Tur­key has a Kur­dish prob­lem.

The Washington Post Sunday - - OUTLOOK -

It is hard to read any­thing about Tur­key with­out ref­er­ence to its “Kur­dish prob­lem.” The Kurds are a mi­nor­ity that does not share the ethno-na­tion­al­ist myths of the dom­i­nant Turk­ish eth­nic group. The decades-long war be­tween the gov­ern­ment and the Kur­dis­tan Work­ers’ Party (PKK) only re­in­forces the idea that there is a prob­lem with the Kurds.

But while 20 per­cent of the coun­try’s pop­u­la­tion is eth­ni­cally Kur­dish, the over­whelm­ing ma­jor­ity of them con­sider them­selves Turks. Ankara’s prob­lem is with the PKK and an off­shoot of that group called the Kur­dis­tan Free­dom Falcons (TAK). The PKK was orig­i­nally a sep­a­ratist Marx­ist group with affini­ties for the Soviet Union; it be­gan wag­ing war against Tur­key in 1984. In those 33 years, some­where be­tween 30,000 and 40,000 peo­ple have been killed. The TAK, too, has re­cently been re­spon­si­ble for a va­ri­ety of at­tacks in Ankara and Is­tan­bul. In re­sponse, the Turk­ish gov­ern­ment has used the full force of the mil­i­tary and po­lice to crush the low-level in­sur­gency in the coun­try’s south­east. The hor­ri­fy­ing vi­o­lence

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