Turkey's Imperfect Peace

The Fighting Has Stopped -- But the Grievances Remain

A Kurdish woman and her baby attend a gathering to celebrate Newroz in the southeastern Turkish city of Diyarbakir, March 21, 2013. Umit Bektas / Courtesy Reuters

Hakkari, a mountainous town tucked into Turkey’s southeastern corner, has seen some of the worst of three decades of fighting between Turkish troops and rebels from the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK. Few are the families there that do not bear the scars of war, and the Akkis family is no exception.

On a chilly spring morning earlier this year, Ali Akkis, a 43-year-old Kurdish construction worker, sat down beside his wife and his mother in a small apartment on the outskirts of town, a Turkish armed vehicle parked down the street, and began to talk of his brothers. One of them, Yakup, joined the PKK in 1989, earning the codename Kawa, after an ancient folk hero revered by the Kurds. He was 14. A year later, he was shot dead in a firefight with Turkish soldiers in a field near the Iraqi border. “He was killed in the fall, but

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