The PKK, the 'Global Threat of Terrorism' and the negotiating of Turkish 'Difference'
MetadataVis full innførsel
Along with the proliferation of terrorism studies that followed the September 11 attacks, many critical theoretical perspectives have followed. But few studies have combined insight into the delegitimizing aspects of the ‘terrorist’ label with its constitutive role for Self-identity, and even fewer have looked at the possibility of states negotiating their identity vis-à-vis larger collectives by representing ‘terrorism’ as a shared threat. Through employing discourse analysis, this thesis analyzes representations of ‘terrorism’ and ‘terrorist’ by Turkish politicians and diplomats in the United Nations between 2001 and 2012, and by Turkish military officers in the NATO Centre of Excellence: Defence Against Terrorism between 2006 and 2011. It asks how the conflict with the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) is represented as part of an international fight against terrorism, how these representations position the PKK, and how they contribute to the negotiation of Turkish ‘difference’ vis-à-vis ‘Europe’ and ‘the West’. It finds that both the politicians, diplomats and military officers represent ‘terrorism’ as a homogeneous and ubiquitous phenomenon which there is an international obligation to fight together, rejecting distinctions between ‘terrorists’ and tying in the PKK trough references to Turkey’s own ‘sufferings’. The ‘terrorist’ identity is constructed through various representations that put it in a position of fundamental illegitimacy – as homo sacer. Together, these serve as a constitutive Other for the negotiation of ‘difference’. In the first years of analysis, ‘terrorism’ and ‘terrorist’ are represented as threatening ‘civilization’, a rhetorical commonplace with links to European discourses of Otherness, with which both the Ottoman Empire and Turkey have struggled. After the coming to power of the Justice and Development Party (AKP), ‘civilization’ becomes pluralized, cultural diversity is emphasized as a positive, and ‘humanity’ takes over as what ‘terrorism’ is mainly represented as threatening. Though representations of Self-identity are less consistent amongst the military officers, there are several examples of negotiating ‘difference’ similar to the politicians and diplomats, including the invocation of ‘common values’ articulated to (e.g.) ‘human rights’ and ‘freedom of speech’; rhetorical commonplaces used in designations of Turkish Otherness even today.