Kurdish Fighters in Kobani and the History of Turkey and the PKK

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This week, I’ve decided to focus on the history of the conflict between Turkey and the PKK, and how that history is now affected Turkey’s involvement in the anti-ISIS coalition. Right now, Kurdish and ISIS forces are fighting for control of the Syrian city of Kobani, located close to the Syrian-Turkish border. Above is a photo of the town of Kobani immediately after an airstrike.  My first Diigo post is an article by Al Jazeera detailing the history of Turkey’s conflict with the PKK from 1920 to 2013. I chose this article because while I felt like I had learned a lot about the conflict up until the Gulf War, I still needed some background information to fully understand how Turkish and Kurdish relations currently affect the conflict with ISIS. I did not know that the conflict was still active in 2013, with a ceasefire only being called by Ocalan (the PKK’s founder) on March 21 of that year. My second Diigo post was a news report in International Business Times. It covers quite a bit of information, as a lot has happened during the past week in regards the conflict with ISIS. The US has declared support for the PKK and other Kurdish forces, because they are fighting against ISIS. Meanwhile, Turkey’s President Ergodan, has condemned the US for supporting the PKK, as the US and Turkey are long-standing allies, and the PKK and Turkey have been embroiled in a decades-long conflict. Kurdish fighters are currently battling ISIS forces in the Syrian town of Kobani, and Turkey is opposing giving the fighters any weapons, and equating them with the PKK. Both sources appear to be neutral, but they both tend to speak of the Kurdish people as a united state, rather than just a network of people, so the authors might have a more political realist than cosmopolitan perspective. Turkey’s president Ergodan is extremely concerned with maintaining a strong Turkish presence in southern Turkey, and not letting the current war with ISIS allow Kurdish groups in the area gain autonomy. His goal of protecting interests by maintaining a strong state and his unilateral approach leads me to think he is a political realist.

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