The desecuritization approach and the politicization of Turkey's Kurdish policy in the period of AK Party rule




Eken, Tarik Ahmet

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The issue, which some of us call the "Kurdish", others call the "Eastern and Southeastern" or the "Terror" problem, is Turkey's bleeding wound. This is because as a result of the PKK terror in Turkey, 43.505 acts of terrorism took place in various regions of Turkey, especially in the Southeastern and Eastern Anatolia Regions, and nearly 11.735 citizens of the Republic of Turkey lost their lives in between the years of 1984-2009. In the fight against the PKK during this time, Turkey spent 300 billion dollars and carried out 25 cross-border operations to destroy the PKK camps in northern Iraq (Yayman, 2011, pp. 54-59). However, it could not finish the PKK terrorism. This is because in the term before the Justice and Development Party government (the AK Party), Turkey perceived the PKK terror as the Kurdish issue. It tried to solve the issue with the security-oriented assimilative and repressive policies towards the Kurds. As a result of these policies, the Kurds weakened the bond of belonging to the Republic of Turkey. Thus, the PKK's social support increased. In the term of AK Party government, Turkey removed the Kurdish issue from its national security agenda and aimed at solving the issue within the framework of the democratic State of law. In this context, It recognized the Kurdish identity and gave the cultural rights to the Kurds. Thus, the AK Party aims at strengthening its political power by getting support the Kurds in elections. Therefore, the purpose of the study is to analyze how Turkey's Kurdish policy has been politicized in the term of AK Party government by following the premises of the theories of securitization/desecuritization (originally proposed by Ole Waever) and regional security complex(originally proposed by Barry Buzan). The study thus benefits from constructivism's process and actor-oriented approach questioning the given objectivity on the subject of facts/structures by focusing on meanings, discourse, and speech act theory. The thesis examines the construction of threat, security policies, and politicization in Turkey's Kurdish issue on the basis of actor identities which shape political preferences.


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Political Science and Geography