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Turkey’s Kurdish Question and the Peace Process

Turkey currently is witnessing a series of events that are most likely to go down in history as truly important milestones. The country is attempting to tackle the age-old Kurdish question. Thus far, the peace process has given rise to more hope than ever. Yet, it has not been devoid of worries and concerns. Hope arises out of the fact that we are witnessing major progress that was unimaginable until a short time ago. However, the shadow of past experiences makes it difficult to overcome reservations.

Turkey s Kurdish Question and the Peace Process
A Kurdish man waves a BDP (Peace and democracy party) flag during celebrations for Nowruz, on March 17, 2013. AFP / Gürcan Öztürk
 

Despite the lengthy history of the Kurdish question, the persistent coexistence of various political approaches failed to create a mutually acceptable term to describe the issue at hand. Until now, various political groups generated their own terms to describe the problem and developed policies based on these concepts. Various terms including the Eastern Questionthe Eastern Problemthe Southeast Problemthe Terror Problemthe Kurdish Problem, and the Kurdistan Question all come to mind. There is no question that each term rested on serious political deliberations and certain prejudices. Such terms as the Eastern Question referenced geography and essentially rejected the existence of a Kurdish identity. The Southeast Problem included references to underdevelopment and inter-regional disparities in addition to geography and implicitly indicated that eliminating economic challenges would automatically resolve the Kurdish question.

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