Reorienting the PKK: Rojava and the political thought of Abdullah Öcalan

Hosted by the Middle East Centre

Room 9.04, 9th Floor, Tower 2, 2 Clement's Inn, Mobil Court, WC2A 2AZ,


Dr Joost Jongerden

Wageningen University


Robert Lowe

LSE Middle East Centre


In its 1978 manifesto, the PKK declared the establishment of an independent state to be the most important political goal of any national liberation movement. Twenty years on, the party’s leader Abdullah Öcalan changed this when he developed an ideological framework based on the idea of self-governing, stateless societies as the best way of addressing socio-economic and socio-cultural injustices. Joost Jongerden explains this paradigm shift, which reoriented the PKK as well as other Kurdish movements in the Middle East.

Joost Jongerden is Assistant Professor at the Rural Sociology Group and the Center for Space, Place and Society at Wageningen University in the Netherlands. He is also a professor at the Asian Platform for Global Sustainability & Transcultural Studies at Kyoto University in Japan.

Robert Lowe is Deputy Director of the LSE Middle East Centre.

The LSE Middle East Centre (@LSEMiddleEast) builds on LSE's long engagement with the Middle East and North Africa and provides a central hub for the wide range of research on the region carried out at LSE.

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