For the last thirty-two years Turkey has been in conflict with Kurdish separatists. These separatists, of which the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) is most prominent, desire to create an autonomous Kurdish republic, arguing that Turkey represses Kurdish culture. In fact, the Kurds are the world’s largest ethnic group that lacks a state, with peoples scattered across Iraq, Iran, Turkey, and Syria. Since 1984, the conflict has claimed the lives of over 20,000 soldiers and civilians and although some Turkish governments have attempted to solve the conflict, either to create more domestic stability or win favor with the European Union (EU), the conflict has resumed due to disputes over Turkey’s handling of the Islamic State and the Turkish government’s crackdown on Kurdish activists. Human Rights Watch has criticized both sides for violating the rights of civilians and combatants, and ending the conflict is in the Turkish government’s best interest for the sake of its international reputation and economy.
This topic brief will provide some important vocabulary on the Turkish-PKK conflict, sources of tensions that exist between the two sides, and the implications of the conflict for Turkey domestically and internationally.
Readers are also encouraged to use the links below and in the related R&D to bolster their files about this topic.
Note: With the National Speech and Debate Association (NSDA) National Tournament taking place next week, this will be the last topic brief for the 2015-2016 season. Thank you for subscribing to Extemp Central’s premium content for this school year.
Continue Reading →