Troubles in Turkey’s backyard

Turkey’s rugged Kurdish region in the country’s southeast has exploded in violence once again, posing a new challenge for Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. More than 80 soldiers have been killed this year in attacks orchestrated by the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), a Kurdish separatist group, already exceeding the total for all of 2009. ...

ADEM ALTAN/AFP/Getty Images
ADEM ALTAN/AFP/Getty Images
ADEM ALTAN/AFP/Getty Images

Turkey's rugged Kurdish region in the country's southeast has exploded in violence once again, posing a new challenge for Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. More than 80 soldiers have been killed this year in attacks orchestrated by the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), a Kurdish separatist group, already exceeding the total for all of 2009. Turkey responded this week by bombing PKK strongholds in northern Iraq.

This renewal of violence should serve as a reminder to Erdogan that peace begins at home -- not in Gaza or Iran. The prime minister won regional prestige for undercutting U.S. diplomacy by striking a nuclear fuel swap deal with Iran in May and for lambasting Israel in June over its botched raid on a Gaza-bound flotilla, which resulted in the deaths of nine Turks. Translating this newly aggressive foreign policy into domestic support, however, has proved trickier. 

Read more.

Turkey’s rugged Kurdish region in the country’s southeast has exploded in violence once again, posing a new challenge for Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. More than 80 soldiers have been killed this year in attacks orchestrated by the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), a Kurdish separatist group, already exceeding the total for all of 2009. Turkey responded this week by bombing PKK strongholds in northern Iraq.

This renewal of violence should serve as a reminder to Erdogan that peace begins at home — not in Gaza or Iran. The prime minister won regional prestige for undercutting U.S. diplomacy by striking a nuclear fuel swap deal with Iran in May and for lambasting Israel in June over its botched raid on a Gaza-bound flotilla, which resulted in the deaths of nine Turks. Translating this newly aggressive foreign policy into domestic support, however, has proved trickier. 

Read more.

Aliza Marcus is the author of Blood and Belief: The PKK and the Kurdish Fight for Independence.

More from Foreign Policy

A Panzerhaubitze 2000 tank howitzer fires during a mission in Ukraine’s Donetsk region.
A Panzerhaubitze 2000 tank howitzer fires during a mission in Ukraine’s Donetsk region.

Lessons for the Next War

Twelve experts weigh in on how to prevent, deter, and—if necessary—fight the next conflict.

An illustration showing a torn Russian flag and Russian President Vladimir Putin.
An illustration showing a torn Russian flag and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

It’s High Time to Prepare for Russia’s Collapse

Not planning for the possibility of disintegration betrays a dangerous lack of imagination.

An unexploded tail section of a cluster bomb is seen in Ukraine.
An unexploded tail section of a cluster bomb is seen in Ukraine.

Turkey Is Sending Cold War-Era Cluster Bombs to Ukraine

The artillery-fired cluster munitions could be lethal to Russian troops—and Ukrainian civilians.

A joint session of Congress meets to count the Electoral College vote from the 2008 presidential election the House Chamber in the U.S. Capitol  January 8, 2009 in Washington.
A joint session of Congress meets to count the Electoral College vote from the 2008 presidential election the House Chamber in the U.S. Capitol January 8, 2009 in Washington.

Congrats, You’re a Member of Congress. Now Listen Up.

Some brief foreign-policy advice for the newest members of the U.S. legislature.