upa-admin 28 Nisan 2014 7.645 Okunma 1


Kurdish question, Kurdish problem or the Kurdish opposition has always been a controversial issue in Turkey since the foundation of the Turkish Republic in 1923 both on national and international levels. The problem is often associated with the lack of Kemalist nationalism and the Turkish state in providing democratic cultural rights and an equal citizenship status for Kurds in Turkey. The question of Kurds in Turkey is not an easy-to-solve problem mostly because of the legal status of Kurds. According to the Lausanne Peace Treaty of 1923, Kurds which now constitute 10 to 15[1] or 10 to 20[2] percent of the total population are not accepted as a minority group but rather as principal elements, first-class citizens of the republic. Secondly, the concept of minority has been showing a great deal of difference in different time periods and in different contexts. Thirdly, although Kurds are not accepted as a minority group and some of them are strongly against to the idea of defining themselves as a minority group, their demands to take advantage of minority group rights in accordance with European Union criterion, makes the situation even more complex. Most importantly, official Kemalist nationalism which is mostly defended as a type of modern civic nationalism has always been very popular among the Turkish origin citizens of Turkish Republic although it includes some ethnic elements.

In her article “Turkey’s Kurdish Problem: A Critical Analysis of Boundaries, Identity and Hegemony”, Ümit Cizre publishes Piar-Gallup (1994) and TOBB (1995) researches’ results which prove the complexity and difficulty of solving this problem.  PIAR-GALLUP poll (1994) indicates that; 4.3 % of Kurdish population considers the Kurdish problem as a matter of independent Kurdish state whereas 6.4 % of the respondents label it as an issue of gaining autonomy. 28.1 % of the Kurdish respondents perceive it as a question of socioeconomic deprivation whereas the majority (51 %) of the respondents sees the problem as one of the ruthless repression by the state in the heavily Kurdish populated region of the south-east. On the other hand; 48.8 % of the Turkish respondents see the problem to be caused by a terrorist movement which aims to divide Turkey (Cizre, p. 222). These statistics show that the very majority of Kurdish population does not want an independent Kurdish state carved out of Turkey but nearly half of the Turkish population sees the problem solely as a terrorism issue. TOBB research which was conducted in 1995 also points out the same difficulty in overcoming strong nationalist republican reflexes about the Kurdish problem. According to this research, 13 % of Kurdish respondents sympathized with the idea of a completely independent Kurdish state whereas 42.5 % of respondents opted for a federal administrative structure (What they understand from federalism is freedom for cultural rights and conditions for living as a Kurd more than political autonomy) and 13 % of respondents emphasized the cultural autonomy without breaking up from the existing state (Cizre, p. 224). The emergence and the deeds of PKK, which led to the death of 30.000 Turkish citizens over the past 30 years, strengthen the belief that Kurdish opposition is not a simple discontent about democratization and liberalization but rather a plan of establishing an independent Kurdish state and makes the situation even more difficult to solve.

These results are significant and they take their roots from the problematic history of the interaction between two communities as well as the Kemalist nationalism which has some ethnic features hidden in its civic agenda.

Kurds in the Ottoman State

In order to understand Kurdish problem in Turkish Republic, one must first look at the situation of Kurds in the Ottoman Empire. Ottoman State was formed by Turkic Muslim tribes in the late 13th century and soon began to expand its territories. Ottoman Empire was an expansionist, multi-ethnic empire and Turks were only a part of Ottoman population. Roderic Davison gives the statistical proof about the heterogeneity of Ottoman population in the late 19th century. “In the Empire, Turkish population was only around 35 percent of the total population whereas Arabs constituted 13.8 percent, Romanians 11.4 percent, Bulgarians 7.8 percent, Serbo-Croatians 7 percent, Armenians 6.5 percent, Greeks 5.5 percent, Albanians 3.1 percent, Kurds 2.6 percent and Circassians 2.6 percent” (Davison, p. 31). People were separated as Muslim or non-Muslim and they called themselves as Ottoman rather than Turk or Kurd. This structure of Ottoman Empire was shaped by the “millet system” understanding (Oran, p. 36).

