Impact Of Pkk Terrorism On Turkish Politics And Economy



Terrorism have been started in Turkey at 1980s.In the beginning PKK terrorism was not a big threat. So Turkish government have not paid attention to this organization and step by step this terrorist group increased its sphere of influence. PKK terrorism have affected Turkey economically and politically. I will examine how would be Turkish economy and policy what if separatist terrorism have not been founded? And the effects of PKK terrorism on people’s behaviour.

Keywords: PKK, terrorism, Turkey

PKK Terrorism on Economical Concept

Economic welfare is sine quo non for a country. Terrorist attacks reduce the human and physical capital stock; introduce higher level of uncertainty; increase military expenditures and shift resources from productive sector to defence industry; and adversely affect specific industries such as airline and tourism (Abadie and Gardeazabal,208).Any kind of terrorist activity have these consequences in order to react against terrorism.

There is a huge difference between per capita incomes in Turkey regionally. Provinces in the Marmara ,Aegean and Mediterranean Region has a high income, central Anatolia region has middle income but on the other hand when we go to the eastern part of the Turkey the income rate decreases sharply. The separist terrorism lie behind the background of this differentiation in per capita income.

It is reported that between 1984 and 2008, 32,000 militants, about 6,500 security force members and about 5,700 civilians were killed in PKK terrorist activities. Also there have been made military spending to destroy this terrorist separation and the infrastructure of the eastern part of the Anatolia was ruined and also the historical background of the part was destroyed and lots of Kurd citizen was had got to migrate to the West part of the country. This demolition prevent private entrepreneur to invest in to the east part of the country. When we take into account the casualties and other things terrorism has prevented the improvement of Turkey.

Main argument of terrorism is to create harassment in human beings, thus they aim to attain their goal. Terrorism and economic development are bidirectional. While terrorism may have severe human and economic consequences due to destruction of physical capital, lost lives, higher levels of uncertainty which may crowd-out foreign direct investment (FDI) and an increased share of resources moving away from productive industries, macroeconomic factors may also affect terrorism.(The Economic Cost of  Separate Terrorism in Turkey, Fırat Bilgel,  Burhan Can Karahasan). Poor economic conditions may foster frustration and despair which may in turn increase the likelihood of violence (Krieger and Meierrieks, 2011; Freytag et al., 2011). Recent evidence further indicates that economic downturns may also lead to an increasing intensity in terrorist activity or terrorist risk (Blomberg et al., 2004a, b; DiRienzo and Das, 2012). To prevent terrorism there is one way to follow; to cut economic aid for terrorist organization. Only that way a country could block terrorism.

According to studies of Abadie and Gardeazabal (2003), Eckstein and Tsiddon (2004) and Buesa et al, separatist terrorism is found to have a sizeable impact on GDP. Studies have shown that terrorism has a negative effect on economy. PKK terrorism increase in the period of democratization of Turkey and decline when democratization did not go well. In 1993 there have been crisis in Turkish economy and in this period until 2002 terrorist activity lost its efficiency. Increase in macroeconomic way is not sufficient to prevent separatist terrorism alone.

There is a huge GDP difference between Western part of Turkey and Eastern part of Turkey. If separatist terrorism haven’t occurred this GDP variation as regionally most probably haven’t happened in Turkey. The spatial dispersion of per capita GDP at the beginning of the PKK terrorist organization in the eastern part of the Turkey, was insufficient. But with the birth of separatist terrorism, approximately all of the eastern countries have affected from terrorism which carry economic level of these countries backwards.

The Turkish government always give importance to the development of these terror – stricken provinces, thus established Priority Development Area (PDA) Program. PDA is not only for terror – stricken provinces but also for other provinces, too. The main aim of PDA is to support less developed provinces but this program failed. The public investment was directed to the less developed region of Turkey but these investment did not adequate for altering the region’s economic condition. Separatist terrorism in Turkey prevented increasing of healthcare and education level in spite of accelerating investment in these areas, Turkish government spent its money to military expenditure due to security issue.

PKK Terrorism in Turkish Politics

In terms of political effects, a growing body of literature is now available with very interesting results about how exposure to terrorism affects people’s evaluation of their political leaders’ performances (Davis and Silver 2004, Shambaugh and Josiger 2004, Guilmartin 2004, Ludvigsen 2005). However, empirical studies investigating the effects of terrorism on the actual political behaviour of the targeted societies are still very much needed. This is a rather important shortcoming of the literature because in non-authoritarian societies, the political reaction of the people to terrorism greatly influences how their governments respond to terrorism. It is often argued that terrorism aims to pressure societies to coerce their governments to grant concessions to the terrorist organization’s cause. If this claim is valid then whether terrorism is an effective way of coercion or not depends on how the targeted societies react to terrorist attacks (Kıbrıs, 2010)

There have been made some analysis between the PKK Terrorism’ relations with   left – wing and right – wing parties. Right – wing parties in Turkey give less concession than the left – wing parties. And also terrorism is an insufficient way of coercion in Turkey. When left – wing parties in office terrorist activities are increasing.

