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Turkish modernity and Kurdish ethno-nationalism

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2006
Ökem, Mekin Mustafa Kemal
This dissertation analyzes the context and discourse the Kurdish ethno-nationalism have emerged in modern Turkey. In a critical survey of a selected Kurdish nationalist theories, it tries to analyze the historical and contextual trajectory the nationalist discourse have assumed vis-à-vis Turkish modernity. A particular emphasis is given on how and on what basis Kurdish nationalism has questioned the formation and the sources of the legitimacy of the Turkish state and its role in the making of Turkish modernity. Kurdish nationalism, in doing so, defined and instrumentally utilized ethnicity, along with other aspects of cohesion such as Islam, socialism and traditional tribal solidarity since the 1920s. This study argues that modern Kurdish nationalist movement emerged by divorcing itself from the Turkish left in the 1960s. It proliferated in the 1970s and spiraled down to separatist violence in the 1980s. Violence has dominated and synchronized Kurdish nationalist discourse in the 1990s. It sought for international recognition and independent sovereignty by targeting the legitimacy of the Turkish state. The Kurdish nationalist movement moved along, in discourse and practice, around the issues related to the Turkish state, which has evolved with the changing and diversified context of international rights.