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Blood and Belief: The PKK and the Kurdish Fight for Independence

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Blood and Belief: The PKK and the Kurdish Fight for Independence

Soon after the founding of the PKK, Ocalan became persona non grata in Turkey and was forced to leave the country. Ocalan escaped to Syria and spent almost two decades directing the affairs of the PKK from the outskirts of the Syrian capital of Damascus. With Syrian support, Ocalan gradually proceeded to build the PKK into a fearsome fighting force that was able not only to launch guerilla attacks against the Turkish army with great aplomb but was also able, when necessary, to make life militarily difficult for opposing Kurdish groups in northern Iraq and Iran.

Ocalan became the supreme leader of the PKK, and the author does a good job of chronicling the fact that he tolerated no dissent, rarely listened to opposing viewpoints, and had no hesitation whatsoever in executing real and imagined enemies both within and outside the PKK. Throughout the s, the PKK gradually consolidated its power, which reached its zenith in the early s.


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  6. With increasing military success against the Turkish army in the early s, Ocalan decided - with his now well established dictatorial powers - that he would widen the scope of the struggle against Turkey dramatically so that the Turkish government could no longer claim to control the Kurdish region in southeastern Turkey. From to , the Turkish army gradually seized the initiative from the PKK with increasingly successful military forays into PKK controlled territory. Soon thereafter, Turkey exerted great pressure on Syria to expel Ocalan from his home of the last two decades.

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    This expulsion marked the beginning of the end for Ocalan. The author clearly delineates the trials and tribulations faced by Ocalan as he journeyed across several inhospitable European nations, ultimately ending up in the hands of Turkish agents in Nairobi, Kenya.