According to millet system, Ottoman State recognized differences among different social groups in the society according to the religious beliefs. Ethnic or linguistic differences were ignored and the society was basically divided into two groups: Muslims and non-Muslims. Non-Muslims including Greeks, Armenians and Jewish subjects of the state, were considered as minority groups. The protection of non-Muslim minority groups’ rights in Ottoman Empire was undertaken by European imperial powers and used as an issue to weaken the Ottoman state. Starting from 1839’s the Edict of Administrative Reforms (Tanzimat Fermanı), Ottoman State tried to make necessary reforms to satisfy European countries and prevent them in engaging in Ottoman State’s internal affaires. Except non-Muslim groups, all Muslim population was considered as first-class citizens and did not acquire the status of minority. Kurds were also part of the Muslim population and like all other Muslim groups, they were not considered as a minority group. They had relative autonomy but were still strongly tied to the central authority.

Kemalism and Kurds

Kemalist state’s attitude towards Kurds is a highly controversial but important issue for us to understand the essence of Kurdish opposition in Turkey. Mustafa Kemal Atatürk’s restrictive attitude towards Kurds has been generally criticized with today’s norms and rules. In fact, Atatürk unlike Turkish nationalists had always recognized the distinctiveness of Kurds. He called Turks and Kurds as “ırk kardeş” (brother-in-race)[3] because in his idea Turks and Kurds had many things in common and their cultures were very much alike.[4] Mustafa Kemal did not have a contact with Kurdish people until 1916, the time when he was promoted as Brigadier-General in Diyarbakır. Mustafa Kemal’s diary written at those years proves us his lack of knowledge and the sense of difference he had about Kurds. “Mustafa Kemal’s tone is remarkably detached: he observes his surroundings with the curiosity of an outsider. He does not express any views on the Kurds” (Mango, p. 2). Mustafa Kemal also once said that “I am in favor of granting all manner of rights and privileges in order to ensure the attachment and the prosperity and progress of our Kurdish brothers, on condition that the Ottoman State is not split up” (Mango, p. 7). Moreover, in his speeches in the first Turkish Grand National Assembly before the establishment of the Republic, he carefully used the term “People of Turkey” (Türkiye halkı) instead of Turks. In fact, Atatürk in the early 1920’s even toyed with the idea of giving local autonomy to Kurds. “As for areas inhabited by Kurds, we consider it a necessity both of our domestic and of our foreign policy to set up a local government gradually” (Mango, p. 13). “As a result, wherever the population of a district is Kurdish, it will govern itself automatically” (Mango, p. 15). During the years of Turkish Independence War (1919-1922), Mustafa Kemal did not act harshly towards Kurds because Kurds were supporting the National Struggle and Atatürk was not willing to lose the Kurdish support. Professor Özbudun also points out this tolerant attitude of Kemalism towards Kurds during the National Struggle.[5] Islam was also heavily used by Atatürk during the years of National Struggle in order to mobilize Anatolian people (Zürcher, pp. 162-163).

Kurdish nationalism appeared very lately during the last years of the Ottoman Empire and some Kurdish nationalist organizations such as Society for the Rise of Kurdistan (Kürt Teali Cemiyeti) were established. During the years of National Struggle, Kurds fought against imperial powers alongside with Turks. Kurdish problem showed itself seriously first time in 1925 with the Sheikh Said Revolt. Sheikh Said was a religious, Kurdish landowner who had good connections and reputation in the eastern and south eastern parts of the Anatolia. By making agreements with Kurdish landowners of the region who want to establish an independent Kurdistan state, Said started a huge revolt and became a headache for the young republic for a few months. Sheikh Said Revolt is often introduced as an Islamic revolt but in reality there are many other reasons behind Said’s rebellion such as the desires of Kurdish people to create an independent state, the reaction of Kurdish landowners to the probable land reform project of the Republic and reactionary groups’ anger towards the Westernization reforms of new secular state. Sheikh Said Revolt was suppressed by the state in few months and by the Maintenance of Order Law (Takrir-i Sükun Kanunu) harsh punishments were given to people who engaged in the revolt. Atatürk’s relatively tolerant attitude towards Kurds began to change after the Sheikh Said rebellion. “Two years later, on 8 December 1925, the Ministry of Education announced in a proclamation on ‘Currents trying to undermine Turkish unity’ that use of the terms Kürt, Laz, Çerkez, Kürdistan, and Lazistan would be banned” (Zürcher, p. 176).

