Cover image for Turkey's Kurdish question
Turkey's Kurdish question
Barkey, Henri J.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Lanham, Md. : Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, [1998]

Physical Description:
xix, 239 pages ; 24 cm

Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
DR435.K87 B37 1998 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

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The Kurds, one of the oldest ethnic groups in the Middle East, are reasserting their identity--politically and through violence. Divided mainly among Turkey, Iran, Iraq, and Syria, the Kurds have posed increasingly sharp challenges to all of these states in their quest for greater autonomy if not outright independence. Turkey's essentially democratic structure and civil society_ideal tools for coping with and incorporating minority challenge_have so far been suspended on this issue, which the government is treating almost exclusively as a security problem to be dealt with by force. For the West the situation in Turkey is particularly significant because of the country's importance in the region and because of the economic, political, and diplomatic damage that the conflict has caused. If Turkey fails to find a peaceful solution within its current borders, then the outlook is grim for ethnic and separatist challenges elsewhere in the region. This study explores the roots, dimensions, character, and evolution of the problem, offers a range of approaches to a resolution of the conflict, and draws broader parallels between the Kurdish question and other separatist movements worldwide.

Author Notes

Henri J. Barkey is associate professor in the Department of International Relations at Lehigh University. Graham E. Fuller is senior analyst at the RAND Corporation.

Reviews 1

Choice Review

Barkey (Lehigh Univ.) and Fuller (RAND), two eminent scholars, deal with one of the most important problems in the Middle East--the challenge of the Kurdish nationalist movement to the states of Turkey, Iraq, Iran, and Syria. This challenge to the Turkish government grew enormously as a result of the security vacuum created in northern Iraq by the 1991 Gulf War. Barkey and Fuller suggest possible solutions to the war between Turkey and the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), in which more than 30,000 people have been killed and 2,500 Kurdish nationalists have been murdered by government security forces or groups cooperating with them. The authors favor cultural concessions (right of Kurds to speak Kurdish in public), economic development of a Kurdish region, a diminished Turkish armed forces and security presence, legalization of Kurdish political parties, devolution of power to Kurdish regions, and more cultural and political autonomy. The fact that the Turkish government and armed forces have rejected all of the solutions favored by Barkey and Fuller reflects on the depth and intensity of the Kurdish issue in Turkey. This first-rate book is must reading for all scholars, policy advocates, and general readers interested in the Middle East. For broader aspects of the Kurdish question readers should consult Kemal Kiri,sci and Gareth M. Winrow's The Kurdish Question and Turkey (CH, Jan'98). Upper-division undergraduates and above. R. W. Olson; University of Kentucky