The Arrival of Ethnic Nationalism – FPRI's 2015 Middle East History Institute

The Arrival of Ethnic Nationalism – FPRI's 2015 Middle East History Institute



it's my pleasure to introduce dr. Michael Reynolds he's an assistant professor are these associate professor excuse me of Near Eastern Studies at Princeton University and a senior fellow at F PRI and Mike is really a great example of the type of scholars were able to attract at F PRI and I say that because besides the fact that he is an award-winning author and historian he also is able to offer in-depth analysis on a wide variety of topics so just to give you some examples we have come to Mike and he has spoken for us on on topics such as ottoman and modern Middle East history Russian and Eurasian history the caucuses Empire nationalism which will be discussed today Turkish Foreign Policy and u.s. foreign policy so please join me in welcoming Mike in what I know will be a very interesting talk thank you very much Talley and thank you all Stalin and for organizing this and everything he does for fbri which i think is a very important organization and also let me thank Rachel for her great handling of all the logistics for this conference so I was asked to speak on the arrival of ethnic nationalism in the Middle East and I was very happy to do that because this enables me to speak about the country in the Middle East and I know the best which is Turkey which is probably the best example of the implementation and the arrival of ethnic nationalism it'll also give me a chance to speak about one of the most important forces in the contemporary Middle East which are previously gravan mentioned that is Kurdish nationalism so I'll have some general remarks with most of my my focus of my talk will be on Turkey and then on the role of the Kurds and so what I just wanted to start with here is just the map of the Middle East today and just to make the basic point which I think you all recognize that the Middle East today is very different the map of it is very very different from the map of what it looked like about a century ago so this is a map of the Middle East in the Muslim world in 1900 and you'll know this here these parts and green these are parts of the Muslim world that are occupied by European powers but what I really want to draw people's attention to is this red what you see in red and that is the Ottoman Empire now one of the things I think is very important to recognize is that the Ottoman Empire is not Turkey I mean the name tells you that but oftentimes you'll see in history books and even sources European sources from the 19th century in the early 20th century often use turkey as a synonym for the Ottoman Empire which is a very big mistake you might be wondering what is whether it's the Ottoman Empire me whether this has come from why we call augment with Issus this comes from the name it's a dynasty it's the name of the dynasty of Aslan now the name Aslan is the Turkish pronunciation of the Arabic Othman and that has sort of a th sound to it because you might say how about having to go from Oman to Ottoman well the Arabic has sort of a th sound to it something between the nests and the tea the Italians picked it up and it gave it the Ottoman which then has passed on it to English so that's why we call it the Ottoman Empire that is the dynasty of Osman who was the founder of it back in 1299 whereas the Turks call Osman Allah that is Aslam the sons and the sons of Aslam another I think important thing that a lot of people don't understand about again the difference between the Ottoman Empire in Turkey certainly I know I didn't when I first started studying Middle Eastern history I didn't understand is where actually did the Ottoman Empire emerge now one trick that historians I shouldn't say it's a trick it's our instinct as always if you want to talk about any given phenomenon historians say well to really understand that you have to go back earlier so we're always pushing things back so here I'm talking about the contemporary Middle East and I said well talk about Turkey I've got to talk about the expansion of the Ottoman Empire I'm not going to give a a lecture on the expansion on in part but I do want to bring out what I think is one very important point so when I first started doing Middle Eastern history my assumption was and again I think this is most Americans probably assume you know the Ottoman Empire starts someplace here in Anatolia and then they went on conquered the Middle East and then after that they went as most of you probably know the Ottomans twice twice tried to take Vienna you know in the heart of Europe and then so it's after you consolidating your power in Anatolia and then the Middle East and then they started to push into Europe that's very incorrect and it is also quite significant if you want to understand why is it the where we get the Turkish if you want to understand the formation the Turkish Republic we should understand is the the Ottoman Empire has its origins in Western Anatolia here's the very beginnings of it and you'll see it slightly this orange territory in Western Anatolia and then you'll see then this is already 1359 1451 these territories here you'll see that well before they even consolidate control over Anatolia let alone before they got into what we know is the Arab lands the Ottoman Empire was already very squarely in the Balkans and in fact arguably this is really the historical heartland of the Empire are these territories right there and that's something too important to understand if you want to if you want to know if you understand the process of the formation of the Turkish Republic now there is a process of decline of the Ottoman Empire when you can pick your various states sometimes 1774 is when the Ottomans signed a treaty with Russia which is the first time they unequivocally acknowledge that they had lost a war a very common date also uses 1798 when Napoleon invaded Egypt and virtually unopposed and that showed how a week the Ottoman Empire is but the point is it that by the the end of the 18th century it was clear to everybody that the other Empire was no longer a major player there they had real difficulty defending itself now the included were among those who understood that we are in trouble that we are much weaker than the major European powers they did not sit around and just boom own their fate the beginning of the 19th century or at the end of the 18th century and then through the 19th century they undertook a very active program of reform that was as comprehensive started off initially with military reform then with other reforms of this state institutions and this was going on throughout the 19th century and much of it was quite successful but it still was not successful enough and this map here shows what was going on in the from 1878 to 1913 so we're getting into the final decades of the Ottoman Empire so despite the fact that they are trying to reform themselves they are still their empire is falling apart and what I want to I'll come back to this but I want to just bring your attention to this as the as the Empire falls apart in the Balkans you'll notice in titles names of some of these places such as Greece Bulgaria Romania Serbia they sound something like nation-states and this is where we're beginning to see the arrival of ethnic nationalism nationalism is one of these terms that has is used in so many different contexts oftentimes to call someone a nationalist simply if we they're not democratic or if they are aggressive a group or a person will be labeled nationalist it's used very loosely I think one of the best sort of ways to understand this question than the rival of nationalism in the Middle East is to go to Le kajori who happened to be both a political philosopher and also a historian of the Middle East and someone actually himself came from the Middle East and wrote a very important book entitled nationalism and right there on the first page he as he explains he redefines nationalism or actions maybe I'll just read