The New Ottoman Citizen: Moderate Islamism and Kurdish Reforms in The Context of Neo-Ottoman Citizenship

The June 8, 2013 cover of The Economist featured the face of Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, superimposed on the reclining, robed body of a 16th century Ottoman sultan, complete with prayer beads and a crown worthy of Suleiman the Magnificent.[1] It reads, “Democrat or Sultan?: Erdoğan and the Turkish Upheaval.” Published during the midst of last summer’s monumental Gezi Park protests, “Sultan” Erdoğan’s image on this magazine cover betrays much more than the cleverness and humor of The Economist’s graphic design team: it reveals a recent trend in Turkish politics and nationalism. Ninety years since the destruction of the Ottoman Empire and the foundation of the secular Turkish Republic, Turkey’s leadership—headed by the moderate Islamist Justice and Development Party (Adalet ve Kalkınma Partisi, or AKP) and Prime Minister Erdoğan—now approaches the question of Turkey’s Ottoman past and national identity in new ways. As Turkey has grown into a substantial economic player on the global stage, courted the European Union, and received praise from the West for its success as a “Muslim democracy,” Erdoğan’s AKP has become a national powerhouse, but one conflict above all has presented a constant roadblock to international recognition of Turkey’s transition into modern, post-Cold War liberalism: the fate of the millions of Kurds whose cultural expression has been repressed since the days of the Young Turks. This paper will explore how and why the AKP’s embrace and exploration of a neo-Ottoman image of modern Turkish nationalism presents possible solutions to the “Kurdish problem” while simultaneously making the AKP’s attempts at reconciliation more difficult. Here, the definition of the Turkish citizenry, the nation’s historic and ardent attachment to secular Kemalism, and the politics of the European Union interact to produce a complex picture of the AKP’s neo-Ottomanism and its effects on a Kurdish solution.

Before presenting the modern dynamic between the AKP, the Kurds, and the neo-Ottoman image, it is necessary to explain the history of the Kurdish people in Turkey, the short life of Ottomanism in the nineteenth century, and the effects of the founding of the modern Turkish Republic by Mustafa Kemal Atatürk. While the origins of the Kurds remains a topic of contemporary scholarly debate, there is some consensus that, by the 7th century, the Kurdish people could be identified as “Western Iranians and the other Iranicised peoples established astride the mountain systems of the Zagros and the eastern extension of Taurus,” what is today the area at the intersection of the borders of western Iran, northern Iraq, northern Syria, and southeastern Turkey.[2] Given the region’s harsh and mountainous terrain, Kurds have been unable to foster the political unity of many of their neighboring ethnic groups.[3] While Kurdish vernaculars all are believed to come from the same mother tongue of Median,[4] the three Kurdish dialects show “marked differences in vocabulary, pronunciation, and grammar,” as different, according to some, as English and German.[5] In addition to language, the strategic baiting of superpowers and tribal and clan loyalties have kept the Kurds from uniting for a common cause, even in national uprisings within a single state where Kurds live.[6]

Despite this lack of unity for most Kurds, a Kurdish nationalist movement began in the waning days of the Ottoman empire in the nineteenth century with the use of printing, the creation of the first Kurdish newspaper, Kurdistan, and the onset of other nationalist movements of other subject peoples, such as the Arabs or Armenians.[7] The prospects of a nascent Kurdish nationalism were at their height with the creation of the League of Nations and Woodrow Wilson’s 14 Points Program, which demanded that the subject nationalities of the Ottoman Empire, at the conclusion of World War I, “should be assured…an absolute, unmolested opportunity for autonomous development.” The Treaty of Sèvres, signed in August 1920, solidified this prospect by providing for the recognition, in concert with the Covenant of the League of Nations, of independent states not only for Arabs and Armenians but also for Kurds, dismantling Turkish Anatolia in the process.[8] However, with the rise of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk and the founding of the Turkish Republic on the basis of a strong Turkish ethnic identity, this recognition was denied, with the 1923 Treaty of Lausanne replacing the Treaty of Sèvres.

