The mere fact that an article to be published in a national newspaper would contain the word "Kurdish" was, some 15 years ago, a very possible problem for its author. I remember clearly during the time of the coup d'état back in 1971, when "suspected" people's houses were raided by the military, in search of "dangerous publications." Anything containing the word "Kurd" was considered very noxious, needless to say.
These are now bygone times; however, the question of "how to be a Kurd in Turkey" remains. A lot has been done under the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) government to restore the dignity of "Kurdishness" and the Kurdish language; a stateowned TV channel broadcasts in Kurdish continuously and private channels have followed. More importantly, there is almost an independent Kurdistan in northern Iraq that has a full-fledged state structure and political stability in a country torn by a bloody civil war. The relationship between the northern Iraq Kurdistan Autonomous Region and Turkey remains excellent, and there is virtual economic and social integration between the two entities. If normalization with the Iraqi central government, which remains heavily influenced by Iran, can be achieved (which is also a high probability after Iranian President Hassan Rohani's visit to Ankara), there will be very important financial manna for the entire region, due to oil and gas exports to Europe.
It is a fact that Kurds in Turkey still do not fully enjoy rights extended to minority cultures and entities in the EU: The Turkish state administration is extremely centralized, especially the ongoing system that was inherited from the 1980 coup d'état, and any attempt to decentralize or establish a bit of local devolution is seen and heralded as the dismantling of the Turkish Republic. The terrible demise of the Ottoman Empire has left scars that take a very long time to heal.
However, there is an ongoing process of "solution" that would perhaps put an end to the Kurdish question that has existed since the very inception of the republic.
On the other hand the PKK, is always armed and commands hundreds of trained militants in the mountains of northern Iraq and southeastern Turkey. They still attract an important number of Kurdish youngsters and look like an indomitable armed force to the proponents of hardcore Kurdish nationalism. The PKK does not agree with the authority of Öcalan all the time; recently, it increased its influence through mass demonstrations and provocations, like carrying out identity controls within Turkish territory, very much like one time IRA militants in Northern Ireland.
The spark that has ignited a large fire happened two days ago in Lice, a mediumsize town north of Diyarbakır, where military forces shot two demonstrators. In the aftermath of their funerals, which were the occasion of large mass protestations, some individuals defied the Turkish military by climbing on a flag post within an Air Force base and taking down the Turkish flag. The military had enough presence of mind not to shoot them down, but this has created an incredible outcry among Turks in a deeply divided society, pertaining to the Kurdish issue. The PKK has refused to recognize Öcalan's authority on this matter, and this is the first time they are doing it openly and in public.
Still, apart from the PKK, everyone wants the bloodshed to come to an end in Turkey, not least the opposition, which inadvertently accused the military of being too lenient against the protestor who took the flag down. Every political movement, on the eve of presidential elections, tries to optimize its weight and influence, and possibly the armed branch of the PKK is not immune to the attraction of such negotiations.