Kurds in Turkey: A bitter war
Since July’s failed coup against Erdogan, the war between the government and the PKK has grown more bitter
Diyarbakir (The Economist).─ A century and a half of Kurdish history stares at Altan Tan from the photographs in his office on the outskirts of Diyarbakir, the heart of Turkey’s restive south-east. His great-grandfather, a merchant who shuttled between Aleppo and Anatolia in the waning years of the Ottoman Empire, inspects the room from one frame. His father, tortured to death in a state prison after an army coup in 1980, looks up from another. Just two years ago Mr Tan, an engineer and member of parliament, had reason to think Turkey’s Kurds were on the verge of a brighter future. He was a key player in the peace negotiations between Turkey’s government and Abdullah Ocalan, the imprisoned leader of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which seemed about to bring the decades-long war between the government and the PKK to a close.
That was before the summer of 2015, when a ceasefire between the PKK and the Turkish army collapsed, unleashing the worst bloodletting in two decades. At least 2,100 people, many of them civilians, have died in the clashes since July 2015. Insurgent strongholds, including swathes of Diyarbakir’s historical centre, have been pummelled by artillery fire and razed to the ground. The south-east’s economy is on its knees. From his office balcony, Mr Tan looks out over rows of vacant apartment blocks and hotels, relics of a building frenzy interrupted by the fighting. “Construction, trade with Syria and Iraq, and tourism have all stopped,” he says. Meanwhile a new front in the conflict has opened across the border in Syria. On October 20th Turkish jets bombed areas claimed by the PKK’s local affiliate, the People’s Protection Units, and claimed to have killed up to 200 fighters.Add a comment Leer más...