The Turkish Nationalism in which my world view and character was shaped and for which the sake of it I spent my years (that 8 of those passed in the dungeons of my homeland) is assumed to be one of the early modernization products of the 20th century. This stream sounds strongly not only from Anatolian Turkish-ness but also from Turkistan, Kazakh-Tatar, Azerbaijan, Balkan and other Turk basins.

Turning back to our country; the founder fathers of the Turkish Republic which was in fact founded as a state-nation, utilized Turkish nationalism which also includes uniting cultural aspects in it at those years as “glue” in the nation building process after founding the state and considered it as the strongest parameter of Turkish modernization. When Turkish Nationalism rose as a product of paradigm of modernization, it had to take the position of following a totalizing, homogenizing and singularizing path which halves the life as the center and the ambient, and tries to assimilate the ambient to be similar to the center. More importantly, as it tried to perform the nation building process not by encouragement and a national agreement conforming with the dominant winds blowing in Europe, but by “POWER” the problems were solved (!) in short term but the bottom waves which were supposed to be suppressed, continued to force consistently the conceptual framework of nation-state.

In fact, when we consider its historical development, it is possible to say that the nationalist streams which are products of modernity and the nation-states they raised, have bungled in homogenizing the differences in global terms. Since the fact that the 193 states having seats in General Council of United Nations could not totalize and homogenize and engulf the 500 languages spoken and the 6000 ethnic groups existing on earth in the last 200 years is the greatest proof of this bungling. Then the first question coming into mind is: as there are 193 states in the world and it is expected to have 193 different languages and 193 different ethnic groups why modernity and its unique beloved, the idea of nationalism, bungled and could not fuse the differences?

The answer to that question should be interestingly explored within the nationalism concept, not elsewhere. If it is to answer in short, the nationalism which had been the servants of the modernity until the ends of the 80’s lost their property of being the “glue” sticking the nation and the state with the upcoming of 90’s, turned generally into micro-nationalisms of ethnic origins and this time started to corrode the “hyphen” between the nation and the state. Interestingly, the concept of nationalism which was trying to homogenize the earth 30 years ago have turned the groups having nationalist assertions into modernity “mutants” one each, and in fact started to exhaust the structure it has formed in the last 150 years.

Some inclusive nationalisms which can make their selves “civic” are able to overcome this convolution while the externalizing nationalisms which create the “other” and define itself over the other seem not to have overcome it. Above all, when the nationalisms which can not align their selves with the era and can not catch the soul of the time clash each other in the same territory, the picture forming becomes gloomier.

It is possible to give the Turkish and the Kurdish nationalisms fed by ethnic references as the best example of struggle of two late modernity mutants at the same territory. These two concepts which have missed the modernity are trying to defuse the “other” in the Anatolian territory. That relation feeding from the quarrel and tension between the two mutants considering their selves as the hunter and the other as the hunt, and interestingly copying the tactics and techniques of each other seems to be the greatest threat over Turkey’s future.
While all the totalizing ideologies are being questioned with the basic rights and freedoms of the individual in the current era in which the concepts like democracy, admission of and respect to differences, human rights, the coming forward of rights of the individual in state-individual relations have become unquestionable international norms, The Turkish and Kurdish nationalisms are honing their battle-axes before the upcoming regional and general elections.

As being a “rowdy” lad of 70’s and 80’s and a “civil idealist” of the time, when I question myself I admit those to myself. People have not got the opportunity to select the family to be born, their ethnic identities and beliefs. Then, one should welcome with respect the unselected conditions coming from the birth and limitations to the areas of freedom should be prevented. In short, Kurd exists. It is possible to sum up my current approach as “YES TO KURDISH INDIVIDUAL BUT NO TO KURDISTAN”.

I see benefit in repeating that again; if we do not “tame” the Turkish and Kurdish Nationalisms which I tried to conceptualize one each as late modernity mutants and if we do not manage the socio-politic energy they create, Allah save our country, the picture we would draw in the framework of the Turkey in which our children will live may not be so heartwarming.

Alaattin ALDEMİR
Ex-Head of Ülkü Ocakları
Koru Platform

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