Publicerad: 2012-01-04 18:01, Uppdaterad: 2012-11-02 11:11
Statsvetare: Labeling PKK as a terrorist organization has not any international security justifications. PKK is not a de facto threat to the international economic system and/or political order. Survival of this label on PKK is obviously because of Turkey’s geostrategic position for NATO.
verksam vid Mälardalens högskola
Terrorism as a concept has been in use for a very long time. The term has always meant to bear negative and destructive potential. Terrorism is usually defined as “the use of violent action in order to achieve political aims”. According to the current definition of terrorism, this “violent action” is meant to strike or hit a vital interest of a nation state. The interest of an ethnic, religious or ideological minority is obviously not included in this equation. This “violent action” is to be carried out by a non-state actor operating beyond nation states’ political boundaries. This current conceptualization of terrorism has created a gap of misunderstanding between a “terrorist action” and other “violent actions” and opened doors of labeling any organization which defies the interests of a nation state’s elite group or challenges a mutual interest of a group of nation states or a political block.
Ignoring the violation of Kurdish minority’s basic rights in Turkey by several democratic nation states is an example for parity of perception of national security between Turkish nationalist elites and these democratic states. The conditioned parity or disparity in the interests of nation states (often renamed as national security) is probably the ultimate international threat to the global security in the post-Cold War era. Conflicts of interests between nation states have generated and nourished organizations like Al-Qaida. It is as well a typical example for the fatal crisis facing the current international relations paradigm after the Cold-War era when democratization of political systems has become a current issue. In fact, the biggest deficit in the current paradigm has always been to match human values of a democratic nation state with its foreign policy. This huge gap has been creating a cognitive dilemma for observers and an ethical predicament for policy-makers.
Conceived as a sovereign entity a nation state and its use of violent actions (the state’s use of coercive power against internal opponents) was jurisdictionally and internationally not questioned until the resent years. The label of terrorism, noticeably, has not been applied on state’s violent action against its own people or a neighboring country’s territories. One of the reasons has probably been the conceived sovereignty of nation states. Nation states have been the only recognized players at the international political arena. In reality the idea of territorial sovereignty of the states was the foundation of the post-Westphalian international security system.
The concept of terrorism has been modified after nine-eleven attacks but still meant to refer to actions of non-state actors, i.e., a player that lacks the status of nation state. Post-nine-eleven era terrorism has become a synonymous to evil; evil in its religious semantics. In this context, terrorism and terrorists have become a name for an evil and stateless and indefinite organization which cruelly, mercilessly and without any moral barrier or political cause destroys each and every human achievement. Even at this point, nation states’ use of violent was not recognized as terrorism. In point of fact, all actions labeled terrorist actions were apoliticized, irrationalized and demonized and then applied on all groups, gatherings or even individual actions which may question the use of violent by a nation state against its own people. A very vivid example is current accusations of terrorism against two Swedish journalists by the Ethiopian regime.
It is contextually important here to mention the most known cases in modern and pre-nine-eleven history of describing non-state organizations as terrorists by other nation states. British classification of IRA and American definition of PLO were two known examples. It is historically interesting how these two organizations eventually ended up as partners in peace negotiations and shook hand with leaders of these two countries.
Sometimes have nation states been accused of being harboring and accommodating terrorist organizations but not of being “terrorist states” per se, for example, Taliban’s Afghanistan and Saddam Husain’s Iraq. All killings conducted by Arab regimes against their own people during so called Arab Spring were never called terrorist action of states. This indicates that there is an internationally unacknowledged consensus on the idea of terrorist action carries out only by non-state actors operating beyond a nation state’s boundaries.
The question of labeling PKK as a terrorist organization is however a deviant. It was more suitable for the era before nine-eleven attacks, along with labeling IRA and PLO as terrorist groups. Why PKK as a local organization with defined geography of action and defined political case is still sorted as an organization like Al-Qaida? The PKK case, in a matter of fact, illustrates an example for a political issue left behind from the era of pre-nine-eleven attacks. Labeling PKK as a terrorist organization has not any international security justifications. PKK is not a de facto threat to the international economic system and/or political order. Survival of this label on PKK is obviously because of Turkey’s geostrategic position for NATO.
The post-Cold War era has brought about new perceptions to and illuminated fresh aspects of the international security paradigm which unfortunately have been shadowed by the reactions of nine-eleven attacks. For instance, the idea of military intervention into a sovereign state’s internal affairs for humanitarian purposes was an innovative input changing the old perception of nation state’s territorial integrity and confirmed insufficiency of the current international security system.
The real terrorist action can be carried out by non-state actors, and indeed even by nation states. Terrorism threats not only the very notion of national security but even jeopardizes the global stability. Therefore the issue of terrorism probably needs an inventive approach where the outdated perception of nation states’ territorial sovereignty should be re-examined. A new security paradigm needs to examine even nation states’ terrorism and include some other challenges like global climate changing, international economic crises and enforce and eventually bring about Human Security instead of National Security.
Turkiets president besöker Sverige.