Challenges of Diversity in Turkish Politics: Circassians by Ayhan Kaya

ACCEPT-PLURALISM; 2012/06; 4. National Case Studies 

Ayhan Kaya
Istanbul Bilgi University

Turkey is a multi-ethnic and multi-denominational country with a republican tradition based on a constitution underlining the values of equality, freedom, and secularism. However, Turkey faces various problems such as the right to be different, and the lack of equal access to education. In this regard, Turkey has a very intricate history with regard to the culture of tolerance . The Ottoman millet system praised the act of tolerance during the heydays of the Ottoman Empire, while the nationalist rhetoric promoted a homogeneous nation based on Sunni-Muslim-Turkish elements.

This research investigates the way the regime of tolerance has been implemented in Turkey as far as the political participation of the Circassians is concerned since the late nineteenth century. The work first scrutinizes the political and cultural claims raised by the Circassians, and then explores which claims have so far been tolerated by the state, what political practices are considered to be tolerant, or intolerant, and what values/norms are considered to promote, or undermine, tolerance in Turkish political life.

Download the full-text document in PDF format.

Download Turkish version in PDF format. [Türkçe]