Another revolt called Dersim Rebellion took place in Tunceli in 1937. Dersim Revolt is known as a Kurdish-Alawite rebellion but there were still many other factors such as the feudal landlord of Dersim Seyid Rıza’s opposition to the Kemalist state. Dersim (Tunceli) city in the southeast Anatolia was bombed several days during the revolt. Thousands of people died during the clash between soldiers and rebels. These two events had become very influential in the rise of Turkish Republic’s harsh attitude towards Kurds. Although Kemalist Turkish state never adopted a racist approach and defined Turkishness as a civic identity, Turkish Republic did not exactly act in conformity with the conditions of the Lausanne Peace Treaty (Oran, p. 54). For instance, in contrary to the obligations of the Lausanne Treaty, Kurdish language and Kurdish names were banned. Article 39 of the Lausanne Peace Treaty is as following; “No restrictions shall be imposed on the free use by any Turkish national of any language in private intercourse, in commerce, religion, in the press, or in publications of any kind or at public meetings. Notwithstanding the existence of the official language, adequate facilities shall be given to Turkish nationals of non-Turkish speech for the oral use of their own language before the Courts” (Oran, p. 57). Especially in the 1930s, at a time period when the fascism and ultra-nationalism was the rising trend all over the world, Kurdish speaking citizens were punished and no adequate facilities were shown to non-Turkish speaking people in the courts. Although many of these practices began in the 1930s, the time of the fascism, which can be an excuse for Turkey’s harsh attitude, Turkish Republic did not want to renounce from this understanding until very recent years. Ergun Özbudun also tries to approach to the issue by understanding the historical conditions of the period and states that Kemalism should be assessed as a total discourse.[6]

According to Ümit Cizre, the earlier Kurdish opposition had an Islamic character coming from the Kurdish communal identity which was based on the Khalidiya branch of Naqshbandi sect (Cizre, p. 238). Cizre also asserts that the exclusion of Islam from the official Kemalist nationalism created a cleavage within the society in addition to an identity crisis and forced the state to give an existential emphasis to territorial borders (Cizre, p. 229). Unlike the earlier Kurdish opposition movements which had an Islamic flavor, starting from the 1960s, pro-Kurdish cause is mostly defended by secular leftist groups and Kurdish opposition appeared more violently the late 1970s and early 1980s with the PKK terrorism which led to the death of 30.000 Turkish citizens. Kurdistan Workers’ Party known as PKK was established by Abdullah Öcalan in the late 1970s (on 7 November 1978). Öcalan started a separatist guerilla movement in the southeastern part of the country and his organization soon began to gain power. PKK became a real trouble for Turkish state in the 1980s and 1990s and the country faced with the danger of a civil war. PKK took support from some European countries and some neighbor countries of Turkey including Syria, Greece and Iran. The aim of PKK at those years was to create an independent Kurdish state in the south eastern part of Turkey and the ideology of the movement was Marxism-Leninism. Kurdish opposition not only existed in the form of terrorism but also in the democratic political arena through some pro-Kurdish political parties such as HEP (People’s Labor Party), DEP (Democracy Party), HADEP (People’s Democracy Party) and DEHAP. These parties, except four DEP deputies that entered into parliament due to the coalition between SHP (Social Democrat Populist Party) and DEP, did not have chance to be represented in the parliament because of the 10 % electoral threshold until recent years.

