Kurds Add to Erdogan Woes With Threats of Violence After Vote
Turkey’s local elections next weekend may hand control to Kurdish parties across the southeast, upping pressure on the government to meet their demands for local autonomy or risk a return to violence.
Mayors from the main Kurdish group, the Peace and Democracy Party, already run most of the region’s municipalities and will probably add the holdout city of Mardin when the country votes on March 30, according to interviews with officials from all major parties. Kurds are set to benefit from changes to boundaries incorporating the rural areas where their support is strongest, the Kurdish party said.
A Kurdish landslide in the region would add to the headaches facing Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who’s ensnared in a graft scandal. Erdogan is the first premier to engage Kurdish militants in peace talks, seeking to end a three-decade conflict that has killed tens of thousands, mostly Kurds, and cost the country hundreds of billions of dollars. The militants are threatening to take up arms again if Erdogan doesn’t take measures to advance their agenda soon after election day.