Turkey

Fecha de publicación:
03/2012
Autor:
Ayhan Kaya and Ece Harmanyeri
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Having the legacy of the Ottoman Empire, modern Turkey, with more than 72 million inhabitants, is a multi-ethnic and multi-cultural country, housing approximately 50 different Muslim and/or non-Muslim ethno-cultural groups: Sunni Turks, Alevi Turks, Sunni Kurds, Alevi Kurds, Circassians, Lazis, Armenians, Georgians, Jews, Greeks, Arabs, Assyrians etc (Andrews, 1989). However, leaving aside the attempts made for democratisation of the country in the last decade, the Turkish state has been far from recognising the ethnically and culturally diverse nature of the Turkish society. Ethno-cultural and religious minorities in Turkey have been subject to homogenising state policies. As Turkey is a republican country, one could not find official figures about the numbers of ethno-cultural and religious minorities. The article is designed to portray the ways in which ethno-cultural and religious diversity has hitherto been managed by modern Turkish state within the framework of the discourse of tolerance. Explicating the construction of the Turkish national identity and the modern Turkish state, the article will primarily delineate the constitutive elements of the state machinery as well as the technologies of citizenship. Turkey’s process of Europeanization will also be scrutinized in order to pave the way to a detailed analysis of the transformation of the Turkish polity from the Cold War years to the Post-Cold War years. In doing so, major challenges against the traditional Kemalist nation-state building process will be scrutinized such as political Islam, Alevi revival, Kurdish revival and Europeanization/globalization. Subsequently, some statistical information will be given regarding the major ethno-cultural and religious minorities. The term ‘minority’ has a delicate history in Turkey, as it often has negative connotation in the popular imagery. In the text, the term ‘minority’ will be used in both legal and sociological/anthropological framework.