We are pleased to bring you this paper written by Professor Michael M. Gunter, professor of political science at Tennessee Technological University in Cookeville, Tennessee. He is the author of numerous critically praised scholarly books on the Kurdish question, the most recent being Kurdish Historical Dictionary, 2nd ed., 2011; The Kurds Ascending: The Evolving Solution to the Kurdish Problem in Iraq and Turkey,2nd ed., 2011; The Kurdish Predicament in Iraq: A Political Analysis, 1999; and The Kurds and the Future of Turkey, 1997.

Professor Gunter also recently spoke at a public conference organised by the Middle East Institute in Washington D.C., which is available to watch online at the MEI Youtube channel (Professor Gunter’s contribution begins at 6.00 minutes).


Professor Michael M. Gunter

During the summer and fall of 2009, the continuing and often violent Kurdish problem in Turkey[1] seemed on the verge of a solution when the ruling Adalet ve Kalkinma Partisi [Justice and Development Party] or AK Party (AKP)[2] government of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and President Abdullah Gul announced a Kurdish Opening or Initiative (aka as the Democratic Opening/Initiative). Gul declared that “the biggest problem of Turkey is the Kurdish question” and that “there is an opportunity [to solve it] and it should not be missed.”[3] Erdogan asked: “If Turkey had not spent its energy, budget, peace and young people on [combating] terrorism, if Turkey had not spent the last 25 years in conflict, where would we be today?”[4] Even the insurgent Partiya Karkaren Kurdistan (PKK) or Kurdistan Workers Party, still led ultimately by its imprisoned leader Abdullah Ocalan, itself briefly took Turkey’s Kurdish Opening seriously.[5] For a fleeting moment optimism ran rampant. What happened?


It soon became evident that the AK Party had not thought its Kurdish Opening out very well and then proved rather inept in trying to implement it. Specific proposals were lacking. Furthermore, despite AK Party appeals to support its Kurdish Opening, all three of the parliamentary opposition parties declined. Indeed, the CHP (Kemalists or Nationalists) accused the AK Party of “separatism, cowing to the goals of the terrorist PKK, violating the Constitution, causing fratricide and/or ethnic polarization between Kurds and Turks, being an agent of foreign states, and even betraying the country,”[6] while the MHP (Ultra Turkish Nationalists) “declared AKP to be dangerous and accused it of treason and weakness.”[7] Even the pro-Kurdish DTP failed to be engaged because it declined to condemn the PKK as the AK Party government had demanded.[8] Erdogan too began to fear that any perceived concessions to the Kurds would hurt his Turkish nationalist base and future presidential hopes.

The PKK’s “peace group” gambit on October 18, 2009 to return home to Turkey 34 PKK members from northern Iraq also backfired badly when these Kurdish expatriates were met by huge welcoming receptions at the Habur Border Crossing with Turkey and later in Diyarbakir.  These celebrations were broadcast throughout Turkey and proved too provocative for even moderate Turks who perceived the affair as some sort of PKK victory parade. The Peace Group affair seemed to prove that the government had not thought out the implications of its Kurdish Opening and could not manage its implementation let along consequences.

Then on December 11, 2009 the Constitutional Court, after mulling over the issue for more than two years, suddenly banned the pro-Kurdish DTP because of its close association with the PKK. Although the Baris ve Demokrasi Partisi (BDP) or Peace and Democracy Party quickly took the DTP’s place, coming when it did, the state-ordered banning of the pro-Kurdish DTP could not have come at a worse time and put the kiss of death to the Kurdish Initiative. In addition, more than 1,000 BDP and other Kurdish notables were placed under arrest for their supposed support of the PKK, yet another body blow to the Kurdish Opening.[9]  Soon the entire country was ablaze from the fury that had arisen, and the Kurdish Opening seemed closed. The mountain had not even given birth to a mouse, and the entire Kurdish question seemed to have been set back to square one.[10]

