Although scholarly attention on the Kurdish movement in Turkey and Syria has increased in recent years, structuralist analyses still dominate the understanding of politico-military developments in the context of the Kurdish question. This essay argues that grasping the causes behind the end of the peace process and the urban warfare that took place in the years 2015–16 requires a departure from both structuralist and liberal approaches. There is a need for agency-based analyses that take into account the strategic and organizational objectives of the movement, the divergence between the armed and political wings, and the bifurcation within the movement base in order to understand why the Kurdish movement, as an armed political organization, failed to promote revolutionary change with the campaign for self-governance. To this end, in addition to the interactions among the Turkish State, the Kurdish movement, and the movement base, the essay underlines the significant role that the movement-level dynamics have played during the years 2013–18.

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