Nationalism Theories: A Short Summary of the Literature

Constructivist works within the post-structuralism wave, like Benedict Anderson’s Imagined Communities, analyze the creation of national subjects by making discourse analysis and do not give important to primordial characteristics. They approach to nation state building processes solely as artificial projects and analyze the working of complex nationalist discourse by which people construct their identities. According to constructivism, nationalism produces nations, rather than the vice versa and nations are the products of modernity. Nationalist elites “invent” and “imagine” nations by means of cultural and social constructs. The constructivist idea is that “the contemporary scene is essentially fragmented and cosmopolitan; it has no place for communities of devotion and purpose, for the moral community or the sacred communion of the nation” (Smith, p. 60). However, constructivist approach can be criticized from different points. First of all, the constructivists were arguing that nation is a constructed unit and that it is an unreal community. Once it is deconstructed, it will lose its binding significance. But despite there have been many attempts by constructivists in this direction, the idea of nation is still attractive and mobilizing numerous people in the world. Secondly, the elitist attributions to the nation invention process by constructivists imply that the idea of nation has no popular basis and that only the elite layer – politicians, bureaucrats, officers, aristocrats and intellectuals – can influence the population. But there are many instances where the opposite is observed. Thirdly, constructivists are unable to understand and credit the emotional depth of loyalties to historical nations and nationalisms. People refer to nationalism because it answers their changing needs and interests in a secular world. Lastly, contrary to the constructivist argument that the past is shaped according to present interests and needs, it is argued that the past also has the power to shape the present by defining the parameters and traditions for present understandings, needs, and interests.

Ethnosymbolic approach, which is created by Anthony D. Smith on the other hand, claims that the roots of the modern nations and nationalisms go back to earlier collective cultural identities and sentiments. These earlier social assets are studies under the topics of la longue duree,ethnieandnation, ethnic myths, memories and symbols; ethnic bases of nations; routes of nation formation; the role of nationalism; and persistence and change of nations. First critical concern, “la longue duree” is a term also used by Fernand Braudel and other members of Annales history school, which is consisted of recurrence (some modern nations were conforming with the definition of nation in their older forms, such as Armenians and Jews), continuity (institutionalized elements and processes of some nations can be traced back through the generations) and appropriation (the rediscovery, authentication and appropriation of the ethnic past by later generations) (Smith, p. 63). Secondly, the term “ethnie” is about the pre-modern basis of nations who can be called as “asabiyya” using Ibn Khaldun’s terminology. Unlike Benedict Anderson, Anthony D. Smith believes in the existence of a core “ethnie” that plays the central role in the formation of nation states (Smith, p. 65). Without a strong ethnie, it would be very difficult for nation states to provide their continuity. Thirdly, ethnic myths, memories and symbols are also very important in analyzing nationalism and nation states. The myth of being ancestrally related, the idea of being selected, memories of communal experiences, religion and its institutions, and common cultural symbols created upon these things can generate a powerful sense of belonging. (Smith, p. 67) The distinctive feature and the gist of Smith’s Ethnosymbolic approach is that “the upshot of the examination of histories of nation has been to show that we can best grasp the character, role and persistence of the nation in history if we relate it to the symbolic components and ethnic models of earlier collective cultural identities.” (Smith, p. 77)

Although constructivist approach allows a more comfortable ground for analyzing the homogenizing nationalist discourse of nation states, Smith’s idea about “ethnie” makes more sense since many of the nation states do not survive. Without a core and strong ethnie, states may not keep its citizens loyal to the state especially in the times of crisis. Another important discussion about nationalism is about the civic and ethnic nationalism dichotomy. According to George Schöpflin, “the distinction between the civic and ethic dimensions of nationhood is an extremely valuable one” (Schöpflin, p. 298). By this distinction, Schöpflin claims, people are able to extend the range of analysis into sub-state nationalism and to understand the nature of the difference between the assimilation and integration of ethnic minorities. Schöpflin also asserts that although civic nationalism is identified with democratic states, in a sense all states regardless of their system have a homogenizing impact on their citizens’ identity formation. Even communist states can be said to offer “pseudo-civic identities” to their citizens (Schöpflin, p. 298). However, Schöpflin claims that although this dichotomy is very beneficial, this may not prevent people to notice that there might have hidden problems in the civic identities. “By and large there is a tacit, sometimes explicit, assumption that democratic states are free of the taint of ethnicity and that the democratic states are free of the taint of ethnicity and that democratic nation treats all its citizens, equally, regardless of ethnicity, religion, creed, race, etc. One of the arguments to follow is that things are not quite as true as they might seem at first sight and that civic identities can, indeed, hide quite significant non-civic agendas and identities” (Schöpflin, p. 299). Schöpflin also analyzes the concept of Englishness and points out that there are some ethnic and class-based elements in civic English nationalism. In his view, a total civic identity is not possible and “even when a civic identity presents itself as civic and denies its ethnic content, this is not more than a self-legitimating discourse” (Schöpflin, p. 300) because “it was crucial that in these civic polities there should already exist a reasonable degree of cultural homogeneity” (Schöpflin, p. 301).

