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Ideas and Identities

A Festschrift for Andre Liebich

Edited By Jaci Eisenberg and Davide Rodogno

This volume gathers contributions at the intersection of history and politics. The essays, covering such topics as diverse as Italian identity in the Tientsin concession, international refugee policies in the interwar period and after, and the myths and realities of the Ukrainian-Russian encounter in independent Ukraine, show that history provides better grounding as well as a more suitable paradigm for the study of politics than economics or other hard sciences. All of the contributors have a common link – doctoral work supervised and shaped by Professor Andre Liebich – but have since expanded widely in the world. Hence, the authors of this work at once share a common base and yet benefit from diverse viewpoints.
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Kurdish Nation Formation in Turkey: The Role of Modernization in the Transition to Phase C: Özcan Yilmaz

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Kurdish Nation Formation in Turkey: The Role of Modernization in the Transition to Phase C

ÖZCAN YILMAZ

The Kurds are considered the most populous people in the world without their own state.1 According to David McDowall, the modern history of the Kurds is characterised by two struggles. The first one is the struggle between the Kurdish people and the governments to which they are subject for control of the lands they inhabit. Until the 19th century this first struggle was between the Kurds and states (Ottoman, Safavid, and Qajar) who wished to control the Kurdish territory they considered theirs, but had neither ideological nor practical ambitions to assimilate the Kurds into some kind of homogenous entity. The second one is the Kurds’ struggle for nationhood.2

The Kurdish struggle for nationhood can be regarded as a consequence of the decline and dissolution of the Ottoman Empire. Beginning at the end of the late 17th century, the decline of the Ottoman Empire led, during the 19th century, to rise of ethnic awareness among its different peoples. The Ottoman Empire was a multi-ethnic empire and religion was the identifying criterion. Since their integration into the Ottoman Empire, following their division between the Ottoman Empire and the Safavid Empire in 16th century, the Kurds, like other Sunni Muslim groups, were one of the components of Sunni Muslim core of Ottoman Empire (anasir-i islamiye).

Through the Ottoman crisis of the ancien régime (late 19th century) some...

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