In May 2010, the Kurdistan National Congress (KNK), an arm of the PKK, charged that since April 2009, more than 1500 politicians, human rights advocates, writers, artisans, and leaders of civil society organizations had been arrested. In addition, 4000 children had been taken to court and 400 of them imprisoned for participating in demonstrations. Osman Baydemir, the popular ethnic Kurdish mayor of Diyarbakir, was scheduled to go to court on charges of “membership in a terror organization,” while Muharrem Erbey, the vice chairman of Turkey’s largest human rights organization the Human Rights Association (IHD), had already been imprisoned. Jess Hess, an American freelance journalist, had been deported for reporting critically on human rights abuses against the Kurds.[11]

Renewed Hope

However, TESEV, a Turkish think tank, soon stepped forward with new recommendations.[12] 1.) The references to Turkish identity and Turkishness in many laws and the Turkish constitution do not comply with the multi-ethnic structure of Turkish society. These constitutional references should be changed despite the dictum in Article 4 of the current constitution that they “cannot be changed; changing them cannot even be suggested.” 2.) Laws regarding political parties and the ways deputies are elected need to be altered as they are “incompatible with the principles of democracy and the state of law.” 3.) Article 301 of the Turkish Penal law on “insulting Turkishness” and Article 318 regarding criticism of the military prevent freedom of speech in Turkey and need to be deleted. 4.) The Anti-Terror Law (TMY) protects the security of the state at the expense of freedom and security of individuals. This too should be corrected. 5.) The education law needs to be changed because it presently reflects “the ideological and monist education understanding of the state.” 6.) The law on provincial governance has been the basis of changing the Kurdish names of many locations. In addition, the laws on surnames and the alphabet prevent Kurds from using their language freely.

The AK Party government, of course, supposedly had been considering writing a new, more democratic constitution for Turkey for many years. The success of its referendum on several constitutional amendments held on September 12, 2010 reinvigorated this process.[13] In addition, a Parliamentary Truth Commission was broached to investigate not only the state’s past mistakes but also those of the PKK. Such a process might help understand the past and resolve future problems as has already occurred in South Africa. The current 10 percent electoral threshold that makes it so difficult for pro-Kurdish political parties to win any seats in the Turkish parliament should also be lowered in line with current EU standards. In addition, the government should accept mother-tongue education and usage in courts, and drop its prosecution of Kurdish politicians, lawyers, and civil society leaders (the so-called KCK trials mentioned above) that were continuing into 2012.

One main problem now of course was with whom to negotiate. Although even Turkish observers recognized that “Ocalan and the PKK have legitimacy among a considerable portion of the Kurds despite all the state’s efforts to discredit them,”[14] it would be difficult for the state formally and openly to negotiate with them given how the state had always defined them as mere terrorists. Nevertheless, secretive talks with Ocalan were already occurring.[15] At the same time, other high-ranking PKK leaders also were talking with Turkish intelligence officials from the National Intelligence Organization (MIT) in Oslo.[16] Although these secretive negotiations terminated following the Turkish elections on June 12, 2011 and the renewal of violence, at the time they aroused considerable optimism.

Ocalan’s Proposals. Although Ocalan’s 160-page roadmap for solving the Kurdish problem was confiscated by the Turkish authorities in August 2009 and therefore never even submitted, its contents are basically known based on his earlier testimony at his trail for treason in 1999[17] and subsequent statements over the years.[18] In essence, the imprisoned PKK leader has proposed a democratization and decentralization of the Turkish state into what he has termed at various times a democratic republic, democratic confederalism, democratic nation, or democratic homeland. Such autonomy and decentralization would be based on the guidelines already listed in the European Charter of Local Self-Government adopted in 1985 and presently ratified by 41 states including Turkey—with numerous important conditions, however—and the European Charter of Regional Self-Government, which is still only in draft form. Thus, one might actually argue that these BDP proposals would be bringing Turkey into conformity with EU guidelines by giving the Kurds local self-government. Moreover, one might also argue that the millet system of the former Ottoman Empire offered an historical model for local autonomy or proto-federalism in Turkey.

