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The Kurdish Minority: From Perpetrator to Victim

Bilgin Ayata

Ayata summarizes the shifting role of the Kurdish minority in the formation of the Turkish state.

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June 2017


The Kurdish Minority: From Perpetrator to Victim

Beginning with the Hamidian massacres and throughout the Armenian Genocide, Ottoman authorities militarized Kurdish tribes to support state interests against other ethnic and religious minorities in the empire. Dr. Ayata argues that during the transition from empire to nation state, Turkey’s Kurdish minority that had been favored and rewarded for its loyalty to the state gradually fell victim to the same oppressive policies and violence that had been implemented against other minorities under Ottoman rule.

Produced by AGBU WebTalks in partnership with the Zoryan Institute.


Dr. Bilgin Ayata is lecturer at the Center for Transnational Relations, Foreign and Security Policy at Freie University Berlin. Born and raised in Germany, she holds a MA from York University and a PhD in Political Science from Johns Hopkins University. Her writings address issues of internal displacement, Kurdish transnational politics, and the denial of the Armenian Genocide. Dr. Ayata has published in New Perspectives on Turkey, Middle East Report and Journal of Contemporary European Studies.