With the advent of Kemalism, which denied a sovereign Kurdistan and promoted an extreme form of secularism, known as laicism (in which the state controls religious expression), frustrated former-subject peoples were forced into a strictly Turkish conception of the state that repressed both religious observance and expressions of Kurdish culture, and rebelled in response. The first rebellion, in 1925, was “primarily religious, a protest against the abolition of the Caliphate and the laicization of the State,” led by Shaykh Said of Palu, but the second, led by Ihsan Nuri in 1930, was structured by a committee named the Khoybun (being-oneself), created a provisional Kurdish capital at Mount Ararat, and appealed to the League of Nations for recognition.[9] This history advances two points. First, Kurdish nationalism arguably constituted a response to repression from the early days of Kemalism and the founding of the Republic. Second the common repression faced by religious Muslims and Kurds during this period, as evidenced by the religiosity of early uprisings, led to the forging of a bond between these two groups both in their own eyes and in the eyes of oppressors. The advent of the AKP thus created a particular opportunity to address the “Kurdish problem” but also made both groups a perceived threat to the Kemalist center.

On its surface, discourse surrounding the Turkish state and “Turkishness” since the creation of the Republic generally “avoided recognizing the Kurdishness of the Kurdish question” even as the Turkish government dealt with the uprisings and movements the Kurdish question provoked.[10] Turkish officials simply “assumed” there were no “Kurdish people” in Turkish territory[11] or explained away supposed differences with claims that Kurds were just “Mountain Turks,” descended from the same original Turkish tribes, who had forgotten their Turkishness and language,[12] with this discourse partially shaping present-day proposals for resolutions to the Kurdish question.

More than just avoidance, Turkey at the formation of the Republic, on the brink of dismantling by European powers, enforced an “intensive programme of national homogenization” to address an existential need for national unity, strength, and territorial security in the wake of the fall of the Ottomans.[13] Unity, a solution to the post-World War I divisions embodied in Sèvres, also represented a break from the Ottoman past and an emulation of the modern nation-states of the West. The Republican People’s Party—Cumhuriyet Halk Partisi or CHP—of Atatürk portrayed the new Turkish nation as a “social and political whole formed by citizens that are united by a common language, culture and objective.”[14] Claiming that Turks were the fount of all civilizations, the “Turkish History Thesis” boosted Turkish pride in the wake of the humiliation of WWI and Sèvres, while the “Sun Theory of Language” asserted that all world languages descended from Turkish.[15]

In addition to the CHP’s emulation of the West in its European-inspired vision for the social and political structure of the Turkish nation-state, Turkish national discourse reacted against what it saw as the causes for the weaknesses of the late Ottoman social fabric, also tied to the to the scapegoated Kurds. Ottoman society in the late 19th century was comprised of millets, semi-independent ethnic and religious legal communities within the empire, with the Empire thus a multi-ethnic, multi-religious, and decentralized state, without an ethnic hierarchy.[16] The relationship between the periphery and the center in the Ottoman Empire was one of “articulation” not of “exclusion,” in which ethnic and religious minorities received recognition from the center without the tyranny of majority groups while at the same time enjoying less than full autonomy. This social system lasted until the end of the 19th century when, to “resist the west,” “the Ottoman state had to be made more like the ‘west’ by means of its reformation and modernization along Western and European lines,” abandoning the “ethnic separatism” that was perceived as another element in the erosion of the Ottoman Empire.[17] These changes, carried into full swing with the creation of the Turkish Republic, a project truly in emulation of the West, “had the effect of repressing the periphery” through centralization.[18]

