Winning a low intensity conflict: drawing lessons from the Turkish case
Review of International Affairs
Frank Cass Publishers
101 - 121
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This essay examines how the Turkish state was able to achieve a military victory in what can be defined as more than 15 years of low intensity conflict against ethnic separatist terror. The study identifies five challenges as having been crucial to the success and/or failure of the Turkish state's dealings with the PKK between the years 1974 and 2000:1) diagnosing the nature, scope, and capacities of the situation and the PKK organization; 2) coordinating relations between the Turkish security establishment and the politicians; 3) transforming and adapting the Turkish armed forces to an unconventional form of warfare; 4) winning popular support; and 5) coping with international and regional support for the PKK. By giving chronological examples of key events and decisions, the essay shows the changes that were made over time in the ways in which each of these challenges were perceived and managed. It then attempts to locate possible turning points from unsuccessful to successful management, as well as identifying relations between the various challenges and the possible relevance of these interrelations on the ultimate results of the conflict.