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Code HIST 585
Term 201702
Title Minority Questions in Contemporary Turkey
Faculty Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences
Subject History(HIST)
SU Credit 3
ECTS Credit 10.00
Instructor(s) Ayse Ozil,
Language of Instruction English
Level of Course Doctoral
Type of Course Click here to view.
(only for SU students)
Mode of Delivery Interactive lecture,Seminar
Planned Learning Activities Interactive,Discussion based learning,Case Study

First decolonization and then the end of the Cold War have led to new waves of transnational movement. Mass immigration and floods of refugees have given rise to economic, social and cultural clashes, feeding into fresh problems of ethno-religious otherization that have come to haunt even the normally most stable and tolerant democracies of Europe. Simultaneously, Turkey's EU process is bringing into question a number of minority issues that are the legacy of the transition from the multi-ethnic Ottoman empire into Balkan, Caucasian and Middle Eastern nation-states. What are these questions ? Which groups are involved ? How can cultural, linguistic and religious rights be applied to the relationship between majority and minority groups at the national and international levels ? How can consciousness of ethnic, religious or cultural diversity be fostered and promoted as a common value ? It is to such historical and contemporary problems that HIST 585 is addressed. For the possibility of taking this course at an undergraduate level, subject to appropriate adjustments, see SPS 485.


The aim of the course is to discuss the aspects of the minorities question in contemporary Turkey against the background of the transition from the multi-ethnic Ottoman empire to Balkan, Caucasian and Middle Eastern nation-states.

Learning Outcome

Upon completion of this course, students should be able to:
- describe the main stages of the modern history of Turkey from the perspective of minority rights
- comprehend themes to be selected by the students for seminar work and term papers;
- identify the decisive developments, institutions and individuals of the Republican era and to relate them to an overall conception of the subject matter;
- synthesize large themes over a relatively long span of history;
- systematize historical argumentation, based on professional standards of evidence use;
- develop the ability to approach specific issues from a comparative perspective and form a convincing opinion in face of divergent views of different historians on the topic;
- develop independent study capability, including participation in seminar discussions;
- select material to produce, by a deadline, a coherent and convincing argument.

Programme Outcomes
Common Outcomes For All Programs
1 Develop and deepen the current and advanced knowledge in the field with original thought and/or research and come up with innovative definitions based on Master's degree qualifications 5
2 Conceive the interdisciplinary interaction which the field is related with ; come up with original solutions by using knowledge requiring proficiency on analysis, synthesis and assessment of new and complex ideas. 5
3 Evaluate and use new information within the field in a systematic approach. 5
4 Develop an innovative knowledge, method, design and/or practice or adapt an already known knowledge, method, design and/or practice to another field; research, conceive, design, adapt and implement an original subject. 4
5 Critical analysis, synthesis and evaluation of new and complex ideas. 5
6 Gain advanced level skills in the use of research methods in the field of study. 4
7 Contribute the progression in the field by producing an innovative idea, skill, design and/or practice or by adapting an already known idea, skill, design, and/or practice to a different field independently. 4
8 Broaden the borders of the knowledge in the field by producing or interpreting an original work or publishing at least one scientific paper in the field in national and/or international refereed journals. 3
9 Demonstrate leadership in contexts requiring innovative and interdisciplinary problem solving. 1
10 Develop new ideas and methods in the field by using high level mental processes such as creative and critical thinking, problem solving and decision making. 4
11 Investigate and improve social connections and their conducting norms and manage the actions to change them when necessary. 2
12 Defend original views when exchanging ideas in the field with professionals and communicate effectively by showing competence in the field. 5
13 Ability to communicate and discuss orally, in written and visually with peers by using a foreign language at least at a level of European Language Portfolio C1 General Level. 5
14 Contribute to the transition of the community to an information society and its sustainability process by introducing scientific, technological, social or cultural improvements. 2
15 Demonstrate functional interaction by using strategic decision making processes in solving problems encountered in the field. 4
16 Contribute to the solution finding process regarding social, scientific, cultural and ethical problems in the field and support the development of these values. 5
Common Outcomes For All Programs
1 Develop the ability to use critical, analytical, and reflective thinking and reasoning 5
2 Reflect on social and ethical responsibilities in his/her professional life. 5
3 Gain experience and confidence in the dissemination of project/research outputs 3
4 Work responsibly and creatively as an individual or as a member or leader of a team and in multidisciplinary environments. 5
5 Communicate effectively by oral, written, graphical and technological means and have competency in English. 5
6 Independently reach and acquire information, and develop appreciation of the need for continuously learning and updating. 5
1 Design and model engineering systems and processes and solve engineering problems with an innovative approach.
2 Establish experimental setups, conduct experiments and/or simulations.
3 Analytically acquire and interpret data.
1 Develop a thorough knowledge of theories, concepts, and research methods in the field and apply them in research design and data analysis.
