Commentaries #10

Authoritarianism from Above and Below: Exclusive
Nationalism and the Turkish‐Kurdish Conflict

by Harun Ercan

Executive Summary:

The persistence of the Kurdish conflict in the Middle East has created deadly outcomes for Turkey’s democratization process and facilitated the emergence of an authoritarian coalition promoting exclusive nationalism from above. While consolidation of the authoritarian rule in Turkey occurred in parallel to the rise of exclusive nationalism and regional militarism, the electoral authoritarian regime is currently facing multiple challenges. As the economic recession deepens, a new wave of ethnonationalism targeting the Kurds and immigrants is in the making, but this time from below. The possibility of democratic change in the future seems to depend on to what extent main opposition parties will be able to distance themselves from exclusive nationalism and build a pro-democracy
alliance including the People’s Democratic Party (HDP).