This history, the existential concerns of the early Republic and its emulations of the West, complicate understandings of the nature of the repression of the Kurds today. The Turks did not just deny the existence of Kurds. Rather, as illustrated by the vocabulary of nationalist speeches from the time, they associated Kurdish claims not with ethnic distinction but with veiled allusions to backwardness, resistance to modernity, and tribalism, all problems that threatened the sovereignty and unity of a fragile new Republic. The discourse surrounding the Turkish nation has signified “the transformation of a non-western, de-central, a-national and non-secular social formation (the Ottoman Empire) into a western, central, national and secular one (the Turkish Republic),”[19] with resistance to that discourse on the part of Kurds thus interpreted as resistance to westernization, centralization, nationalism and secularism. When addressing Kurdish rebellions, Turkish official documents stressed the “Republican” nature of the army, characterized the violence as “banditry” under the command of “sheikhs and feudal landlords,” and promised “progress and prosperity” with Republican rule.[20] Since Kurdish rebellions occurred precisely in the context of the transition from Ottoman to Turkish Republican governments, the Kurds were reconstituted as people who clung to old ways, as rival groups, and as supporters of the Caliphate rather than as an ethnic group.[21] In short, “whenever the Turkish state spoke on the Kurdish question, it automatically referred to the clash between the project of creating a western, national, central and secular state and the resistance of religion, periphery and tradition.”[22]

These beliefs, held by the old Kemalist guard of the CHP, the court systems, and the military,[23] have long dominated Turkish politics and, specifically, the political establishment’s view of Kurdish resistance. With the rise of a moderate Islamist party in Erdoğan’s AKP, however, this prior definition of Ottoman state structure and the shameful connotations so long associated with it by Kemalists, is being challenged, prompting further changes in understandings of the relation between Kurdish culture and Turkish citizenship. The mainstream success of the AKP despite its moderate religiosity is a new trend in Turkish politics. The founders of the AKP, who politically matured during the 1970s and 80s and witnessed the judicial crackdowns and military coups that plagued their less moderate Islamist precursors, recognize the Kemalist establishment’s intense fear of radicals.[24] In response, the AKP has moderated along the lines of the median voter theorem, combining its openness to religious expression with liberalism and moderate values and profiting from astounding economic success during its time in power.[25] To avoid persecution, many Muslims in Turkey, including Erdoğan himself, have moved to support secularism and are now “consciously post-Islamist,” with Erdoğan at least publicly distancing himself from his days as a zealous member of the Islamist youth movement,.[26] Like the Gülen movement, which has advanced a brand of Islam that embraces democracy and secularism, to counter Kemalist accusations of backwardness,[27] “the AKP de-emphasizes Islam in order to embrace democracy, human rights and rule of law, values which originated in the West but are increasingly perceived as universal.”[28] Illustrated in grand fashion by the huge portrait of Atatürk placed behind AKP speakers during addresses in 2001,[29] a self-identified loyalty to the nation, not to religion, comes first for both the Gülen supporters and the AKP.[30]

As a moderate and popular Islamist party, the AKP shares historical connections with the Kurdish population, possibly enabling the AKP to more ably take on the Kurdish question. Since the creation of the Republic, both Islamists and Kurds have shared an opposition to the central state, have experienced repression at the hands of Turkish nationalism and the military, and have been alienated by the designation of the label “black Turks,” those citizens who “retain rural, religious, Tribal, or other elements of Anatolia.”[31] Both groups have converted ridicule over these cultural elements into points of pride, with Erdoğan’s poor dancing skills and casual posture “his trademark in the eyes of his supporters.”[32] Gülen’s concept of pluralism, additionally, in Islam is not unlike the pluralism many Kurds wish to see in Turkish society.[33] Another cause for the alliance between these two groups comes from the absence of a class-based political activism since the crackdowns of the 1970s and 1980s.[34]

Given this shared ground, both groups stand to gain from changes to the constitution that would promote liberalism, whether in the expression of religion or with regard to the use of the Kurdish language.[35] In fact, uniting “the alienated societal segments that protest the rigid policies of the state,” the AKP has jumped at the opportunity to add Kurds to its ranks of electoral support,[36] and Kurds rally behind Erdoğan and his party whenever they seem to be harassed by the military, applauding his shows of defiance.[37] Erdoğan has responded by acknowledging a new, more liberal citizenship structure in which “ethnic identities are subsidiary identities”: “our overall identity is the one which binds us together, and that is the bond of citizenship.”[38] This is the first glimpse at the articulation of the neo-Ottoman conception of the state, mutually beneficial to these two repressed groups, as adopted by Islamists and the AKP in the past decade.

