Terrorism in Turkey

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Terrorism in Turkey is a significant issue for Turkish authorities. While the government labels deaths in Kurdish–Turkish conflict (1978–present) as terrorism related, this is disputed by others.[note] In addition involvement in the Syrian Civil War and radical political elements in the country have also been a source for alleged terrorist incidents.[1] The violence has had a negative impact on the country's tourism sector.[2]



Terrorism in Turkey in the 1970s stemmed from the student protest movement in the 1960s. Leftist radicals first attempted to challenge the political regime by use of sit-ins, street demonstrations, and the establishment of a new political party, the Turkish Labor Party (TLP). After only receiving 3% of the popular vote in the 1965 election, and 2.7% four years later, leftist radicals began to turn to a more militant approach. Know how about the use of explosives and weapons were provided by the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO).[3]

Left-wing terrorism began in 1969 when the Proletarian Revolutionaries and Proletarian Socialists formed the Federation of Revolutionary Youth of Turkey (Dev-Genç). Terror activities included bank robberies, bombings and kidnappings (for ransom). In 1971, the military declared martial law to arrest revolutionaries. By 1973, these incidents had stopped.[4]:15

Two Armenian groups conducted a number of terror attacks aimed at Turkish diplomats, ASALA (Armenian Secret Army for the Liberation of Armenia) and JCAG (Justice Commandos of the Armenian Genocide). These attacks spawned a period of ten years from 1975 to 1985. Their efforts were mostly based overseas, but some attacks occurred in Turkey such as the May 1977 bombing of the Istanbul airport and railway.[4]:10-12

Between 1976 and 1980, more than 5,000 people were killed in hundreds of terrorist incidents.[3][better source needed]

1980s and 1990s

In the 1980s and 1990s, Jihadist terrorism in Turkey was an isolated phenomenon represented by the Turkish Hezbollah and the Great Eastern Islamic Raiders' Front.[5] Since the 2000s, there has been a rise in attacks from Islamist groups, some with links to Al-Qaeda.[6] One group that has been studied by researchers is the Turkish Hezbollah.[7]

In the 1990s, Islamic terrorist organizations were active in Turkey. Their objective was to bring down the secular democratic regime in Turkey and to establish an Islamic Sharia‐based state (similar to Iran). In July 1993, an arson attack took place where extremists set fire to a hotel where a cultural festival was taking place. Islamic groups attacked and threatened Jewish personalities and the Jewish community in Turkey.[8]

In the course of the Kurdish–Turkish conflict (1978–present) there were an estimated 30,000-35,000 deaths between 1984 and 2000.[9][better source needed] While the Turkish government position has been to classify the deaths in the conflict as terror related, other dispute this claim and allege human right violations by the Turkish authorities.[10][11] In 1995, Human Rights Watch reported that it was common practice for Turkish soldiers to kill Kurdish civilians and take pictures of their corpses with the weapons, they carried only for staging the events. Killed civilians were shown to press as Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) "terrorists".[12]


The Dokumacılar is an Islamic terrorist group composed of about 60 Turkish militants who joined ISIL. The group is responsible for the 2015 Suruç bombing which resulted in 32 deaths.

Other attacks, like the 2017 Istanbul nightclub shooting, were perpetrated by Islamic State.[13] However, initially, the Turkish government avoided labelling ISIL as a terror organization.[14]

Effects on voting behavior

One study found that Turkish voters are highly sensitive to terrorism and that they blame the government for casualties. Additionally, exposure to terrorism leads to an increase in the vote share of the right-wing parties.[15]