However, the AK Party was appalled when the pro-Kurdish Democratic Society Congress (DTK)—a new non-governmental organization which is close to the PKK and BDP—met in Diyarbakir in mid-December 2010 and outlined its solution for democratic autonomy that envisaged Kurdish as a second official language, a separate flag, and a Marxist-style organizational model for Kurdish society. The DTK’s draft also broached the vague idea of “self-defense forces” that would be used not only against external forces but against the subjects of the so-called democratic autonomy initiative who were not participating in what was called the “struggle.”[19]

The Turkish Republic created by Kemal Ataturk in 1923 has always been a strongy centralized state. Radical decentralization as proposed by the PKK and BDP goes against this strong mindset and thus would be most problematic. On the other hand, many states such as Britain and France, famous for their centralized unitary structure, have recently rolled back centuries of constitutional forms in favor of what they saw as necessary decentralization. Far from leading to their breakup as states, this decentralization has satisfied local particularisms and checked possible demands for future independence. Thus, far from threatening its national unity, some Turkish decentralization might help preserve it.

However, given that more than half of Turkey’s ethnic Kurdish population does not even live in its historic southeastern Anatolian homeland but is scattered throughout the country especially in such cities as Istanbul as well as the fact that a sizeable number of Turkey’s ethnic Kurds have mostly assimilated into a larger Turkish civic identity; radical decentralization that would be incompatible with modern Turkey’s heritage may not be necessary. What is needed, however, is for the state to begin seriously talking with the most important, genuine representatives of its disaffected Kurdish minority. This, of course, means the PKK.

However, if Turkey is going to resume negotiating with Ocalan and the PKK, the time must surely come for Turkey to cease terming the PKK a terrorist organization and instead challenge it to negotiate peacefully. The terrorism appellation distorts the discussion and not only prevents the two main parties to the problem from fully negotiating with each other, but also impairs the European Union from playing a stronger role in achieving peace.  Moreover, in the case of the United States, its designation of the PKK as terrorist prevents its citizens from even advising the PKK to opt for peace as illustrated by the case of retired U.S. administrative judge Ralph Fertig.[20]

Renewed Problems

Although the AKP won practically 50 percent of the popular vote or 326 seats[21] while the BDP and its allies won a record 36 seats[22] in the parliamentary elections held on June 12, 2011, new problems soon arose and hopes for a renewed and more successful Kurdish Opening quickly foundered. Shortly after the election results had been announced, the newly elected BDP MPs began to boycott parliament in protest over the jailing of five of their elected colleagues,[23] while a sixth (the well-known Hatip Dicle) was stripped of his seat for “terrorism” offenses.[24] The Turkish judiciary declined to free any of the six BDP politicians, as well as the numerous other local KCK members still imprisoned for reputed links to the PKK. Newly elected Prime Minister Erdogan seemingly turned his back on an earlier promise to seek consensus on the drafting of a new constitution that would help solve the Kurdish problem, broke off contact with the BDP, and continued to declare that the Kurdish problem had been solved and only a PKK problem remained. How could the new AKP government begin to solve the Kurdish problem when it refused to deal with its main interlocutor?[25]

Then on July 14, 2011 the DTK, the umbrella pro-Kurdish NGO mentioned above, proclaimed “democratic autonomy,” a declaration that seemed wildly premature and over-blown to many observers and which infuriated Turkish officialdom. Amidst mutual accusations concerning who was initiating the renewed violence and warlike rhetoric,[26] the Turkish military launched on August 17, 2011, several days of cross-border attacks on reputed PKK targets in northern Iraq’s Kandil Mountains. The Turkish government claimed to have killed 100 Kurdish rebels, while the PKK maintained that it had lost only 3 fighters and that in addition 7 local Iraqi Kurdish civilians had also been killed.[27]

Violence continued on June 19, 2012 when the PKK attacked Diglica, a Turkish outpost near the Iraqi frontier, and killed 8 soldiers while wounding another 16.[28] The same outpost had been hit five years earlier, so the latest strike seemed to illustrate the lack of Turkish progress in controlling the violence which many saw as a result of the state’s failure to negotiate with the PKK.

