The Kurdish National Movement in Turkey

From Protest to Resistance

By Cengiz Gunes

© 2012 – Routledge

244 pages

Purchasing Options:
Paperback: 9781138898417
pub: 2015-05-22
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Hardback: 9780415680479
pub: 2011-11-28
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About the Book

This book provides an interpretive and critical analysis of Kurdish identity, nationalism and national movement in Turkey since the 1960s. By raising issues and questions relating to Kurdish political identity and highlighting the ideological specificity, diversity and the transformation of Kurdish nationalism, it develops a new empirical dimension to the study of the Kurds in Turkey.

Cengiz Gunes applies an innovative theoretical approach to the analysis of an impressively large volume of primary sources and data drawn from books and magazines published by Kurdish activists, political parties and groups. The analysis focuses on the specific demands articulated by the Kurdish national movement and looks at Kurdish nationalism at a specific level by disaggregating the nationalist discourse, showing variations over time and across different Kurdish nationalist organisations. Situating contemporary Kurdish political identity and its political manifestations within a historical framework, the author examines the historical and structural conditions that gave rise to it and influenced its evolution since the 1960s. The analysis also encompasses an account of the organisational growth and evolution of the Kurdish national movement, including the political parties and groups that were active in the period.

Bringing the study of the organisational development and growth of the Kurdish National Movement in Turkey up to date, this book will be an important reference for students and scholars of Middle Eastern politics, social movements, nationalism and conflict.


To the merit of the Kurdish National Movement in Turkey is its attempt to understand how subjectivation takes place and political actors give meaning to the world and themselves. In this sense, the book is a sharp and welcome turn away from analyses in which the PKK, or for that matter any political party, is treated as an expression of something else. The author is also among the first to have observed the articulation of Kurdish demands into a discourse of radical democracy and the profound importance of this for a development of the political struggle for self-determination and rights…Overall, The Kurdish National Movement in Turkey is a well thought out and welcome contribution to the study and understanding of identity politics and political struggle and a much needed textbook for students in Kurdish Studies." Joost Jongerden, Wageningen University, The Netherlands

Table of Contents

Introduction: The Research Question 1. Deconstructing Kurdish Identity and Nationalism in Academic Discourses 2. Understanding Kurdish Identity and Nationalism in Turkey 3. The Organic Intellectuals and the Re-emergence of Kurdish Political Activism in the 1960s 4. The Emergence of the Kurdish Socialist Movement 5. The Kurdish National Liberation Discourse 6. "Becoming a Kurd": The National Liberation War and Mass Mobilisation 7. Dislocations and the PKK’s Turn to Democracy 8. Contesting Democracy and Pluralism: The Pro-Kurdish Political Parties in Turkey. Conclusion: Democracy, Pluralism and Kurdish Subjectivity in (Post)National Turkey

About the Author

Cengiz Gunes holds a PhD in Politics from the University of Essex. His thesis examines the Kurdish national movement and the articulation of Kurdish identity in Turkey since the 1960s. His main research interests are in Identity and Nationalism, Democratic Theory and Contemporary Political Theory.

About the Series

Exeter Studies in Ethno Politics

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
POLITICAL SCIENCE / Political Ideologies / Nationalism
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Regional Studies