Coming Down from the Mountains

Paul White


The definitive introduction to the Kurdistan Workers' Party in Turkey.
The Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) is infamous for its violence. The struggle it has waged for Kurdish independence in southeastern Turkey has cost in excess of 40,000 lives since 1984. A less-known fact, however, is that the PKK now embraces a non-violent end to the conflict, with its leader Abdullah Öcalan having ordered a ceasefire and engaging in a negotiated peace with the Ankara government. Whether these tentative attempts at peacemaking mean an end to the bloodshed remains to be seen, but either way the ramifications for Turkey and the wider region are potentially huge.

Charting the ideological evolution of the PKK, as well as its origins, aims and structure, Paul White provides the only authoritative and up-to-date analysis of one of the most important non-state political players in the contemporary Middle East.

Author Bio

Dr Paul White works as an independent consultant in Jakarta, Indonesia. He has taught Middle East Politics courses at Deakin University in Melbourne; at Macquarie University in Sydney; and at the University of Sydney’s Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies. He is the author of Primitive Rebels or Revolutionary Modernizers? The Kurdish National Movement in Turkey (Zed Books, 2000). He was a member of the editorial board of the Journal of Arabic, Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies and serves on the board of directors of the Kurdish Institute, Washington DC.

Table of Contents

  • Introduction
  • 1. 'The Time of Revolution Has Started'
  • 2. PKK Origins and Ideological Formation
  • 3. Early Years of Struggle
  • 4. From Ceasefire to All-Out War
  • 5. The Move Towards Peace
  • 6. Democratic Confedaralism and the PKK's Feminist Transformation
  • 7. Coming Down from the Mountains


'At this most dramatic moment in the history of the Kurdish people, Paul White's timely book offers an indispensable guide to the PKK's organizational and ideological evolution.'
Bill Park, King's College London

'A key resource for anyone seeking an in-depth understanding of the Kurdish Question.'
Kerim Yildiz, director of the Democratic Progress Institute

'Of interest to both academics and non-academics, this extremely timely and important book will help readers better understand the current context - and how it came to be.'
David Romano, author of The Kurdish Nationalist Movement


Publication Date: 15 August 2015
216 pages

Product ISBNs: Paperback: 9781783600373
Hardback: 9781783600380
eBook ePub: 9781783600403
eBook PDF: 9781783600397
eBook Kindle: 9781783600410

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