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Kurdish Politics in the Middle East: The Role of the PKK’s Changing Policy in Regional Politics

The transformation of the discourses of the PKK since the 2000s is placed virtually at the center of Middle East politics as they relate to the Kurdish issue. Particularly, the Syrian civil war and the role of PYD, which is the Syrian branch of the PKK, have made the ideological and discursive evolution of the PKK, and the ways in which this evolving discourse has been implemented, one of the most interesting topics for scholars to elaborate.

Kurdish Politics in the Middle East The Role of the
 

The PKK-Kurdistan Workers’ Party’s Regional Politics During and After the Cold War

By Ali Balcı

Cham, Switzerland: Palgrave Macmillan, 2018, 212 pages, $129, ISBN: 9783319422183


Iraqi Kurdistan, the PKK and International Relations, Theory and Ethnic Conflict

By Hannes Černy

New York: Routledge, 2018, 340 pages, $64, ISBN: 9781138676176


When Strategy Collapses: The PKK’s Urban Terrorist Campaign

By Murat Yeşiltaş and Necdet Özçelik

İstanbul: SETA Publications, 2018, 200 pages, 17.50, ISBN: 9789752459786


The transformation of the discourses of the PKK since the 2000s is placed virtually at the center of Middle East politics as they relate to the Kurdish issue. Particularly, the Syrian civil war and the role of PYD, which is the Syrian branch of the PKK, have made the ideological and discursive evolution of the PKK, and the ways in which this evolving discourse has been implemented, one of the most interesting topics for scholars to elaborate. The evolution of the PKK/PYD affects the decisions of the Turkish government, as well as Iraqi (and other) Kurdish parties in domestic politics, and has directly impacted the course of the Syrian civil war. Therefore, this review article introduces and critically discusses recent contributions to the field of approaching the radical evolution of the PKK.

The books under review approach Kurdish politics from diverse perspectives and contribute to the rapidly increasing literature on Kurdish politics. These books differ considerably in terms of their methodological, theoretical, and empirical approaches toward Kurdish politics and its impact on both the domestic politics of regional states and the relationship between Kurdish parties themselves. The review has two main points. It firstly evaluates the books’ theoretical and empirical contribution to the literature of international relations (IR). Secondly, it focuses on the role(s) the authors attribute to the ideological, political and military evolution of the PKK and its impact on regional politics.

 

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