2 Assess the impact of the economic, social, and political environment from a global, national and regional level.
3 Know how to access written and visual, primary and secondary sources of information, interpret concepts and data from a variety of sources in developing disciplinary and interdisciplinary analyses.
1 Demonstrate command of comparative perspectives, which may include the ability to compare the histories of different societies, or cultures awareness of continuity and change over extended time spans.
2 Construct concepts and theories derived from the humanities and social sciences.
3 Analyze the evidence from the research to support a historical argument for an answer to a research question.
4 Apply a critical perspective to evaluating historical arguments, including the quality of the sources, the validity of the interpretations of those sources, and the soundness of the argument's use of evidence to support a historical interpretation.
5 Develop and sustain historical arguments in a variety of literary forms, formulating appropriate questions and utilizing evidence.
1 Establish a strong theoretical background in several of a broad range of subjects related to the discipline, such as manufacturing processes, service systems design and operation, production planning and control, modeling and optimization, stochastics, statistics.
2 Develop novel modeling and / or analytical solution strategies for problems in integrated production and service systems involving human capital, materials, information, equipment, and energy, also using an interdisciplinary approach whenever appropriate.
3 Implement solution strategies on a computer platform for decision-support purposes by employing effective computational and experimental tools.
4 Acquire skills to independently explore and tackle problems related to the discipline that were not encountered previously. Develop appropriate modeling, solution, implementation strategies, and assess the quality of the outcome.
1 Have knowledge of a comprehensive and integrated picture of contemporary Turkey, including all its promise and problems.
2 Have knowledge of an up-to-date grasp of the overall shape and basic outlines of the country?s history; the complexity of the multiple and often contradictory strands of its culture; the fundamental structures and emerging dynamics of its economy; and the basic setting, enduring legacies as well as shifting realignments of its politics.
3 Have a sensitive appreciation of the possible paths and choices it faces early in the 21st century.
4 Able to Respond to the international demand for knowledge about the history, culture, languages, politics and economy of Turkey.
5 Able to Independently formulate critical research questions, and pursue them into a deepening knowledge of the subject.
1 Apply knowledge of mathematics, science, and engineering in computer science and engineering related problems.
2 Display knowledge of contemporary issues in computer science and engineering and apply to a particular problem.
3 Demonstrate the use of results from interpreted data to improve the quality of research or a product in computer science and engineering.
Recommended or Required Reading

Thomas Hylland Eriksen, Ethnicity and nationalism: Anthropological perspectives (London and New York: Pluto Press, 2010), Ch. 1: "What is ethnicity?", 1-22.
. Will Kymlicka, Multicultural citizenship: A liberal theory of minority rights (Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 1995), Ch. 3: "Individual rights and collective rights", 34-48.
. Donald L. Horowitz, "Self-determination: politics, philosophy, and law", in Ethnicity and group rights, eds. Ian Shapiro and Will Kymlicka (New York and London: New York University Press, 1997), 421-463.
. Anthony Smith, "Ethnic cores and dominant ethnies", in Rethinking ethnicity: majority groups and dominant minorities, ed. Eric P.Kaufmann (London and New York: Routledge, 2004), 15-26. ?
. Claude Cahen, ?Dhimma?, The Encyclopaedia of Islam (Leiden: Brill), vol. 2, 227-330.
. Jacob Barnai, "The Development of Community Organizational Structures: The Case of Izmir", in Jews, Turks, Ottomans, ed. Avigdor Levy (Syracuse, NY: Syracuse University Press, 2002), 35-51.
. Richard Clogg, "The Greek millet in the Ottoman Empire", in Christians and Jews in the Ottoman Empire: The functioning of a plural society, eds. Benjamin Braude and Bernard Lewis (New York and London: Holmes & Meier, 1982), vol. 1, 185-207.
