Addressing Controversy II: Turkey and the Kurds

Part of the Palgrave Macmillan Series in Global Public Diplomacy book series (GPD)


Turkey’s former deputy prime minister Beşir Atalay said in an interview that during the Justice and Development Party’s (JDP) rule since 2002, almost 60 percent of all reforms and democratization initiatives undertaken were related to the Kurdish issue.1 This statement alone illustrates the centrality of the Kurdish issue in Turkey’s political and democratic evolution. The domestic consequences and economic costs of the Kurdish issue have been all too evident: over 40,000 deaths, a military-dominated hybrid political regime, an economic bill of hundreds of billions of dollars, the institution of a regime of impunity in the Kurdish plurality east and southeast of Turkey as a result of the emergence of a dual legal system in a country that takes pleasure from emphasizing the unitary nature of its state, and the fast fraying social bondages between state and the Kurds are a few such domestic repercussions to name.


European Union European Parliament Soft Power Peace Process Peaceful Settlement 
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  1. 1.
    See Besir Atalay’s interview with Nil Gülsüm in Yeni Safak, Nil Gülsüm, “Türkiye nefes aldi,” Yeni Safak, October 13, 2013. Accessed October 23, 2014. Scholar
  2. 2.
    Galip Dalay, “Foreign Policy Implications of the Kurdish Peace for Turkey,” Al Jazeera, July 26, 2013Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Dilek Kurban, “Europe as an Agent of Change: The Role of the European Court of Human Rights and the EU in Turkey’s Kurdish Policies,” SWP Research Paper, October 6, 2014.Google Scholar
  4. 5.
    For an overview of the Turkish republic’s securitization politics, see Galip Dalay, “Kurdish Peace Process: The Latest Phase of De-Securitisation politics,” Al Jazeera, May 14, 2013Google Scholar
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  6. For a good account of how the Kurdish issue has been perceived and presented in the state’s discourse, see Mesut Yegen, Devlet Söyleminde Kürt Sorunu, (Istanbul: İletişim Yayınları, 1999).Google Scholar
  7. 6.
    Mesut Yegen, “The AK Party and the Kurdish Question: Conflict to Negotiation,” Al Jazeera Center for Studies Report, January 15, 2014.Google Scholar
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  14. 12.
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  23. 29.
    For an analysis on the ramifications of the October 6–7 protests on the peace process, see Yunus Akbaba, “6–7 Ekim Olaylari ve Cozum Sureci,” SETA Perspektif, October 2014.Google Scholar
  24. 32.
    See the former deputy prime minister and current JDP spokesperson Besir Atalay’s interview with Fadime Ozkan, “Beşir Atalay: Kobani olayları Cözüm Süreci’ni aşıladı,” Star, October 19, 2014. Accessed October 26, 2014. Scholar

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© B. Senem Çevik and Philip Seib 2015

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