TPhis is the first book of which I am aware, in any language, to deal exclusively with the impact of the Kurdish nationalist movement on Turkey and the Middle East during the 1990s. As the contributors to this volume make clear, this is a period when the Kurdish nationalist movement has mounted its biggest challenge to the Turkish state in the twentieth century. In the aftermath of the Gulf war, the challenge escalated to new dimensions. Other than Michael Gunter's The Kurds in Turkey: A Political Dilemma (1990), no full-length scholarly monographs or books have been devoted exclusively to the Kurdish nationalist movement in Turkey during the 1990s. David McDowall, in his recent A History of the Kurds (1996), devotes two chapters to the Kurds in Turkey, but they are embedded in the larger history. The volume presented here is the first treatment to attempt to cover comprehensively the domestic, foreign, economic, political and judicial challenges facing Turkey from the growth and spread of the Kurdish nationalist movement. The Gulf war in 1991 gave substantial impetus to the Kurdish nationalist movement throughout the Middle East, as the contributors make clear. But this volume focuses on Turkey. Because of its pro-West orientation since it joined NATO in 1952 and its geopolitic and geostrategic alliance with the West since then, less attention has been paid in the West, especially in the United States, to the history and politics of Turkey. It seems that government and academic circles think it best not to draw attention to some of Turkey's unpleasant politics and policies. Chief among these are Turkey's policies to control, constrain and eliminate the Kurdish nationalist movement wherever it rears its head. Turkey has pursued this policy since the Sheikh Said rebellion in 1925.
If the Kurdish nationalist movement was the sore thumb of the Turkish republic after its creation in 1923, it became the Achilles heel of the Turkish state in the 1980s and 1990s. Led by the Kurdistan Workers' Party, known under its Kurdish acronym, PKK, the Kurdish nationalist movement challenges the very structure of the state and its legitimizing Kemalist ideology. The nature of this multifaceted challenge is the topic of this volume.
Giilistan Giirbey starts off the discussion by analyzing the challenge posed to the Turkish state by the growth of the Kurdish nationalist movement in the 1980s and 1990s and the array of political, judicial, constitutional and ideological constructs and the military and police power with which the Turkish state sought to control, constrain and eliminate Kurdish nationalism. She notes that by the