Bernard Yack on the other hand, in his article “The Myth of the Civic Nation”, claims that there is a strong connection between cultural and political identities and a new way of imagining community has developed simultaneously with the emergence of modern states (Yack, p. 103). Yack thinks that this internalized dichotomy is a kind of “myth” and he is very skeptical about “this familiar contrast between civic and ethnic nationalism” (Yack, p. 105). Yack later explains the importance of consent or “daily plebiscite” in Ernst Renan’s term, in modern states which necessitates states to fill civic nationalism with ethnic elements that will provide cultural homogeneity and strengthen the ties between people as a whole. Yack criticizes Jürgen Habermas’ concept of “constitutional patriotism” for having ethnic and militarist elements (Yack, p. 108). What Yack basically claims is that the dichotomy of civic-ethnic nationalism is not real since civic nationalisms are also full of ethnic elements.

In his book Nationalist Exclusion and Ethnic Conflict: Shadows of Modernity, Andreas Wimmer basically argues that in the transition from the rule of kings, caliphs or communist cadres to the democratic, egalitarian nation state, the weakness of the state apparatus or the absence of a strong civil society lead to the politicization of ethnic difference and ethnicization of political conflicts. During the time of multi-ethnic empires, although there was some political mobilization among ethnic lines, for the crown loyalty was the only matter. Thus, for instance, Spanish crown did not hesitate to grant privileges to Basque region. However, this started to become a problem when Spanish nation-state was tried to be established. Similarly, the Northern Ireland issue originally developed within the framework of a medieval relationship indigenous peasants and conquering overlords and their dependents. According to Wimmer, the politicization of ethnic difference takes place in two different ways. First of all, when a majority of population with a tradition of political centralization takes over the apparatus, ethnicization of the state and bureaucracy occurs automatically (Argentina and Egypt examples). In the newly established or independent countries, the state’s elite may see themselves as the representatives of the largest ethnic group and they may try to increase their legitimacy by favoring the majority against the minorities. By this way, the minority groups which are at the peripheries of the state are not taken into consideration considering the politics of infrastructural development, educational reform, linguistic standardization, growth promotion and wealth distribution (Wimmer, p. 92). Secondly, the ethnicization of politics and bureaucracy can take place via the formation of clientelist networks. This is less self evident and needs to be analyzed more closely. In newly established states, especially in those where weak states exist, modern goods (equal treatment before the law, protection from arbitrary violence, political participation etc) cannot be spread equally over the entire population simply because the state is not strong enough. In this kind of states, favoritism solves the problem. It allows state elite to strengthen their position and have political support (Wimmer, p. 93). Usually, it is the educated middle class who are the most interested in the politics of ethnic representation and who suffer most from ethnic preference politics since they are the ones who fill the governmental offices. The vast majority of ethno-nationalist movements are led by educated middle class (Wimmer, p. 95).

Ethnic Elements in Kemalist Nationalism

Vatandaş İçin Medeni Bilgiler (Civilization Information for Citizens) was written in 1929 by Afet İnan[7] and published in 1931 with some additions made by Mustafa Kemal Atatürk. İnan wrote this book with the aim of creating a source for Turkish citizens to learn more about the aims and principles of the new republic. The book was also used as a main school textbook until the 1950s. Although the book is not very long, it covers very important topics like the principles of Turkish Republic, rights and duties of Turkish citizens and even a short history of Turks. The book is also interesting because of its dense nationalist discourse and efforts to give self-confidence to Turkish citizens by expressing the glorious past of Turks. The book also tries to show how a good Turkish citizen should think and act. Although the author of the book is shown as Afet İnan, many people in Turkey believe that İnan acted as the voice of Atatürk in writing this book.

