Deterrence and transnational attacks by domestic terrorist organizations: The case of the PKK attacks in Germany
Şatana, Nil Seda
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Building on the “strategy of terrorism” theory (Neumann and Smith, 2008), and the “opportunity and willingness” pre-theoretical framework (Most and Starr, 1989), this thesis analyzes the relationship between offensive deterrence and transnational attacks by domestic terrorist organizations. Counterterrorism studies have been dealing with the effects of deterrence-based and conciliatory counterterrorism measures on the tactics of terrorist organizations and their willingness to commit violence. Transnational attacks represent a tactical response to offensive deterrence for domestic terrorist organizations at the target response stage of their campaign. This tactical response should be analyzed by looking at opportunity and willingness structures of the terrorist organization. Regarding opportunity, I argue that the size of diaspora population from home country increases the likelihood of transnational attacks at the host country. Secondly, I contend that offensive deterrence in home country increases the willingness of the terrorist organization to perpetrate transnational attacks. In order to test these hypotheses, a case study of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) attacks in Germany is conducted using qualitative data and descriptive statistics. The PKK is investigated throughout disorientation stage during 1984-1992 period, target response stage during 1992-1999 period, and partly overlapping with target response, gaining legitimacy stage after 1995. The variance in the number of the PKK attacks in Germany over these stages is explained using official data on the number of the PKK militants killed per year and an original dataset on military operations against the PKK, assembled by surveying the archives of two major Turkish dailies.
Transnational terrorist attacks