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Political Research Exchange - PRX

The Politics of Identity and its Consequences for the Kurds in Turkey

National Identity
Political Sociology
Policy Change
Durukan Kuzu
University of Coventry
Durukan Kuzu
University of Coventry

The politics of identity and recognition regarding the Kurds in Turkey has gained momentum since 2002 but has never been implemented fully. The rightful critics emphasising the continuity of the State's authoritarian character, however, have not so far analysed if their own normative suggestions are theoretically consistent and sociologically grounded. Based on an extensive fieldwork and contemporary social surveys, this article shows that there are conflicting views within the Kurdish community about the forms that the politics of recognition could take. By exploring the conflicts of interest within the Kurdish community from a bottom-up approach, the paper concludes that the recognition of an authentic Kurdish identity is problematic sociologically. It is also more likely to harm than help the Kurds in the country from a normative perspective. The article explains how the quest for an authentic Kurdish political identity and attempts to generate it actually limit the individual autonomy and exacerbate the disparity between the Turks and the Kurds in the country.
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