From the previously mentioned beginnings of Ottomanism—as the millet system of a multi-ethnic, multi-religious state composed of semi-autonomous legal groups, none of which is repressed or subordinated to a central ethnic identity – the Ottomans have thus come to “use one single citizenship as a common political identity in order to achieve equality and unity among all Ottoman subjects and supersede differences of faith, ethnicity, and language,” in short, to foster a political affiliation with the territorial fatherland of the Empire.[39] Defined, Ottomanism was “the idea of a common homeland and common traits based on modern patriotic citizenship and universal law,”[40] the creation of an “Ottoman citizen.”[41] The AKP has embraced this ideology in a way that, given its unique opportunities and ties with Kurdish groups described above, suggests the prospect for solutions to the Kurdish question.

In some ways, the AKP has invoked this neo-Ottomanism to legitimize its authority and religious backing, traditionally questioned by the Kemalist military and state structure. This adoption of neo-Ottoman identity functions as a form of “cultural memorization,” an activity occurring in the present, in which the past is continuously modified and redescribed even as it continues to shape the future.”[42] While Kemalists look to the 1930s as a golden age of history and progress in which the Turks were civilized in order to maintain power structures within their conception of citizenship, the AKP has emphasized neo-Ottomanism, looking instead to the pride from Ottoman days, from the conquest of Istanbul in 1453 to the reign of Suleiman the Magnificent.[43] In this way, the past is used to justify a liberal understanding of citizenship and society that includes diverse religious and ethnic identities. One author has described this conception of citizenship by contrasting the term “Türk,” the ethnic identifier currently used, with a new Turkish national identity based instead on citizenship in the Republic, “Türkiyeli,” or “from Turkey.”[44] This theme is reflected in Prime Minister Erdoğan’s statements, including those quoted above, and his trips to Diyarbakır and other Kurdish regions have further connected his Kurdish support to neo-Ottoman projects.

Since the 1980s, neo-Ottomanism under the Islamists since the 1980s has taken two forms. The first, more confrontational toward Kemalists, is a neo-imperialist eulogization of Ottoman grandeur that “paints a picture of a glorious empire stretching from Central Asia to Europe” of which Turkey is now the rightful heir.[45] This form of neo-Ottomanism is found mostly in the conservative nationalist faction of the AKP and centered in Istanbul, a symbol of Ottoman hegemony in the region,[46] as seen in its new fusion of Ottoman and modern motifs in architecture and design, the AKP’s efforts to rebuild an Ottoman-style barracks/shopping center at Gezi Park (not coincidentally located at Taksim Square, a symbol of the Republic and Kemalism), and the building of grand projects like the new Marmara tunnel and a third Bosphorus bridge, named for Sultan Selim I, who was responsible for substantial expansion of the Empire in the sixteenth century.[47]

The second form of neo-Ottomanism, more moderate, consistent with European values post-Cold War, and adopted more fully by the AKP, praises not imperial ambition but pluralism. Supporters of this form of neo-Ottomanism, leaders of the AKP who are the same pragmatists who saw the uselessness in uncompromising Islamism, “regularly mix Islamic and post-modern metaphors to claim that a pluralistic neo-Ottoman Turkey can serve as a beacon of tolerance for its region and the world.”[48] They aim to rekindle the multi-cultural, multi-religious, and multi-ethnic peace of the days before the Republic while maintaining modern secularism and democracy.[49] A strength of this aspect of neo-Ottomanism is that it is not “an anti-Western, counter-hegemonic movement that challenges the universal ideals of the West” but rather embraces these with a spirit of political and economic globalization combined with “localized common identity” of the Ottoman past.[50] This side of neo-Ottomanism too has been displayed in memories of Istanbul, from the works of Nobel Prize-winning author Orhan Pamuk to liberal Istanbulites who search their family histories for hints of Greek or Armenian ancestry in the pluralistic Ottoman period.[51]

