Ankara's recently acknowledged talks with jailed PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan have spawned more questions than answers. Waves of speculation abound over the terms of the talks, the motives behind them, and their possibility for success.
A few weeks ago, a U.S. diplomat disclosed that the U.S. had secretly offered Turkey a bin Laden-style assassination of the top leadership of a Kurdish rebel group. But the rebels aren't al-Qaeda -- and assassination isn't the answer to the Kurdish question.
Regardless of the outcome to Syria's civil war, the United States will have no friends in Syria except the Kurds. U.S.-Kurdish rapprochement would serve as a counter-weight to political demagogy and Islamist extremism.
Kurds understand that democracy and individual rights are compatible with Islamic values. The U.S. must not take its friends for granted and should take steps to consolidate friendly relations with the Kurds. Iraqi Kurds are proven, reliable partners.
Syrian Kurdish assertiveness raises the question whether Turkey can sustain its opposition to the aspirations of the Kurds on its borders, or whether it would be better served by embracing a proactive Kurdish policy.
For Turkey, leading on Syria and getting it right is critical. But Syria is a complicated challenge because of the interaction between domestic, regional, and international factors, which present Ankara with a nightmarish set of moving parts.
In the wake of the Arab Spring and Prime Minister Erdogan's championing of political reforms throughout the Arab world, it has now become more urgent than ever before to find an equitable solution to the Turkish-Kurdish conflict.