Counterterrorism strategies that mainly rely on hard power have long been used to defeat terrorism. In recent years, governments have begun incorporating soft power approaches not as a substitute, but as a complementary strategy to be applied alongside hard power approaches. Disengagement and deradicalization programs are important components of soft power approaches, and are regarded as significant contributors to traditional counterterrorism methods. In this paper, we analyze a locally developed counterterrorism program in Turkey, which resulted in the disengagement and deradicalization of hundreds of militants.
In this paper we present an examination of a pilot program that focused on applying individual disengagement and deradicalization counterterrorism measures that was conducted by the Adana Police Department in Turkey between 2009 and 2015. This program was designed to reach out to the members of extremist groups and their families for the purpose of persuading them to disengage from their groups, change their radical mindsets, and help them reintegrate into society. We also discuss how the change in the government’s counterterrorism strategy from one which prioritizes the use of soft power approaches to another, which mostly utilizes the hard power approach, and almost completely discards the soft power method, influenced the implementation of the program.