The Turn to Violence in the Kurdish-Turkish conflict

  • Laura Meijer


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