This renewal of the Ottoman past by the AKP has led to a series of legal measures that have made Prime Minister Erdoğan and his party the biggest proponent of Kurdish rights in leadership of the country since the founding of the Republic.[52] Previous Islamist parties like those of Necmettin Erbakan, acting without the moderation and Ottomanist historical view espoused by the AKP, treated the Kurdish question with relative ambivalence and subordinated Kurdish identity to Islamic identity. In contrast, Erdoğan, has emphasized civic identity,[53] leading some scholars to argue that, outside the eastern part of Turkey where fighting with the PKK is still fresh in local memory, “the taboo surrounding all things Kurdish has lifted.”[54]

Indeed, the AKP has done much to lift repressive policies, including a 2002 act that ended the ban on broadcasting in Kurdish and a 2004 act that started state-run TV and radio broadcasts in a widespread Kurdish dialect, Kurmanci.[55] In 2000, the Turkish penal code was amended to limit offenses against Kurds for ethnic expression. In 2001, the Ministry of Education began an effort to curb the use of pejorative words to describe Kurds, and the “Law of Foundations,” which appropriates waqf-like properties in the country, was expanded to include non-Muslim groups as well.[56] Most recently, Prime Minster Erdoğan’s most recent “Democracy Package,” in conjunction with a PKK ceasefire still in effect, went so far as to remove the phrase, “I am a Turk” from a public school oath of allegiance, to allow certain Kurdish letters that do not appear in Turkish to be taught in schools, and to permit political campaigns in languages other than Turkish.[57] In 2004, the Prime Minister’s “Working Group on Minority and Cultural Rights,” a big step forward by even acknowledging the existence of such minorities, resulted in a “catalytic impact” when it recommended “a civic, territorial national identity.” The Group explained that while, after the Treaty of Lausanne, Turkey did not recognize cultural and ethnic minorities, they do in fact exist, as has become increasingly evident with the liberalization and media coverage that came end of the Cold War. Thus, the existence of these minorities should be “treated as an objective fact, rather than being subject to state definitions.”[58] If nothing else does, this Working Group report represents the neo-Ottoman influences of pluralism in action within the policy of the AKP.

Why, though, has this confluence of Islamist, Kurdish, and neo-Ottoman social movement arisen and succeeded at this time? For one, with the end of the Cold War and communism “international trends have now swung over to the ideals of free societies, support for more pluralistic political systems, greater sympathy for national self-determination [. . .] and greater attention to gross violations of human rights,”[59] bringing international pressure on Turkey to end the violence of raids against Kurds. In this context, the AKP has been able to frame its neo-Ottomanism not as an anti-hegemonic project meant to overthrow or rewrite the Kemalist past but rather as a natural part of the globalization of the West.[60] Turkish leaders have equated Ottomanism to American “melting pots,” allying the neo-Ottoman narrative with modernity and providing an example for Eastern Bloc nations that struggled to define their ethnic identities after the fall of the Soviet Union.[61] Inside Turkey, political liberalization in the 1950s and economic liberalization in the 1980s, followed up with the economic success of the AKP in the 2000s, cracked the theretofore unblemished façade of the Kemalist narrative and made room for competing groups struggling to put forth a viable collective national counter-memory, one of which was neo-Ottomanism.[62] The AKP’s economic achievement and subsequent popularity have also given the party freer reign to let democratic reforms and a new Turkish liberalism take shape.[63]

