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Nation Making and Minority Politics; The Case of Turkey “Where there is design, there is always waste” Zygmunt Bauman Ziya Meral.

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Presentation on theme: "Nation Making and Minority Politics; The Case of Turkey “Where there is design, there is always waste” Zygmunt Bauman Ziya Meral."— Presentation transcript:

1 Nation Making and Minority Politics; The Case of Turkey “Where there is design, there is always waste” Zygmunt Bauman Ziya Meral

2 to understand the context in which human rights abuses occur to develop effective strategies to address them to ensure that noble values are not misused Why a socio-political approach?

3 Minorities in Turkey Muslim Minorities Around 3 million Caucasians- Circassians, Abkhazians, Chechens Kurds, 10 to 23 per cent of population Around 2 million Roma Non-Muslim Minorities Alevis, 10 to 30 per cent of population 60,000 Armenians, mostly Orthodox and in Istanbul 15,000 Assyrians (95 percent has left the country) 23,000 Jews, mostly Shepardic 4,000 Rum (Greeks) 3,000 Turkish Christians

4 Minority Rights in Turkey International –UN Charter, UDHR, ICCPR, ICESCR, CEDAW, CERD –With reservations- Article 27 of ICCPR: “The Republic of Turkey reserves the right to interpret and apply the provisions of Article 27 of the ICCPR in accordance with the related provisions and rules of the Constitution of the Republic of Turkey and the Treaty of Lausanne of 24 July 1923 and its Appendixes.” –Vienna Convention and Customary Law Regional –ECHR –Not party to Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities

5 Minority Rights in Turkey Turkish Law –No definition of minorities –Provisions on equality Article 10 of the Constitution: “ All individuals are equal without any discrimination before the law, irrespective of language, race, colour, sex, political opinion, philosophical belief, religion and sect, or any such considerations … No privilege shall be granted to any individual, family, group or class. ” Article 3(2) of the Turkish Penal Code offers protection to all citizens without “ any distinctions on the basis of race, language, religion, sect, nationality, colour, sex, political or other opinion, philosophical belief, national or social origin, birth, economic and other social status and without extending privileges to anyone. ”

6 Minority Rights in Turkey The Lausanne Treaty of 1923 –Armenians, Greeks and Jews as ‘minority’, not others –Article 39 Turkish nationals belonging to non-Moslem minorities will enjoy the same civil and political rights as Moslems.All the inhabitants of Turkey, without distinction of religion, shall be equal before the law.Differences of religion, creed or confession shall not prejudice any Turkish national in matters relating to the enjoyment of civil or political rights, as, for instance, admission to public employments, functions and honours, or the exercise of professions and industries.No restrictions shall be imposed on the free use by any Turkish national of any language in private intercourse, in commerce, religion, in the press, or in publications of any kind or at public meetings.Notwithstanding the existence of the official language, adequate facilities shall be given to Turkish nationals of non-Turkish speech for the oral use of their own language before the Courts.

7 Minority Rights in Turkey Turkey is a EU candidate (Copenhagen Criteria), a member of Council of Europe, OSCE, NATO and a temporary member of UN Security Council. Thus, not a ‘rouge’ state! Yet; –Currently, Turkey has the second highest number of complaints lodged at the ECtHR. According to the data on violation judgments by country for the period between 1959 and 2009, Turkey topped the chart with percent of all violation judgments, followed by Italy with percent and Russia 6.34 percent. –Around 1 million IDPs –Less than 100 thousand non-Muslims left out of 70 plus million population

8 From an Empire to a Nation State Multi-ethnic Empire and Millet system Experiments with equal citizenship Emergence of a ‘Turkish nation’ and WWI Creation of The Republic of Turkey Making of a Turkish Nation Constitution Preamble: “ Our state is a nation state. It is not a multi-national state. The state does not recognize any nation other than Turks. There are other peoples which come from different races and who should have equal rights within the country. Yet it is not possible to give rights to these people in accordance with their racial status ” Article 88: “ The people of Turkey regardless of their religion and race would, in terms of citizenship, be considered Turkish. ”

9 From an Empire to a Nation State Turkification project; one language, one race, one religion –Language of Turks Language reforms and changing of non-Turkish place names in 1930ies Current Turkish Constitution Article 3; “ the Turkish state, with its territory and nation, is an indivisible entity. Its language is Turkish. ” Note that Turkish is ‘ the language ’ as opposed to ‘ the official language ’ of the state. Article 42; “No language other than Turkish shall be taught as a mother tongue to Turkish citizens at any institutions of training or education. Foreign languages to be taught in institutions of training and education and the rules to be followed by schools conducting training and education in a foreign language shall be determined by law. The provisions of international treaties are reserved.”

10 From an Empire to a Nation State Turkification project; one language, one race, one religion –Creating a ‘Turkish’ nation by forced homogenization –Religion as a boundary maker Non-Muslims as pseudo-citizens Uniqueness of Turkish Secularism Implications for Minorities; Example of Non-Muslims –Suffering of non-Muslims in WWI –Discriminative use of ‘reciprocity’ and marginalization –Direct state and non-state persecution –These pressures have resulted in three outcomes; substantial numbers of non-Muslims left Turkey a smaller portion assimilated, adopted Turkish names and Islam the remaining elderly and small groups live in their social enclaves, as aliens.

11 From an Empire to a Nation State Limits of nation-making and homogenization Implication for Minorities; Example of the ‘Kurdish Problem’ –1925 Sheik Said revolt –1934 Settlement Law and 1943 Avni Dogan Report –1960s to 1970s Emerging Kurdish nationalism –1984 to 1999 Armed conflict between PKK and Turkish Army –1987 to 2002 State of Emergency (OHAL) –2002 to 2010 Hopes and Disillusionment –Kurds as ‘ pseudo-citizens ’

12 Politics of Turkishness Changing Political Power in Turkey Turkish identity crises; Article 301 –Minority Report Case, 2004, Articles 301 and 216 What is Turkishness? Who is a real Turk? Conspiracy theories and the hunt for the fifth-column Implications for Minorities; Example of Religious Converts –Phenomenon of apostasy since 1970s across the Muslim world –No legal framework for Turkish Protestants, Baha ’ is and Jehovah Witnesses –Conversion as a betrayal of nation and national security threat –State intimidation and mob violence

13 Essence of Modern Politics; Exclusion Definitions of identity and mechanisms of exclusion changes The Dark Side of Democracy; Michael Mann Limits of Law; Giorgio Agamben Minority Rights; a discourse for nationalistic utopias? A Universal Declaration of Human Vulnerability?


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