Document Type : Research Article


Professor, Department of International Law, University of Civilization, Istanbul, Turkey.


This presentation centres on the problematic of “identity” and the extent to which the republican Turkey has managed to gather the people around the state-imposed identity of “Turkishness”. This theme is explicated by reference to the two main challenges to the privileged role that Turkishness was accorded since the foundation of the republic in 1923: the upsurge of Islamic identity, and the manifestation of Kurdish identity. This paper argues that human rights violations in Turkey are not simply to be blamed on bad laws, ruthless governments and bad bureaucracy, but are the outpourings of a deeper malaise reflecting the politics of identity therein. It is argued that the more the individual and collective identities are “liberated” from the much-politicised homogenizing identity that idolizes the “nation” and the “state”, the more tensions and human right violations will subside through accommodating practices.


A) Books & Articles

- Aral, Berdal (2000).  “Turkey’s Kurdish Problem from an International Legal Perspective”, in David Turton & Julia Gonzalez (eds.), Ethnic Diversity in Europe: Challenges to the Nation State, Bilbao: University of Deusto.
- Aral, Berdal (2004). “Fifty Years on: Turkey’s Voting Orientation at the UN General Assembly, 1948-97”, Middle Eastern Studies, Vol.40, No.2, pp. 137-160.
- Lewis, Bernard (1998). The Multiple Identities of the Middle East, London: Phoenix.
- Robins, Philip (1991). Turkey and the Middle East, London: The Royal Institute of International Affairs.
- Said, Edward (1993). Culture and Imperialism, London: Vintage.

B) Websites