head of the autonomous Kurdish government in Iraq’s north, Masoud Barzani

Addressing ethnic grievances to counter terrorism

A Tactic Against Terror

July 2014, Number 05.03

“Ethnic conflicts that breed terrorism have been a feature of the European landscape for decades. Examples include the Irish Republican Army in the United Kingdom, the Basque ETA in Spain, the Kurdish PKK in Turkey, and Northern Caucasus terrorist movements in Russia. In each case, the nations afflicted by ethno-terrorism resorted to military force to stem the violence, only to discover that the hard-power approach was insufficient to end the struggle.

A study released in 2013 suggests “soft-line” counterterrorism policies that target cultural grievances are the best long-term approach to neutralizing ethnic-based terrorism. In a work titled PKK and ETA: A Comparative Analysis of Resolution Policies in Europe, Irfan Çiftçi of the Turkish National Police argued that a program focused on reconciliation rather than retribution initially increases terrorist violence but ultimately
provides overall greater stability.

He focused his analysis on the experiences of Turkey and Spain, two countries that spent decades fighting ethnic-based terrorists while simultaneously evolving into participatory democracies...”

Excerpt from per Concordiam Staff, “A Tactic Against Terror,” per Concordiam: Journal of European Security Defense Issues  5, No. 3, 2014: 60-61.

This article reflects the views of the author and are not necessarily the official policy of the United States, Germany, or any other governments.