From hammer and sickle to the tespih?: religion in the Kurdish movement in Turkey
Şahin, Emre (2013) From hammer and sickle to the tespih?: religion in the Kurdish movement in Turkey. [Thesis]
Kurdish rebellions have generally had religious tones and motives except for the most recent one: the PKK. As the central actor of the Kurdish movement in Turkey, the PKK was set up as a political party in 1978 and began its armed resistance against the Republic of Turkey in 1984. In its earlier years, the PKK was a secular organization that was critical towards Islam. Islamic motives and Muslim Kurds have become visible within the Kurdish movement in Turkey over the past decade. How can we make sense of the emergence of Islamic motives and the increase of Muslim Kurds’ visibility within the Kurdish movement? In an attempt to solve this puzzle, I analyzed organizational texts such as statutes and programs. I also researched the opinion pieces and news articles on the subject. Furthermore, I carried out in-depth, semi-structured interviews in Amed (Diyarbakır) and Istanbul mainly with actors and sympathizers of the Kurdish movement. Through this case study, I synthesize the earlier social movements models from a ‘culturalist’ perspective and elaborate on the recent transformation of the Kurdish movement. In doing so, I hope to contribute to the literature on social movements in Turkey and bring the impact of the Kurdish movement’s transformation on the Kurdish issue to the table.
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