BISSS – Assoc. Prof. Dr. Serhat Erkmen & Assoc. Prof. Dr. Nihat Ali Özcan

On April 20, 2017, Assoc. Prof. Dr. Serhat Erkmen, Ahi Evran University, and Assoc. Prof. Dr. Nihat Ali Özcan, TOBB University of Economics and Technology, gave a presentation at the Bilkent Hotel entitled “The PKK/PYD in Syria: Past, Present and Future”.

At the seminar, Dr. Erkmen addressed the birth of Kurdish movements and the similar and different characteristics of these movements with those of the PKK. In particular, he explained the origins of the Kurdish parties in Syria, the emergence of a large number of actors that have formed variable alliances, which are weakly organized, and are ideologically or politically dissimilar as a result of both a struggle for leadership among those actors and the pressures and infiltrations of the regime. He then spoke about the periodical inconsistencies between the PKK’s and the KDP goals and actions and the effects of those differences on the Syrian crisis.

In his speech on the role of the PKK during the Syrian civil war, Dr. Özcan referred to its historical background, political-military-social infrastructure, ideology, and the PKK’s process of change and adaptation in Syria. He pointed out that, organizationally, the PKK, which is not very different from the PYD, has continued to operate in Iran, Syria, Turkey and Iraq, and cooperate with other countries. He also presented statistics on the distribution of the militants according to the countries in which they were born.

Finally, the speakers answered questions about the impact of the developments in Iraq on the PKK/PYD, the role of Iran, the US and Russia, and energy security issues in the region.