When the Kurdish question is compared with the cases in Ireland and Spain, it is basically focused on the similarities and differences between the outlawed PKK, Irish Republican Army (IRA) and ETA. However, it is somehow ruled out that Turkey has been passing through a totally different historical phase, which does not have anything in common with the other two countries.
Ireland and Spain are the Western European countries with established democratic conventions. Turkey, on the other hand, is still endeavoring to overcome the distorted and ill-functioning democracy experience introduced with Kemalism, along with other problems caused by its geographical position, as it is located near the Middle East. This situation renders the resolution of the Kurdish question even more complicated. The turbulent structure of the Middle East is preventing this problem to be a definable one. In line with the changes in the regional conjuncture, the Kurdish question is always evolving into a different kind of problem. It is to such an extent that one might even aggrandize a future problem while trying to resolve current issues. Consequently, the "democratic negotiation approach," which is a self-evident truth in other locations, might mean a risky way, which could yield ambiguous outcomes in Turkey.
But differences are not limited to that. There is a very basic distinction between Turkey, Ireland and Spain. In Turkey, the political movement that aspires to resolve the problem is from an Islamic societal segment whose identity has been excluded for 80 years. The identity and character of the actor willing to resolve the problem have created an additional tangle of problems in Turkey. If the Republican People's Party (CHP), which has a secularist background and grassroots, had attempted to resolve the same problem, it would have been much easier since the institutional structure of the regime and administrating social classes would legitimize and approve this policy. However, a reconciliation process in which the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) is an active agent poses a danger to the institutional structure of the regime and administering social classes of this very regime. There are concerns over the possibility that the resolution of the issue might increase the AK Party's chance to maintain its power and settle into the state even more. For this reason, a considerable part of the secular stratum is now inwardly pleased with the end of the cease-fire in terms of their political concerns.
While fighting the separatist and autonomy-seeking organizations confronting them, Ireland and Spain neither had concerns over regime change nor worried about a cultural dissolution. However, these two factors are readily present in Turkey. For Ireland and Spain, the resolution of the conflicts lay behind creating a more democratic system and a more integrative society, and people had no objections to that. However, in Turkey, some people object to the democratization that would follow the resolution while others think that an integrative society is in contrast with the interests of their own identity-focused communities.
In Ireland and Spain, the issues have only one axis: A group that gathers around identity related concerns is in search of their rights, freedom and political means. However, three axes intersect in Turkey. The first one consists of the fact that the state is torn between struggle and reforms in the face of the outlawed PKK's target of dominating a region within the scope of founding an independent state. The second axis suggests that peace would inevitably express a change in regime as a result of the fact that the strategy of the resolution is maintained by the AK Party, which comes from a peripheral social position. The resolution of the Kurdish question would also put an end to Kemalism. The third one comprises the fact that peace would subvert the hierarchy between societal groups due to the AK Party's Islamic character. If the AK Party introduces peace, the privileged position the secular stratum has kept for 80 years will also end.
In Ireland and Spain, the matter consists of resolving the problem. But in Turkey, it is of vital importance who would resolve the problem. Apparently, for the secular/left-wing stratum, the AK Party's active agency in resolving the problem matters much more than the resolution itself. Therefore, there is a really strong war lobby backing the PKK in Turkey at the moment, and this will be the case for a long time.