Turkish Racism Against Kurds: Colonial Violence, Racist Slurs and Mob Attacks


  • Güllistan Yarkın Independent Researcher, Istanbul




Turkish racism, Mob attacks, Racist slurs, Racial violence, Colonial Kurdistan, Turkish colonialism


Throughout the 20th century, the modern Turkish state has dealt with ethnically, socially, historically, and religiously defined groups living in the remaining Ottoman territory with different forms of integration and authoritarianism. It built a racialized social regime based on Turkish supremacy, and the state has ruled northern Kurdistan as a colony. This article focuses on Turkish racist slurs and racist mob attacks targeting Kurds in Turkish cities and analyzes them in relation to Turkish colonial domination in northern Kurdistan. It argues that the Turkish army has an important place in making the racialized social regime and producing and disseminating the racialized ideas, slurs and practices targeting Kurds. The article also identifies the year 2005 as a milestone in the history of Turkish-Kurdish relations and Turkish racism. In that year, following the flag-provocation event in Mersin, which was carried out by the Turkish deep-state forces, ‘respect the flag’ demonstrations were organized throughout Turkey. These demonstrations mobilized thousands of Turks around anti-Kurdish sentiments, and since then, the number of racist mob attacks against Kurds in Turkey has increased significantly.




How to Cite

Yarkın, G. (2022). Turkish Racism Against Kurds: Colonial Violence, Racist Slurs and Mob Attacks. The Commentaries, 2(1), 77–90. https://doi.org/10.33182/tc.v2i1.2218