Terrorism attacks started in the least developed provinces of Turkey in the late 1980s and targeted the Kurdish villages and citizens also military bases and police stations. This area was mountaınous and lack of infrastructure. There already were some problems in this region and with addition to the separatist terrorism these problems has increased rapidly. People in the eastern part of the Turkey started to join into the PKK because of the economic problems and coercion.

In Turkey there is two kind of voters; centre and periphery. Periphery is consist of more conservative and more traditional part of the country. And centre voter calls themselves as laicist, statist, educated. This centre – periphery division in Turkey created left – right differences. Right wing parties followed a conservative pathway, religious conservatism, and religious education and took support from peripherals. On the other hand left – wing parties took support from elites and laicist. In addition to left – right division there is ethnic based differences. The Turkish and Kurdish identities. Also Turkish voter take into account the economic performance and the GDP growing rate when voting.

The aim of separatist terrorism in Turkey is to announce an autonomous region. The aim of PKK terrorism in Turkey may be influencing voting behaviour in a specific societies. Terrorist attacks would also be for in response to electoral choices. Also terrorist coerce the residents of the southeast part of the Turkey to vote for themselves. For instance in a province there have not been enough vote for terrorist party they punish this province.

In 1987 there were 79 districts of Turkey and 13 in of this districts were ıssued martial law. In these districts people suffer from terrorism and states pressure. Thus, some of the residents of this region migrated the West part of the country and some of them stayed under the impression of terrorism. So in the light of the improvements above to the Turkishism made really different changes the societies voting decisions.

At this paragraph I will haddle the 1987 election, 1991 election and 1995 election the rate of vote parties have taken in that period. The indications were taken from the Turkish Institute of Statistics. In this period some politicians also were removed from politic. In 1999 Abdullah Öcalan was, the founder of the PKK terrorism, was arrested and was taken by the Turkish government. The arrest of Abdullah Öcalan was affected the result of the next election. The democratic left party was in office at that period and increased its power.

Resource: the Turkish Institute of Statistics


DSP, SHP/CHP and HADEP were in the left side. ANAP, DYP, RP, and MCP/MHP were in the right side.

MÇP/MHP is always supported the military base solution. The leader of the party even threatened to spill blood to prevent any kind of political concession (Gunter, 1997; Kirişci and Winrow, 1997; Beriker, 1997).Other right – wing parties were not thought differently. They were all against giving political concession to the Kurdish party and people. They claim that Kurdish and Turkish people should gather around the Islamic Brotherhood and solve the problem. Whereas the left – wing parties were side of the political solutions as compared to counterparts of right – wing parties. Even some of the leftist parties were talking about foundation a federal state in the southeast part of the Turkey. In this period some Kurdish MP in the Turkish Grant National Assembly wanted to give his oath in Kurdish. Later this Turkey’s Labour Party (HEP) was closed down by the constitutıonal court. And later some of MPs of the Turkey’s Labour Party (HEP) were arrested. And leftists were accused for bringing terrorist to the parliament. Some leftists said that the socioeconomics of the southeast region was not developed so the government must take some measures and make investment to this region. With acceleration of the welfare of this region state could prevent separatist terrorism.

The electorate in Turkey affected from terrorism. The table below shows the security forces terror casualties per hundred thousand voters has not a good consequences in the next elections. The unemployment rate and infant mortality rate has also visibly effect on Turkish voter choice. Because unemployment part blame government and say that economy is not good due to the government insufficient policy. For increasing at infant mortality rate people say that the socioeconomic conditions of the country is not effective due to the government bad policy.

Resource: the Turkish Institute of Statistics



Eventually, Turkey have been struggling with separatist terrorism over 25 years and have not reached any result except for casualties. Actually there are political solution and military solution. Turkey tried to follow both of them but didn’t achieve its goal as terrorism still continuing to kill people. I showed the effect of the military and police casualties on the elections in Turkey in the 1991 – 1995 and left – right vote share within this period. PKK could not reached its goal but managed to affect the vote share in Turkey.

I also analysed the GDP rate in the western and eastern part of the Turkey after separatist terrorism was founded. Some provinces has affected PKK terrorism harshly and some of provinces has not affected. I compare this cities’ GDP rate.



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