Others argued, however, that even more, the ultimate problem was the inherent ethnic Turkish inability to accept the fact that Turkey should be considered a multi-ethnic state in which the Kurds have similar constitutional rights as co-stakeholders with the Turks. Moreover, during 2011 and 2012, more leading intellectuals have been rounded up for alleged affiliations with the KCK/PKK,[29] whose proposals for democratic autonomy seem to suggest an alternative government. Many of those arrested were also affiliated with the BDP.

Those arrested included a well-known publisher, Ragip Zarakolu, who has been a keyfigure in human rights advocacy in Turkey for decades and has suffered from political repression under successive governments for his efforts.  Zarakolu is presently in ill health and there is the danger that imprisonment will threaten his life.[30]  Also among those arrested was Busra Ersanli, a political scientist whose original work on early Turkish nationalism continues to be consulted by scholars throughout the world. Even more recently, Leyla Zana, the famous female Kurdish leader and BDP member of parliament was once again sentenced to prison on May 24, 2012 for “spreading propaganda” on behalf of the PKK. The charges concerned nine speeches she had made over the years during which she had argued for recognition of the Kurdish identity, called Ocalan a Kurdish leader, and urged the reopening of peace negotiations between Turkey and the PKK. Previously in 1994, Zana had been stripped of her membership in parliament and imprisoned for ten years on similar charges. Such Turkish actions reminded one of what the French used to say about the Bourbons: “They learned nothing and they forgot nothing.” However, for the time being Zana remained free given her current parliamentary immunity.[31]

These arrests point to serious problems.  First, there is the nature of the crimes, which allege no violence.  Mere “association” is enough to be counted as a terrorist.  In addition, the connections are tenuous. As Human Rights Watch has noted, these arrests seem less aimed at addressing terror than on attacking “legal pro-Kurdish political organizations.”[32]  Second, the arrests come at a time when Turkey is planning to develop a new constitution.  The silencing of pro-Kurdish voices as constitutional debates go forward is counter productive for Turkey’s future.  Finally, there is the way suspects are treated. Virtually all are subject to pre-trial detentions, effectively denying them freedom without any proof that they have committed a crime. Although precise figures are unavailable, Human Rights Watch has declared that several thousand are currently on trial and another 605 in pretrial detention on KCK/PKK-related charges.[33]


What is going on in Turkey today appears to be an attempt to stifle Kurdish voices and impose an unilateral Turkish solution to fundamental issues of security and the future of the country. The KCK/PKK arrests in particular look less like a war on terror and more like one on dissent. Furthermore, the Turkish government’s announcement in June 2012 about initiating elective Kurdish language classes[34] and the opposition CHP’s announced willingness to discuss the Kurdish problem with the government,[35] do not impress disaffected Kurds very much. Private Kurdish language classes supposedly were made possible several years ago, and why should the CHP not discuss the Kurdish problem?

More importantly, however, still lacking is the willingness to negotiate genuinely with the PKK. Unilateral Turkish attempts to solve the Kurdish problem with minor unsatisfactory gestures while ignoring or even trying to eliminate the other side which is the PKK will not work. Although you may have Ankara’s and Washington’s policy communities impressed by these supposedly new Turkish gestures, their approval amounts to little more than wishful group think and is not going to solve the Kurdish problem. Thus, after 30 years of failed efforts, we remain: “on a darkling plain, Swept with confused alarms of struggle and flight, Where ignorant armies clash by night.”[36] So, why not consider another poet who advised: “Come, my friends, Tis not too late to seek a newer world.”[37] In other words, until the Turkish government truly accepts the PKK as a legitimate negotiating partner—along the lines of what Britain successfully did with Sinn Fein and the Irish Republican Army (IRA) during the 1990s—it is doubtful whether a political solution to this continuing crisis can be reached.



