May 21, 2013

The Peace Process: Is It A Cynical Enterprise That's Set Up To Crumble?

Does the peace process lack credibility? Is it a cynical enterprise that is set up to crumble? Do both sides want peace?

No, not the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, the Turkish-Kurdish one.

Two months ago, PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan said that the Kurdish movement for freedom and autonomy in Turkey will leave the battlefield and fully enter the political arena. Ocalan ordered his troops to withdraw from Turkey. Hundreds of thousands of people gathered in Kurdish cities for the celebratory occasion.

The PKK's decision to declare a ceasefire was a historic turning point. But is Turkish Prime Minister Erodgan seriously interested in meeting the demands of the PKK and ending the long and bloody war with the Kurds? There are still many doubts about Erodgan's sincerity to make the peace process work and his ability to deliver on his promises, especially among the high command in the PKK. The Kurdish organization, which has been fighting the Turkish state for nearly three decades, has refused to disarm. Its fighters have begun to enter Northern Iraq.

The timing of the reconciliation between Erodgan's government and the PKK is also very suspicious. Erodgan is locked in an adventurous war of choice with Assad, and neutralizing the PKK in northern Syria would give Turkey greater leeway to put pressure on the Syrian government.

This Turkey-PKK peace deal has to do with the foreign-fueled conflict in Syria more than anything else. So we can be sure that long-term peace was not the main objective for Erdogan's government in its dealings with the PKK. Also, Erdogan didn't suddenly have an epiphany and finally recognized the existence and rights of the Kurds in Turkey. He will not uphold his end of the bargain.

There are so many reasons why this peace deal smells fishy. It's too good to be true. Will it last, or will the war restart? Read the articles below for analysis from a variety of perspectives.       

Jonathan Spyer - Behind the Lines: Erdogan’s Kurdish gambit.

Michael Rubin - Turkey-PKK Peace Will Fail.

Dorian Jones - Turkish Peace Initiative with Kurds Meets Resistance.

Isabel Coles - First Kurdish rebels reach Iraq under Turkish peace plan.

Lale Kemal - Turkey’s Military Uneasy Over Peace With PKK.

Related: Light Reading: Articles About The Tentative Turkish-Kurdish Peace Deal.