Kurdish War: May 21, 2004


Turkish politicians, both ethnic Turks and Kurds, are openly discussing the idea of granting the Kurdish majority in parts of eastern Turkey autonomy and recognition of their Kurdish cultural identity. This would go against decades of Turkish policy, but would recognize Kurdish fears of bad treatment at the hands of Arabs and Iranians, and the benefits of staying part of Turkey, and under Turkish protection. This concept is particularly attractive to some five million Kurds in Iraq (over three million), Iran (about a million) and Syria. By serving as the "big brother" to the Kurds, Turkey would reduce the anti-Turk violence among its own twelve million Kurds and secure it's billion dollar a year in business with the Kurds of northern Iraq. There are still several thousand armed PKK  Kurdish rebels camped out in remote areas of northern Iraq. Better relations with the Iraqi Kurds would make it easier to deal with the PKK. The PKK (the Turkish Workers Party) has officially changed its name to KONGRA-GEL (Peoples Congress of Kurdistan), but everyone still calls it the PKK.


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