Turkey and the Kurds: a game theoretic approach to strategy and policy
Jawed, Muhammad Ahsan
Strawser, Bradley J.
Naficy, Siamak T.
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This thesis analyzes the conditions under which the Turkish-Kurdish ethnic conflict can be resolved. The Turkish government’s determination to solve the Turkish-Kurdish problem through negotiations, while avoiding violence since the start of the negotiations, has created a situation favorable for addressing this century-old grievance in southeast Turkey. We use case study analyses from archives, newspapers, published reports, and books. This study covers questions of ethnicity and ethnic conflict, provides a historical account of the problem, and suggests the different courses of action available to resolve this conflict by drawing lessons from other resolved and unresolved conflicts in Ireland, Spain, and Colombia. We examine lessons from the successful peace process between the British and the Irish Republican Army, and between Spain and the Basque separatists, which can be applied to the Turkish-Kurdish case, and whether the causes of the delay in the peace process between Colombia and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia can be avoided. We also apply game theoretic modeling tools to determine the best options available to both sides (i.e., the Turkish government and the Kurdistan Workers Party in response to each other). This thesis highlights the circumstances under which the ongoing negotiation process can succeed by granting more social rights and relative autonomy to the Kurds, and by isolating the violent groups from peaceful political parties. This study has been conducted at a time when both sides have shown keen interest in resolving the issue through dialogue, and violence has significantly decreased, if not stopped altogether.
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