southeastern Turkey

southeastern Turkey - southeastern Turkey. In about 1978,...

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southeastern Turkey. In about 1978, influenced by Mao Zedong’s revolutionary theory, Ocalan decided to leave the cities and establish the PKK in rural areas. He fled Turkey before the 1980 military coup and lived in exile, mostly in Damascus and in the Lebanese plains under Syrian control, where he set up his PKK headquarters and training camps. In 1983 he recruited and trained at least 100 field commandos in the Bekaa Valley in Lebanon, where the PKK maintains its Masoum Korkmaz guerrilla training base and headquarters. The PKK’s army, the People’s Liberation Army of Kurdistan (ARGK), began operating in August 1984. The PKK created the National Liberation Front of Kurdistan (ERNK) in 1985 to bolster its recruitment, intelligence, and propaganda activities. The PKK’s early radical agenda, including its antireligious rhetoric and violence, alienated the PKK from much of the Kurdish peasantry. Citing various sources, Kurdish specialist Martin van Bruinessen reports that although the PKK had won little popular sympathy by the early 1990s with its brutally violent actions, “It gradually came to enjoy the grudging admiration of many Kurds, both for the prowess and recklessness of its guerrilla fighters and for the courage with which its arrested partisans stood up in court and in prison. ... By the end of 1990, it enjoyed unprecedented popularity in eastern Turkey, although few seemed to actively support it.” Ocalan is reportedly regarded by many Kurds as a heroic freedom fighter. However, the “silent majority” of Kurds living in Turkey reportedly oppose the PKK and revile Ocalan. The charismatic Ocalan was unquestioningly accepted by devoted PKK members, and the PKK reportedly lacked dissenting factions, at least until the early 1990s. The PKK’s Leninist structure constrained any internal debate. However, in March 1991 Ocalan admitted at a press conference that he was facing a challenge from a faction within the PKK that wanted him to work for autonomy within Turkey instead of a separate Kurdish state and recognition of the PKK as a political force. When Ocalan, who is said to speak very little Kurdish, agreed to this position and announced a cease-fire in March 1993, the decision was not unanimous, and there was dissension within the PKK leadership over it.
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The PKK’s recruitment efforts mainly have targeted the poorer classes of peasants and workers, the latter group living in the standard apartment ghettos on the fringes of Turkey’s industrial cities. According to a Turkish survey in the southeast cited by Barkey and Fuller, of the 35 percent of those surveyed who responded to a question on how well they knew members of the PKK, 42 percent 86 claimed to have a family member in the PKK. The Turkish government has maintained that the PKK recruits its guerrillas forcibly and then subjects them to “brainwashing” sessions at training camps in Lebanon. According to the official
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This note was uploaded on 12/04/2011 for the course ANTHRO 2000 taught by Professor Monicaoyola during the Fall '10 term at Broward College.

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southeastern Turkey - southeastern Turkey. In about 1978,...

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