. Najwa Al-Qattan, "Across the Courtyard: Residential Space and Sectarian Boundaries in Ottoman Damascus" in Minorities in the Ottoman Empire (Princeton: Markus Wiener Publishers, 2005), 13-45.
. Fatma Muge Gocek, "The Legal Recourse of Minorities in History: Eighteenth Century Appeals to the Islamic Court of Galata" in Minorities in the Ottoman Empire (Princeton: Markus Wiener Publishers, 2005), 47-69.
. Benjamin Braude, "Foundation myths of the millet system", in Christians and Jews in the Ottoman Empire: the functioning of a plural society, eds. Benjamin Braude and Bernard Lewis (New York and London: Holmes & Meier, 1982), vol. 1, 69-88.
. Paraskevas Konortas, "From taife to millet: Ottoman terms for the Ottoman Greek Orthodox Community", in Ottoman Greeks in the age of nationalism, eds. Dimitri Gondicas and Charles Issawi (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1999), 169-179.
. U?ur Umit Ungor, "Seeing like a nation-state: Young Turk social engineering in Eastern Turkey, 1913-1950", Journal of Genocide Research, 10/1 (2008), 15-39.
. "The Treaty of Sevres, 1920", in The Treaties of Peace 1919-1923, vol. II, New York: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, 1924.,_Articles_1_-_260
. "The Treaty of Peace with Turkey signed at Lausanne, July 24, 1923", in The Treaties of Peace 1919-1923, vol. 2 (New York: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace), 1924.
. Renee Hirschon, ed., Crossing the Aegean: An appraisal of the 1923 compulsory population exchange between Greece and Turkey (New York and Oxford: Berghahn Books, 2003), 3-37.
. Bruce Clark, Twice a stranger: The mass expulsions that forged modern Greece and Turkey (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2006), 42-64.
Suggested Reading:
. Rogers Brubaker, "Aftermath of empire and the unmixing of peoples", in After Empire: Multiethnic societies and nation-building, eds. Karen Barkey and Mark von Hagen (Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 1997), 155-180.
Week 6, Oct 22: Construction of Turkishness in the Early Turkish Republic
Required Readings:
. Selim Deringil, "From Ottoman to Turk: self-image and social engineering in Turkey", in Making majorities: Constituting the nation in Japan, Korea, China, Malaysia, Fiji, Turkey, and the United States, ed. Dru C. Gladney (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1998), 217-226.
. Soner Ca?aptay, Islam, secularism, and nationalism in modern Turkey: who is a Turk? (London and New York: Routledge, 2006), Ch. 2: "Secularism, Kemalist nationalism, Turkishness, and the minorities in the 1920s ", 11-40.
. Hans-Lukas Kieser, "An ethno-nationalist revolutionary and theorist of Kemalism: Dr Mahmut Esat Bozkurt (1892-1943)", in Turkey beyond nationalism: towards post- nationalist identities?, ed. Hans-Lukas Kieser (London: I.B. Tauris, 2006), 20-27. ?
. Marc Baer, "The double bind of race and religion: the conversion of the Donme to Turkish secular nationalism", Comparative Studies in Society and History 46 (2004), 682-708.
. Umut Azak, Islam and Secularism in Turkey: Kemalism, Religion and the Nation State (London: I. B. Tauris, 2010), 1-20.
. Martin van Bruinessen, Agha, Shaikh and State: The Social and Political Structures of Kurdistan (London: Zed Books, 1992), Ch. 5: "Shaikh Said?s Revolt", 265-305.
. Kader Konuk, East West Mimesis: Auerbach in Turkey (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2010), 102-132.
. Hatice Bayraktar, "The anti-Jewish pogrom in Eastern Thrace in 1934: new evidence for the responsibility of the Turkish government", Patterns of Prejudice, vol. 40, no. 2 (2006), 95-111.
. Ayhan Aktar, "Tax me to the end of my life: anatomy of an anti-minority tax legislation", in State-Nationalisms in the Ottoman Empire, Greece and Turkey 1830-1945, eds. B. Fortna, et al. (London: Routledge, 2013), 188-220.
. Ali Tunaya Kuyucu, "Ethno-religious 'unmixing' of 'Turkey': 6-7 September riots as a case in Turkish nationalism", Nations and Nationalism 11/3 (2005), 361-380.
. Thomas W. Smith, "Civic nationalism and ethnocultural justice in Turkey", Human Rights Quarterly 27 (2005) 436-470.
