By Aynur Unal
This paper is originated from my doctoral research investigated the discourse about Kurdishness within the Kurdish political movement in Turkey from an indigeneity perspective. My findings suggest that the Kurds’ self-determination model in Turkey incorporates the main themes of indigeneity, including self-identification, unique language and culture, and historical and spiritual bond to a defined territory. The historical development of the Kurdish self-determination dates to the terminal stage of the Ottoman Empire (Bozarslan 2008). However, the Turkish Republic’s establishment based on the Kemalist ideology that recognizes only Turkish ethnic identity (Yeğen 2004) has led the Kurds to struggle for their self-determination that has appeared in various forms, including uprisings, rebellions, guerrilla movement, and the political movement. While the struggle of Kurds in Turkey for self-determination has continued for almost a hundred years, the conditions in other nation-states in the region have not been very different. Other countries were also established based on the denial of Kurds and other indigenous peoples. As Mesopotamia has evolved into the Arab and Turkish nation-states as the Middle East after WWI, the Kurds in their historical land with the other indigenous peoples were either identified as minorities or their existence was completely denied.