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Europeanization and the Transformation of the Kurdish Movement

Volkan Gulsen

This paper aims to indicate the transformative influence of the institutional structure of the European Union on the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK). Based on an empirical analysis, it will be argued that the Europeanization process that Turkey has experienced in the last decade had long began for the Kurdish movement and has became much more influential on the PKK after the capture of Abdullah Öcalan, the leader of the Kurdish organization. This work further attempts to present a theoretical framework pointing out the possibility of the Europeanization of the transnational non-state actors, and to debate how and to what extent Europeanization is transformative on transnational non-state actors. Besides, it will be stated that the Europeanization of the Kurdish movement has been a bottom-up process started with the increase of the influence of the Kurdish Diaspora in the organization and explained how the competition between the different cliques in the PKK, which are influential on the decision making process of the organization ( Kurdistan Communities Union Executive Council in Kandil, the Kurdish Diaspora in Europe and the prominent leader Abdullah Öcalan) has resulted in an attempt of the transformation of the ideological and organizational structure, which should not be considered as a completed, but an on-going process. Methodologically, the research will be based on the discourse analysis of the data from texts and documents of legal branches of the Kurdish movement and the interviews of the leading figures of the Kurdish Diaspora.



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