Erdoğan stigmatising Kurds erases chance of peace – author

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is stigmatising the nation’s Kurds, erasing prospects of peace for at least another two decades, journalist and author Stephen Starr wrote in the Arab Weekly.

Kurds are again being treated as outcasts in the country following the government’s crackdown in 2015, right after the Kurdish-rooted People’s Democratic Party won enough votes at an election to enter parliament, Starr said.

“For the Kurds, recent develop­ments have been particularly dispiriting. At the height of 2013’s peace negotiations, the Kurds had been weighing the pros and cons of distancing themselves from the separatist movement and the violence it engendered. Now, their trust in Ankara has evaporated.

“Young Kurds are now growing up with a hatred for the state that will colour their and their children’s thoughts and relations with the authorities,” Starr said. “It did not have to be this way.”

The economic costs of the three-decade conflict have been huge. Without it, Turkey as a nation could have enjoyed 14 percent higher GDP per capita, he said, citing a recent report by two Turkish economists that was published by the London School of Economics.

Starr is author of 'Revolt in Syria: Eyewitness to the Uprising' (Oxford University Press, 2012).