Turkey-Kurdistan regional government energy relations and peace process between Turkey and the PKK

Seckin, Ahmet (2019) Turkey-Kurdistan regional government energy relations and peace process between Turkey and the PKK. (PhD thesis), Kingston University, .


Military and foreign affairs have long been under the strong grip of the hard-line secular and nationalist elites known as Kemalists in Turkey. This influence has been challenged by successive Justice and Development Party (JDP) governments since 2002. Many reforms have been initiated on various fronts, from foreign policy to the Kurdish issue. In this study, Turkey’s foreign policy shift under the leadership of the JDP is evaluated to demonstrate how Turkey and the Kurdistan Regional Government’s (KRG) energy relations have had an impact on the peace process (2013-2015) between Ankara and Partiya Karkeren Kurdistane (PKK). The study conducted in-depth interviews with various politicians and bureaucrats who participated in the peace negotiations from both sides. Until the JDP governments came to power, Turkey applied solely security-based measures to tackle the Kurdish issue, including cross-border operations so as to eliminate the PKK camps. However, these measures neither brought a solution to the issue nor prevented PKK attacks. The JDP governments launched initiatives to solve the Kurdish issue peacefully. Meanwhile, Turkey-KRG relations improved significantly, gaining the support of Iraqi Kurds for the peace negotiations and improving relations in terms of security and energy. The findings of this research demonstrate Turkey’s ambition to become an energy-hub country and fulfil its growing energy demands. This ambition prompted Ankara to engage with the KRG to find a solution to the conflict with the PKK. The PKK’s presence in northern Iraq is an obstacle for both parties in their efforts to secure energy flow from the KRG to Turkey. In addition, the Arab Uprising in 2011 has had a major impact on the political landscape of the region, which has dramatically changed since then, especially in that Turkey’s neighbours have become war-torn countries. This, in turn, has impacted the peace process, which has stalled.

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