Politicization of Kurdish identity and culture: A Scrutiny of Kurdish issue in Turkey

Hossein Hassanpashaei, Aydin Khaje, Mortaza Firuzi

Abstract


Turkish nationalism was the last project of the Young Turks and the CUP to save the Ottoman Empire`s integrity, which in the aftermath of the first World War and after the collapse of Ottoman Empire emerged with the nation state logic in the form of Republic of Turkey. Through the transition of the state from the imperial order to the form of a nation state entity, the collective identity components of the communities living in the Ottoman Empire were swallowed up into the unitary modern state with its Turkic ethnic roots. Passing nearly a century since the establishment of the Republic of Turkey, with reference to the setbacks that the Turkish state is suffering in its struggle with Kurdish movement in Turkey and partly beyond, seemingly the policy of assimilation and integration of Kurds has come to a failure. The question of this article would be: how has” the Kurdish issue” evolved from a cultural identity seeking set of demands into the political and armed movement with full-fledged self-determinist attitude we face today? This study hypothesizes that along with the making of Turkish national identity, and enforcement of bare assimilation policies, the Kurds have developed various measures in proportion to the enforced policies of the central government. Through an explanatory study, this article will examine the process that the Kurdish cultural identity in late Ottoman Empire in consequence of monopolization and institutionalization of culture in the form of national identity in modern Turkey, naturally adapted its political survival. In this essay, Turkish administrations` measures in regard to "the Kurdish issue" and the corresponding Kurdish reactions have respectively been considered as the independent and dependent variables. This interaction of the government with the Kurdish groups is examined in two periods: before and after the rise of the AKP to power.


Keywords


Kurdish issue, nation-state, the Peace Process, AKP, PKK, HDP.

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