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Turkey – Kurds Conflict Essay, Research Paper Turkey’s key internal conflict centers on the role of its large Kurdish minority, ethnically and linguistically distinct, in a state that constitutionally consists of Turks. This issue has been with Turkey almost since the foundation of the Turkish State in 1923. The Kurds were promised the creation of an independent state as part of the treaty of Sevres in 1920 but this part of the treaty was never ratified and Turkey has refused to recognize the existence of a separate Kurdish ethnic community within its borders. Even so, Half of Turkey’s Kurds have moved from the south east to the western cities of Turkey and have increasingly become integrated into the Turkish economy. Fifteen million individuals of Kurdish origin

presently live in the republic of Turkey and are striving to achieve legal recognition and to establish legal rights after having been subject to economic disadvantages and human right violations for decades. A large number of Kurds have immigrated to Europe, where they engaged in nationalist activities such as the PKK. Since 1984, an unofficial war has raged between successive Turkish governments and the Kurdish worker’s party (PKK), An armed group trying to gain autonomy for the country’s 15 million Kurds. This war resulted in something between 20,000 and 30,000 deaths, with innocent villagers, being subject to interrogation, torture, indiscriminate violence and even death. For better understanding the international conflicts and the behavior of states, David Singer

introduced the idea of levels of analysis. He distinguished between two broad levels: the macro level that explains the events from an international and global perspective, and the micro level that explains what happened from an internal point of view. The Turkey-Kurds conflict could be described using various levels of analysis: At the micro-level, influences on decisions is determined by the structure of the Turkish government: Since the foundation of the Turkish state in 1923, the Turkish government has to cope with the policy born with the Turkish republic itself, that the national population has a single identity, that of Turks. So when Mustafa Kamal (Ataturk) began to form a Turkish nation state, it was not clear what constituted a Turk but soon, Kurds were considered as

Turks and a policy aiming at the detribalization and assimilation of the Kurds was adopted? The Turkish government’s pursuit of full assimilation has led to the proscription of publications of any book, newspaper, or other material in the Kurdish language. Moreover, there has also been an instance of arrests of entertainers for singing songs or performing in Kurdish. If we look deeply at the government structure, we can see that historically, Turkey lacks government openness. With the birth of the Turkish republic in 1923, the Turkish government did not satisfy the demands of the Kurds who were seeking independence. And since it is more of an authoritarian and closed system, the public opinion did no have any impact on the government. The non-governmental characteristics of the

society as a whole also affect or condition choices. The Turkish society is the most politically advanced Muslim society of the world: It has deep Muslim roots that affect its perceptions of minority status. Kurds for example, were never considered a minority under the Ottoman Islamic law because they too were Muslims: Islamic law recognizes only non-Muslims as officially constituting “minorities”. Most Turks today do not accept the concept of Kurdish minorities within the country, but Turkey is putting effort to reconcile modern nationalism with traditional Islamic views. As for the Kurds, they are bearers of a long tradition and culture of their own for perhaps two-millenium and have a strong sense of Kurdish identity. They are strongly attached to their culture and