[1] For recent analyses of the Kurdish problem in Turkey, see Mustafa Cosar Unal, Counterterrorism in Turkey: Policy Choices and Policy Effects toward the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) (London and New York: Routledge, 2012); and Cengiz Gunes, The Kurdish National Movement in Turkey: From Protest to Resistance (London and New York: Routledge, 2012). Also see Marlies Casier and Joost Jongerden, eds., Nationalisms and Politics in Turkey: Political Islam, Kemalism and the Kurdish Issue (London and New York: Routledge, 2011); Michael M. Gunter, The Kurds Ascending: The Evolving Solution to the Kurdish Problem in Iraq and Turkey (2nd ed.; New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2011); Aliza Marcus, Blood and Belief: The PKK and the Kurdish Fight for Independence (New York: New York University Press, 2007); Robert Olson, Blood, Beliefs and Ballots: The Management of Kurdish Nationalism in Turkey, 2007-2009 (Costa Mesa, CA: Mazda Publishers, 2009); and Kerim Yildiz and Susan Breau, The Kurdish Conflict: International Humanitarian Law and Post-Conflict Mechanisms (London and New York: Routledge, 2010), among others.

In addition, see the proceedings of the 7th international conference of the EU Turkey Civic Commission (EUTCC), “The Road to Peace: Facing the Challenge,” November 17-18, 2010, European Parliament, Brussels, Belgium. See http://www.mesop.de, accessed on July 15, 2012. The EUTCC held its 8th annual conference “The Quest for Democracy in Turkey—Universal Rights and Kurdish Self-Determination and the Struggles over the New Constitution,” EU Parliament, Brussels, Belgium on December 7-8, 2011. However, these proceedings have not yet been made available.

[2] For recent scholarly work on the AK Party (AKP), see Umit Cizre, ed., Secular and Islamic Politics in Turkey: The Making of the Justice and Development Party (London: Routledge, 2007); William Hale and Ergun Ozbudun, Islamism, Democracy and Liberalism in Turkey: The Case of the AKP (New York: Routledge, 2010); Banu Eligur, The Mobilization of Political Islam in Turkey (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2010); Arda Can Kumbaracibasi, Turkish Politics and the Rise of the AKP: Dilemmas of Institutionalization and Leadership Strategy (New York: Routledge, 2009); and M. Hakan Yavuz, Secularism and Muslim Democracy in Turkey (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2009). Also see Michael M. Gunter and M. Hakan Yavuz, “Turkish Paradox: Progressive Islamists versus Reactionary Secularists,” Critique: Critical Middle Eastern Studies 16 (Fall 2007), pp. 289-301.

[3] Cited in “Gul: Kurdish Problem is the Most Important Problem of Turkey,” Today’s Zaman, May 11, 2009. Http://www.todayszaman.com. . . , accessed June 4, 2012.

[4] Cited in Today’s Zaman, August 12, 2009. Also see Marlies Casier, Joost Jongerden, and Nic Walker, “Fruitless Attempts? The Kurdish Initiative and Containment of the Kurdish Movement in Turkey,” New Perspectives on Turkey No. 44 (Spring 2011), pp. 103-127.

[5] Author’s contacts with Kurdish sources in Europe and the Middle East. Also see Cengiz Candar, “The Kurdish Question: The Reasons and Fortunes of the ‘Opening,’” Insight Turkey 11 (Fall  2009), pp. 13-19.

[6] Hurriyet, issues of  November 18, 2009; December 2,  2009; December 9, 2009; and December 14, 2009; as cited in Menderes Cinar, “The Militarization of Secular Opposition in Turkey,” Insight Turkey 12 (Spring 2010), p. 119. Also see E. Fuat Keyman, “The CHP and the ‘Democratic Opening’: Reactions to AK Party’s Electoral Hegemony,” Insight Turkey 12 (Spring 2010), pp. 91-108.

[7] Odul Celep, “Turkey’s Radical Right and the Kurdish Issue: The MHP’s Reaction to the ‘Democratic Opening,’” Insight Turkey 12 (Spring 2010), p. 136.

[8] Rusen Cakir, “Kurdish Political Movement and the ‘Democratic Opening,’” Insight Turkey 12 (Spring 2010), p. 185.

