1st Edition

Disengaging from Terrorism – Lessons from the Turkish Penitents

By Kamil Yılmaz Copyright 2014
    266 Pages 5 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    266 Pages 5 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This book presents an in-depth case study of thirteen individuals who moved away from terrorist activity in Turkey. Setting their life stories in the context of political violence in support of Kurdish independence and a leftist revolution, and the response of the Turkish state, the book examines how the individuals were motivated to become involved in terrorism, how they participated, why they became disillusioned, and above all how they coped with the difficult process of disengagement. The book then draws out general lessons on how individuals can be encouraged to move away from terrorism, and especially on how states can construct repentance mechanisms, and protection mechanisms, to assist with this. The book is a particularly rich valuable source on why people move away from terrorism as most books in the field concentrate on why people become terrorists, and on "terrorist profiling".

    1. Introduction  2. Historical and Social Contexts  3. Separation Stage: Turkish Penitents’ Paths to Political Violence  4. Transition Stage I: Life in the PKK and Revolutionary Groups  5. Transition Stage II: Causes of Disillusionment and Exit from the Groups  6. Transition Stage III: Difficulties and Resources for Disengagement  7. Reincorporation: Politics of Repentance and Life after Violence  8. Conclusion


    Kamil Yilmaz, Chief Superintendent in the Turkish National Police, completed his doctorate at Columbia University, USA

    "This is an excellent and conceptually innovative ethnographic examination of the processes of individual
    disengagement from terrorism in Turkey through an interview-based reconstruction of the lives of 13 former
    terrorists from the Kurdish PKK as well as left-wing revolutionary terrorist organizations. It explores whether obstacles and inhibitions were present for leaving a group, analyzing also the differences and similarities between the penitents who left a leftist-revolutionary group and those who exited from a separatist organization such as the PKK. In addition, the author analyzes what their current positions in society and 'states of mind” are. This will contribute greatly to the stability of any given society by enticing active members of terrorist organizations to disengage from terrorism."

    —Joshua Sinai, Perspectives on Terrorism, Volume 12, Issue 4