Kemalist version of Turkishness is often said to be a civic nationalism because it offers equal treatment to all people who call themselves as Turk. For Atatürk, race is not a valid ground for citizenship and thus, he preferred a French Revolution style citizenship concept. In his article “The Fall and Rise of Nationalism”, David McCrone talks about the differences between “ius soli”and “ius sanguinis”, soil and blood based citizenship understandings (McCrone, p. 8). One must put Kemalist nationalism definitely on the “ius soli” side since the young Republic considered every individuals saying “How Happy Who Says I’m a Turk” (Ne Mutlu Türküm Diyene) as Turkish citizens and did not make racial or religious discrimination. Thus, Kemalist nationalism should be considered as very modern for its own time when imperialism and racism were very popular among the European nation states.

In Vatandaş İçin Medeni Bilgiler, İnan acting as the voice of Atatürk, clearly expresses that Turkey is a monolingual country and the language of Turks is Turkish. To create a new, common and modern language was a very important part of Turkish state building project because it allowed people to speak, write in the same language and take advantage from what Benedict Anderson calls as the “simultaneity”. Simultaneity is the idea of Benedict Anderson in his famous book Imagined Communities, which basically expresses the importance of the language which bonds people together via journals, dialogues, radios and televisions and tie them tight by making them living in the same lantern. People in Diyarbakır and İstanbul began to hear same news, talk about same matches after the widespread of national language. Due to simultaneity, although people in Diyarbakır and Istanbul were very different from each other and they have never met before, they started to conceive themselves as members of the same solid community. So, simultaneity made the imagined nation real by making people to feel like they are from the same village and served as a mean of assimilation for ethnic minorities.[8]

In this book, İnan defined Anatolia as “Türk Eli, Türk Yurdu” by making reference to approximately 1000 years old Turkish presence in Anatolia. This fatherland image is often used in nationalist movements to increase the belonging of citizens to their territory. One other interesting part of the book is about some phrases pointing out the similar physical appearances of Turks. There are also some nationalist and even arrogant phrases about Turks and Turkishness. This was made probably deliberately by İnan and Atatürk in order to increase the self-confidence of Turkish people after the loss of a great empire.

Another very important part of the book is about Kemalist perspective for religion. There are some harsh criticisms about the effects of Islam over Turkish people in the book.[9] Afet İnan and some other positivist-minded revolutionaries in the Turkish Republic believed that Islam was a barrier to Turkishness and caused no advantages to Turks. On the contrary, it caused the fall of Turkish enthusiasm and nationalist feelings in their idea. She also stated that Islam is based on Arab nationalism and this is not very appropriate for Turks.[10] According to İnan, the umma (ümmet) understanding of Islam, which was used by the Ottoman Empire, caused the suppression of Turkish nationalism. She was also critical of the call to prayer that was made in Arabic language. In her idea, this created a nation that does not know what and how to believe.[11] One of the earlier things made by Atatürk in the following years was to translate prayer to call in Turkish language.

The book is also important to understand the Turkification efforts in the country in the 1930s. According to Martin Van Bruinessen, the deeds of the Republican elite in the 1930s are clear examples of the culturally “racial, hereditary characteristic” of Kemalist nationalism (Bruinessen, p. 2). Bruinessen gives many examples from RPP members and ideologues. For instance, Minister of Justice Mahmut Esat Bozkurt once said; “It is my firm opinion, and let friend and foe hear it, that the lords of this country are the Turks. Those who are not real Turks (öz Türk) have only one right in the Turkish fatherland, and that is the right to be servants and slaves” (Bruinessen, p. 4). Tekin Alp’s (Moiz Kohen) “Ten Commandments” to Jewish community in Turkey (Bruinessen, p. 8), the deeds of Turkish Hearts (Türk Ocakları) (Bruinessen, p. 7) and the medical metaphor used by the Interior Ministry inspector Hamdi Bey[12] are other examples given by Bruinessen. The establishment and the deeds some state institutions such as People’s Home (Halk Evleri) and Village Institutes (Köy Enstitüleri) are nothing but other examples of Turkification policy of the state for Zürcher (Zürcher, p. 177).


