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New Peace Talks in Turkey: Opportunities and Challenges in Conflict Resolution

The restart of peace talks between the Government and the PKK has brought renewed optimism about the possibility to settle a nearly three-decade conflict, one of the oldest ongoing armed conflicts in the world and one with a major impact on neighbouring countries. These new efforts can be understood as part of the rapprochement process started in the mid 2000s. While it comes after a tremendous peak in violence, there seem to be very positive signs of the seriousness of this new stage. However, there are also doubts on its strength, structure, and direction.

New Peace Talks in Turkey Opportunities and Challenges in Conflict
Turkey’s Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan (R) and the Democracy and Peace Party leaders Gulten Kisanak (L) and Selahattin Demir- tas attend a meeting in Ankara. AFP / Kayhan Özer
 

In December 2012, the same month that Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan publicly announced talks with PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan, peace processes were also moving forward in the Philippines, Colombia and Myanmar, to name just some of the ongoing peace negotiations worldwide. 2012 left us with encouraging news of opportunities for peace in conflicts between Governments and historic insurgencies in different corners of the world.1 There are prospects of more positive steps in 2013 in these and other conflicts that have been preceded by decades of deaths, forced displacement, sexual violence, extrajudicial executions, and other consequences. Peace negotiations are usually understood as pragmatic, tough and far from disinterested ways to put an end to violence and help address the underlying root causes, grievances, demands, and wrongdoings.

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