This chapter shows that Turkey has had some success dealing with terrorism through political liberalization spurred by the process of joining the European Union, though now it faces a renewed threat from the terrorism of Kurdish separatists and is under pressure to crack down. Traditionally, Turkey has faced three terrorist threats: leftist groups, radical Islamists, and Kurdish separatists. The leftist groups became largely irrelevant after the end of the Cold War. The incorporation of Islamist parties into the political system through democratizing reforms in the late 1990s and early 2000s led to a marginalization and weakening of domestic Islamist terrorism. However, even though the Kurds have gained additional freedoms, the PKK, the main terrorist group backing Kurdish independence, has recently increased its activities. In fact, the PKK has used the new liberties to organize and revive its strength. The government has stated its intention to address the political, economic, and cultural problems of the Kurdish people as a way of undermining the PKK's power. However, conservative critics argue that doing so would only legitimize the demands of the terrorists and Turkey would be better off confronting the terrorists head-on.
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