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94 B etween 1990 and 2008 pro-Kurdish parties and their members experienced a wide array of coercive measures that restricted their access to the resources of the system, interfered with their ability to use them to advance the movement and its goals, and at times threatened to end pro-Kurdish party activism entirely. Party administrators and activists were shot, prosecuted, jailed, beaten, fined, and threatened. Parties were closed, party offices bombed, and party property confiscated by the state. This chapter examines the form and impact of such state and state-sponsored coercive campaigns against the parties and activists. What effects did coercion have on the Kurdish movement’s efforts to work within the system? What made coercion more effective at some moments than others? How and why did the state’s mechanisms for restricting proKurdish access to and usage of resources shift over time? 4 Characteristics of Coercion Obstructing Access to Resources characteristics of coercion 95 The nature of state coercion and state-party relations can be divided into two main phases: 1990 to 1998, and 1999 to 2008. In the first phase, official efforts to suppress pro-Kurdish parties and their activities were multifaceted and relied on both formal (legal) mechanisms and extrajudicial actors. Put bluntly, in the 1990s pro-Kurdish politicians and party activists were physically and legally assaulted on many fronts and by many types of perpetrators. During the second phase of coercion-repression , authorities relied more heavily on the juridical and bureaucraticpolitical mechanisms of disciplinary or authoritative power (Foucault 1977; Giddens 1984, 33, 258–61) to control pro-Kurdish politicians and activists. Throughout both phases, efforts were made to suppress proKurdish parties as organizations and party members and administrators as individuals. The chapter makes two main points. First, the main effect of heavy levels of persecution in both phases was to perpetuate the pro-Kurdish parties’ status as marginal challengers. The politics of polarization perpetuated by Turkish authorities and by the PKK was one of the main reasons why pro-Kurdish parties did not become institutionalized even after incorporation into electoral politics. Second, the effectiveness of the state’s efforts to restrict both movement access to and use of the resources available in the system varied considerably throughout the years, with pro-Kurdish parties demonstrating a somewhat surprising ability to operate despite significant amounts of pressure applied to them. State success in obstructing the parties (or, conversely, the parties’ effectiveness in mitigating the effects of state pressure) varied according to the degree to which different state actors coordinated their attacks on the parties and, to a lesser extent, to the ability of external actors, such as the European Union, to raise the costs of repression sufficient to limit its application. This chapter first examines the nature of repression against the pro-Kurdish parties and looks at how the types and levels of coercion changed over time. It then explores the dynamics of coercion and its impacts on pro-Kurdish parties through two short case studies: first, the exclusion of the parties from formal political representation in March 1994, when the pro-Kurdish Demokrasi Partisi (DEP) withdrew from local elections and the Turkish parliament lifted pro-Kurdish deputies ’ parliamentary immunity from prosecution; and second, juridical coercion as it was employed against pro-Kurdish mayors, particularly in 2006 to 2008. 96 Characteristics of coercion Characterizing and Comparing Coercion In the late hours of the evening of July 5, 1991, four men knocked on the door of Vedat Aydın’s Diyarbakır home, identified themselves as policemen , and asked Aydın to come with them for questioning. Three days later Aydın’s body was found on a highway outside Diyarbakır. His skull was fractured, his legs were broken, and he had been shot at least fifteen times. The governor’s office released a statement expressing regret for the incident, which was attributed to “unknown assailants.” No perpetrators were ever identified or prosecuted (see Cumhuriyet, July 9–10, 1991; also Ölmez 1995, 126–36) Aydın, a former teacher and one of the founders of the Diyarbakır branch of the Human Rights Association, was the pro-Kurdish HEP party’s regional branch chairman in Diyarbakır and the first victim in what would become a succession of murdered pro-Kurdish party officials and activists. Four days after his body was found, six people were killed and more than 150 people injured after fighting broke out between police and a crowd of an estimated twenty-five...


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