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Turkey's Kurds will be angry if HDP is not re-elected

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Significance

The process looks in danger. Serious local conflicts in south-eastern Turkey are straining tensions between Kurds and the government, even though guerrilla warfare has not resumed. Kurdish self-confidence is rising because of its fighters' success in expelling Islamic State group (ISG) from Kobani. However, dialogue between the government and imprisoned PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan continues, and Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu seems more sensitive to Kurdish aspirations than his predecessors.

Impacts

  • Ocalan's leadership of the PKK is unshakable, but his ability to persuade his followers to avoid clashes on the streets is weakening.
  • The conflict between the Kurds and Islamists inside Turkey will grow.
  • Public opinion, including conservative religious elements, will block significant concessions to the Kurds, limiting the government's scope.
  • The Kurds are emerging as a key regional opponent of Islamist politics.
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