From “Criminal Citizens” to “Traitors”: The Last of the Kurdish Bandits in Modern Turkey, 1950–1970


  • Ahmet Özcan Istanbul Gedik University



The mass banditry that emerged in Turkey’s Kurdish regions between 1950 and 1970 was labelled a “national problem” in state discourse. Banditry and bandits were thus an integral part of the Turkish nation-state building process and the politico-moral economy of the region. Turkish state policies with regard to banditry, after the transformation of bandits from “criminal citizens” into “traitors” in state discourse, culminated in massive military operations to disarm and suppress the peoples of these regions. This last period of Kurdish banditry, the result of the destabilization of traditional Kurdish society, was a source of political contention between the state elite and Kurdish communities.

Author Biography

Ahmet Özcan, Istanbul Gedik University

Ahmet Özcan is a faculty member in the Department of Political Science and International Relations at Istanbul Gedik University.