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Explaining Anti-Kurdish Beliefs in Turkey: Group Competition, Identity, and Globalization


  • *Direct correspondence to Jeffrey Dixon, College of the Holy Cross, Department of Sociology, 224 Beaven Hall, Worcester, MA 01610 〈〉 or to Murat Ergin, Koç University, Department of Sociology, Rumelifeneri Yolu, Istanbul, Turkey 34450 〈〉. The authors are listed in alphabetical order, as each is an equal co-author. The authors will share all data and coding information with anyone wishing to replicate this study. A previous version of this article was presented at the American Sociological Association's Annual Meeting in Boston, August 1–4, 2008. The authors thank Andrew Fullerton, Joshua Klugman, Deniz Yükseker, Murat Yüksel, and the participants at the above conference for their comments on a previous version.


Objective. In the wake of Turkey's EU candidacy and the U.S.-led war in Iraq, Turkey's Kurdish question has drawn international attention. Due to previous data limitations, ours is the first article to analyze what explains anti-Kurdish beliefs in Turkey using nationally representative survey data.

Methods. Through descriptive analyses and partial proportional odds models of the Pew Global Attitudes Survey (2002), we examine the extent and sources of these beliefs.

Results. We find high levels of anti-Kurdish beliefs in Turkey, but little evidence of group competition/material interests shaping these beliefs; rather, nationalism, secularism, and, somewhat surprisingly, favorable evaluations of globalization better explain anti-Kurdish beliefs.

Conclusion. Although broad processes of social-dominance orientation and authoritarianism may be factors working in the background, anti-Kurdish beliefs are better explained by the peculiar case of modernization in Turkey and these anti-Kurdish beliefs may be different from negative beliefs about other minorities.