Strategic Interaction of Governments and Terrorist Groups in Times of Economic Hardship
In this article, Tokdemir & Klein examine the strategic actions of governments against domestic terrorist groups and domestic terrorist groups’ reactions to such actions.
- Efe Tokdemir & Graig Klein
- 14 June 2021
- Strategic Interaction of Governments and Terrorist Groups in Times of Economic Hardship
When governments’ ability to maintain power is threatened, they use any tool at their disposal to re-establish or boost their survival. In this paper, Tokdemir & Klein theorize dyadic strategic choices and interactions between governments and domestic terrorist groups in times of economic turmoil. They contend that governments are more likely to increase their targeting of domestic terrorist groups, which provides legitimate opportunities to divert public attention from economic concerns and rally individuals around the flag. Meanwhile, observing such incentives, domestic terrorist groups make strategic decisions similar to those of interstate actors by either decreasing their attacks (strategic conflict avoidance) or increasing them (strategic conflict seeking) to add an inability to provide safety and security to the government’s existing struggles. Tokdemir & Klein test these competing hypotheses by leveraging two recently released event datasets focusing on the Turkey-PKK conflict. Their findings contribute to the terrorism studies literature on decision-making and strategic choices, and broader scholarship about conflict processes by testing conflict dynamics at the domestic level.