Poli. Sci. (Third World Politics)
Since 1984, and especially the last few months, the domestic problems of a major N.A.T.O, Middle Eastern, and American ally state have come to the forefront of the international news scene. That state is the Republic of Turkey and it's primary troubles stem from the past seven decades of acrimonious policies directed at the indigenous ethnic Kurds. The main problem, now, is the Kurdish popular insurgency on it's hands, in Turkish occupied Northern Kurdistan. The Kurdish question has long been covered up and denied by the state of Turkey, but recent events has forced Turkey to concede that it has a serious Kurdish insurgency on its hands. Turkey's inability to deal with this situation is the result of the past seventy years of cultural, political, and human rights abuses directed against the Kurdish population. In fact, this "separatism" is so out of hand that the Turkish government has incessantly appealed to it's allies and advisories alike to help counter the escalating Kurdish asperation to succeed from the Turkish republic. Turkey's sputtering and deteriorating economy is directly related to the long Kurdish struggle for independence. Turkey has spent over eight billion dollars or twenty percent of her GDP to combat the ever deteriorating predicament in northern Kurdistan, and should spend more in the future(Laber). Because of the violence, the once prosperous tourist business of Turkey, has now lost about $1.5 billion dollars annually since 1990. Many people now talk openly of another possible military coup, there were three major military coups during the last thirty years (Alister) These circumstances in the state of Turkey have also hurt her chances of ever joining the ever wealthy European Union and battering its ailing economic situation. The depth of Turkey's domestic and ethnic dilemma is one of the many that have arisen after the end of the cold war, yet the cold war is a simple answer to a much more complex one. The factors that have arisen to contribute to this civil war were created far before Capitalism versus Communism, East versus West, or U.S versus the Soviet Union. In order to really comprehend the holistic situation in Turkey one must first be familiar with the complete history of the Turks and Kurds.
The Kurds of Turkey constitutes, by far, the largest ethnic minority group in Turkey. The estimate of their population, however, are very dubious because of the past Turkish policy to deny the very existence of any minorities within the borders of her state. In fact, past Turkish rhetoric has been that there is no official Kurdish problem in Turkey, because officially no Kurds exist. We can ascertain that the kurds make up between twenty-five and thirty-three percent of the Turkey's population. This would put the Kurdish population about twelve to twenty million (Morris). Because of past and present forced Turkish assimilation practices, the Kurds live in all parts of the country, but most of the Kurdish population is concentrated in the southeastern part of Turkey. They represent a high percentage of the population in fifteen provinces and take up a total of thirty percent of all of Turkey (Kendal). Economically, the Kurds are the poorest inhabitants of the country. The per capita of a Kurd is one-tenth of a Turk living in Istanbul; well below the poverty line (McDowell). While the rest of Turkey has modernized and adopted some capitalistic practices, the Kurdish areas, by contrast, are underdeveloped and exploited by feudal landlords. The wealth of the area is "drained and channeled to the Turkish metropolis (Kendal)." Much of the region is relatively unchanged since the last seventy years of Turkish rule or has suffered even worse economically. The thirty million Kurds of the Middle East have lived in Kurdistan before record of modern history was kept. The...