Sunday, May 1, 2011

How Turks Perceive Kurdish Demands

TESEV researchers Dilek Kurban and Yilmaz Ensarioglu have a new study analyzing Kurdish demands and discussing possible policy solutions in light of a series of roundtable discussions the researchers had with Turks regarding their perception of Kurdish demands.

The report, entitled "How Legitimate Are the Kurds' Demands?: The Kurdish Question Through the Lens of Turkey's West," follows up on the 2008 report TESEV published on possible solutions to the Kurdish question. That report was published right before the government's announced "Kurdish Opening," and had the government paid it more heed, it would have most likely been saved the mess it encountered last year. From this latest report:
Until recently, the Kurdish Question was mostly limited to the relations between Kurds, actually one group of Kurds, and the state, and it had not yet become a social problem. Some recent events particularly in Turkey’s western provinces point to the likelihood of tension, even conflict, between Turks and Kurds. Reaching a solution while keeping social harmony intact will be possible if different segments of society take part in the process of discussion and solution, that is to say, if everyone is ensured to have a chance to communicate their take on a solution.

While the lion’s share of responsibility in this regard falls upon the shoulders of political circles including first of all the government, there is no doubt that the media, intellectuals, universities and especially non-governmental organizations also have important roles to play.

Accordingly, we opened to debate the 2008 TESEV report, which effectively compiled Kurds’ opinions and demands, in western provinces where Kurds do not constitute the majority of the total residents. To that end, we held five roundtable discussions, two in İzmir and one each in Mersin, Trabzon and Ankara, with participants living in those cities and in neighboring cities. We invited individuals from as many different ethnic, cultural and political communities as possible, and aimed to bring participants into a discussion on both Kurds’ demands on the basis of the 2008 report and their own respective approaches, objections, concerns and expectations.

The main goal of preparing and publishing the Report was to identify as accurately as possible how the voices of Kurds, the group with a primary stake in the question, are perceived around Turkey, which of their demands are considered reasonable and which are deemed unacceptable, and to act as an intermediary helping with the presentation of the opinions of non-Kurdish segments of society on the Kurdish Question to the public opinion.
I have yet to review it, but thought I would go ahead and post for interested readers.

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