Conflict Between Turkey and Armed Kurdish Groups

Source:Council of Foreing Relations Date:20Jul2019

Comprehensive history of Turkey’s struggle against armed seperatist Kurdish entities and the siuation in North East Syria


If the Kurds do succeed in establishing an independent state in Syria amid the chaos gripping the region, it could accelerate secessionist movements in other Kurdish areas of the Middle East. Heightened terrorist activity by Kurdish separatists is also a growing concern for the United States— and its allies—which designated the PKK a foreign terrorist organization in 1997.

U.S.-Turkey relations have faltered since Erdogan renewed calls for the extradition of Fethullah Gülen—a Turkish political and religious leader in self-imposed exile in the United States—whom Erdogan believes to be an organizer of the July 2016 coup. Relations have also suffered because of the United States’ close relationship with Kurdish groups—the United States continues to supply arms to Peshmerga troops fighting the Islamic State in Iraq and has provided arms to the Syrian YPG—and the increasingly close relationship between Russia and Turkey.