From Denial to Participation: Turkey’s Evolving Disclosure on Kurdish Nationalism

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9781503029804: From Denial to Participation: Turkey’s Evolving Disclosure on Kurdish Nationalism

Kurdish nationalism has been a central issue in domestic Turkish politics since the founding of the republic nearly a century ago. Since 1984, the insurgency waged by the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) has claimed the lives of over forty thousand citizens on both sides of the conflict. While Ankara has largely attempted to address the “Kurdish question” via military and security measures, unprecedented negotiations in the last year have raised hopes that a peace settlement may finally be within reach. While some observers are fearful that this round of talks will be yet another failed attempt to end the violence, this thesis seeks to explore whether recent changes in Turkey’s social and political landscape have increased the likelihood of a lasting resolution. The research is framed as a historical survey of critical political events and public discourse from prominent politicians and public figures, relying on a mix of primary and secondary sources. This thesis argues that three domestic shifts have indeed helped set the stage for a lasting solution: increased political opportunities for Kurdish activists, the end of military tutelage in security affairs, and the reframing of Turkish nationalism through the assertion of Ottoman-Islamic identity.

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