When the world gets closer.

We help you see farther.

Sign up to our expressly international daily newsletter.

Already a subscriber? Log in .

You've reached your limit of one free article.

Get unlimited access to Worldcrunch

You can cancel anytime .


Exclusive International news coverage

Ad-free experience NEW

Weekly digital Magazine NEW

9 daily & weekly Newsletters

Access to Worldcrunch archives

Free trial

30-days free access, then $2.90
per month.

Annual Access BEST VALUE

$19.90 per year, save $14.90 compared to monthly billing.save $14.90.

Subscribe to Worldcrunch

In Turkey, Facing The Kurdish Problem Without Saying Kurd

Support for Ocalan at a pro-PKK rally in Athens last year
Support for Ocalan at a pro-PKK rally in Athens last year
Ismet Berkan

ISTANBUL — A one-page document. That's it.

All right, let's include the appendix — that makes a total of two and a half pages. And with a big font too.

I am talking about the Draft Law for Ending Terrorism and Increasing Social Unity, which the government recently presented to Parliament. Five articles in total, in this new bill.

The word “Kurd” appears neither in the law itself, nor its justification in the appendix. It is as if there is a kind of virtual “terrorism,” of which the origins are unknown, and this law is being created to authorize the executive branch to do whatever is necessary to end it. You would think the executive had until now not feel so obliged, and perhaps might not do what is necessary, if not for this law.

But no, this is not the aim of this law. Everybody knows what needs to be done, and the depth and scope are already quite clear. The aim of the law is indeed written in its fourth article.

“Article 4:

1) Duties assigned in scope of this law is immediately carried out by the related state bodies and institutions

2) People who carry out duties assigned in scope of this law do not have legal, governmental and penal responsibility."

Yes, this will be the only functional article of this measure, if it is approved by Parliament and is signed into law. The rest are a grouping of wishful thinking and rhetorical language. Of course, there is also the assigning of the Public Safety Undersecretariat for the coordination of the “solution process.” This is all there is.

But let us circle back a bit, and discuss why this law was needed.

The negotiations have been underway since the fall of 2012 — directly with Abdullah Ocalan, leader of the outlawed Kurdistan Worker's Party (PKK) who is currently a convict at the Imrali Island prison, and indirectly with PKK headquarters in the Qandil Mountains.

The government side does not call what is being done “negotiations.” PKK and Ocalan, on the other hand, want very much to “negotiate” and for the process to be called that.

On and off the table

In a negotiation there are things that can be a part of the exchange, and others that cannot.

For example, you cannot negotiate issues that are considered basic human rights —including education in mother tongue, constitutional right of “equality before law" that includes Kurds, all political ideas up to separatism itself being discussed at political platforms or the wider democratization of the country. These are the things that should be done, whether or not you have an armed organization against you.

However, there are also demands such as “democratic autonomy” which could eventually lead into a federation. There are demands such as “forming self-defense forces” which means a separate military. These can be topics of the political negotiation of course.

There are also topics like a general pardon, re-integrating the PKK guerrillas to get them to come down from the mountains into society, somehow facing the grief caused either by the government or the PKK in the past and the status of Ocalan. The timetable for those should also be negotiated.

This is the broad picture I have but both Ocalan and the PKK started negotiations from somewhere else: the status of the Kurds in the Republic of Turkey and the status of the PKK at these negotiations.

The matter of Kurds having constitutional status (being mentioned in the constitution as a founding people) is not on the agenda anymore, but the status of PKK have always remained on the agenda.

The codename for PKK's status demand was “legal framework for the negotiations.” The government resisted this first, and we see in the current bill that it continues to resist.

But even before considering whether a legal status could ever be granted to the PKK, the word “Kurd” is not even mentioned. Finding a solution to the so-called "Kurdish Problem" is both a long and winding road.

You've reached your limit of free articles.

To read the full story, start your free trial today.

Get unlimited access. Cancel anytime.

Exclusive coverage from the world's top sources, in English for the first time.

Insights from the widest range of perspectives, languages and countries.


Livestream Shopping Is Huge In China — Will It Fly Elsewhere?

Streaming video channels of people shopping has been booming in China, and is beginning to win over customers abroad as a cheap and cheerful way of selling products to millions of consumers glued to the screen.

A A female volunteer promotes spring tea products via on-line live streaming on a pretty mountain surrounded by tea plants.

In Beijing, selling spring tea products via on-line live streaming.

Xinhua / ZUMA
Gwendolyn Ledger

SANTIAGOTikTok, owned by Chinese tech firm ByteDance, has spent more than $500 million to break into online retailing. The app, best known for its short, comical videos, launched TikTok Shop in August, aiming to sell Chinese products in the U.S. and compete with other Chinese firms like Shein and Temu.

Tik Tok Shop will have three sections, including a live or livestream shopping channel, allowing users to buy while watching influencers promote a product.

This choice was strategic: in the past year, live shopping has become a significant trend in online retailing both in the U.S. and Latin America. While still an evolving technology, in principle, it promises good returns and lower costs.

Chilean Carlos O'Rian Herrera, co-founder of Fira Onlive, an online sales consultancy, told América Economía that live shopping has a much higher catchment rate than standard website retailing. If traditional e-commerce has a rate of one or two purchases per 100 visits to your site, live shopping can hike the ratio to 19%.

Live shopping has thrived in China and the recent purchases of shopping platforms in some Latin American countries suggests firms are taking an interest. In the United States, live shopping generated some $20 billion in sales revenues in 2022, according to consultants McKinsey. This constituted 2% of all online sales, but the firm believes the ratio may become 20% by 2026.

Keep reading...Show less

The latest