Regional turmoil, the rise of Islamic State, and Turkey's multiple Kurdish dilemmas

Bill Park*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


This article traces the interrelationship of the roles played by Turkey and by various Kurdish non-state actors such as the Kurdistan Regional Government, the Kurdistan Workers Party, and the Democratic Union Party, in the current turmoil in Syria and Iraq. It considers their varying perspectives on Islamic State and other jihadi groups, the tensions between the region's Kurdish non-state actors, and the differences between them in their relationships with Turkey. The background to these differences is explored, as is their impact on relationships with other actors, most notably the US. The article concludes by noting that Turkey as a regionally powerful and coherent actor, and the Kurds as a distinct ethnic group with aspirations to self-determination, will continue to be powerful elements in the region's politics.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)450-467
Number of pages18
JournalInternational Journal
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2016


  • Islamic state
  • Kurdistan regional government
  • Kurds
  • Middle east
  • PKK
  • PYD
  • Turkey


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