Turkey’s struggle with the PKK and civilian control over the Turkish Armed Forces
Kayhan Pusane, Özlem
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Although most scholars of Turkey’s civil-military relations argue that the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) insurgency has led to a decrease in civilian control over the Turkish military from the 1980s onwards, this has not always been the case. This article argues that the presence or the degree of the PKK threat is not sufficient to explain the civil-military balance of power in Turkey throughout the 1980s and the 1990s. Instead, the article shows that in the face of the PKK threat, three major factors have influenced the behaviours of both civilian and military policy-makers in Turkey and shaped the level of civilian control. These factors are first, the Turkish political leaders’ control over their political parties and these parties’ control of a majority of seats in the parliament; second, how negatively or positively the military perceives the political leadership; and third, European Union pressures for democratisation.