Culture of Insecurity and Production of Foreign Policy Crises: Turkey’s Sèvres Syndrome and Syrian Support for the PKK during the 1998 October Crisis


Journal of Balkan and Near Eastern Studies, vol.24, no.1, pp.138-157, 2022 (Scopus) identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 24 Issue: 1
  • Publication Date: 2022
  • Doi Number: 10.1080/19448953.2021.1992186
  • Journal Name: Journal of Balkan and Near Eastern Studies
  • Journal Indexes: Scopus
  • Page Numbers: pp.138-157
  • Police Academy Affiliated: Yes


Events in international politics are produced as crises when they pose threat to particular state identities. Having such understanding, this study complements the standard accounts that stress strategic factors as the catalyst behind Turkey’s decision to initiate the 1998 October Crisis. There is no denying that standard accounts have significant merit in revealing the material dimension of the crisis. However, the crisis does also contain a cultural dimension that reveals the conditions of possibility for Turkey’s decision, missing in the standard accounts. Hence, the study looks into developments in 1998 which allowed for representations that linked the Syrian support for the PKK with Turkey’s Sèvres Syndrome, a discursive power practice within Turkey’s unique culture of insecurity that ‘great powers are conspiring to weaken and divide Turkey’.