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Minorities as a Threat: A Historical Reconstruction of State-Minority Relations in Turkey

Minorities as a Threat: A Historical Reconstruction of State-Minority Relations in Turkey I. INTRODUCTION: THE INDIVISIBLE ENTITY The Turkish State, with its territory and nation, is an indivisible entity. Its language is Turkish.' 1 With the adoption of amendments to 34 articles of its Constitution in October 2001, the Turkish General Assembly took many observers by surprise. In particular the abolishment of Article 26(3) of the Turkish Constitution - 'No language prohibited by law shall be used in the expression and dissemination of thought'- almost amounted to a 'revolution' in Turkish politics.2 In principle, the abolishment of this prohibition is opening the way for public expression in regional languages for ethnic and linguistic minorities. This move of the then Prime Minister Biilent Ecevit entailed a clear break with the strict language policy ofTurkey's republican past and it marked a reversal of Ankara's previous standpoint that any concessions with regard to cultural minority rights would eventually compromise the 'indivisible' unity of the Turkish state. The reform process was further strengthened by another round of substantial legal adjustments in accordance with EU standards that the parliament approved on 3 August 2002. For the first time in republican history, these constitutional reforms have paved the way for broadcasting in Kurdish and other regional http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png European Yearbook of Minority Issues Online Brill

Minorities as a Threat: A Historical Reconstruction of State-Minority Relations in Turkey

European Yearbook of Minority Issues Online , Volume 2 (1): 23 – Jan 1, 2002

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Publisher
Brill
Copyright
Copyright © Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, The Netherlands
eISSN
2211-6117
DOI
10.1163/221161103X00076
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

I. INTRODUCTION: THE INDIVISIBLE ENTITY The Turkish State, with its territory and nation, is an indivisible entity. Its language is Turkish.' 1 With the adoption of amendments to 34 articles of its Constitution in October 2001, the Turkish General Assembly took many observers by surprise. In particular the abolishment of Article 26(3) of the Turkish Constitution - 'No language prohibited by law shall be used in the expression and dissemination of thought'- almost amounted to a 'revolution' in Turkish politics.2 In principle, the abolishment of this prohibition is opening the way for public expression in regional languages for ethnic and linguistic minorities. This move of the then Prime Minister Biilent Ecevit entailed a clear break with the strict language policy ofTurkey's republican past and it marked a reversal of Ankara's previous standpoint that any concessions with regard to cultural minority rights would eventually compromise the 'indivisible' unity of the Turkish state. The reform process was further strengthened by another round of substantial legal adjustments in accordance with EU standards that the parliament approved on 3 August 2002. For the first time in republican history, these constitutional reforms have paved the way for broadcasting in Kurdish and other regional

Journal

European Yearbook of Minority Issues OnlineBrill

Published: Jan 1, 2002

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