The deepening of the Kurdish question in Turkey

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This article is featured in the ORIENT III 2017

The Kurdish question in Turkey has taken an ominous turn in the last two years. The collapse of the peace negotiations in the summer of 2015 led to an intensified return of violence and destruction. The failed coup attempt of 15th July 2016 provided the pretext for a campaign of repression against Kurdish political activism. A highly controversial referendum in April 2017 endorsed a presidential system with little legislative and judicial oversight of executive power, further hampering Kurdish political representation and access. This essay provides an overview of these developments and argues that democratic struggles and the Kurdish question in Turkey are more intertwined than ever. A broad cross-ethnic coalition represents the only viable way out of the current predicament.

Güneş Murat Tezcür (Ph.D., University of Michigan, 2005) is the Jalal Talabani Chair of Kurdish Political Studies and the director of the Kurdish Political Studies Program, the first and only academic unit dedicated to the study of Kurdish issues in North America, at the University of Central Florida. His research on political violence, politics of identity, and democratisation has appeared in leading social science journals.

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