The Militant Kurds

A Dual Strategy for Freedom

by Vera Eccarius-Kelly


Since 1984, an estimated 40,000 civilians, soldiers, security personnel, and Kurdish Workers Party (PKK) combatants have died as a result of the Kurdish conflict. Yet, as a consequence of the Iraq war in 2003, interactions between the United States, Turkey, and the Kurdish minority in Turkey and the KRG (Kurdish Regional Government) changed significantly. Could a resolution be in sight?

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Cover image for The Militant Kurds

December 2010


Pages 258
Volumes 1
Size 6 1/8x9 1/4
Topics Military History/Armed Forces

This extensive examination of the Kurdish conflict in Turkey, Iraq, Germany, and the EU focuses on the history and development of the Kurdish Workers Party (PKK) and its impact on transnational security, human rights, and democratization.

The Militant Kurds: A Dual Strategy for Freedom explores the complexity of the 30-year guerrilla war of the Kurdish Workers Party (PKK) against the Turkish Republic, identifying longstanding obstacles to peace and probing the new dynamics that may lead to an end to the conflict. In doing so, the book provides fascinating insights into Turkey's national ethos, its dominant military culture, and civil society's struggle for increased democratization.

The Militant Kurds offers an extensive analysis of the precarious position of the Kurdish minority, beginning with the establishment of the modern Turkish republic in 1923. Divided into five sections examining current political realities in Turkey, the book investigates the role of Islam and ethnicity, analyzes the rise of the PKK, discusses Turkish military culture, and explains the international dimensions of the Kurdish conflict. Comparative historical, political, and socioeconomic examples contextualize the long struggle for Kurdish self-determination. Each chapter offers an analysis of the underlying dynamics of the conflict and provides up-to-date explanations.


  • Quotes from numerous sources reflect the many different perspectives on how to resolve the conflict with the Kurdish Workers Party (PKK)
  • Offers a glossary of Turkish language terms, abbreviations, and acronyms, such as KRG (Kurdish Regional Government)
  • Includes a brief Turkish pronunciation guide


  • Analyzes the rise of the Kurdish Workers Party (PKK) for a broad readership, addressing issues of international security, transnational threat, and regional instability
  • Explains the Kurdish communal response to Turkish policies of assimilation since the 1920s
  • Offers insights from Diaspora Turks and Kurds involved in searching for a resolution to the Kurdish conflict
Author Info

Vera Eccarius-Kelly, PhD, is associate professor of comparative politics at Siena College, Albany, NY.



"This is an important work on the Kurds and Turkish politics generally. It should also prove valuable to comparativists interested in ethnicity, nationalism, political violence, religion and politics, and democratization. Recommended."Choice

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