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Europeanization of Minority Policies in Turkey: The Kurdish Issue

Emel Elif Tugdar
University of Kurdistan, Hewler
Emel Elif Tugdar
University of Kurdistan, Hewler
Open Panel

Abstract

The Turkish Republic has been following an ignorant policy towards the rights of Kurds as ethnic minorities since its foundation in 1923. With the shift of the foreign policy towards the European Union membership, Turkey pursued a two-way policy toward minorities. First, Turkey transfers minority policies in responding to European Union pressures and demands. Turkey presents an image of a responsible state in fulfilling the EU criteria. Second, Turkey has been trying to prevent significant changes the accession process might encourage in its traditional minority regime. Therefore, the governments employed restrictive measures in minority rights in the domestic scene. The political space of Turkey has been ethnically restrictive which prevented Kurds to mobilize as an ethnic group.These suppressive policies of Turkey provided a ground for the Kurdish terrorist group (PKK) to gain support from the Kurds that have problems for living their identity. In this paper, we aim to see how the Europeanization process affects the minority policies of Turkey. Our analysis is restricted to the analysis Kurdish minorities in Turkey. Utilizing the data from the European Commission’s annual reports on Turkey from 1999 to 2009, we explore how Europeanization affected rights of Kurds such as the linguistic rights, political participation, freedom of expression, education, and media.