16 October 2014   Leave a comment

The rise of the Islamic State has highlighted the tense relationship between Turkey and its Kurdish citizens.  For a long time, there were some Kurdish groups that waged a low-level war against Turkey in pursuit of their dreams of an independent Kurdish state.  Over time, there have been limited steps by both sides to forge a less confrontational relationship.  Nonetheless, balancing the demands of Kurdish independence or greater autonomy against the idea of Turkish territoriality and sovereignty has been very difficult.  One would think that having a common enemy–the Islamic State–would make both sides move closer together.  That result may eventually come about, but the path to reconciliation has been fraught with difficulties.

There have been many horrific news reports of the behavior of members of the Islamic State that largely corroborate the mentality of a group that videotapes gruesome beheadings.  Many of the reports, however, refer to the IS behavior toward non-Muslim women, but many of those reports are unverifiable.  Speigel was able to talk with a young Yazidi woman who was held captive for nine days before escaping from the IS.  Unfortunately, her story is consistent with all the worst fears about the IS.

The soccer match between Albania and Serbia had to be called off because of violence that broke out between the two teams and their fans.  The relationship between the two countries have been quite bad since Kosovo declared its independence six years ago.  The Serbs regard Kosovo as a sacred territory to Serbian nationalism, yet the population of Kosovo is, like Albania, overwhelmingly Muslim.   The political hostility between the two states infects virtually every part of the Balkans and is a major factor in Russia-US relations as well.

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Posted October 16, 2014 by vferraro1971 in World Politics

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