it he says briefly yo national is the doctrine holds that humanity is naturally divided into nations that nations are known by certain characteristics which can be ascertained and that the only legitimate type of government is national self govern now this is not a this is a belief as Kotori says that the merge points that makes the point this is in the belief that emerged in Europe and became stronger in the 19th century and then as I've argued in some of my written work this idea is then exported around the globe as the Europeans conduct their diplomacy so it's European dominated global order is increasingly rests on this doctrine of nationalism by the end of the 19th century now there's a huge contradiction in the idea that the Europeans are exploring this idea of Nationals at the same time they're also expending the control of their empires we I won't talk about that right now but that that if you questions and answers we could briefly touch on that but there's a contradiction there but nonetheless the the idea of the nation-state increasingly informs the conduct of diplomacy and this idea that humanity is naturally divided into nations that nations are known by certain characteristics which can be ascertained and that the only legitimate type of government is national self government this becomes a very powerful idea in the 19th century and especially then in in the 20th century now one of the problems with this idea of the national idea is that in the Middle East as in many other parts of the world the Middle East isn't really bad Exceptionalist but it's very poorly suited to the Middle East one when you look at the Middle East you will see or you will you certainly saw in the past ethnic settlement patterns are mixed you see a lot of different ethnic groups sharing the same territories living side-by-side another problem with the exported this idea or adopting this idea in the Middle East is that even at the beginning of the 20th century there was no strong socio economic base for nationalism that is things as you usually identify these necessary prerequisites for nationalism such as a highly literate population the existence of a middle class an industrial economy these are things with theorists of nationalism identified these are these are key attributes prerequisites that you need to develop a strong national identity you don't find that in the Middle East even the Ottoman Empire overwhelmingly the beginning 20th century it's an agricultural Empire very low rates of literacy in general in another aspect is that you had another problem with the importation of the idea of a nation-state and nationalism it's in the Middle East so you have a lot of Awesome very strongly competing identities and loyalties when religious identities tribal identities can very strong and then there are many clan identities and other forms of local identity so the application the idea the nation-states in the Middle East has been very problematic for many different reasons now one of the as I mentioned there was a very vigorous reform process that's really take steam in the 19th century that's sort of simplify matters that reorganize the reform process did do a great deal but not enough to save the state in the beginning of the 20th century there was a group was formed that called itself the committee of Union and progress often popularly known as the Young Turks it's not the title that I prefer because that's really one that the they didn't call themselves Young Turks that was really a name given to them by Europeans I have Young Turks oh that's that's a typo young Young Turks Madrid they call themselves unionists and what do they mean what is the title you know committee of progress and of Union in progress one Union meaning union of all the elements of vampire that is their number one goals we want to preserve the Empire we want to preserve this Imperial Ottoman state so that's their goal and then progress is the question how are we going to do it progress meant adopting basically European style ideas of statehood European style ideas of men of administration so in particular centralizing the state and introducing you know what we could call you more rational ideas of bureaucracy having a one legal code for the whole of the Empire and the this group the CEP or the the community of Union progress the unionists they step on to the world stage in 1908 when they engineer what's called the oftentimes Young Turk revolution probably better no this is a constitutional revolution where they compel the Ottoman Sultan to bring back the Constitution that he had abrogated this was a constitution to adopted in 1876 and then was shortly after a war with Russia the argument was well you know we we can't afford democracy at this time when the national security is under threat so therefore I'm gonna shelve both the Ottoman Parliament and this Constitution this group do you know progress organized a mutiny in the army and forced the Sultana to bring back the Constitution because the idea was constitutional rule this is part of the progressive reforms that we want now this these pictures here are of not two brothers not the Pasha brothers Pasha is a Turkish title that basically means Major General it's also given to people in the civil bureaucracy that occupy rank equivalent to a major-general so it's an honorary title or a rank so when you see that and you're reading about Pasha it's not like oh wow this Pasha family is you've really been quite influential in the Ottomans so this is these are two of the key leaders of the the committee of Union in progress one is Enver Pacha who became the Minister of War in 1914 he was the hero of the revolution of 1908 and then Talaat Pasha who became the Minister of Interior during World War one and they are useful you have to put them up err not simply because they were both key figures but you'll see n ver is a military officer tilith Machado becomes Minister of Interior was a civil servant and that's really what's the heart of this movement the community and Union progress that Rama drew most most of its members from military officers and civil servants in the government now why is that important why am i emphasizing that because they were the ones who have wanted to save the state above all no they were very much committed to saving the state and they were also as people were educated many of them knew foreign languages and we're very much aware that our state is in real trouble they understood how Europeans do things if we're going to save ourselves you've gotta borrow more ideas in practices from the Europeans so you bear ideas and how to save the state were very much the idea again of centralization having unified code of law they were generally much more Pro secularization they saw Islam as being a an impediment to progress something that in the pedes technological progress that impedes economic growth and they weren't in this well some of them were quite anti Islam but there again the key thing with them is they want to save this state now I want to maybe I should just go back to this map here so they come to power said in 1908 or rather they they force the the Sultana to introduce both elections in the constitution in 1908 and you'll know this here that you they lose this territory Tripoli cyrenaic in 1912 and you'll see that they lose these territories in the Balkans in 1912 1913 and these territories formerly lost to the Ottomans in 1908 and here so they have this great idea we've got a constitution back and what happens from that point on their empire continues to fracture and collapse the Italians grab these territories but the key really I think the key moment is 1912 1913 when you have these balkan wars where the ottomans fought a coalition of the balkan powers the Greeks the Bulgarians Serbians and they lost that war which was a shock because these are not you know one thing to lose the war to the Russians and other things to have the British take your territory these are major players now you're losing to your own former subjects