Additionally, the prospect of EU membership has “encouraged a looser conception of citizenship,” and minorities, from Muslims to Kurds to Alevis, have united in support of such membership.[64] Thus, the Europe that Atatürk once called the “contemporary civilization,” which was, at the time, comprised of rational, scientific, progressive nation states (defined by ethnic and linguistic identities) and at odds with the lack of advancement in the Ottoman Empire, now represents a “multi-identity, multi-cultural, democratic, liberal and plural social model” at odds with the retrograde exclusion held on to by Kemalists.[65] This perspective makes it much more difficult for Kemalist hardliners in the CHP and military to ignore the Kurdish question or fault the AKP for pursuing it, as a solution is a “sine qua non condition for the success of Turkey’s application for EU accession.”[66] Indeed, when the AKP signed its first round of Kurdish reforms into law in 2001, party leader Abdullah Gül declared “this will shock the Europeans.”[67] Finally, one of the great barriers to liberalization and the Kurdish question, the existential threat to Turkish territorial sovereignty and unity (written in the memories of Kurds since Sèvres),[68] simply lacks the relevance it had before, and those who advance neo-Ottoman identities argue that a civic, Türkiyeli identity would rather unite the people of Turkey, “regardless of ethnic or religious identity.”[69]

Of course, even with these unprecedented advantages, many roadblocks keep Kurds from enjoying equal citizenship and legal freedoms, even under the neo-Ottomanism model. The Courts are still in the hands of ardent Kemalists and the CHP.[70] The law regarding crimes committed against Atatürk, which forbids certain revisions of a strict Kemalist vision of society, is still enforced.[71] Publications and web sites that too actively or explicitly promote Kurdish or leftist goals in political language, such as 2003’s Özgür Politika (Freedom Politics), are routinely shut down. [72] Some critics, despite the AKP’s efforts, continue to call the crackdowns on the Kurdish language “linguistic genocide” and note that Erdoğan has had to change the name of his reforms from “Kurdish initiative” to “democracy initiative” because of lingering pressure against any substantially effective developments.[73] Others insist that the reforms, even though they are political statements, are superficial and advance minimal progress in reality.[74] In fact, and more interestingly, the neo-Ottomanism approach to the Kurdish question arguably presents some of its own unique problems. While the AKP is purposefully much more moderate than its Islamist predecessors, the manner in which Muslims in Turkey flock to the party and label it a “pragmatic Muslim” party has prevented the stigma of religious backwardness from receding into history.[75] The connections between the Ottoman past, religiosity, and the Muslim identification of the AKP complicates efforts to promote neo-Ottoman liberalization, as such plans are scrutinized by the Kemalist judicial system as being retrogressive. The AKP, even with the support of half of the country, must tread lightly as it embarks on reforms, especially when these reforms invoke the Ottomans, considered backward still by many hard-liners, yet without its devout base, the AKP lacks the political capital to make bold moves in resolving the Kurdish question.[76] Public criticism, combined with a long history of military efforts to maintain Kemalist principles, is still a prominent force in slowing reforms. The Economist cover described at the beginning of this paper illustrates how the negative authoritarian and religious connotations of neo-Ottomanism can work against the implementation of reforms just as that system provides a framework for liberalization.

