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From National Liberation War to Self-defense: A Historical Glance at Öcalan’s Perspective on Violence

H. Bahadır Türk


The leader of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (Partiya Karkerên Kurdistan or PKK), Abdullah Öcalan, has played a crucial role in shaping the road map of the PKK since the founding of the organization in 1978. His ideas have substantially influenced the structure of the PKK. This article analyzes whether Abdullah Öcalan’s perspective on violence changed over the period between the founding of the PKK and the present. Using an interpretive–textual method, the study examines Öcalan’s approach to the question of violence before and after his imprisonment on the island of İmralı in 1999. The study attempts to make sense of how his perspective on violence was constructed and developed during these two periods. To achieve this goal, the study demonstrates the differences and similarities in Öcalan’s approach to the concept of violence during these two periods. Accordingly, it is argued that Öcalan’s perspective on violence is marked by continuity rather than a rupture.

Keywords: PKK, Abdullah Öcalan, violence, terrorism, self-defense

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pp. 464-482