Kurdish "patriotic" families: an incentive or an impediment to joining the PKK through the generations and according to gender

TUĞRUL B., Lafaye C. G.

CRITICAL STUDIES ON TERRORISM, vol.15, pp.484-507, 2022 (ESCI) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 15
  • Publication Date: 2022
  • Doi Number: 10.1080/17539153.2022.2049947
  • Journal Indexes: Emerging Sources Citation Index (ESCI), Scopus, International Bibliography of Social Sciences, MLA - Modern Language Association Database, Political Science Complete
  • Page Numbers: pp.484-507
  • Keywords: PKK, Kurdish conflict, armed struggle, political commitment, generations, POLITICAL VIOLENCE, FEMINIST, WOMEN, WAR
  • Hacettepe University Affiliated: No


Participation in national liberation struggles is often considered to be a "family tradition". The academic literature has taken up the idea that every Kurdish family should "give a child" to the guerrilla movement. These assertions have rarely been based on qualitative data. To examine the role of family traditions on the militant trajectories of the Partiya Karkeren Kurdistan (PKK), we met 64 of its guerrilla fighters from three consecutive generations, encompassing a broad militancy period from the mid-1980s until today. This article highlights the variable impact of primary socialisation processes, in particular, the patriotic family, according to the generations and gender, suggesting that retrospective narratives made by PKK militants themselves reflect reluctance among their family members towards their engagement in the clandestine struggle.