Ultimately, the history of identities and repression with regard to Kurds in Turkey is complicated and no easy solutions exist, but this examination of neo-Ottomanism provides useful insight. For one, Kemalists and the CHP, long the self-proclaimed champions of modernity and progress, are now in a position of seeming responsible for holding on to the retrogressive ethnic policies consistent with the Kemalism that held Turkey together in the 1930s. Neo-Ottomanism, what Turkish revolutionaries like Atatürk once saw as Ottoman backwardness, now in fact presents an opportunity to solve the “Kurdish problem” that was largely caused by the abandonment of the Ottoman system in the course of nation formation. Under a neo-Ottoman construct, the connotations of recognizing Kurdishness are modern and associated with liberalism rather than backward as they were under a Kemalist model. The AKP’s moderate approach can and has been applied to the Kurds, but in order for more than superficial reforms to take shape, both Kemalists and Islamists, on the left and on the right, and Turks and Kurds must be willing to look beyond the zero-sum game of the past. Finally moving beyond the legacies of the treaties of Sèvres and Lausanne, a semi-autonomous Kurdish zone in Iraq and the slow integration of Kurds into Turkish life have led many to recognize that room for compromise exists. As Mesut Yegen, a Kurdish academic at Istanbul’s Sehir University stated in The Economist, “not a single soldier or rebel has died since the beginning of this year, that is the biggest prize,”[77] highlighting a a renewed, pragmatic willingness to work toward finding a solution under the neo-Ottoman liberal model.

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[1] “Democrat or sultan?,” The Economist, June 8, 2013, accessed December 1, 2013, <>.

[2] C. J. Edmonds, “Kurdish Nationalism,” Journal of Contemporary History 6:1 (1971): 87.

[3] Ibid., 88.

[4] Ibid.

[5] Graham E. Fuller, “The Fate of the Kurds,” Foreign Affairs 72:2 (1993): 110.

[6] Ibid.

[7] Edmonds, 89.

[8] Ibid., 90.

[9] Ibid., 91.

[10] Mesut Yeğen, “The Kurdish Question in Turkish State Discourse,” Journal of Contemporary History 34:4 (1999): 555.

[11] Ibid.

[12] Thomas W. Smith, “Civic Nationalism and Ethnocultural Justice in Turkey,” Human Rights Quarterly 27:2 (2005): 441.

[13] Ioannis N. Grigoriadis, “Türk or Türkiyeli? The Reform of Turkey’s Minority Legislation and the Rediscovery of Ottomanism,” Middle Eastern Studies 43:3 (2007): 423.

[14] Smith, “Civic Nationalism and Ethnocultural Justice in Turkey,”440.

[15] Ibid., 442.

[16] Yeğen, “The Kurdish Question,” 557.

[17] Ibid., 558.

[18] Ibid.

[19] Ibid., 559.

[20] Ibid., 560.

[21] Ibid., 561.

[22] Ibid., 568.

[23] Smith, “Civic Nationalism and Ethnocultural Justice in Turkey,” 451.

[24] Günes Murat Tezcür, Muslim Reformers in Iran and Turkey (Austin: University of Texas Press, 2011), 81.

[25] Tezcür, Muslim Reformers, 11, 22.

[26] Houston, Christopher. “Militant Laicists, Muslim Democrats, and Liberal Secularists: Contending Visions of Secularism in Turkey,” in Muslim Secular Democracy: Voices from Within, ed. Lily Zubaidah Rahim (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2013), 261.

[27] Berrin Koyuncu-Lorasdaği, “The Prospects and Pitfalls of the Religious Nationalist Movement in Turkey: The Case of the Gülen Movement,” Middle Eastern Studies 46:2 (2010): 221-234.

[28] Didem Buhari-Gulmez, “Ümit Cizre, Secular and Islamic Politics in Turkey: The Making of the Justice and Development Party,” European Journal of Turkish Studies. January 25, 2011. Accessed on November 28, 2013., 3.

[29] Tozun Bahcheli and Sid Noel, “The Justice and Development Party and the Kurdish question,” in Nationalisms and Politics in Turkey: Political Islam, Kemalism and the Kurdish issue, eds. Marlies Casier and Joost Jongerden (New York: Routledge, 2011), 104.

[30] Koyuncu-Lorasdaği, “The Prospects and Pitfalls,” 228.

[31] Seda Demiralp, “The Odd Tango of the Islamic Right and Kurdish Left in Turkey: A Peripheral Alliance to Redesign the Centre?” Middle Eastern Studies 48:2 (2012): 287, 288, 292.

