Commentaries #7+8

Minorities in Turkey I: Law and Reform

Baskın Oran

Executive Summary:

Here I uncover the relationship between the term “Turk”(an ethno‐religiousterm that, in some usages covertly, in some overtly, aversthat Turkey is the land of ethnic Turks, and that only Muslims are consideredTurk), and the concepts of race and religion. A critical period for theadvancement of human rights and minority rights in Turkey occurred in theearly 2000s, when the parliament adopted a series of reform packages inorder to harmonize the country’s laws with those of the European Union(EU). I propose to examine a case of these most radical democratic reformscarried out since the establishment of the republic, in order to understandhow these reforms have been put into practice. I also trace the deviationfrom these reforms after 2005, by examining the subsequent laws andpractices that undo or undermine them, and discuss their implications,particularly for Kurds in case of the deterioration under the state ofemergency (Olağanüstü Hal, or OHAL), declared in response to the July 15,2016 coup attempt.

Minorities in Turkey II: Ideology and Discrimination 

Executive summary: This article focuses on the ideological roots of therepressive and discriminatory mentality/philosophy that has shapeddemocracy and minority policies in Turkey. My aim is to analyze theconsequences of this mentality, with an emphasis on hate speech anddiscrimination. To this end, I summarize the consequences of the issues andpolicies discussed in the previous article, and discusstheir future implicationsfor both the state and the people of Turkey. I conclude that it is necessary torefer to citizens not through the ethno‐religious term Turk, and still less asMuslims, but through the thoroughly territorial term Türkiyeli (of Turkey),and to do all that is necessary to ensure such a transformation in mentality.
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