The Turn to Violence in the Kurdish-Turkish conflict

Laura Meijer


This paper analyses why the protracted conflict between the PKK
and the Turkish state started in 1984. It argues that the traditional
focus on ethnic grievances is insufficient to explain the turn to violence
in the Kurdish-Turkish conflict. Using Desrosiers’ framing
theory for identity-based conflicts, this paper shows how the 1980
Turkish military coup provided the circumstances for violence to
erupt. The Turkish military oppression diminished the influence of
more moderate Kurdish voices, which led to the acceptance of the
PKK’s message that only violent measures could resolve Kurdish
oppression. This enabled the mobilization of Kurds in Turkey and
the diaspora and led to the eruption of violence.

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