the Serbians the Greeks these are you know at best kind of they're very new States they're on the rank of states that the 3rd 3rd tier States so that very much shook up the Ottomans that the oh how weak how how weak if we become now that our former subjects are beating us but with that isn't the nature of the war the Balkan Wars was a well all wars are ugly but the Balkan wars were particularly these were wars that saw a great deal of massacres on all sides and that concluded with the expulsion of hundreds of thousands of Muslims from the Balkan territories we then and then showed up in Anatolia that's something like 400,000 or so now there had been as the Russian Empire had been expanding down through the caucuses and also as it extended his influence in the Balkans there had been progressively larger and larger waves of explosions of Muslims would be coming into Anatolia sometimes that gets over emphasized empires our empires are generally used to living with very diverse populations and they are often very much concerned to maintain populations regardless of who it is because you can tax them populations you can extract wealth from them so the explosions of Muslims from the Caucasus and from the Balkans prior to the balkan wars it's significant particularly from the crimea but the balkan wars are a different thing are of a different quality because the muslims are driven out of there with the idea that they have no place in these balkan countries which all see themselves as being having revolted against the Turks against the Ottomans they want to establish their own homogeneous societies and Muslims have no place in there and again this is the heartland of the Ottoman Empire so when they lose this it's not like let's say the Indian or the British withdraw from India well this is a calling area you know we understood it was narrow never really ours to begin with or one might say when the French leave Algeria the French tried to convince themselves that Algeria is really part of France but I think they knew it wasn't quite the same as as France this is a real traumatic experience for the Ottomans psychologically because this is where our forefathers lived for four hundred years I mean when the equivalent might be let's say if the United States had people driven out of Ohio for example and then they're showing up in New England so psychologically but then also physically that you had lots of people killed and then you had refugees showing up so that convinces the Union in progress that not only do we have to reform we have to become ultra radical reformers 1914 you have award so 1913 there's a military coup and they expand they install a military dictatorship what's it equivalent to a one-party dictatorship probably the best way to describe it so they came initially with the idea we're going to restore the constitution by 1914 exceed in 1913 there they have implemented the one-party state they go into World War one for the they allied themselves with Germany it was a very rational decision at the time Germany had no direct claims on any Ottoman territory Germany is a very powerful state and they put their bet on the idea that the Germans would win the war it almost worked out that came World War one was a very close affair one of the major consequences of the war for the Ottomans is the fact that the Russian Empire couldn't bear the strain of the war and you had the Bolshevik Revolution which leads to the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire which is very critical to the emergence of the Turkish Republic as I'll explain in the moment but in 1918 with the loss of the of the Empire they flee now this is a map of you saw some of this with the sykes-picot map here this is what I prefer the call the sykes-picot saws enough plan saws enough was the name of the Russian Foreign Minister who signed off on it and this is the vision of what was going that the in tante had the British the French and the Russians in particular the talents were also part of this what they're going to do what was going to become of the abend Empire and you'll see here the key thing is you'll see there's a sort of rump Turkish state of some sort is going to the left here that is that was all that was going to be left of the Ottoman Empire so it supports kind of the point maybe is you know even even if even though you're paranoid just because you're paranoid doesn't mean they aren't out to get you now that's at the end of World War one so Russia has you fell into revolution and disintegrated but this idea that they came from the sykes-picot saws enough treaty doesn't disappear and there's a treaty Cemetery signed in 1920 and this is the vision of how what they're going to do with Anatolia and this is something every Turkish schoolchildren school child knows this map and you'll know this it looks very similar to the preceding map but with two significant exceptions I want to point out one this is bullet territory here which in the other map was going to be under Russian control is now going to be part of a greater Armenia and this territory here is going to be a Kurdish autonomous region with the idea that I think it was in five years it would be able to apply for independence and the amend the Europeans if they saw fit my greeted independent so they they there was the idea that will establish a Kurdish entity there now so what happened why wasn't this Treaty of severa this is what the great powers the most power the victors of World War one this is what they wanted to see done why wasn't it mainly because of not I shouldn't say mainly in large part but not entirely do they this person right here mr. Foyle Kemal Pasha again that was his rank it's not part of the Pasha family it was an ottoman general extremely capable field commander made his name in the Bible of Gallipoli as won victories there and elsewhere he is credited with leading the resistance to the implementation of the street II of cetera however I should point out that most of all Kemal did not do this all on his own prior to the prior to the end of World War one when I mentioned that these committee of Union Progress flee the Ottoman Empire they flee Istanbul on a submarine they make preparations they realize this war is coming to the end but there's going to be another war for Anatolia and they begin preparing for that they have armed stockpiled in Anatolia and they have people ready to leave the resistance movement they says we're going to start a movement Popular Resistance its Mustafa Kemal then who emerges who takes command of that movement and he way he leads what's called with the Turks called the war of national liberation basically from 1919 tonight scene 22 now that war is won fought primarily against two foes one is in the east against the Armenians we didn't have very strong forces but you remember this this map here they were going to get a good chunk of territory there and sort of after securing their rear they then take on the Greeks who were given the go-ahead by the the victors of World War one to take large chunks of Anatolia now they drive out they drive out to defeat the Armenians in the east and then they drive out the Greeks from the West and along with that with the populations both the Armenian populations and the Greek populations are killed off driven out of Anatolia so you're left with a Anatolia that is overwhelmingly Muslim the British and the French and the Italians had all been exhausted by World War one and there was some idea that British the might challenge Mustafa Kemal but then they ultimately said okay we're not actually going to fight fight you and they recognized what becomes the borders of contemporary Turkey in almost the borders largely the borders of contemporary Turkey and the Treaty of Lausanne and it's at that point that you know you have Mustafa Kemal pumps to power a rather you should say he takes charge of the resistance movement 1919 it's in 1923 he's able to establish the Republic of Turkey and it's at that point now we have a new title right a name for this