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The Nation-State’s Blurred Borders: Erdoğan and the Emergence of Kurdistan in Turkey 10 janvier 2014

Posted by Acturca in Middle East / Moyen Orient, Turkey / Turquie.
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IPC-Mercator Policy Brief, January 2014

Kerem Öktem *

2012-2013 has marked a significant departure from Turkey’s traditional Kurdish policy. This departure pertains above all to the actors involved and the larger political space in which it is negotiated. In terms of actors, the Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has introduced into the Turkish political system the Iraqi Kurdish leader Masoud Barzani as an alternative to the incarcerated chair of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), Abdullah Öcalan. In terms of political space, leading figures of the AKP have increasingly resorted to a political language that transgresses the logic of the nation-state and instead suggests flexible, variable and softer borders between countries and people. While this proposition may resemble a shift towards liberal alternatives to the nation-state, I will suggest in this paper that both phenomena -the inclusion of external actors and the extension of Turkey’s political space- are representative of a form of governance that weakens the demos , i.e. the political space of the citizens’ of the Turkish Republic and limit its prospects not only for a resolution of the Turkish-Kurdish conflict but also for Turkey’s democratic consolidation.

* Kerem Öktem is a Mercator-IPC Fellow at Istanbul Policy Center, Sabancı University and Research Fellow at the European Studies Centre, University of Oxford.

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