Ethnic Boundaries in Turkish Politics
The Secular Kurdish Movement and Islam
“The Kurdish armed insurgency in Turkey is one of the longest and most complicated conflicts in the post-World War II era. The PKK-led insurgency, which was initiated by a small group of college students in the 1970s, has not only survived the harsh conditions of the Middle East but also thrived in the past 40 years, becoming a key non-state actor in the region. This book is about this strong secular insurgency and the groups it has inspired, addressing the question of religion. Zeki Sarigil very effectively frames the Kurdish ethno-nationalist movement in Turkey into the wider context of ethnic armed conflict, nationalism, and religion. It stands out from most of the existing studies that primarily utilize a historical approach to the Kurdish conflict by its multi-method approach to examine an important aspect of the Kurdish movement that has not yet been systematically studied.”
—Mehmet Gürses, Associate Professor of Political Science, Florida Atlantic University
“This ambitious book poses a set of original and essential questions for students of Kurdish politics: Why, how, and with what consequences has the secularist Kurdish movement given up its anti-religious stance and policies? How has religion, once considered reactionary by the Turkish state and the Kurdish movement, become a boundary contested area for these two actors? How have the elite members of these groups utilized Islamic teachings to capture the support of ordinary Kurds? Sarigil deftly crafts an indispensable ethnic boundary-making analysis with extensive fieldwork and interviews conducted over five years . . . definitely a must-read for followers of Kurdish politics.”
—Ekrem Karakoç, Associate Professor of Political Science, Binghamton University
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