Does Income Inequality Derive the Separatist Terrorism in Turkey?

DERİN GÜRE P., Elveren A. Y.

DEFENCE AND PEACE ECONOMICS, vol.25, no.3, pp.311-327, 2014 (SSCI) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 25 Issue: 3
  • Publication Date: 2014
  • Doi Number: 10.1080/10242694.2013.763627
  • Journal Indexes: Social Sciences Citation Index (SSCI), Scopus
  • Page Numbers: pp.311-327
  • Keywords: Economics of terrorism, Income inequality, Separatist terrorism, KURDISH QUESTION, POVERTY, ROOTS, DEMOCRACY, FREEDOM
  • Middle East Technical University Affiliated: Yes


Separatist terrorism has been a severe problem for Turkey since the mid-1980s. The conventional wisdom contends that economic deprivation in southeastern Turkey is the fundamental reason for the long-running battle against the Kurdish rebels. Considering that there is limited empirical literature on the roots of terrorism in Turkey, yielding conflicting results about the claim that the main cause of terrorism is deprived economic conditions, this study aims to answer whether there is a causal relationship between income inequality and separatist terrorism in Turkey. To this end, the Global Terrorism Data Base for the period of 1973-2006, two Theil indices of pay inequality as proxy for income inequality, and the vector autoregression and Autoregressive Moving Average (ARMA) methods are utilized. The results support the early findings that income inequality, a particular focus in this paper and an essential indicator of economic deprivation, is not a main cause of escalation of separatist terrorism in Turkey.