[9] Actually, despite the government’s Kurdish Opening, arrests of Kurdish politicians and notables associated with the Koma Civaken Kurdistan (KCK) or Kurdistan Communities Union, an umbrella PKK organization supposedly acting as the urban arm of the PKK, had been occurring since April 14, 2009 in apparent retaliation for the DTP local election victories at the end of March 2009. These DTP gains were largely at the expense of the AK Party.

[10] For further background, see Marlies Casier, Andy Hilton, and Joost Jongerden, “‘Road Maps’ and Roadblocks in Turkey’s Southeast,” Middle East Report Online, http://www.merip.org/mero/mero103009, October 30, 2009. The reference to not even a mouse was made by now banned DTP leader Ahmet Turk. Ibid., p. 6.

[11] “Resolution of the Tenth General Assembly Meeting of the Kurdistan National Congress KNK,” Brussels, Belgium, May 24, 2010.

[12] The following suggestions were taken from Turkish Economic and Social Studies Foundation (TESEV [Delek Kurban and Yilmaz Ensaroglu]), Towards a Solution to the Kurdish Question: Constitutional and Legal Recommendations (Istanbul: TESEV, 2010).

[13] These amendments barred gender discrimination, bolstered civil liberties, made it possible to prosecute the generals who had led the military coup in 1980, and provided for a major overhaul of the judiciary, among other items. For background, see SETA/ Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research, “Turkey’s Constitutional Referendum of 2010 and Insights for the General Elections of 2011,” Report No. 5, February 2011.

[14]  Cakir, “Kurdish Political Movement,” p. 185.

[15]  Lale Kemal, “Turkey’s Paradigm Shift on Kurdish Question and KCK Trial,” Today’s Zaman, October 21, 2010, which refers to “state contacts with the imprisoned leader of the PKK, Abdullah Ocalan, on supposedly broader issues.” Http:///www.todayszaman.com/columnist-224988-turkeys-paradism-shift-on-kurdish-ques…, accessed November 26, 2010; and Hemin Khoshnaw, “Mediator Confirms Turkey Is Negotiating with Ocalan,” Rudaw, August 10, 2011. Http://www.rudaw.net/english/news/turkey/3883.html, accessed August 12, 2011. More recently, see Hemin Khoshnaw, “North Kurdistan (Turkey): Secret Talks Reported between Turkey and Imprisoned PKK Leader,” Rudaw, July 11, 2012. Http://www.mesop.de/2012/07/11/north-kurdistan-turkey-secret-talks. . . , accessed July 11, 2012. This latter article states that “the English are mediating between the PKK and MIT [Turkish National Intelligence Organization],” and also refers to the intermediary roles of Leyla Zana (see below) and Ilhami Isik (Balikci).

[16] For background, see Jake Hess, “The AKP’s ‘New Kurdish Strategy’ is Nothing of the Sort: An Interview with Selahattin Demirtas [co-president of the BDP],” Middle East Research and Information Project, May 2, 2012. Http://merip.org/mero/mero050212?ip_login_no_cache= . . . , accessed May 3, 2012.

[17] See, for example, Abdullah Ocalan, Declaration on the Democratic Solution of the Kurdish Question (London: Mesopotamian Publishers, 1999).

[18] Abdullah Ocalan, Prison Writings: The PKK and the Kurdish Question in the 21st Century, trans. and edited by Klaus Happel (London: Transmedia Publishing Ltd., 2011); and Abdullah Ocalan, Prison Writings III: The Road Map to Negotiations, trans. by Havin Guneser (Cologne, Germany: International Initiative Edition, 2012). Also see  Emre Uslu, “PKK’s Strategy and the European Charter of Local Self-Government,” Today’s Zaman, June 28. 2010, Http://www.todayszaman.com/news-214416-109-pkks-strategy-and-the-european-charter-…, accessed November 26, 2010.

[19] Ayse Karabat, “Kurds Expect Gul’s Diyarbakir Visit to Ease Recent Tension,” Today’s Zaman, December 29, 2010. Http://www.todayszaman.com/news-230981. . . , accessed December 30, 2010.

[20] Adam Liptak, “Court Affirms Ban on Aiding Groups Tied to Terror,” New York Times, June 21, 2010.

