Umit Bektas/Reuters

Umit Bektas/Reuters

The easy analysis about the clashes between Turkey and Kurdish PKK militants has been that the peace process is finished. But both sides have benefited from peace.

Turkey’s Kurdish peace process is quickly unraveling, with Ankara currently putting more effort into crippling Kurdish militants than stepping up its role in the US-led alliance against the Islamic State.

The risky policy has baffled analysts and raised concerns that the government’s real agenda is to reverse Kurdish gains at home and in the region. Yet neither party to the gravely wounded peace process seem hesitant to call a time of death – and a review of past events suggest it is in both sides’ interest to avoid killing it off altogether.

On Tuesday, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan declared it impossible for Turkey to continue engaging with Kurdish militants. But that harsh message was toned down just hours later when a spokesman of the Justice and Construction Party (AKP), Besir Atalay, said the peace process could resume if “terrorist elements” laid down their weapons and left Turkey. “We cannot say the peace process is de facto over,” Mr. Atalay assured journalists in Ankara.

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