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This paper offers a causal analysis of the conflict between the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and Turkey that has been ongoing since 1984. The history of Kurdish politics in Turkey is investigated in order to uncover the conflict’s causes. The conflict’s origins in the Turkish state’s refusal to recognize Kurdish identity and its forced attempts to assimilate Kurds into Turkish society are examined. Other causal factors such as the political turmoil of the decades prior to the conflict’s initiation, the involvement of the student youth in politics, the rise of the PKK, and the interrelationships between the causal factors are also analyzed. Further discussion on the conflict’s influence on sociopolitical and interstate motivations and how the causes of this conflict compare with other conflicts is provided.


Presented at the IPPCS Colloquium on Regional Security on February 28, 2014.



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