Turkey’s Kurdish areas in the East had a fertiity rate of 3.65 in 2013, according to Turkey’s central statistical bureau, about double that of the “European” West and the Anatolian center. As I argued in my 2011 book How Civilizations Die, some time in the next generation or so, half the military-age men in Turkey will come from families whose first language is Kurdish. This week’s Turkish elections marked a turning point in the Kurds’ poitical confidence, returning sufficient votes to their political party, the HUP, to cross the 10% threshold and give it representation in Parliament.
Turkish Fertility by Region
The Kurds don’t need to fight a guerilla war any longer. No longer are they merely an oppressed national minority. They are, rather, a prospective Turkish majority over the long term, and now have the self-confidence to assert themselves politically. If Turkey’s leaders had any brains, they would offer independence to the Kurdish Southeast right now, rather than wait for the Kurds to become the dominant power bloc in the country.
That is a huge blow for Tayyip Erdogan’s Islamism. Whereas the Kemalists had proposed to unify the country on the basis of “Turkishness” whatever that might have been, Erdogan appealed to the Kurds as brothers in Islam. Neither worked. In the long-term, Turkey is not viable in its current borders. In the short-term, it is hobbled by the growing Kurdish presence. This portends a gradual decline in Turkey’s influence in the region.
Categories: Chatham House Rules