A man makes the victory sign while holding a placard reading "peace block" next to a picture of jailed Kurdish leader Abdullah Ocalan during a peace gathering in Istanbul on August 9, 2015. AFP/OZAN KOSE
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With Kurdish militant leader sidelined, Turkey risks deeper violenceSidelined on his island prison, the one man who might have helped quell a surge in violence in Turkey's Kurdish southeast appears increasingly powerless as a 3-year-old peace process teeters on the brink of collapse.Abdullah Ocalan, whose Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) first took up arms against the Turkish state in 1984, had been Ankara's main counterparty in talks launched in 2012 by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to try to end the insurgency.Erdogan, who braved nationalist anger in launching negotiations with the PKK three years ago, has said the peace process has become impossible, but has so far stopped short of formally declaring it over.While Ocalan remains the recognized leader among core PKK fighters, his years of isolation have eroded his influence over the day to day.For the PKK, such is the fury among Kurdish youth at the renewed violence that to back down now would be to lose face.
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