A Conversation with Turkey’s Kurdish Leadership
Turkey’s approach to lingering problems in dealing with the Kurdish minority at home and in the region is once again at a critical juncture. From the prospects for a new constitution to Ankara’s Syria dilemma, virtually all the pressing issues facing Turkey have a Kurdish dimension. Most recently, Prime Minister Erdogan declared that his government is ready to engage in a political dialogue with the Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) in the Turkish Parliament. Given past failures at dialogue and at finding a mutually-acceptable, peaceful, and democratic solution to the problem, will this time prove different? What do the Kurds of Turkey and those of neighboring nations want and is the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) ready to meet Kurdish demands?
On April 24, the Center on the United State and Europe at Brookings (CUSE) hosted a discussion exploring these and other important questions related to Turkey’s Kurdish minority, featuring Selahattin Demirtaş, the co-chair of BDP, and Ahmet Turk, an experienced politician currently an independent member of the Turkish Parliament. Brookings Nonresident Senior Fellow Ömer Taşpınar provided introductory remarks and moderate the discussion.
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Turkey does have an image problem in Washington. These problems cannot be fixed by a public relations campaign, but require action by the Turkish government.