter of 2014  

Government hails latest GDP figures, but there is still room for scepticism over this 'glorious recovery'

Ben Chu
Evan Davis: The BBC’s wolf in sheep’s clothing to take over at Newsnight

The BBC’s wolf in sheep’s clothing

What will Evan Davis be like on Newsnight?
Finding the names for America’s shame: What happens to the immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert?

Finding the names for America’s shame

The immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert
Inside a church for Born Again Christians: Speaking to God in a Manchester multiplex

Inside a church for Born Again Christians

As Britain's Anglican church struggles to establish its modern identity, one branch of Christianity is booming
Rihanna, Kim Kardashian and me: How Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain

Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain

Parisian couturier Pierre Balmain made his name dressing the mid-century jet set. Today, Olivier Rousteing – heir to the house Pierre built – is celebrating their 21st-century equivalents. The result? Nothing short of Balmania
Cancer, cardiac arrest, HIV and homelessness - and he's only 39

Incredible survival story of David Tovey

Tovey went from cooking for the Queen to rifling through bins for his supper. His is a startling story of endurance against the odds – and of a social safety net failing at every turn
Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride
10 best reed diffusers

Heaven scent: 10 best reed diffusers

Keep your rooms smelling summery and fresh with one of these subtle but distinctive home fragrances that’ll last you months
Commonwealth Games 2014: Female boxers set to compete for first time

Female boxers set to compete at Commonwealth Games for first time

There’s no favourites and with no headguards anything could happen
Five things we’ve learned so far about Manchester United under Louis van Gaal

Five things we’ve learned so far about United under Van Gaal

It’s impossible to avoid the impression that the Dutch manager is playing to the gallery a little