[32] Seda Demiralp, “The Odd Tango,” 293.

[33] Koyuncu-Lorasdaği, “The Prospects and Pitfalls,” 228.

[34] Ibid., 291.

[35] Tezür, Muslim Reformers, 23.

[36] Buhari-Gulmez, “Ümit Cizre,” 2.

[37] Bahcheli and Noel, “The Justice and Development Party and the Kurdish question,” 133.

[38] Ibid., 107.

[39] Yilmaz Colak, “Ottomanism vs. Kemalism: Collective memory and cultural pluralism in 1990s Turkey,” Middle Eastern Studies 42:4 (2006): 589.

[40] Ibid., 589.

[41] Omer Taspinar, Kurdish Nationalism and Political Islam in Turkey: Kemalist Identity in Transition (New York: Routledge, 2005), 40.

[42] Colak, “Ottomanism,” 587.

[43] Nora Fisher Onar, “Echoes of a Universalism Lost: Rival Representations of the Ottomans in Today’s Turkey,” Middle Eastern Studies 45:2 (2009): 233, 235.

[44] Grigoriadis, “Türk or Türkiyeli?,” 424.

[45] Onar, “Echoes of a Universalism Lost,” 236.

[46] Colak, “Ottomanism,” 596.

[47] Onar, “Echoes of a Universalism Lost,” 237.

[48] Ibid., 236.

[49] Ibid., 237.

[50] Çolak, “Ottomanism,” 588.

[51] Onar, “Echoes of a Universalism Lost,” 237.

[52] “Democrat or Sultan?”

[53] Blacheli and Noel, “The Justice and Development Party and the Kurdish question,” 103.

[54] Smith, “Civic Nationalism and Ethnocultural Justice in Turkey,” 469.

[55] Ibid., 469.

[56] Grigoriadis, “Türk or Türkiyeli?,” 425.

[57] Göksel Bozkurt, “Turkish PM Erdoğan to unveil earnest ‘democracy package’,” Hürriyet Daily News, September 30, 2013, accessed December 8, 2013, <>.

[58] Grigoriadis, “Türk or Türkiyeli?,” 428.

[59] Fuller, “The Fate of the Kurds,” 112.

[60] Çolak, “Ottomanism,” 593.

[61] Ibid., 592.

[62] Onar, “Echoes of a Universalism Lost,” 233.

[63] Fuller, “The Fate of the Kurds,” 114.

[64] Smith, “Civic Nationalism and Ethnocultural Justice in Turkey,” 438.

[65] Grigoriadis, ““Türk or Türkiyeli?,” 429.

[66] Ibid., 435.

[67] Blacheli and Noel, “The Justice and Development Party and the Kurdish question,” 106.

[68] Onar, “Echoes of a Universalism Lost,” 232.

[69] Grigoriadis, “Türk or Türkiyeli?,” 431.

[70] Smith, “Civic Nationalism and Ethnocultural Justice in Turkey,” 451.

[71] Ibid., 453.

[72] Ibid.

[73] Welat Zeydanlioglu, “Repression or reform? An analysis of the AKP’s Kurdish language policy,” in The Kurdish Question in Turkey: New Perspectives on violence, repression, and reconciliation, eds. Cengiz Gunes and Welat Zeydanlioğlu (New York: Routledge, 2014), 179, Erdem 57.

[74] Gareth Jenkins, “The Democratization Package and Erdoğan’s Hall of Mirrors,” in The Turkey Analyst 6:18 (2013), <ğans-hall-of-mirrors.html>.

[75] Omer Taspinar, Kurdish Nationalism and Political Islam in Turkey: Kemalist Identity in Transition (New York: Routledge, 2005), 162.

[76] Buhari-Gulmez, “Ümit Cizre, Secular and Islamic Politics in Turkey: The Making of the Justice and Development Party,” 4.

[77] “Inch by inch,” The Economist, September 12, 2013, accessed December 1, 2013, <>.



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