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Turkey, the Kurds, and the legal contours of the right to self-determination


  • Derya Bayir

    () (Queen Mary University of London, UK)


Within international law, the concept of self-determination has evolved over the years so as to reveal an external dimension, often associated with secession, and an internal dimension, entailing participatory democracy, minority protection in the context of pluralist co-existence within the territories of a state. An examination of the interpretation of self-determination by the Constitutional Court in Turkey shows, however, that the Court has statically endorsed the former, conservative viewpoint, which reinforces Turkey's militantly nationalist, democracy. This article explains the development of the right of self-determination in international law and examines the Turkish Constitutional Court's case law in that light. In a study of the case law on party closures in Turkey, it evaluates the extent to which the Constitutional Court's archaic and anti-democratic interpretation has created a legality undermining the ethno-cultural and political demands for the rights of Kurds in Turkey.

Suggested Citation

  • Derya Bayir, 2013. "Turkey, the Kurds, and the legal contours of the right to self-determination," Kurdish Studies, Transnational Press London, UK, vol. 1(1), pages 5-27, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:mig:ksjrnl:v:1:y:2013:i:1:p:5-27

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    Cited by:

    1. Sinan Zeyneloglu & Ibrahim Sirkeci & Yaprak Civelek, 2016. "Language shift among Kurds in Turkey: A spatial and demographic analysis," Kurdish Studies, Transnational Press London, UK, vol. 4(1), pages 25-50, May.
    2. Güllistan Yarkın, 2015. "The Ideological Transformation of the PKK regarding the Political Economy of the Kurdish Region in Turkey," Kurdish Studies, Transnational Press London, UK, vol. 3(1), pages 26-46, May.


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