country Turkey is what it's called and now the vision of Mustafa Kemal and the Turkish Republic is alright maybe I should phrase it this way the basic goal of the Turkish Republic is to put an end to this process of imperial dissolution and decline that the Ottoman Empire had faced so I remember the maps showing the decline from 1878 to 1913 and then you saw that final map showing how the vision of what was going to become vana Tolia this is what the the founders of the Turkish Republic they want to make sure this doesn't happen again that they are able to hold on to Anatolia and that no we'll be able to break up this territory and it's a fracture it so they are the two sort of pillars of the Turkish Republic r1 secularism now why they so insistent upon being secular that is making sure you not excluding Islam as an influence upon laws and in excluding Islam as a as a force for the regulation of public society whereas they mustafa kemal like his predecessors in the committee via progress see Islam as a impediment to technological and economic progress and so it's something that they regard has kept the Ottomans weak another problem say Islam competes with ethnic identity that is we Turks continue identify with the Muslims we're going to get ourselves dragged into all sorts of conflicts be it in the Balkans be in the Arab world be in any part of the Muslim world we don't want that we've had enough Wars we are out for ourselves we are not wanted we don't want to be dragged into conflicts that other Muslims might become embroiled now Islam was some of the people that founders a Turkish Republic very well might have liked in fact we know that they would have liked to have abolished Islam entirely however Islam was much too strong among the populace for there be any true radical movements to or attempt by the state to completely disestablish it so rather than sort of try to eliminate Islam instead what the Turkish state did was take it over and Waimea ticular Army literally all religious properties were taken over by the state all mosques were put under state control all religious authorities became employees of the state so imagine if this happened in the u.s. to be all church property synagogues mosques said there would be all be put under the control of of this of the state so so that was and there were a number of so that was one way to control Islam will make sure they they answer to the state and they'll take their orders from Ankara now there are a number of other reforms that Mustafa Kemal pursued because the other one key element of Turkish Republic was secularism which is tied in with the other key part of it which is nationalism which is teaching the population of the Turkish Republic that you are a Turk now this was they declare the Turkish Republic essentially regard everybody inside of the borders of the Turkish Republic with the exception of the Christians and Jews who fell in and the Treaty of Lausanne they were regarded as being sort of official minorities but all Muslims were now the one identity that they could have was that of being Turkish no the purpose of this wasn't so much it's not so much an exercise in Turkish chauvinism that Turks think they're better than others when it was an emphasis trying to the idea was to create a homogenous body of people community that could not be divided that no one from the outside could go and agitate them on one part of the group and say well you know you're a little bit different from these guys you should break away the ideas create a society where everyone identifies both with each other and with the state because as they saw and they couldn't get into it but the other process of the breakup of the Ottoman Empire very much was a there was there was always a lot of outside intervention going on encouraging certain people in the name of their communities to revolt against the Empire so the idea here is we're going to prevent that happening by creating a community that homogeneous identifies with itself and identifies very strongly with the state now to do that there were a number of reforms that Mustafa Kemal carried out one was the alphabet reform so the Turkish language is not Arabic but it had used the Arabic alphabet the the autumns had used that up until 1928 when mr. Fogg Kemal says okay we're going to use a Latin alphabet and you can see this is an iconic photo of him he's acting as a teacher a school teacher teaching people here is the new alphabet now part of this was for the sake of increasing literacy the Arabic alphabet doesn't fit Turkish that well Arabic has basically you can represent three dollars but Turkish has eight vowels so it makes it somewhat complicated to read turkish in the arabic in the arabic script but also the other thing was he wanted to break the link between turks and the Arabs in the Middle East is part of these very much westernizing Europe European izing reforms and the other was to break the link particular with Islam that they're going to use a script that's different from the the script of the Quran so there was also a cultural and element and psychological element to the alphabet reform as well dress code sartorial changes were made in 1925 when the first reforms that Mustafa Kemal insist upon the band's the Fez which had become the symbol which is kind of you know I was I think about a century before the end of the Ottoman Empire they adopted the Fez and it was a it's the show sort of the Ottoman Empire was reforming and changing the Fez under Mustafa Kemal is abolished and the men are supposed to wear western-style headgear so here mr. Fogg Kemal making the point and this top hat and you'll see here he is another forget with the Connie call is a trilby or you'll see everyone here has new hats written where they're wearing rather new hats and this is a way of making the point very visually to people that you are changing we are changing our orientation and here is just a list of all Kemal in the tuxedo again sending sending the example for his nation that we are now Turks we are a very different entity than the Ottomans were this map another so another important change was the moving the capital from Istanbul a great material capital to what was a very dusty small town in the center of Anatolia and that became the heart of the Republic partially that was a strategic move let's put the capital s exposed area but there's also sending a signal to people that we are moving away from the oven from the oven pass which is very much tied up with religion and a much more cosmopolitan order to one where we are building a nation-state of Turks for Turks there are along with the alphabet reform she mentioned there's also a language or form where the Turkish language was not entirely purified but was a lot of Arabic and Persian words were driven out of the vocabulary and the equivalent to that might be even mentioned in the English language we started going out they stopped using you're banned from using words of French origin or of Latin and you can only use anglo-saxon English accent words and that was again part of it to emphasize that we are no longer tied culturally to our neighbors the Iranians and or to the Arabs and that's and also to break the influence of Islam on Turkish society now the name Ataturk and here you'll see the signature this is a name adopted 1934 all Turks were required to adopt surnames and so everyone 34 then had to many people made up their names or chose names they're the son of so-and-so except there but they all had to come up with that last names odd to Turk was the name given to Moosa Falcom all and what it means is the father of the Turks so that I mean very is you there there was nothing kind of sneaky about what mr. Falko models doing it's all very quite clear you adopting this name father the Turks he's engaged in the project of creating a Turkish nation a new nation and he takes this name Auditor you know the father of the Turks now this is a very well-known saying of the Turkish Republic name with glue to comb DNA what that means is what