Skip to main content
main-content
Top

Hint

Swipe to navigate through the chapters of this book

2018 | OriginalPaper | Chapter

6. Islam and the Kurdish Peace Process in Turkey (2013–2015)

share
SHARE

Abstract

This chapter seeks to analyze the role of religion in the peace-building efforts in Turkey related to the so-called “Kurdish Opening” (2013–2015). It asks the question whether Islam has been a constituent of peace-building given its unique place in the Turkish polity, both paradoxically incorporated in the governance of a legally secular state through the Turkish Presidency of Religious Affairs (Diyanet) and spanning a vast horizontal system of networks through numerous Islamic schools, civil society organizations, and various tariqas. Since the majority of the Turks and Kurds belong to the dominant Sunni Islam which has enjoyed unprecedented material and ideological support in the last decade by the governing Justice and Development Party, the chapter seeks to establish to what extent the Islamic leaders and actors have utilized their resources to diversify the top-down approach to the Kurdish–Turkish peace process and to bring the two divided communities closer together, while also reaching out to the smaller ethnoreligious groups. Drawing on original ethnographic research, the author argues that Islam was infrequently and selectively employed as a mobilizing force in the cause of peace, and its employment differed significantly between the Diyanet and the Kurdish Islamic actors. As for the minority religions, they saw little opportunity for participation in the peace process, even though they had certain expectations from it. The chapter contends that the peace process in Turkey needs to be pursued in a holistic way that goes beyond the solution of the “Kurdish issue” alone and guarantees equal rights and inclusive citizenship for all. While the “Kurdish Opening” remains central in efforts to bring stability and peace to the polarized society in Turkey, it also needs to address the problems of other minority groups.
Literature
go back to reference Alemdar, Zeynep, and Rana Birden Çorbacıoğlu. “Alevis and the Turkish State.” T urkish Policy Quarterly 10/4 (2012): 117–24. Alemdar, Zeynep, and Rana Birden Çorbacıoğlu. “Alevis and the Turkish State.” T urkish Policy Quarterly 10/4 (2012): 117–24.
go back to reference Başer, Zeynep, and Ayşe Betül Celik. “Imagining peace in a conflict environment: Kurdish youths’ framing of the Kurdish issue in Turkey.” Patterns of Prejudice 48/3 (2014): 265–285. Başer, Zeynep, and Ayşe Betül Celik. “Imagining peace in a conflict environment: Kurdish youths’ framing of the Kurdish issue in Turkey.” Patterns of Prejudice 48/3 (2014): 265–285.
go back to reference Bruinessen, Martin van. Agha, Shaikh and State: The Social and Political Structure of Kurdistan. London and New York: Zed Books, 1992. Bruinessen, Martin van. Agha, Shaikh and State: The Social and Political Structure of Kurdistan. London and New York: Zed Books, 1992.
go back to reference Bruinessen, Martin van. Mullah, Sufis and Heretics: the Role of Religion in Kurdish Society. Istanbul: Isis Press, 2000. Bruinessen, Martin van. Mullah, Sufis and Heretics: the Role of Religion in Kurdish Society. Istanbul: Isis Press, 2000.
go back to reference Çelik, Ayşe Betül, and Andrew Blum. “Track II interventions and the Kurdish question in Turkey: an analysis using a theories of change approach.” International Journal of Peace Studies 12/2 (2007): 51–81. Çelik, Ayşe Betül, and Andrew Blum. “Track II interventions and the Kurdish question in Turkey: an analysis using a theories of change approach.” International Journal of Peace Studies 12/2 (2007): 51–81.
go back to reference Çiçek, Cuma. The Kurds of Turkey: National, Religious and Economic Identities. London and New York: I.B. Taurus, 2016. Çiçek, Cuma. The Kurds of Turkey: National, Religious and Economic Identities. London and New York: I.B. Taurus, 2016.
go back to reference Çiçek, Cuma. “The pro-Islamic challenge for the KM.” Dialectical Anthropology 37/1 (2013): 159–63. Çiçek, Cuma. “The pro-Islamic challenge for the KM.” Dialectical Anthropology 37/1 (2013): 159–63.
go back to reference Foucault, Michael. “Governmentality.” Ideology and Consciousness, 6 (1979): 5–21. Foucault, Michael. “Governmentality.” Ideology and Consciousness, 6 (1979): 5–21.
go back to reference Jongerden, Joost, and Ahmet Hamdi Akkaya. “Born from the Left. The making of the PKK.” In Nationalisms and Politics in Turkey: political Islam, Kemalism and the Kurdish issue, edited by Marlies Casier and Joost Jongerden, 123–42. New York: Routledge, 2011. Jongerden, Joost, and Ahmet Hamdi Akkaya. “Born from the Left. The making of the PKK.” In Nationalisms and Politics in Turkey: political Islam, Kemalism and the Kurdish issue, edited by Marlies Casier and Joost Jongerden, 123–42. New York: Routledge, 2011.
go back to reference Kose, Talha. Alevi Opening and the Democratization Initiative in Turkey. SETA Policy Report, 2010. Kose, Talha. Alevi Opening and the Democratization Initiative in Turkey. SETA Policy Report, 2010.
