Kurdish Studies

ISSN: 2051-4883 | e-ISSN: 2051-4891
Email: editor@kurdishstudies.net

A spatial perspective on political group formation in Turkey after the 1971 coup: The Kurdistan Workers Party of Turkey (PKK)

Joost Jongerden
Wageningen University
Keywords: illegal immigrants, immigrants, offending, arrest, immigration-crime nexus.


The five years preceding the 1978 founding congress of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (Partîya Karkêren Kurdistan, PKK) are referred to by its members as the party’s “existential period”. In the PKK’s “existential period” public spaces, such as university dormitories and canteens and student associations played an important role as meeting places, yet political formation occurred mainly in private spaces, especially private apartments and houses. This article considers this early history of the PKK from a spatial perspective. The main question addressed is how the Kurdistan Revolutionaries, as the group was known before its formal establishment, sustained itself spatially at a time when political life had been paralysed as a result of martial law and became subject to securitisation politics. Data for this article has been collected by means of interviews and the study of (auto)biographical texts.

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