joy to him or her Turkish doesn't have a Turkish language doesn't have gender so it can apply to males females or neither so what joy to him or her who says I'm a turk now there are number of ways you can read that you one might think oh that's kind of again the expression of Turkish nationals would be a miss reading of it cuz it didn't say what joy to him or her who is a Turk but rather to the one who says they are Turk so this was a probably the turgid for poem is teaching its people that you are now Turks regardless of whether you are a you know and that's an ethnic Turk or is it as you looked at olya you have lots of people I mentioned you have these refugees from the Balkan say you have Albanians you have pomaks you have Greek speaking Muslims who are Muslims but they speak Greek you have you have Arabs living in Anatolia you have group called the laws I could go on you have many people from the Caucasus or Causton etc they're all being taught that you are a turkey and this sort of understand underscores it what joy to him who's her who says I am a Turk so the point is to become a Turk all you have to do if you're a Muslim is say I am a Turk and then you are a full-fledged citizen of the Republic and what a wonderful thing that is to be a a Turk so in in pushing these ideas of course the Turkish this is a state project it's an exercise and social engineering the various institutions of the state in particular schools of course are a key aspect of this with children are taught in schools what's in textbooks the Army is another key actor in turning Anatolians into Turks now this has been in a remarkably successful project in my estimation today if you go around Turkey the vast majority of Turks issues Turkish citizens identify as Turks and they might tell you okay yes you know am i you know grandfathers came from the Balkans or we're really were Circassians which cherica's were laws but it's very similar I think to the kind of the way Americans have various backgrounds of assimilate to an American identity when they might remember okay you my grandfather son was a member of a Polish American club but they're they're fundamentally Americans speak English and identify effectively as being Americans in the same way or a roughly analogous way I think that can be said about Turkey it's been a as some people look at the Turkish project of teaching people the Turks it looks kind of crazy when you look at what they've done but it's been again I think remark will be successful with one major exception a business section that should part of it as well you'll see the Turkish Republic you'll see various phrases on so this is again namely Luther come DNA whoa what joy to him or her who says I'm a Turk and you'll see this is on the country side and there are certain parts of Turkey where you would go and you would see emblazoned on the countryside either this or either simply the sign of the Turkish symbol of the Turkish state or you'd see things like the homeland is indivisible now that might strike you as kind of odd well why do they feel it's so important to put this okay if it's in schools or in textbooks but why do they have to put it on the sides of hills and mountains because it's certain parts of the country have had seen a lot more of this than others and this is the so the big exception to the success of Turkish Nash the the building of a Turkish nation and Tory the nationalization or the turcica fication I suppose you could say of the population Anatolia are the Kurds and you see this is a map it's dated but it's still quite accurate and the Soviet you can ignore that well I want to focus on is right here you'll see this part of Turkey particularly the southeast I mean this is somewhat gives you a this these areas does do not mean that Turks excuse me Kurds are the predominant group merely that there are significant numbers of them but this territory right here in the southeast of Turkey is very heavily Kurdish so why are the Kurds and exception why have why I say it's been so successful at this one except for the Kurds well they're basically two reasons one is that there are significant numbers of Kurds inside of Turkey no one knows the exact number because it's not permitted inside of Turkey if the idea is everyone there's one identity officially recognized then you know the there's no there's no way that officially or formally collect data on people's ethnic identity but usually most estimates are something like 12 to 15 percent of Turkey are Kurdish so it's more than 10 percent that's a it's a sizable number so that's one reason there are lots of them whereas a lot of the other groups were kind of so small and they were dispersed and they assimilated the the Kurds however the other second reasons why I admit you they're compactly settled so I mentioned the areas in the southeast are very heavily Kurdish which means of course if you're growing up there and you're told a Turk at school but you're coming home and you're speaking kurdish in your home and on the street excetera well that kind of becomes difficult to reconcile you know wait a second and I speak a different language at home and you realize that will you have another identity so the Turks have not been able to assimilate the Kurds now this wasn't the Kurdish question was has been a big question for Turkey right from the beginning of the Republic shortly after its foundation in 1823 you had a number of Kurdish revolts that took place those all those they failed they failed for a number of reasons one is that they were launched not necessarily even so much for out of opposition to Turkish nationalism but did secularizing reforms where one of the things that really alienated a lot of the Kurds early on in the Turkish Republic and that tells you something it tells you that the idea of a Kurdish identity did not necessarily take precedence over a Muslim identity and another reason why some of these revolts failed was because the Kurds were divided among themselves different tribal identities and also there were some sectarian differences and that also fractured the Kurds the levels of you know so we might be asking why is it that the widen the Kurds have a stronger sense of their own collective identity and as you look at the areas and this applies not just the turkey applies to the other parts of the Middle East as well to where the Kurds live in Syria Iraq Iran you'll notice they're a very sort of remote area and throughout most of the modern history I should say from you know even before the modern history of the Middle East is sort of a backwater and the Kurds as a result have very good very low levels of literacy and there are no there were no Pradhan only Kurdish cities most Kurds live this pastoral nomads so the whole idea of having kind of Kurdish nation was a totally alien idea even you saw that map where the cetera where the Europeans had an idea recognized what other occurred so let's give them some kind of state of their own that was a very alien idea to the vast majority of Kurds the worst of Kurdish intellectuals who were able to follow these things but back then many Kurds were first and foremost afraid of well whose if we don't join with the Turks in their war of liberation we're going to be under the rule of the Armenians and that was a major impetus for them to join with the Turks with the Armenians or some other or the the great power backers of the Armenians but as a result of the Turkish Republic success in building institutions and building schools and teaching people that their Turks more and more Kurds have discovered that wait wait a second I'm not exactly a turk Who am I and have discovered well we are in fact Kurds and you let me come to this this is just a map showing this distribution of Kurds so the largest number is you know this is a rough estimate but let's say about 14 million or so inside of Turkey and other city of getting the 7.8 in Iran 5.4 million in Iraq 2 million in Syria those in Turkey so there are a number of revolts they were suppressed there was an