go back to reference Kuru, Ahmet T., and Alfred Stepan, eds. Democracy, Islam, and Secularism in Turkey. New York: Columbia University Press, 2012. Kuru, Ahmet T., and Alfred Stepan, eds. Democracy, Islam, and Secularism in Turkey. New York: Columbia University Press, 2012.
go back to reference Mardin, Şerif. Religion, Society, and Modernity in Turkey. Syracuse, NY: Syracuse University Press, 2006. Mardin, Şerif. Religion, Society, and Modernity in Turkey. Syracuse, NY: Syracuse University Press, 2006.
go back to reference Markus, Aliza. Blood and Belief: The PKK and the Kurdish Fight for Independence. New York and London: New York University Press, 2007. Markus, Aliza. Blood and Belief: The PKK and the Kurdish Fight for Independence. New York and London: New York University Press, 2007.
go back to reference McDowall, David. A Modern History of the Kurds. London and New York: I.B.Tauris,1996. McDowall, David. A Modern History of the Kurds. London and New York: I.B.Tauris,1996.
go back to reference Ozgur, Iren. Islamic Schools in Modern Turkey: Faith, Politics, and Education. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2012. Ozgur, Iren. Islamic Schools in Modern Turkey: Faith, Politics, and Education. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2012.
go back to reference Ozsoy, Hisyar. “Between Gift and Taboo: Death and the Negotiation of National Identity and Sovereignty in the Kurdish Conflict in Turkey.” PhD diss., The University of Texas at Austin, 2010. Ozsoy, Hisyar. “Between Gift and Taboo: Death and the Negotiation of National Identity and Sovereignty in the Kurdish Conflict in Turkey.” PhD diss., The University of Texas at Austin, 2010.
go back to reference Sarigil, Zeki. “Curbing Kurdish Ethno-Nationalism in Turkey: An Empirical Assessment of Pro-Islamic and Socio-Economic Approaches.” Ethnic and Racial Studies 33/3 (2010): 533–53. Sarigil, Zeki. “Curbing Kurdish Ethno-Nationalism in Turkey: An Empirical Assessment of Pro-Islamic and Socio-Economic Approaches.” Ethnic and Racial Studies 33/3 (2010): 533–53.
go back to reference Sarigil, Zeki, and Omer Fazlioglu. “Religion and ethno-natioanlism: Turkey’s Kurdish issue.” Nations and Nationalism 19/3 (2013): 531–71. Sarigil, Zeki, and Omer Fazlioglu. “Religion and ethno-natioanlism: Turkey’s Kurdish issue.” Nations and Nationalism 19/3 (2013): 531–71.
go back to reference Somer, Murat, and Gitta Glüpker-Kesebir. “Is Islam the Solution? Comparing Turkish Islamic and Secular Thinking toward Ethnic and Religious Minorities.” J ournal of Church and State 58/3 (2015): 529–555. Somer, Murat, and Gitta Glüpker-Kesebir. “Is Islam the Solution? Comparing Turkish Islamic and Secular Thinking toward Ethnic and Religious Minorities.” J ournal of Church and State 58/3 (2015): 529–555.
go back to reference Taspinar, Omer. Kurdish Nationalism and Political Islam in Turkey: Kemalist Identity in Transition. New York: Routledge, 2004. Taspinar, Omer. Kurdish Nationalism and Political Islam in Turkey: Kemalist Identity in Transition. New York: Routledge, 2004.
go back to reference Toprak, Binnaz. Islam and Political Development in Turkey. Leiden, The Netherlands: Brill, 1981. Toprak, Binnaz. Islam and Political Development in Turkey. Leiden, The Netherlands: Brill, 1981.
go back to reference Turam, Berna. Between Islam and the State: The Politics of Engagement. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2007. Turam, Berna. Between Islam and the State: The Politics of Engagement. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2007.
go back to reference Uslu, Emrullah. “The Transformation of the Kurdish Political Identity in Turkey: impact of modernization, democratization, and globalization.” PhD diss., University of Utah, 2009. Uslu, Emrullah. “The Transformation of the Kurdish Political Identity in Turkey: impact of modernization, democratization, and globalization.” PhD diss., University of Utah, 2009.
go back to reference White, Jenny B. Islamist Mobilization in Turkey: A Study in Vernacular Politics. Seattle: University of Washington Press, 2003. White, Jenny B. Islamist Mobilization in Turkey: A Study in Vernacular Politics. Seattle: University of Washington Press, 2003.
go back to reference Yavuz, M. Hakan. Islamic Political Identity in Turkey. New York: Oxford University Press, 2003. Yavuz, M. Hakan. Islamic Political Identity in Turkey. New York: Oxford University Press, 2003.
go back to reference Yavuz, M. Hakan. Secularism and Muslim Democracy in Turkey. Cambridge University Press, 2009. Yavuz, M. Hakan. Secularism and Muslim Democracy in Turkey. Cambridge University Press, 2009.
go back to reference Zinar, Zeynelabidin. “Medrese education in northern Kurdistan.” In Islam des Kurdes, special issue of Les Annales de l’Autre Islam, edited by Martin van Bruinessen & Joyce Blau, 39–58, 1998. Zinar, Zeynelabidin. “Medrese education in northern Kurdistan.” In Islam des Kurdes, special issue of Les Annales de l’Autre Islam, edited by Martin van Bruinessen & Joyce Blau, 39–58, 1998.
Metadata
Title
Islam and the Kurdish Peace Process in Turkey (2013–2015)
Author
Ina Merdjanova
Copyright Year
2018
DOI
https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-53715-3_6

Premium Partner