It is a well-known fact that extension of universal citizenship rights to all citizens regardless of their socio-economic status, were considered as a feature of the progress of modern societies. This approach is widely contested in 1980s due to the growth of social movements which challenge the traditional form of citizenship. The main theme in these movements were/are differences of gender, ethnicity, and “race”. New social movements have also challenged the idea of same set of rights for all citizens in a single universal citizenship. These movements claim that, in practice, only some citizens have full entitlement to individual rights.
Since 1990s, citizenship has also become a topic of extensive debate due to socio-political change in Turkey. Turkey has faced with new challenges from new political, ethnic and religious movements. The Kurdish political movement, different Islamist groups, Alevis, feminists, LGBT and some leftist movements have played an important role in this process. In this context, the primary (constitution) and secondary (laws and by-laws) founding documents of the Republic have become a subject of discussion in respect to citizenship rights. In this context, the relationship between religion and citizenship, between ethnicity and citizenship, and between gender and citizenship are extensively debated among intellectual circles and the attempts of the redefinition of the citizenship have created many reactions from different political, religious groups and the state. In this paper will be focussed on the citizenship problems of ethnic groups, particularly the Kurds.
This publication is part of the working paper series of the Knowledge Programme Civil Society in West Asia.