Return to Point Zero

The Turkish-Kurdish Question and How Politics and Ideas (Re)Make Empires, Nations, and States

Murat Somer
eISBN-13: 9781438486734

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How did the Turkish-Kurdish Conflict arise? Why have Turks and Kurds failed for so long to solve it? How can they solve it today? How can social scientists better analyze this and other protracted conflicts and propose better prescriptions for sustainable peace? Return to Point Zero develops a novel framework for analyzing the historical-structural and contemporary causes of ethnic-national conflicts, highlighting an understudied dimension: politics. Murat Somer argues that intramajority group politics rather than majority-minority differences better explains ethnic-national conflicts. Hence, the political-ideological divisions among Turks are the key to understanding the Turkish-Kurdish Conflict; though it was nationalism that produced the Kurdish Question during late-Ottoman imperial modernization, political elite decisions by the Turks created the Kurdish Conflict during the postimperial nation-state building. Today, ideational rigidities reinforce the conflict. Analyzing this conflict from "premodern" times to today, Somer emphasizes two distinct periods: the formative era of 1918–1926 and the post-2011 reformative period. Somer argues that during the formative era, political elites inadequately addressed three fundamental dilemmas of security, identity, and cooperation and includes a discussion of how the legacy of those political elite decisions impacted and framed peace attempts that have failed in the 1990s and 2010s. Return to Point Zero develops new concepts to analyze conflicts and concrete conflict-resolution proposals.

ISBNs 9781438486727, 1438486731, 9781438486734
Language English
Number of Pages 464