Kurds between the Frames of Terrorism and Brotherhood : Observations on Turkey’s National Unity and Brotherhood Process

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Title: Kurds between the Frames of Terrorism and Brotherhood : Observations on Turkey’s National Unity and Brotherhood Process
Author: Rämö, Milja
Other contributor: Helsingin yliopisto, Valtiotieteellinen tiedekunta, Politiikan ja talouden tutkimuksen laitos
University of Helsinki, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Political and Economic Studies (2010-2017)
Helsingfors universitet, Statsvetenskapliga fakulteten, Institutionen för politik och ekonomi
Publisher: Helsingin yliopisto
Date: 2019
Language: eng
URI: http://urn.fi/URN:NBN:fi:hulib-201911043838
Thesis level: master's thesis
Discipline: Kehitysmaatutkimus
Development Studies
Abstract: This thesis looks at the National Unity and Brotherhood Process (2009–2015) that’s one aim was to solve the decades long conflict between the Turkish state and the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). The failure of the process created more violence in the country; hence, it is essential to look back and try to reflect what the process was about. The thesis aims to understand the governmental party’s (AKP) (self-)perceptions of the process and link them to the history of the Turkish Republic. When the Turkish Republic was established, the founding ideology was Kemalism that emphasized exclusive Turkish national identity, secularism and statism. It left little or no space for expressions Kurdish identities. For decades, Kurds were not directly mentioned in public and were spoken of trough frames of terrorism and underdevelopment. The conflict itself started at the turn of the 1980s when Kurdish bationalism found more leverage. Especially in the 1990s the violence in Kurdish regions escalated. Even though the situation had been more peaceful in the 2000s, the AKP wanted to solve the conflict once and for all. In this thesis the perceptions from the time of the process are researched from a governmental publication and from pieces of news by the state-run Anadolu Agency. In the qualitative analysis that was inspired by framing theory, it was notable that the voice of the state became more rigid throughout the process and enemy-images were reproduced more frequently towards the end. The analysis shows that in the process the Turkish state and party leading the state did not challenge pre-existing conceptions of the Kurdish population. Kurdish political movements were presented trough frames of terrorism, which has been a political strategy at least for a century. In addition, the state’s externally and internally created ontological insecurity was not addressed in the process, which highlighted the state’s ambivalent relationship to the minority. This thesis notes that the AKP had a wish to include the Kurdish minority into the political ideology of the party. However, it had little tolerance to Kurdish political movements that challenged the political power of the AKP. The wish and the lack of tolerance show that the state replicated patterns from the its history.
Subject: peace process
ontological insecurity

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