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Kurdish Conflict in Turkey

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Presentation on theme: "Kurdish Conflict in Turkey"— Presentation transcript:

1 Kurdish Conflict in Turkey
Causes, Actors, and Means of Struggle

2 Geography of conflict

3 Kurds of Turkey Kurds make up about 15% of Turkey’s population
About two-thirds of Turkey’s Kurds live in the country’s southeastern provinces; about one-third live in western Turkey Kurds are distinguished primarily from Turks by the fact that they speak Kurdish, but are physically indistinguishable from ethnic Turks


5 Why is there a conflict? State-building nationalism in Turkey
1923: foundation of Turkish Republic Turkish nationalism & integration of Kurds Repression of those who resisted

6 Response: Kurdish peripheral nationalism
Early uprisings Rise of a new counter-elite and the re-creation of Kurdish identity, 1960s PKK guerrilla activism, , and 2005-present

7 Kurds I can't talk because I don't know my language I'd like to tell you about my self but I don't know my history I have no education because there are no schools I don't have a brother, he was a politician, he got killed No I'm sorry, no friends either, they are all in prison I don't have a village because it's burned down I don't have a house because tanks destroyed it I couldn't stay in my land because mines cover it I have no sister, she was a journalist, she just disappeared No I'm sorry, no relatives either, they fled from the war I don't know any songs, they are banned I can't dance, it's forbidden I can't tell you any stories because no one ever told me any I don't have parents, they were hanged No, I'm sorry, no country either, it has been stolen S.W.Z

8 PKK guerrillas, early 1990s. Boys at a Kurdish New Year celebration in the early 1990s. Photo: Kevin McKiernan.


10 Who is involved? Turkish Armed Forces Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK)
Pro-Kurdish politicians in various political parties Liberal Turkish media and civil society organizations Kurdish diaspora community and other transnational actors Ordinary people

11 Modes of Conflict Guerrilla war Conventional politics
Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) Conventional politics Pro-Kurdish political parties Civil contention and protest Kurdish newspapers, cultural organizations Human rights organizations

12 Effects of the conflict
35,000 dead New attention to status of Kurds in Turkey on domestic and international agenda Some political gains Human rights abuses Pro-Kurdish newspapers such as this one are often closed down for expressing support for PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan.

13 Current status: stalemate & new conflict
1999 capture of PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan; PKK guerrillas lay down arms PKK guerrillas in northern Iraqi mountains Some democratic reforms BUT… Spring : new sets of attacks, and new anti-terror bill? PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan being returned to Turkey for trial, Feb

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