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Citizenship Identity In Turkey Essay

1304 words - 6 pages

The Politics of Citizenship by Drawing Borders: Foreign Policy and the Construction of National Citizenship Identity in Turkey

As far as the transitional period from the Ottoman Empire to the Turkish
Republic is concerned, one of the crucial areas in which the impact of foreign
policy has been observed is the building of national citizenship identity in
Turkey. This is in terms of its relation not only to Turkish modernity but also
to the process of nation-building that has considerable potential for producing
political change because of the disruption it introduces into the established
patterns of international relations. It is within this context that we situate the
relationship ...view middle of the document...

2
It is obvious that there is not a single pattern of democratic transformation
appropriate for every social–political formation. Nor is there a single pattern
Middle Eastern Studies, Vol.40, No.6, November 2004, pp.26 – 50
ISSN 0026-3206 print/1743-7881 online
DOI: 10.1080/0026320042000282865 # 2004 Taylor & Francis Ltd.
Downloaded By: [Columbia University] At: 10:23 29 October 2007
common to every liberal democracy for distinguishing citizenship. Rather,
modern societies develop the conditions of ‘proper membership’ for citizens
to nation states as a means of addressing specific problems originating from
historical ethnic, religious, linguistic, and/ or gender differentiation and/or
from the current context of mobility.3 Therefore, in order to see ‘which model
will work in different contexts’,4 it is important to analyse the evolution of
particular citizenship identities as parallel to the formation of nation(al) states
on a country by country basis.
In this framework, the evolution of the modern Turkish (national)
citizenship as an institution of the republican regime – both as a collection
of rights and as a general framework of official identity for the members of
the ‘community inside’ – has been a subject of rising interest since the mid-
1990s. The basic features of Turkish citizenship have been described as a
civic–territorial, secular, and republican, duty-based–passive identity in
several substantive studies, which have used different analytical instruments,
such as the legal formulation of an official citizenship identity in successive
Turkish constitutions and in related laws; the content of the general
republican education system, which has aimed to create the new republican
citizen; the immigration and settlement policies, which have been an example
of spatial–temporal conditioning of self/other in the new national context;
and the effects of the republican state ideology on the evolution of Turkish
citizenship as a duty-based identity.5
An analysis of Turkish foreign policy and the interaction between its
international context and domestic social–political formations helps to
diagnose the historical impediments Turkish citizens have faced throughout
the process of developing a right-based, active, liberal identity. The general
foreign policy orientation and practices of the nationalist Ankara government
during the period of national struggle in the late 1910s and early 1920s exists
as the foundation for the emergence of the Turkish national citizenship
identity. Before the establishment of the republic, the territorial, cultural
(national) and ethical–ideological boundaries of Turkish citizenship were
drawn mainly by the foreign policy acts and decisions of the new ruling elite,
which also entailed a particular ‘politics of citizenship’ in the domestic
sphere. In other words, in each foreign policy action the nationalists
simultaneously envisaged and domesticated a particular identity for...

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