. Mesut Ye?en, "The Kurdish question in Turkish state discourse", Journal of Contemporary History 34 (1999), 555-568.
. Zeki Sarigil, "Curbing Kurdish ethno-nationalism in Turkey: an empirical assessment of pro-Islamic and socio-economic approaches", Ethnic and Racial Studies 33 (2010), 533- 553.
. Markus Dressler, "Making religion through secularist legal discourse: the case of Turkish Alevism", in Secularism and Religion-Making, eds. Markus Dressler and Arvind Pal Mandair (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011), 187-208.
Karin Vorhoff, "'Let's reclaim our history and culture!': imagining Alevi community in contemporary Turkey", Die Welt des Islams 38/2 (1998), 220-252.
. ? ?U?ur Umit Ungor and Mehmet Polatel, Confiscation and Destruction: The Young Turk Seizure of Armenian Property (London: Continuum, 2011), 1-13, 61-105.
. Dilek Kurban and Kezban Hatemi, The Story of an Alien(ation): Real estate ownership problems of non-Muslim foundations and communities in Turkey (Istanbul: TESEV, 2009), 7-63.
2012 Declaration: The seized properties of Armenian foundations in Istanbul, eds. M. Polatel, et al. (Istanbul: Hrant Dink Foundation, 2012), 29-83, 133-143.
. Fatma Muge Gocek, The Transformation of Turkey (London: I. B. Tauris, 2011), Ch. 4: "Why is there still a Sevres syndrome? An analysis of Turkey's uneasy association with the West", 98-184.
. ?? Sule Toktas and Bulent Aras, "The EU and minority rights in Turkey", Political Science Quarterly 124 (2009?10), 697-720. ?
Suggested Reading:
. ?? Nigar Karimova and Edward Deverell, "Minorities in Turkey" (Stockholm: The Swedish Institute of International Affairs, Occasional Papers No. 19, 2001).
. Cihan Tu?al, Passive revolution: Absorbing the Islamic challenge to capitalism (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2009), Ch. 2: "Islamization in Turkey as Constitution of Hegemony", 36-56.
. Hakan Yavuz, Secularism and Muslim democracy in Turkey (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2009), Ch. 6: "The Kurdish question and the AKP", 171-200.
. ?? Gunes Murat Tezcur, "Kurdish nationalism and identity in Turkey: A Conceptual Reinterpretation", European Journal of Turkish Studies, 10 (2009), 1-17.?
Suggested Readings:
. ?? Bilgin Ayata, "Mapping Euro-Kurdistan", Middle East Report, No. 247: The Kurds and the future (Summer, 2008), 18-23.?
. ?? Christiane Harzig, "From state constructions to individual opportunities: the historical development of citizenship in Europe", in The historical practice of diversity: transcultural interactions from the early modern Mediterranean to the postcolonial world, eds. Dirk Hoerder et al. (New York and Oxford: Berghahn Books, 2003), 203-220.
. Mark Mazower, "Violence and the State in the Twentieth Century", The American Historical Review, 107/4 (2002), 1158-1178.
. ??Seyla Benhabib, "Cosmopolitanism and Democracy: Affinities and Tensions" The Hedgehog Review, Fall 2009, 30-41.
. ?? Vasilis Kolonas, Greek Architects in the Ottoman Empire, 19th ? 20th centuries (Athens: Olkos Publishers, 2005), excerpts.
. "Ayk?r? Binan?n Sakl? Kalfas?: Hamidiye Camii ve Nikolaos Tzelepis" [Hidden Architect of A Contested Building: The Hamidiye Mosque and Nikolaos Tzelepis] in Bat?l?lasan ?stanbul?un Rum Mimarlar? [Greek Architects of Istanbul in the Era of Westernization], eds. Hasan Kuruyaz?c? and Eva Sarlak (Istanbul: Zografyon Lisesi Mezunlar? Derne?i, 2010): 104-117.
. ??Pars Tu?lac?, The Role of the Balian Family in Ottoman Architecture, (Istanbul: Yeni C???r, 1990), excerpts.
Suggested Reading:
. ??Ayse Ozil, "Greek Orthodox Communities and the Formation of an Urban Landscape in Late Ottomna Istanbul", in Ruhr Area and Istanbul: The Economies of Urban Diversity, eds. D. Reuschke, et al. (NY: Palgrave, 2013), 145-163.