The Kurdish Question in Turkey in 2009-2011: A Conflict (Not) Ripe for a Resolution?

  • Tomáš Kaválek
  • Tomáš Šmíd
Keywords: AKP, conflict resolution, Justice and Development Party, Kurdistan Workers' Party, PKK, ripeness theory, Turkey


The case study deals with the attempted resolution of the conflict between the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and the Turkish state during the rule of the Justice and Development Party (AKP) in 2009–2011. William Zartman’s theory of ripeness is applied to the case. The study analyses the state of the conflict and subsequently determines if the state of the conflict increases the chances of a negotiated peaceful resolution to the conflict (i.e. whether the conflict is in a state of ripeness). The analysis indicates that the conflict did not fulfil the criteria of ripeness in the examined period. An alternative explanation of particular positive steps and the rhetoric in the conflict is provided primarily by connecting them with an attempt to politically marginalize the PKK.

Author Biographies

Tomáš Kaválek

born in 1990, he is a Ph.D. candidate at the Department of Political Science of the Faculty of Social Studies at the Masaryk University in Brno, Czech Republic. He also works as a Middle East and North Africa Analyst at the Prague-based think-tank Association for International Affairs (AMO). In 2015, he spent six months as a visiting researcher at the Marmara University Research Center for International Relations (MURCIR) in Istanbul, and also as an intern in the conflict-prevention organization International Crisis Group (ICG). In 2016-17, he worked as a visiting fellow at the Erbil-based think-tank Middle East Research Institute (MERI). This author specializes in the Middle East region, especially Kurdish politics.

Tomáš Šmíd

born in 1979, he graduated from Masaryk University in Brno (majoring in Political Science and History). He holds a Ph.D. in Political Science. He is the author or co-author of a number of monographs, studies and articles. In 2009/2010 he was a research intern at MGIMO MID RF in Moscow, and in 2010/2011 he was a Fulbright-Masaryk Fellow at the Central Asia-Caucasus Institute (CACI) of the School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS), the Johns Hopkins University, Washington, D.C. He focuses on armed conflict research, organized crime and security issues in the post-Soviet area, especially in the Caucasus.

Research Articles