A tale of ambiguity: citizenship, nationalism and democracy in Turkey

Keyman E. F. , Kanci T.

NATIONS AND NATIONALISM, cilt.17, sa.2, ss.318-336, 2011 (SSCI İndekslerine Giren Dergi) identifier identifier

  • Cilt numarası: 17 Konu: 2
  • Basım Tarihi: 2011
  • Doi Numarası: 10.1111/j.1469-8129.2010.00462.x
  • Sayfa Sayıları: ss.318-336


We argue that historically the official Turkish nationalism and citizenship regime have been marked by an ambiguity that arises from the simultaneous existence of - and repeatedly occurring swings between - the ethno-centric and civic-political understandings of citizenship. We also suggest that the concept of territoriality, which took precedence over other factors in the creation of a new state in 1923, has functioned as a hegemonic reference in the official conceptualisations of the Turkish nation and self. The territorial focus, over time, has been conflated with the ethnic conceptualisations of the nation: both become the underlining elements of the discourse of official nationalism in Turkey, and are utilised in the successive reformulations of citizenship into the 2000s. Through the analysis of schoolbooks and curricula, we further argue that the major oscillations in nationalism nevertheless coincided with the ruptures that characterised the making of modern Turkey: modernisation, democratisation, globalisation and Europeanisation.