Decades of War May Be over in Turkey
Matthews, Owen, Newsweek
Byline: Owen Matthews
After 36 years and more than 40,000 dead, one of the world's bloodiest and longest-running insurgencies--the separatist struggle of Turkey's Kurds--could soon be over. Last week Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan hinted that his government was finally negotiating with Abdullah Acalan, the jailed leader of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK).
Not long ago such talks might have been political suicide. But Erdogan is riding high after a landslide referendum victory last month. Turkish voters overwhelmingly backed a new constitution that will strengthen civilian rule and push the military, traditionally the fiercest opponent of any deal with the Kurds, out of politics.
Kurdish militants finally recognize that they've lost their secession battle both politically and militarily. With the support of U.S. intelligence, Turkish air and commando raids have been hammering PKK strongholds in the mountains of northern Iraq for more than three years. Inside Turkey, too, the organization has lost its iron grip. The Kurds' longstanding taboo against criticizing the PKK was broken last month by Osman Baydemir, the mayor of the Kurdish region's biggest city, who blasted the rebels for a raid on a local stone-cutting factory. …