• The Discursive Construction of Terrorism: The Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) and other Kurdish political movements in Turkish official discourse, and the approach of the Turkish authorities regarding the Kurdish question

      Bluth, Christoph; Green, Tim; Deewanee, Azad A.M. (University of BradfordFaculty of Social Science and Humanities, Division of Peace Studies and International Development, 2018)
      This research critically challenges the conventional understanding of terrorism, which is influenced by the views of states that label certain non-state actors as terrorists and their action as terrorism. The research demonstrates that there is a need to critically study the characteristics of every armed conflict constructed as terrorism. This is the case of the Turkish-Kurdish conflict, which is constructed in the Turkish official discourse as a phenomenon of terrorism perpetrated by the PKK. In addition, the Turkish narrative of terrorism is not limited to the PKK, but it transcends to the Syrian Kurdish PYD and YPG, and other Kurdish movements and individuals. The findings of this research reveal that the Turkish official narrative of terrorism functions to achieve two main goals. The first goal is to delegitimize the PKK and the other Kurdish movements. The second goal is to legitimize the repressive policies of the Turkish authorities regarding these movements in particular and the Kurds in general. This is interconnected with the denial of the existence of the Kurdish question and framing it in the context of the narrative of terrorism. The research also reveals that the language and policy of peace and war could change according to the interests of states’ elites. This is the case of the approach of the Turkish authorities regarding the Kurdish question, which changed under the influence of the elections and voting agendas of Erdogan and AKP. The research found that during the peace process and before the June 2015 elections, the approach of Turkish authorities was pro-peace negotiations and non-military action. However, as the AKP was not able to secure the majority that it sought in the June elections, the AKP authorities abandoned the peace process and adopted a military campaign and repressive policies. The latter matched the appeal of the AKP leadership to the votes of nationalist Turks in the November 2015 elections and the April 2017 referendum.