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

Share

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
SPONSORED FEATURES
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Full Stack Software Developer - Javascript

£18000 - £27000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Strategic Partnerships Coordinator

£16000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Their research appears at the f...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Manchester

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Uncapped OTE: SThree: SThree Trainee Recruitment C...

Recruitment Genius: IT Support Engineer

£18000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This exciting startup disruptin...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

A promised 'women's museum' opens as a Jack the Ripper exhibit tonight, and I won't take it lying down

Becky Warnock
A protester wears a golden mask and Romanian flag during a demonstration in Bucharest against Gabriel Resources Rosia Montana gold and silver project  

Corporate vampires have tried to suck $4 billion out of Romania, and with TTIP the UK could be next

Kevin Smith
Turkey-Kurdish conflict: Obama's deal with Ankara is a betrayal of Syrian Kurds and may not even weaken Isis

US betrayal of old ally brings limited reward

Since the accord, the Turks have only waged war on Kurds while no US bomber has used Incirlik airbase, says Patrick Cockburn
VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but doubts linger over security

'A gift from Egypt to the rest of the world'

VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but is it really needed?
Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, applauds a man who clearly has more important things on his mind
The male menopause and intimations of mortality

Aches, pains and an inkling of mortality

So the male menopause is real, they say, but what would the Victorians, 'old' at 30, think of that, asks DJ Taylor
Man Booker Prize 2015: Anna Smaill - How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?

'How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?'

Man Booker Prize nominee Anna Smaill on the rise of Kiwi lit
Bettany Hughes interview: The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems

Bettany Hughes interview

The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems
Art of the state: Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China

Art of the state

Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China
Mildreds and Vanilla Black have given vegetarian food a makeover in new cookbooks

Vegetarian food gets a makeover

Long-time vegetarian Holly Williams tries to recreate some of the inventive recipes in Mildreds and Vanilla Black's new cookbooks
The haunting of Shirley Jackson: Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?

The haunting of Shirley Jackson

Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?
Bill Granger recipes: Heading off on holiday? Try out our chef's seaside-inspired dishes...

Bill Granger's seaside-inspired recipes

These dishes are so easy to make, our chef is almost embarrassed to call them recipes
Ashes 2015: Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

A woefully out-of-form Michael Clarke embodies his team's fragile Ashes campaign, says Michael Calvin
Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza

Andrew Grice: Inside Westminster

Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza
HMS Victory: The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

Exclusive: David Keys reveals the research that finally explains why HMS Victory went down with the loss of 1,100 lives
Survivors of the Nagasaki atomic bomb attack: Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism

'I saw people so injured you couldn't tell if they were dead or alive'

Nagasaki survivors on why Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism
Jon Stewart: The voice of Democrats who felt Obama had failed to deliver on his 'Yes We Can' slogan, and the voter he tried hardest to keep onside

The voter Obama tried hardest to keep onside

Outgoing The Daily Show host, Jon Stewart, became the voice of Democrats who felt the President had failed to deliver on his ‘Yes We Can’ slogan. Tim Walker charts the ups and downs of their 10-year relationship on screen