Minorities in Turkey I: Law and Reform
Keywords:Minorities in Turkey, Law and Reform, Turk, ethno-religious, ethnic Turks , Muslims
Here I uncover the relationship between the term “Turk” (an ethno-religious term that, in some usages covertly, in some overtly, avers that Turkey is the land of ethnic Turks, and that only Muslims are considered Turk), and the concepts of race and religion. A critical period for the advancement of human rights and minority rights in Turkey occurred in the early 2000s, when the parliament adopted a series of reform packages in order to harmonize the country’s laws with those of the European Union (EU). I propose to examine a case of these most radical democratic reforms carried out since the establishment of the republic, in order to understand how these reforms have been put into practice. I also trace the deviation from these reforms after 2005, by examining the subsequent laws and practices that undo or undermine them, and discuss their implications, particularly for Kurds in case of the deterioration under the state of emergency (Olağanüstü Hal, or OHAL), declared in response to the July 15, 2016 coup attempt.
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