Inside Story

Is the West too soft on Turkey’s PKK?

Turkey is warning the West about what it calls threats by the Kurdistan Workers’ Party.

There have been a series of attacks across Turkey over the past few months which have largely been carried out by either the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) or fighters linked to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

The PKK was originally formed to fight for an independent Kurdish state and has been at war with the Turkish government for decades.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan noted that while most Western nations consider the PKK a terrorist organisation, they do not go after the group in the same manner they go after ISIL or al-Qaeda.

The most recent attack was on Saturday in Istanbul. An ISIL suicide bomber targeted a popular shopping street filled with civilians. At least five people were killed, and more than 35 were injured.

And fighters linked to the PKK have carried out several attacks in Turkey that have killed civilians.

Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu called Saturday’s attack inhumane and said Turkey would continue its fight against terrorism with resolution and determination.

On Inside Story, we discuss how Western countries deal with the PKK.


Presenter: Folly Bah Thibault


Kani Torun: MP for the ruling Turkish AK Party and deputy chair of the Foreign Affairs Committee in Parliament

Bilal Sambur: Professor of social sciences at Yildirim Beyazit University

Sinan Ciddi: Director of the Institute for Turkish Studies at Georgetown University in Washington DC