organization known as the Kurdistan Workers Party was founded by a university student by the name of Abdullah Oh John who is a a Kurd founds this organization called the Kurdistan Workers Party which then in 1984 began a insurgency against the Turkish Republic and that organization continues now isn't currently engaged again we knew this war with the Turkish Republic and what's kind of interesting to note about this is that of course the he's a very prominent figure he's sort of almost a semi deity to the Kurds much like Mustafa Kemal was made for the Turks most of all Kemal is regarded as almost a quasi godlike figure in by the the institutions of the Turkish Turkish Republic the Kurds Oh John sort of imitating that saying okay nation should have a father sort of figure has kind of filled the role of Mustafa Kemal atatürk but this trying to do it for the Kurds so the Kurds have taken many of the lessons about nationalism from the Turks and as they've been educated by the Turkish Republic and discovered who we are as Kurds even though Oh John for example writes in Turkish and most of the PKK and its operations actually rely upon Turkish is their main language of communication they have it's a response and an interesting response to the emergence of Turkish nationalism sort of maybe you could say that the here in this case Turkish nationals has been even more successful than it then dared ever hoped and that it's now created sort of a mirror image among the Kurds I'm pretty now I didn't mention and I should know you know the Turkish Republic so this is about the Middle East I spend a lot of time talking about Turkey and I did that deliberately both because it's the case that I know best but I should point out video what happened in Turkey wasn't entirely exceptional you'll see many of the things that they did were applied in Europe but in terms of the Middle East in Arab nationalism both in Syria in Iraq we had attempts to you know to build an Arab nationalism some of the points that's overlooked or whether I'm a phrase it differently one of the interesting parallels is that whereas Nationals often time today rightly so is criticized as being a very pernicious influence because it creates differing groups of peoples and sets them in opposition to each other one of the Appeals for it for in the earlier parts of the 20th century in the Middle East was that on the one hand although it creates opposition between ethnic groups it can also serve to paper over or overcome you and sectarian differences so one of the key supporters of Turkish nationalism in in the in the Turkish Republic has been the allah we polish knowledge a Lavie population inside of turkey who are not sunnis but were felt much more comfortable and saying let's not talk about our religious differences let's emphasize our common Turkish ethnicity likewise we can see a similar dynamic in parts of the Arab world and I have in mind the Syrian Iraq where you had a number of Christians were very prominent proponents of Arab nationalism you had also the ala whites in Syria very much identified with this because that means again we don't have to speak about what separates us in terms of religion but let's speak about what unites us in terms of language and our ethnic identity and likewise in Iraq where you have Sunnis and Shia where they're – the idea would be that by emphasizing our common Erebus we can overcome these differences now in the case of Iraq that creates a different dynamic when you're now dealing with Kurds which is a separate that would be a title of a separate lecture the the role of the Kurds and inside of Iraq and their and their fate there so why don't I our end on this note and take questions it's someone passing okay thank you my name is Jim Feldman from lakeshore high school and st. Clair Shores Michigan um I had a question about the Turkish Workers Party I looking at the slide it I kind of got a Maoist Stalinist kind of vibe with it did they you know steal any of their kind of ideas from Mao or Stalin absolutely this way the key influences they I mean the name tells you Chrysostom Workers Party founded in the Cold War very much influenced by Marxist ideology Oh John is very much in this cult of personality very much similar to Stalin's and it you you read their stuff and your mind begins to spin after a while which is part of that is deliberate because that helps in inculcate this belief that oh Jalan is this semi-divine character so very much they've been influenced by Marxist line ISM and and then you know it's it's a good parallel to draw with Stalinism Oh John is he's after he was he was captured in 1999 and he's currently on arrested and I'm an island in Turkey arrested he's still permitted to he's written things in published books and they wanted to be questions is he really changed the organization or the ideology or not I mean he's come up with this new idea which is much closer to been influenced by ideas of anarchism and it claims to be much more democratic but we again another problem with John's the one then they're arrests he's still revered by the PKK but the ones actually running the organization are located in congeal in the rock and they say that they listen to him but that's not really clear but you're absolutely right yet so that's the this is very much influenced by Marxist leaven ISM and in Stalinism as well Paul tickler F PRI I had a question about a likely de facto Kurdistan that exists in Iraq and what its impact would be on the Kurds in the other three countries and in light of the fact that the PKK has been basing itself largely in Iraq yes no that that's a great question I was actually in your bill this summer so this is sort of the capital of the Kurdistan Regional Government inside of Iraq one of the you know the beliefs is that like you say this the weather the big problems in commentary in the Middle East today is people speak about the Kurds as if they're one single United group which they are not either linguistically there are at least three major Kurdish dialects they are not mutually comprehensible I mean it doesn't take that much to learn one to speak the other but they are not they are separate certainly separate dialects are gonna be some would say they're separate languages so there is strong linguistic divisions among the Kurds that's not unusual and one can look at the formation of France took some time for the French language to become unified but they are not there yet there are still very strong tribal divisions there are strong build political divisions and that's one of the one I think key things and this Kurdistan Regional Government there are two major players there one that calls itself the Kurdistan Democratic Party the other that calls itself the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan now that sounds like okay you know Democrats Republicans you know there's a all and their ideological differences you scratch a little bit and you find it well no actually this is much more tied up with linguistic and tribal differences and then they simply call themselves now having political parties so there is a significant rift there now the PKK is based in congeal in northern Iraq they are an entirely different organization from both the puk in the KDP and the puk and KDP or both rather there's the PKK some major competitor of theirs now because they do identify it some of we are all Kurds we've all been kicked around by our governments there is certainly simple they at some level between them but there's also a lot of fear and suspicion I mean the puk and KDP have fought each other quite bitterly in the 1990s and prior to that and then P the PKK and the KDP and PUK as I mentioned they're kind of more political parties that stand in for tribes tribal interests PKK is a revolutionary organization that is dedicated to uprooting tribal differences and has this has had the Marxist Leninist orientation and is has a very different vision of the Kurdish future then do the KDP or the puk and so you know if we were to say the port the other