UPCOMING EVENT: War in Syria and Iraq: Effect on the Kurdish Issue in Turkey

Emerging Democracies Institute

cordially invites you to a panel discussion:

War in Syria and Iraq: Effect on the Kurdish Issue in Turkey


Doga Ulas Eralp

Professorial Lecturer, American University

Mehmet Yuksel

HDP, Washington, DC Representative

Mutlu Civiroglu

Kurdish Affairs Analyst

Nora Fisher Onar

Fellow, Transatlantic Academy of the German Marshall Fund

Moderated by

Reuf Bajrovic

President, Emerging Democracies Institute

February 26, 2015

2:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.

Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Choate Room

Eventbrite - War in Syria and Iraq: Effect on the Kurdish Issue in Turkey

Conflict in Syria and Iraq has entered a new phase after the latest escalation of violence by the Assad regime and ISIS. More than 200.000 have been killed in Syria and hundreds die in Iraq every month since the emergence of ISIS last year. Turkey remains a critical actor for the future of the Kurdish political entities in Iraq and Syria as both countries have sizeable Kurdish populations on parts of territory bordering Turkey. The successful defense of the town of Kobane in Northern Syria by joint Kurdish forces against the invading ISIS has once again underlined the importance of Kurds as credible actors in the new Middle East. Turkey on the other hand has acted quiet reluctantly in delivery of military and humanitarian support to the fighting Kurdish forces. Public protests against Ankara’s passivity shook the towns in Eastern Turkey and forced the Davutoglu Government to allow for the Peshmerga to cross over to Kobane. The on-going secret negotiations between the PKK and Ankara are at a critical junction as they are about to go official. Possible peace deal between Ankara and the PKK could be a big step forward in consolidating democracy in Turkey.

The participants will discuss the impact of the wars in Syria and Iraq on the Kurdish peace talks in Turkey along with Turkey’s changing calculations in the Middle East.

Mehmet Yuksel is the current representative of the Peoples’ Democracy Party (HDP) in the USA. For the last 16 years, he has been active in the movement for democracy and human rights in Europe. In Copenhagen, he was a founder and active member of the Kurdish Youth Association. He later lived and worked in Rome, Brussels, and London. His activities have specially focused on the Kurdish issue. He speaks Kurdish, Turkish, Danish, Italian, English and German, and has studies informatics and specialized in peace-building and conflict resolution.

Mutlu Civiroglu is a Washington, DC-based journalist and a Kurdish affairs analyst focusing on Syria and Turkey. He has closely been monitoring the Kurdish People’s Protection Union (YPG)’s fight against ISIS and other Jihadist groups. His publications appear in various media outlets in including the BBC, CNN, Vice and Al-Jazeera. He regularly writes for the Turkish daily Radikal on recent developments in Rojava region in Syria. Civiroglu is frequently interviewed by TV channels in Turkey, Iraqi Kurdistan and others on US, Turkey and Syria.

Nora Fisher Onar is a fellow at the Transatlantic Academy in Washington and Research Associate of the Centre for International Studies at the University of Oxford. She taught International Relations at Bahçeşehir University in Istanbul and has published numerous articles and book chapters in academic and policy fora. As an inaugural Ronald D. Asmus Policy Entrepreneurs Fellow at the German Marshall Fund of the United States, Fisher Onar wrote “From Model to Bystander and How to Bounce Back: Turkey, the Middle East, and the Transatlantic Alliance.” She received her doctorate in International Relations from the University of Oxford and holds masters and undergraduate degrees from Johns Hopkins SAIS and Georgetown University.

Ulas Doga Eralp works as a professorial lecturer at the International Peace and Conflict Resolution Program at American University’s School of International Service (SIS). He received his Ph.D. from the School for Conflict Analysis and Resolution at George Mason University. Eralp has published widely on issues around democratization, international human rights, and conflict transformation in Western Balkans, Middle East, and Turkey. Eralp’s new edited volume “ Turkey as a Mediator: Stories of Success and Failure” will be published in spring of 2015 by Lexington. Eralp also consulted with organizations like the World Bank, National Endowment for Democracy among others as an evaluation specialist on democracy and dialogue programs. Eralp has a weekly column at Turkish Daily Taraf where he writes on the recent political developments in Turkey and in the US.