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An Uncertain Road to Peace: Domestic and Regional Challenges in the Turkish-Kurdish Process


After almost three decades of armed struggle, negotiations between the Turkish government and the jailed leader of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), Abdullah Öcalan, offer a glimmer of hope to end Turkey's most deadly conflict, which has cost up to 40,000 lives until now. Turkey's direct and indirect negotiations with the Kurdish leader have a long history, dating back to the early nineties. New domestic and regional conditions, however, suggest that the current peace effort has unprecedented chances of success. At the same time, a Turkish-Kurdish peace depends not only on an agreement between the government and the PKK, but also on Turkey's rise as a mature democracy in its turbulent region. The European Union, which could play a decisive anchoring role in the country's democratization, has taken a step back, missing its chance of being a facilitator in this long standing conflict. Will a Turkish-Kurdish peace overcome its domestic and regional challenges? Will 2013 be remembered as the turning-point on the road to long-lasting peace in Turkey?