let's let's solve if Syria let's say serious today is one unified state in the rockets as well in the ROM in Turkey there are say hey look we think the Kurds should all be their own group they can take all the chunks of territory they claim in our territories it's all theirs let them have it would that mean that everything would be wonderful among the Kurds no that would mean there have to be a major civil war among the Kurds decides okay who's really going to be running it is going to be the PKK the KDP or PUK or those would be the three major contenders and they're very much they are not on the same page the the other question I had connected with it is I was in Turkey when no challan was captured at that point you know being an American was a great time to be in Turkey it's like we were heroes in fact they were crediting Israel as well with with the capture now in light of how things have morphed and there have been all kinds of tensions involving Iraq and u.s. foreign policy and so forth how do you see this shaking out in light light of Kurds its if that's an excellent question to is extremely it's explosive I'm using a phrase earlier that's you know the just because you're paranoid doesn't mean they aren't out to get you so the Turks have this thing about the sever syndrome is what it's called which is a good description of let me go back to that map of 7a and this is again something every that's this is more colorful version this every Turkish school kid knows this this is a you know this is the nightmare scenario of the Turkish Republic this is what were they the whole Republic is established to prevent now they look at you know this is this is what the great powers are going to do and so Americans we didn't have anything to do with this I mean I think Adam mentioned that America was going to become it's there's talk that we're going to come and mandate out here with the Armenians we didn't some I think were you know the u.s. we're not the British we're not the French were not the colonial power in the Turkish mindset you are a great power the Americans and you like every great power your goal must be to keep us weak and to keep us divided and what's the easiest the most obvious way to do that support the Kurds so there's always been the suspicion that the US and the Europeans are backing Kurdish separatism now you mentioned in the capture of old Jalan many Turks were very happy about that solo Jalan yes I should mention the capture of old lon speaking about paranoids just because you're paranoid doesn't mean they are and that's get you Oh Jalan who had been living in Syria for many years and running the the war of the PKK swore against turkey from Syria turkey mobilized when was I think in 1998 mobilized on Syrian border and said if you don't get rid of this guy we're going to invade the Syrians said okay Oh John you've got to pack your bags so where does he go he goes around the world shows up in Italy he's got a camera and we show them France but he had lots of friends there there a number of European prominent politicians trying to get them refuge there he traveled to Russia I was hoping to be able to hole up there he's caught in Nairobi Kenya and handed over or the Turks themselves there's security forces special forces captured them a lot of Turks some said okay they must have had help and usually people point to the US and maybe the Israelis as having helped helped him out when he was captured where we see cheese trying to get to the airport he was leaving the Greek Embassy and he had a passport from Greece now Greece okay we know Turks and Greeks you know have a history contentious history with each other but Greece is a NATO ally and if you can imagine if we owe a fellow NATO ally is supporting you your number one nè Oh John is equivalent to Turks the way Osama bin Laden is for Americans so you can imagine island in the French we always like to pick on the French so for the method French the French gave Osama bin Laden he was captured with a French passport coming out of the French Embassy and so you know the Turks are paranoid about the stuff and they'll tell you like even though John's captured Z I'm saying well you know we helped you get Ultron why do you think the u.s. is and we give them giving them lots of intelligence aid against the PKK so still there's a belief you're just you know you're helping us a bit but you're keeping them in play and you're gonna use them against us and this is a major fear inside of Turkey has been and in the past couple of years of what's going on in in Syria and now with the Kurds emerging as one of the best opponents to the two dice or the Islamic state Isis whatever you want to call it and the u.s. is now collaborating with get a more you know in northern Syria the PKK has these organizations they're under a different name but they're controlled by the pkv the part of the PKK but we're able to say well it's a different organization it's not the PKK the PYD the YPG and so we can work with them but this has the Turks extremely nervous and one of my fears is that you American weapons fall into their hands and the PKK which has been waging you know attacks incessantly in Turkey since july american arms or they're caught doing that in killing Turks it could be very really very explosive in Turkish American relations hello I grew up with the number of Turks and just socially and often when you speak to someone that's Turkish you know when you say to them well where are you from they'll say oh I'm not from the village area I'm from the city so I have to two solutions to this in my mind do you think that it's because they don't want to equate themselves with the Kurds who are more rural or is it because they want to be seen as more Western because of Mustafa's reforms it could be both but it's probably the I think the second that they just don't want to be associated with people from the villages one of the particularly those there was a lot of Turks came to Germany in particular in the 1950s they're brought in as guest workers of course that's they've stayed there so much for being guest workers like often this happens they are still there in their descendants that there's the whole can of worms of its own but one of the most of those who showed up in Germany were from villages and we're so this is one of the the culture class of course suddenly living and going from Turkey the Germany's a huge switch particularly going from a village so you know when they had the religious holidays and they're supposed to do sacrifice animals etc they're doing that either in the street or you know in their bathtubs which makes these Germans go crazy because there are these crazy people and they turn this is just these are Djinn you know this is what Lina salute you know there's nothing weird about this is what we do and so that there might have been in other maybe along with those has been like Turkey like so many other countries throughout the world particularly in the so-called developing world has undergone rapid urbanization and so places like Istanbul you know people older generations people this tumble it's no longer City it's just become a big Anatolian village suddenly all these people came in from the villages overnight and have settled in Istanbul and they'll complain about they are you know they're not real city people they brought the village to the city so that's been item Amy is Jonathan mentioned this morning you know class is another important marker and I think that's really probably what's going on there Thank You Bryan Harding my Community College in Flint Michigan can we go back to the map of the Treaty of sèvres sure thank you there you go please let me know if I understand correctly this so as of 1920 there's an international agreement that there should be a country an independent country called Kurdistan but within a few years that did not take place and primarily it's because the Turks waged a successful war in the east against their Armenians yes so the the idea this was going to be in autonomous entity