The Kurdish Nationalist Movements in Turkey
This extended essay analyzes what Professor Olson considers have been the three most important developments in the Kurdish nationalist movements (KNMs) in Turkey during the three decade span from 1980 to 2011. The author analyzes three major themes that contributed most to the consolidation of KNMs in Turkey during this 30 year period. The first two themes stress oppression by the state and resistance by Kurds leading to sustained armed conflict right up to the capture of PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan in 1999. The third major theme of the essay discusses the great effects that the of the KNMs in Iraq had on the KNMs in Turkey, especially after the US-led war against Iraq in 2003. Olson argues that the achievements, unimaginable in 1980, of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) in Iraq, which obtained full autonomy within the federal government of Iraq in the 2005 constitution, were inspiring for the KNMs in Turkey. He concludes his essay by stressing that language demands, education in the mother tongue and democratic autonomy will dominate the struggle of the KNMs of Turkey and be the dominant factor in the domestic politics of Turkey for the foreseeable future.