Terrorist incidents

See also



  1. ^ Mackintosh, Eliza. "Why Turkey is such a target for terror". CNN. January 12, 2017.
  2. ^ Feridun, Mete. "Impact of terrorism on tourism in Turkey: empirical evidence from Turkey." Applied Economics 43, no. 24 (2011): 3349-3354.
  3. ^ a b Sayari, Sabri. "Political Violence and Terrorism in Turkey, 1976–80: A Retrospective Analysis." Terrorism and Political Violence 22, no. 2 (2010): 198-215.
  4. ^ a b Mango, Andrew. Turkey and the War on Terror: For Forty Years We Fought Alone. Routledge. 2005.
  5. ^ Malhotra, Brigadier VP. Terrorism and Counter Terrorism in South Asia and India: A Case of India and Her Neighbours. Vij Books India Pvt Ltd, 2011.
  6. ^ Cline, Lawrence E. "From Ocalan to Al Qaida: the continuing terrorist threat in Turkey." Studies in Conflict & Terrorism 27, no. 4 (2004): 321-335.
  7. ^ Ozeren, Suleyman, and Cécile Van De Voorde. "Turkish Hizballah: A case study of radical terrorism." International Journal of Comparative and Applied Criminal Justice 30, no. 1 (2006): 75-93.
  8. ^ Karmon, Ely. "Islamic terrorist activities in Turkey in the 1990s." Terrorism and Political Violence 10, no. 4 (1998): 101-121.
  9. ^ Rodoplu, Ulkumen, Jeffrey Arnold, and Gurkan Ersoy. "Terrorism in Turkey." Prehospital and Disaster Medicine 18, no. 2 (2003): 152-160.
  10. ^ Turkey campaign (Chapter 2), Amnesty International, 1997. Archived 14 July 2007 at the Wayback Machine.
  11. ^ Turkey: Human Rights Developments, Human Rights Watch.
  12. ^ "HRW". Retrieved 31 Jan 2016.
  13. ^ Grierson, Jamie (3 January 2017). "Isis claims Istanbul nightclub attack as perpetrator remains at large". The Guardian.
  14. ^ "Turkey's Crippled Counterterrorism Capacity: How Domestic Purges Represent A Major International Threat To Europe's Security". m.huffpost.com.
  15. ^ Kibris, Arzu. "Funerals and elections: The effects of terrorism on voting behavior in Turkey." Journal of Conflict Resolution 55, no. 2 (2011): 220-247
  16. ^ "Greener Pastures for Bruce Fein: The Kurdish Conflict in Turkey". Asiantribune.com. Retrieved 15 April 2011.
  17. ^ "The Kurdish Conflict in Turkey: Obstacles and Chances for Peace and Democracy". Amazon.com. Retrieved 15 April 2011.
  18. ^ "Turkey in fresh drive to end Kurdish conflict". Middle-east-online.com. 28 September 2010. Retrieved 15 April 2011.
  19. ^ "Turkey looks to Iraq to help end Kurdish conflict". Euronews.net. 16 June 2010. Retrieved 15 April 2011.
  20. ^ Head, Jonathan (13 November 2009). "Turkey unveils reforms for Kurds". BBC News. Retrieved 15 April 2011.
  21. ^ Kinzer, Stephen (3 January 2011). "Nudging Turkey toward peace at home". London: Guardian. Retrieved 15 April 2011.
  22. ^ Emre Uslu. "Would Turkey intervene in Syria?". Today's Zaman. Archived from the original on 5 February 2012. Retrieved 5 February 2012., 5 February 2011
  23. ^ "A Terrorist's Bitter End". Time. 1 March 1999. Archived from the original on 10 December 2008. Retrieved 10 April 2011.
  24. ^ Birch, Nicholas (20 October 2009). "Kurdish rebels surrender as Turkey reaches out — War in Context". Warincontext.org. Retrieved 15 April 2011.
  25. ^ "The Kurdish Issue and Turkey's Future". Thewashingtonnote.com. Retrieved 15 April 2011.
  26. ^ BBC News Turkey may ban Kurdish DTP party
  27. ^ "Kurdish rebels say they shot down Turkish helicopter". CNN.com. 7 March 1999. Archived from the original on 13 October 2011. Retrieved 15 April 2011.
  28. ^ "Turkish military's best and brightest now behind bars". Reuters. 6 January 2012.
  29. ^ "Turkish crackdown fails to halt Kurdish rebellion". Highbeam.com. 1 November 1992. Retrieved 15 April 2011.
  30. ^ "Turkey and Iraq seek to end Kurdish rebellion". Thenational.ae. Archived from the original on 14 September 2012. Retrieved 15 April 2011.
  31. ^ "Turkey says determined to uproot Kurdish rebellion". Kuna.net.kw. 25 June 2010. Retrieved 15 April 2011.
  32. ^ Tore Kjeilen. "Kurds". Looklex.com. Retrieved 15 April 2011.
  33. ^ "MINA Breaking News – Turkey marks 25 years of Kurd rebellion". Macedoniaonline.eu. 15 August 2009. Retrieved 15 April 2011.
  34. ^ "Nation–states and ethnic boundaries: modern Turkish identity and Turkish–Kurdish conflict". Nations and Nationalism. 8: 549–564. doi:10.1111/1469-8219.00065. Retrieved 26 October 2014.
  35. ^ "Partiya Karkeran Kurdistan [PKK]". GlobalSecurity.org. Retrieved 23 July 2013.
  36. ^ "TURKEY AND PKK TERRORISM" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 31 May 2011. Retrieved 15 April 2011.
  37. ^ "A Report on the PKK and Terrorism". Fas.org. Retrieved 15 April 2011.
  38. ^ McDowall, David. A modern History of the Kurds. London 2005, pp 439 ff
  39. ^ Viviano, Frank (23 February 1996). "Inside Turkey's Civil War, Fear and Geopolitics / For all sides, Kurd insurgency is risky business". Articles.sfgate.com. Retrieved 15 April 2011.
  40. ^ "The Kurdish Question In Turkish Politics". Cacianalyst.org. 16 February 1999. Archived from the original on 22 May 2011. Retrieved 15 April 2011.
  41. ^ "Israeli military aid used by Turkish in civil war against Kurds". Ivarfjeld.wordpress.com. 25 June 2010. Retrieved 15 April 2011.
  42. ^ "Thousands of Kurds protest to support jailed Abdullah Ocalan in Strasbourg". Ekurd.net. Retrieved 15 April 2011.
  43. ^ Helena Smith in Athens (11 April 2003). "Turkey told US will remove Kurd forces from city". Guardian. London. Retrieved 15 April 2011.
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