Report: Existential concerns lead PKK to radicalize youth

MERVE AYDOĞAN @mgulaydogan
Published 27.04.2016 22:57

The Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research (SETA) in Ankara recently published a report, "New Dynamics of PKK Terror: Radicalization and Urban Attacks," that says the PKK moving its attacks to cities and mobilizing youth through radicalization is caused by existential concerns.

The report, which was compiled by SETA Director of Security Studies Murat Yeşiltaş, and prominent security analyst Necdet Özçelik, aims to provide a comprehensive analysis of the changing characteristics of PKK tactics by analyzing 440 attacks from April 27, 2015 to Jan. 31, 2016 in Turkey. Commenting on radicalization, Yeşiltaş said: "Contrary to the examples of radicalization in the West, we are able to see an institutionalized radicalization in the PKK example." On a panel on Wednesday at SETA, Özçelik provided details on the PKK's changing dynamics in urban attacks.

The report analyzed the dynamics behind the PKK's use of radicalization, saying the terrorist organization aims to achieve four major goals in Turkey through a new urban strategy: "The first aims are to establish a new order and display pacification of the Turkish security forces through extending its attacks by altering the hit-and-run raid strategy to controlling and seizing areas.

The second is to cause ethnic radicalization by establishing paramilitary forces in areas where votes are homogeneously distributed." The third goal is for the PKK to "display itself as the peoples' resistance by establishing socialization while obscuring an affiliation with the people." Finally, "the PKK aims to normalize itself in the eyes of the people by establishing a state-like structure by digging trenches, [performing] ID checks and holding its own court." It also says that PKK attacks moving from rural areas to cities reveal a new awareness of the government and security forces.

Yeşiltaş further said that there are three methods and mechanisms to PKK radicalization: "The first is an associational mechanism, the second is a cognitive mechanism and the third is the change in environmental conditions." He stressed that "by claiming sovereignty, the PKK aims to become a security agent." Özçelik added that the "PKK is a terrorist organization by law, but according to its method of combat it uses guerrilla tactics."

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