Explaining state decisions to label violent groups as terrorists
Dingiltepe, Buse (2018) Explaining state decisions to label violent groups as terrorists. [Thesis]
In this thesis, I argue that states and international organizations’ designations of violent groups as terrorist organizations vary depending on the characteristics of terrorist organizations themselves and the countries they target. I predict that the following group characteristics increase the chances of being labeled as a terrorist: inflicting a higher number of attacks, killing civilians, having a religious identity and beginning to operate after 1997, the year that the United States for the first time published a terrorist organizations list. I also hypothesize that the following target country characteristics influence a group’s label: regime type of the target state, geographical region of the target state, designator’s trade and alliance ties to the target state. To test these predictions, I compile a new dataset and conduct linear regression analysis on 528 terrorist groups from 1909 to 2017. I analyze the official “terrorist organization” lists of Australia, Canada, India, Russia, the United Kingdom, the United States, Turkey, European Union and United Nations. My main finding is that a group’s religious identity, number of attacks and victims’ profile influence the decisions of all designator states. I also report a number of differences among different designator states and international organizations.
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