This work analyzes how and why protracted asymmetric conflict persists and changes. It argues that the paradigm of strategical calculations and choices provides more accurate answers to the question than the theory of symbolic group fears and myths. Ethnic and religious conflict occurs if and when parties do not possess credible information about the behavior of others. Also, likelihood of a conflict settlement depends on the probability of winning, the time estimate required to win, the cost rate of conflict, and the payoff values from winning. In fact, the recent transformations in asymmetric conflicts among the secular Kemalits, the Kurdish nationalists, and political Islamists in Turkey can be explained by the incentive-driven approaches. Due to the significant rise of pro-Islamic JDP and the sudden status change of Iraqi Kurds, the preferences of actors have been largely modified. In specific, given that the stakes of psychological conflict are not based on tangible materialistic resources and thus not dividable, the probability of settlement in identity asymmetry is higher than others. In turn, political control conflict deals with quite limited stakes and induces high competition. Thus, risk-aversion in political authority asymmetry is often enough to motivate conflict escalation.
Ⅱ. Explaining Ethnic and Religious Conflict: Symbolic Perceptions versus Strategical Choices
Ⅲ. Clarifying Continuities and Changes in Turkey’s symmetric Conflict
Ⅳ. The Transformed Preferences of Secular Kemalits, the Kurdish Nationalists, and Political Islamists in Turkey