Turkish Culture had a profound influence on the conduct of its
counter-insurgency campaign against the Kurdistan Worker's Party
(PKK). The variables shaping Turkey's response to the insurgency
were a unique brand of nationalism, Islamic traditions, aspirations
towards Westernization, and political legacies from the Ottoman
Empire. Based on these variables, the culturally accepted response
to Kurdish nationalism and separatism was a militarily dominated
strategy of suppression. The Kurds, for their part, leveraged the
inconsistencies found in the inherent Turkish cultural tensions and
military response to propagate their struggle. Multi-disciplined
programs, fostering true democracy, an integrated strategy, and use
of existing Kurdish social and political structures must be
incorporated in a new approach by the Turkish government. American
policymakers can derive three lessons: pragmatism must override
dogma, conflict resolution requires understanding and leveraging of
cultural dynamics and complex problems require multi-disciplined
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