The August 10, 2014, presidential election in Turkey marks the first time voters will be able to directly elect their president. Current Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who has held power since 2002, is one of several candidates. Many factors will shape the outcome of the elections: domestic problems such as the economy, infrastructure, and corruption, as well as external issues, such as energy transit and the crisis in Syria.

In this policy brief, Global Europe Program Global Fellow Bülent Aras, along with Yasin Duman, explores one of the most important factors: the “Kurdish Question.” Will the new president continue Erdoğan’s work of moving towards a resolution to the protracted conflict? What would such a resolution entail? The authors note: “The notion of peace rarely has the same meaning to the conflicting parties. It changes according to their needs, expectations and positions, etc. This notion becomes more complex when there are also ethnic, political, ideological, and economic issues involved in the conflict.” Ongoing negotiations came to a standstill in 2013 over internal divisions, but progress could be made following the elections. Ultimately, “if successful, the forerunners of the peace process could write a new narrative for Turkey – one marked by peace for the country and its proud peoples, and with the potential for considerable positive spillover and impact throughout the region.”

The full text of “The Kurdish Peace Process and Presidential Elections in Turkey” can be read below.