ISSN 2792-0518 (Print)
ISSN 2822-2334 (Online)

Centre of Gravity (COG) Analysis of Terrorist Organizations: PKK Example

30.06.2024 | Oğuzhan PEHLİVAN


This study aims to understand the center of gravity (COG) analysis, scrutinize its application to terrorist organizations by reviewing the examples in literature, and finally adapt this analytical tool to PKK terrorist organization at a strategic level. Strange (1996)’s approach to COG is based on three sub-components, which are enumerated as critical capabilities, requirements, and vulnerabilities. It is identified that Strange’s COG analysis is applicable and not obsolete for terrorist organizations. Furthermore, critical capabilities, requirements, and vulnerabilities of the PKK organization are asserted by analyzing at the strategic level. As a result of testing two hypotheses, it is found that PKK has no constant COG throughout its background, and its COG is changing according to the periods. Additionally, the COG of PKK is molting capability and adaptability in altering situations. In terms of the main pillars of the terrorist organizations in terms of the literature, while PKK has a heterarchical network, multi-financing domain, and foreign state support capacity, it has no constant ideology. It has been considered that the focal point of fighting against PKK should be on blocking the foreign state support capacity and multi-financing domains that are currently the critical capabilities of the PKK.

Key Words

Pehlivan, O. (2024). Centre of Gravity (COG) Analysis of Terrorist Organizations: PKK Case. Journal of Terrorism and Radicalization Studies, 3(2), pp.390-418, DOI: 10.61314/traddergi.1502822