This comparative article discusses the local dynamics of interethnic violence and separatist movement in Turkey and Indonesia, and examines the role of the central governments in these two countries in responding to, and resolving, the conflict and separatism.

More specifically, the article focuses on Turkish–Kurdish conflict and Indonesian–Acehnese violence, and explores perspectives of the secessionist groups of Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) and Free Aceh Movement (GAM) with regard to the quest of justice and conciliation.

The heart of this article is to investigate the dynamics of micropolitics of political reconciliation and attempts at conflict resolution and peacebuilding between Ankara and PKK as well as Jakarta and GAM aiming at identifying the root causes underlying Turkey’s failure and Indonesia’s success in addressing their ethnic problems.

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