The AKP and the Kurdish Issue: What Went Wrong?
By Rabia Karakaya Polat
SETA Policy Brief, No. 14, May 2008
In the parliamentary elections of July 22, 2007, AKP (Justice and Development Party) won 47% of the votes, obtaining a very strong mandate to take issue with Turkey’s outstanding problems. In the predominantly Kurdish east and southeast region, the AKP doubled its vote from 26% to 53%. The AKP seemed to have persuaded the Kurds thanks to the party’s earlier moves to solve the Kurdish problem by granting more rights and freedoms as well as jobs and economic prosperity. Having started the negotiation process with the EU and obtaining such a strong mandate from the Kurdish voters, why did the AKP turn its back to the Kurdish issue? This can be explained with reference to three groups of factors working at the domestic, the EU and international levels.