Mincing Words: The Three Layers of the AKP's Narrative on Kurdish Politics


NATIONALISM AND ETHNIC POLITICS, vol.26, no.2, pp.126-144, 2020 (ESCI) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 26 Issue: 2
  • Publication Date: 2020
  • Doi Number: 10.1080/13537113.2020.1754556
  • Journal Indexes: Emerging Sources Citation Index (ESCI), Scopus, Academic Search Premier, International Bibliography of Social Sciences, American History and Life, Geobase, Historical Abstracts, Index Islamicus, Political Science Complete, Public Affairs Index, Social services abstracts, Sociological abstracts, Worldwide Political Science Abstracts
  • Page Numbers: pp.126-144
  • Abdullah Gül University Affiliated: Yes


In 2009-2015, the Justice and Development Party (AKP) put forward several initiatives to end insurgency in Kurdish majority areas. However, successive "openings" failed to make progress. The electoral and international goals of the AKP gradually became incongruent with the peace process, and the AKP espoused heavy-handed tactics in July 2015. The ups and downs of the process in 2009-2015 show that it was already fragile. Some causes of this fragility were external to the AKP, such as the opposition parties' eagerness to use the process to poach nationalist voters and the PKK's violence. However, I argue that the contradictory nature of the AKP's narrative was also a crucial factor. The party's earlier narrative required the strict separation of two layers: security policies to fight terrorists and democratization policies to address the legitimate grievances of citizens. However, the intersubjective strategies that it experimented later required a gray area between these two fields. The AKP, instead of changing strategies, has constructed a three-layered, contradictory narrative.