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NCJ Number: 229281 Find in a Library
Title: New Face of Terrorism in Turkey: Actor Unknown Political Murders
Journal: Journal of Forensic Sciences  Volume:54  Issue:6  Dated:November 2009  Pages:1388-1392
Author(s): Sadik Toprak, M.D.
Date Published: November 2009
Page Count: 5
Type: Historical Overview; Statistics
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This analysis of the temporal and spatial trends in “actor unknown” political murders in Turkey distinguishes these types of murders by chronological periods, profiles victims, and emphasizes the role of forensic services in preventing such murders.
Abstract: A total of 1,852 cases classified as “actor unknown” political murders occurred in Turkey between 1975 and 2006, with the peak years being 1980 and 1994. Turkey has undergone significant modernization since the 1960s, resulting in considerable political and social upheaval. Other factors have contributed to the volatility of this period, notably rapid urbanization due to migration from rural Turkey to the cities, economic hardship as employment failed to keep pace with the expanding urban population, political unrest in the southeastern Kurdish Provinces, and radical Islamic and leftist student movements. These issues have fueled terrorism and collective violence. During 1978 and 1979, for example, there were 5,241 deaths and 14,152 injuries that resulted from clashes between right-wing extremists, socialists, and Islamist groups in the streets of Turkey’s major cities. This study distinguishes three periods for “actor unknown” political murders: 1975-1993, 1994-1999, and 2000-2006. During 1975-1993, such cases were common all over Turkey. They are attributed to conflicts between right-wing and left-wing political advocates. During the second and third periods, such murders were more frequent in metropolitan areas and in the southeast. Most of the murders in these periods were related to Kurdish separatism. The victims in all the periods were mostly men with a mean age of approximately 33 years. Most were Turkish, and the most common cause of death was being shot with a firearm. Although the most critical factor in preventing these types of murders is a politically stable environment, forensic services can also play an important role. Turkey should improve its forensic services in order to meet international standards. 4 figures and 12 references
Main Term(s): Criminology
Index Term(s): Crime in foreign countries; Forensic sciences; Homicide causes; Homicide investigations; Homicide trends; Homicide victims; Politically motivated violent crimes; Terrorism causes; Turkey
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