[21] Ross Wilson, “Turkish Election: An AKP Victory with Limits,” New Atlanticist: Policy and Analysis Blog, June 13, 2011. Http://www.acus.org/new_atlanticist/turkish-election-akp-victory-limits, accessed September 2, 2011; and “Turkish General Election 2011,” Wikipedia. Http://en.wikipedia.org, accessed September 3, 2011.

[22] “Kurds Make Big Gains in Turkish Election,” Today’s Zaman, June 13, 2011. Http://www.todayszaman.com/news-247215-kurds-make-big-gains . . . , accessed September 3, 2011.

[23] Habib Guler, “Parliament-Boycotting BDP Plans to Take Oath in October,” Today’s Zaman, August 21, 2011. Http://www.todayszaman.com/news-255011-parliament-boycotting-bdp . . ., accessed September 3, 2011.

[24] “Prominent Kurdish Politician Stripped of Parliamentary Seat in Turkey,” Kurd Net, June 23, 2011. Http://www.ekurd.net/mismas/articles/misc2011/6/turkey3267.htm, accessed September 3, 2011.

[25] Robert Tait, “Turkey’s Military Strikes Could Herald Closure for Kurdish Opening,” RFE/RL, August 24, 2011.

Http://www.rferl.org/content/turkish_offensive_could_close_kurdish_opening/24307002.ht . . . , accessed August 29, 2011.

[26] “Turkey Prepares for Ground Assault on Kurdish Rebels in Iraq,” Deutsche Welle, August 24, 2011. Http://www.dw-world.de/dw/article/0,,15342116,00.html, accessed August 29, 2011. The PKK killed nearly 40 Turkish soldiers beginning in July 2011, claiming its attacks were in retaliation for earlier government special forces operations that had killed more than 20 rebels.

[27] Suzan Fraser, “Turkey Says It Killed 100 Kurdish Rebels in Iraq,” Associated Press, August 23, 2011. Http://cnsnews.com/news/article . . . , accessed August 29, 2011.

[28] Emre Uslu, “The Daglica Attack: What Does It Tell Us?” Today’s Zaman, June 20, 2012. Http://www.todayszaman.com/columnist-284160 . . . , accessed July 16, 2012.

[29] The following discussion and citations are taken from Howard Eissenstat, “A War on Dissent in Turkey,” Human Right Now. Http://blog.amnestyusa.org/waronterror. . . , November 4, 2011, accessed November 13, 2011.

[30] Zarakolu was suddenly released from prison in April 2012.

[31] Interestingly, Leyla Zana shortly afterwards declared that she had confidence in Erdogan’s ability to solve the Kurdish problem. “Leyla Zana Stands by Erdogan Remarks in Spite of BDP Reaction,” Today’s Zaman, June 15, 2012. Http://www.todayszaman.com/news-283606. . . , accessed June 18, 2012. On June 30, 2012 she actually met with the Turkish prime minister, an event that caused bitter debate within in the Kurdish community, but to this author seemed a positive step. “Zana Reveals Details of Erdogan Meeting,” Hurriyet Daily News, July 1, 2012. Http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/zana . . . , accessed July 13, 2012.

[32] Human Rights Watch, “Turkey Arrests Expose Flawed Justice System,” November 1, 2011. Http://www.hrw.org/news/2011/11/01/turkey-arrests-expose. . . , accessed November 13, 2011.

[33] Ibid. Meral Danis Bestas, the current vice-chair of the BDP, told me on May 16, 2012 when I spoke with her through a translator in London that more than 6,000 had been detained by the Turkish authorities.

[34] “Kurdish Can Be Taught in Turkey’s Schools, Erdogan Says,” BBC News Europe, June 12, 2012. Http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-18410596, accessed July 13, 2012.

[35] Hermione Gee, “Turkish Party Leaders to Meet on New Kurdish Initiative,” Rudaw, June 6, 2012. Http://www.rudaw.net/english/news/turkey/4811.html, accessed, July 7, 2012.

[36] Matthew Arnold, “Dover Beach.”

[37] Alfred Lord Tennyson, “Ulysses.”