Growing disorder throughout the Middle East has created the possibility for major changes to the status of Kurdish minorities in Iraq, Syria, and Turkey. Turkey’s handling of its own Kurdish minority and its relations with Kurdish groups throughout the region are creating new challenges for US foreign policy and US-Turkish relations. The failure of Ankara’s “Kurdish opening” could be disastrous for Turkey itself, and given Washington’s efforts to work with Ankara to manage the consequences of the Arab Awakening, the United States too would find itself less capable of managing Kurdish aspirations while ensuring the territorial integrity of both Syria and Iraq.
In a new Atlantic Council issue brief, The Kurdish Question and US-Turkish Relations in a Changing Middle East, two alumni of the Council’s 2012-2013 Young Turkey Young America program examine the Turkish government’s recent “Kurdish Opening” and its implications for broader policy in the region and for US-Turkish bilateral relations. Jeffrey Mankoff, a fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, and Müjge Küçükkeleş, a PhD candidate at the Institute for Middle East Studies at Marmara University in Istanbul, propose a series of recommendations for policymakers in both countries that emphasize the importance of bilateral coordination in a rapidly evolving regional context.