Although some points made by critics of Kemalist nationalism such as Erik Jan Zürcher and Martin Van Bruinessen correctly point out some ethnic elements involved in the Kemalist nationalism, they still do not prove that the official state ideology was based on the discrimination of a particular group (Kurds) before the law. Kemalist nationalism was based on “ius soli” principle and did not offer a blood-based racial citizenship. In that sense, Kemalism never lost its civic character as an ideology although many problems took place between Kurdish people and some Turkish state officials throughout the Turkish Republican history.

The problem in Turkey today on other hand, is different from this historical issue. In contemporary Turkey, the problem is that some of the Kurds are not satisfied with equal citizenship offered by the Turkish state under the name of “Turkish nation” (Türk milleti). They want their ethnic identity to be written into the constitution and ask for decentralization reforms which could eventually turn into break-up scenarios. Until now, these demands are seen as too risky for the Turkish state. Thus, Kurdish question is still not an easy problem to solve.

Assist. Prof. Dr. Ozan ÖRMECİ




–          Anderson, Benedict, Imagined Communities, 1991, London, New York: Verso.

–          Cizre, Ümit (2002), “Turkey’s Kurdish Problem: A Critical Analysis of Boundaries, Identity and Hegemony” in Rightsizing the State: The Politics of Moving Borders (eds. by Ian Lustick, Brendan O’Leary and Thomas Callaghy), Oxford: Oxford University Press.

–          Davison, Roderic (1979), “Nationalism as an Ottoman Problem and the Ottoman Response” in Nationalism in a Non-national State: The Dissolution of the Ottoman Empire (eds. by William W. Haddad & William Ochsenwald), Columbus: Ohio State University Press.

–          Heper, Metin (2007), “The State and the Kurds in Turkey: The Question of Assimilation”, Houndsmill, Basingstone, Hampshire, U.K.: Macmillan/Palgrave.

–           “Lausanne Treaty”, HR-net (Hellenic Resources Network), Retrieved from

–          Mango, Andrew (1999), “Atatürk and the Kurds”, Middle Eastern Studies, Vol. 35, No. 4, Seventy-Five Years of the Turkish Republic (Oct., 1999), pp. 1-25.

–          Oran, Baskın (2000), Türkiye’de Azınlıklar: Kavramlar, Lozan, İç Mevzuat, İçtihat, Uygulama, İstanbul: TESEV Yayınları.

–          Özbudun, Ergun (2004), Contemporary Turkish Politics: Challenges to Democratic Consolidation, London: Lynne Rienner Publishers.

–          Özbudun, Ergun (1998), “Milli Mücadele ve Cumhuriyet’in resmi Belgelerinde Yurttaşlık ve Kimlik Sorunu” in 75 Yılda Tebaa’dan Yurttaş’a Doğru (eds. by Artun Ünsal) , İstanbul: Tarih Vakfı Yayınları.

–          İnan, Afet (1931), Vatandaş İçin Medeni Bilgiler, İstanbul: Devlet Matbaası.

–          McCrone, David (1998), “The Fall and Rise of Nationalism” in The Sociology of Nationalism (eds. by David McCrone), London: Routledge.

–          Schöpflin, George (2000), “Citizenship, Ethnicity and Cultural Reproduction”, Nations, Identity, Power, New York: New York University Press.

–          Smith, Anthony D. (2000), The Nation in History, Historiographic debates about Ethnicity and Nationalism, Cambridge: Polity Press.

–          Van Bruinessen, Martin (1997), “Race, Culture, Nation and Identity Politics in Turkey: Some Comments”, Paper presented at the conference on Identity and Nationalism in Turkey convened by Ertegün Endowment and the Dept. Of Near Eastern Studies, Princeton University April 1997.

–          Wimmer, Andreas (2002), Nationalist Exclusion and Ethnic Conflict – Shadows of Modernity, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

–          Yack, Bernard (1999), “The Myth of the Civic Nation” in Theorizing Nationalism (eds. by Ronald Beiner), Albany: State University of New York Press, pp. 103-118.

–          Zürcher, Erik Jan (2000), “Young Turks, Ottoman Muslims and Turkish Nationalists: Identity Politics (1908-1938) in Ottoman Past and Today’s Turkey (eds. by Kemal Karpat), Leiden, Boston, Köln: Brill.



