The mobilisation of the tribal Kurds under the PKK : how the Kurds of Turkey were revitalised
This study attempts to analyse the internal dynamics of the most recent
Kurdish resistance movement in Turkey. The main focus of analysis is the PKK's
organisational existence - its ideational and material structure. As the leading entity of
the Kurdish movement, the research focuses on the PKK's recent growth - asking how
it became capable of revitalising the "buried" body of Kurdishness in Anatolia that has
been incorporated (in both demographic and geographical terms) into the Turkicized
Within the framework of the case study method, much of the research is
devoted to answering an indirect question: why wasn't it the other Kurdish "national"
configurations that came to prominence? To this end, the study tries to appraise the
extent of national and non-national ingredients in the make-up of the movement - the
leadership, the grassroots and the masses that give their support.
The conclusion reached is that the successes and failures of the PKK in
bringing about Kurdish opposition in Turkey are fundamentally related to its
philosophy of recruitment and organisational diligence, rather than to its scrupulous
use of arms or other contextual factors. The form, content and intensity of educational
activities give the organisation its strength. This "education war" - concomitant with
the contextual tension of Turkey's Kurdish question - produced a "sparking" Apo
charisma. In its originating period, the "pure form" of this charisma contributed much
to the PKK's ability to mobilise the Kurds. The later "routinised" form of the very
charisma has become one of principal determinants in what is known as the
movement's "shrinkage process".
It was also found that the substance of the party education - mainly involving
Öcalan's talks - embodies a philosophy of human nature (rather than a strictly
nationalistic content) in search of the re-appropriation of "human naturalness". In the
party leadership's view, this human naturalness has to be extricated from the plague of
civilisation's property mechanisms, which apparently have degenerated the humane
faculties of man's spiritual structure. However, it ought not to be understood that the
intensively worded philosophy depicts the extent of such extrication in the
personalities of the cadre body of the Organisation. And the field research indicates
that this is the Party's greatest internal contradiction.