tied to this you know there's gonna be a rump Turkish state here and then this Kurdish thing would be attached to it and I think I think it was five years then it would be eligible to come fully independent now if it never took off because well one you had not simply because he had Mustafa Kemal who who begins his resistance out in this part of Anatolia but a lot of the Kurds joined him as well and their fear was his I didn't I didn't bring a map of Kurdistan in Armenia but these territories are claimed by both Kurds and Armenians historically now the and the lead-up into World War one you know people talk about relations between Turks and Armenians the fundamental conflict was really between Kurds and Armenians at a sociological level and World War one they are killed off driven out of this area of Anatolia the Kurds are still left there but you know in the immediate aftermath of the World War one the Kurds are very fearful that they're going to be come right back in and that was one of the major incentives that the Kurds had to fight with the Turks you know I might also mention you initially the Turks when they identity under Mustafa Kemal I say turrets they fought their war in the name of Islam in the name of Lewis ylim Brotherhood not the Muslim Brotherhood the idea of Muslims are now all Muslims are either rather you emphasizing the people in Muslims of Anatolia and in northern Iraq so misil was originally supposed to be in their vision was going to be part of this new state they were going to establish the British however refused to give him a sole up and one of the you know kind of counterfactuals had the British said okay you can take my soul they were going to all the land of the Turks and the Kurds and you might have had a very different playing out of history but when they were denied misil that made it much easier then because you had Kurds here but there you know about 10% of the population probably at that time they're not very powerful so you could try to go ahead with this idea we're going to assimilate everybody and make them a Turk thank you hi I'm Sean Larkins from Richmond Virginia I had I guess I had three questions but I don't want to I want to try to combine them into kind of one thing from this the story that that you've painted for us is that Kurdish nationalism is sort of in a sense a byproduct of a reaction to Turkish nationalism and so that brings up the question is in the region in order for nationalism to be successful does there have to be an other in opposition to Palestine and Israeli for example but then I thought about well why then did Arab nationalism sort of act as a failure and I guess the last comment I would mean I read something recently that predicted to turkey as the next failed state in the region primarily because of demography that Kurdish demography will eventually create this this Kurdish state so there's a lot of things that all Egypt yeah those are very good questions um ya know the painting picture I'm painting yes if Kurdish nationalism being a reaction which isn't anyway I'm not don't mean to diminish my Kurdish identity in any way because you make the same point you know the formation of Turkish nationals I'm my argument is very much a geopolitical phenomenon that's that's really one has to understand is how do we get this Turkish Republic well it's it's their response to the downfall of the the breakup of the Ottoman Empire and the realization if you're going to have a state that's going to survive in this new global order it's got to be a nation-state and it should be homogeneous so that it can't be divided and then that you know in the way Abdulla Jalan has formulated Kurdish nationalism in some sense you can see it as a as a reaction towards Turkish now so of course you know the story of Kurds in Iraq is is a bit different maybe but they realize with the they are Arab nationalism side of Iraq that they are Kurds it does seem to be very much near the formation of any identity often needs another and Middle East is not at all unusual on this I mean one can go all throughout the world and find very similar things and let me see this what was the last question about the demography right you so right now the pop because no one has heart statistics on this but it looks like that the you occur the Turkish population is largely stabilized and the Kurdish population is still growing inside of Turkey the key thing here I think is urbanization because you know whenever people start moving the cities that's when their population really starts to fall and as whether the what's one of the problems of the idea we can solve this Kurdish problem by you know dividing up Turkey if I could come to the map of the Kurds you know if we just give let's say this these parts of Turkey we're actually better when we come to the it's not working now oh I'm pressing on button that's why right this kind of gives you good this is the election results earlier this year and you'll see here's where the HTTP the Kurdish party did particularly well so if you were to say you'll say let's let these territories here go that's this this is where you have predominantly Kurds living and we didn't solve a problem because the largest Kurdish city in the world is where it's Istanbul the city with the largest curve the Kurdish population in the world is Istanbul it's not dr bakr which is probably maybe the number two out in the the southeast and that's because there's been with the development of the Turkish the Turkish economy has been sucking Kurds moving migrating from east to west so we have lots of Kurds living all throughout Turkey and you know economically they're they're very you know integrated I mean is again I think the idea of a Kurdish nation stated be a disaster for the Kurds first and foremost as well as for the rest of the region in part for this for this reading I mean I hope you know this current conflict doesn't grow into a real ethnic civil war because then you'll be faced with masses because potentially you could be faced with massive massive explosions of Kurds from the western part of Turkey I guess so I was on to that yes thinking about things so as you've had Kurds move into cities like Ankara is mirror in Istanbul they're popularly they tend to have less fewer children as well I remember I first discovered this and I did some research on just from talking to taxi drivers yes and yeah you learn Alliance learning Turkish you ask some are you married you have children except there excetera and so many of say just one just one you know it's too expensive to have more and then the a lot of these taxi drivers particular today are Kurdish and then there's people who've done some research on this as well what is significant is you do have a lot of young kurds and they are one than the most like a lot of young men there i want to take risks you can mobilize them easily and that's whether the key things that's going right now inside of turkey the southeast economically isn't in great shape so you have a lot of young courage to remember you also the war from the 1990s which is very like most war is very ugly and this is one of the turkeys real problems so I guess what I'm trying to say is the demographic problem I'm not convinced it'll be a huge thing in the future because pattern suits changes people urban eyes but for right now you have enough young Kurdish young Kurds who are angry and willing to fight and they might not be the easiest group to convince to stand down and you've got this group the PKK which is quite militant and it has been you're fighting a war since 1984 and they see our this is our moment you know now even the u.s. is beating this a maybe the Kurds could be useful allies they see this is their moment where they have to grab it and that's I think is a very explosive situation so whereas turkey used to always be seen this is great stabilizer in the Middle East and we took it for granted and now it's looks like it's going more in the way of Iraq and in Syria

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