[1] Özbudun, Ergun, Contemporary Turkish Politics: Challenges to Democratic Consolidation, p. 143.

[2] Heper, Metin, The State and the Kurds in Turkey: The Question of Assimilation, p. 1.

[3] Mango, Andrew, “Atatürk and the Kurds”, p. 6.

[4] Metin Heper also asserts that Kurds and Turks throughout their common history in Anatolia had gone through a process of acculturation and have very similar cultures. “In brief, both before, during, and after the troubles of the 1920’s-1930’s and 1980’s-1990’s, the state has not resorted to forceful assimilation of the Kurds, because for the long centuries Kurds in Turkey had gone through a process of acculturation, or steady disappearance of cultural distinctiveness as a consequence of unforced assimilation.” (Heper, p. 4).

[5] “Atatürk’ün 1 Mayıs 1920 günü TBMM’de yaptığı konuşma da, kendisinin bu konudaki duyarlılığını çok iyi ifade etmektedir. ‘Burada maksut olan ve Meclis-i âlinizi teşkil eden zevat yalnız Türk değildir, yalnız Çerkeş değildir, yalnız Kürt değildir, yalnız Laz değildir.’” (Özbudun, “Milli Mücadele ve Cumhuriyet’in resmi Belgelerinde Yurttaşlık ve Kimlik Sorunu”, p. 153).

[6] “Üstelik, 1930’lu yıllar gibi Avrupa’nın çok büyük bölümüne otoriter, ırkçı milliyetçilik anlayışının egemen olduğu bir dönemde, bunun bizce tali bazı yönlerinin Türkiye’de görülmesi değil, bu etkinin bu kadar sınırlı kalmış olması hayret edilecek bir husustur. Bir siyasal söylemin sağlıklı olarak değerlendirilmesi, o söylemin bir bütün olarak ve dönemin şartları içinde incelenmesini, ana doğrultularıyla geçici ve tali sapmaların birbirinden ayrılmasını gerektirir. Kemalizmin milliyetçilik söylemi bir kül halinde ele alındığında, onun hukuki ve kültürel cephesinin çok daha ağır bastığına kuşku yoktur.” (Özbudun, “Milli Mücadele ve Cumhuriyet’in resmi Belgelerinde Yurttaşlık ve Kimlik Sorunu”, p. 158).

[7] Turkish historian and sociologist (1908-1985). She was one of the adopted daughters of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk.

[8] “The idea of a sociological organism moving calendrically through homogenous, empty time is a precise analogue of the idea of the nation, which also is conceived as a solid community moving steadily down (or up) history.” (Anderson, p. 26).

[9] “Türkler, İslam dinini benimsemeden önce de büyük bir ulus idi. Bu dini benimsedikten sonra, bu din, ne Arapların, ne aynı dinde bulunan İranlıların, ne de Mısırlıların ve başkalarının Türklerle birleşip bir ulus oluşturmalarına yol açtı. Tersine, Türk ulusunun ulusal bağlarını gevşetti; ulusal duygularını, ulusal coşkusunu uyuşturdu.” (İnan, p. 18).

[10] “Çünkü Muhammed’in kurduğu din bütün ulusallıkların üstünde yaygın bir Arap ulusçuluğu politikasına dayanıyordu.” (İnan, p. 18).

[11] “Bununla birlikte Allah’a kendi ulusal dilinde değil, Allah’ın Arap budununa gönderdiği Arapça kitapla ibadet ve duada bulunacaklardı. Bu durum karşısında Türk ulusu birçok yüzyıllar boyunca ne yaptığını, ne yapacağını bilmeksizin, adeta bir sözcüğün bile anlamını anlamadan Kuran’ı ezberleyip beyni sulanmış hafızlara döndüler.” (İnan, p. 18).

[12] “Cumhuriyet devrinin, şiarı, memleketin esaslı ihtiyaçlarını esasından tedavi etmek ve asıl hastalığı tedavi eylemek olduğu için burada da mednei usullerle bir tedbir düşündü.” (Bruinessen, p. 6).

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