Kurdish Studies

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

Socio-spatial dynamics of contentious politics: A case of urban warfare in the Kurdish region of Turkey

Ronay Bakan
PhD Candidate in the Department of Political Science and International Relations at Bogazici University, Turkey Fox Fellow at Yale University, USA
Keywords: Kurdish, Suriçi, urban warfare, curfew, everyday politics.


The literature on contentious politics often explains the dynamics of collective action as a product of sequential events in national and international politics. This time-centred perspective disregards the spatial dynamics of contention. Similarly, analysis on the relation between the Turkish state and Kurdish national movement tends to focus on dynamics and actors in macro politics. However, in the case of urban warfare, macro-level explanations cannot by themselves illustrate why certain localities experienced urban warfare while other districts in the same city or region continued their everyday life. Therefore, this article shifts the focus from macro-political dynamics to micro politics to examine the emergence of urban warfare in Suriçi, Diyarbakır, in 2015. It argues that socio-spatial dynamics comprised significant mechanisms that facilitated the conflict. Overall, it claims that the urban warfare in Suriçi demonstrates that dynamics of mobilization can be captured through a dialectical approach to macro and micro-level politics.

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