Turkish Staatsvolk vs. Kurdish identity: Denial of the kurds in Turkish school textbooks

Hay Eytan Cohen Yanarocak

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Under Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the Turkish nation-state sought to Turkify all of its non-Turkic minorities. His well-known motto of “How happy is the one who says I am a Turk” became the slogan of this policy. The Treaty of Lausanne (1923) that provided the ultimate legitimacy for the Turkish nation-state drew the lines of sociological borders in the newborn republic. This study highlights the denial of Kurdish identity in Turkish school textbooks. Since national indoctrination was carried out through the textbooks used in three core courses — Civics (Vatandaşlık), History (Tarih), and National Security Studies (Milli Güvenlik Bilgisi)—this research will attempt to trace this policy of denial by examining relevant chapters in these volumes that were published in the 1924–2002 period. While doing that, the article will focus on the 1980–2002 period since, in that given time interval, the Turkish state not only ignored the Kurdish identity but also actively denied its existence. In order to remain in the historical timeframe, the research limits its scope to the rise of the AKP in 2002.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)405-419
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of the Middle East and Africa
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1 Oct 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Assimilation
  • Education
  • Kurds
  • Minority
  • Textbooks
  • Turkey

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • History
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Political Science and International Relations


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