Turkish Islam and Kurdish difference

Mucahit Bilici


In this article I discuss the ways in which the Turkish state uses Islam as a weapon to delegitimize and render unnecessary Kurdish distinctiveness and associated rights claims. Drawing on the particular discourse employed by Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in a series of political rallies in Diyarbakır, the symbolic capital of Turkish Kurdistan, I highlight key patterns in the instrumentalization of religion to maintain Turkish dominance. The Kurdish question as it is experienced by Kurds of Turkey, contrary to expectations, is not at all a matter of “discrimination” and “otherization.” Rather, the Kurdish problem arises from a lack of recognition of the Kurds as a separate self.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.1086/718932