Nation-state vs. Democratic Confederalism – A theoretical discussion of alternative forms of government in Middle East

by Latife Güzel

Institution: Roskilde University
Year: 2015
Keywords: PKK; Turkey; Nation-state; Democratic confederalism
Record ID: 1120346
Full text PDF: http://rudar.ruc.dk/handle/1800/18065


In this project, I examine the consequences of the implementation of a state-system based on nationalism In Turkey after the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire. Afterwards, the concept and implementation of nation-state system is being discussed against Abdullah Öcalan’s idea of democratic confederalism. When Turkey became a recognized modern nation-state, they ended the old past with the undeveloped Ottoman Empire and welcomed a future with westernization and development. The new state was built upon Turkish nationalism and secularism inspired by the western notions of nation-state, nationalism and secularism. The new nation-state went through administrative, structural and social reforms, but the reforms, which supposed to develop the country, was undemocratic. These reforms resulted in the oppression of the two largest groups in Turkey, the Kurds and the Islamic Ummah. This caused numerous problems and conflicts between the state and the two groups. This led me to the discussion of whether the nation-state building in Turkey was a wrong decision and if democratic confederalism is an alternative to this system. The nation-state’s emphasize on nationalism has resulted in undemocratic reforms, that has oppressed the groups that did not belong to the ruling elite and those who did not have the right cultural and ethnical characteristics. With the idea of democratic confederalism Öcalan suggests a new system that can represent the interest of all the groups within society. Democratic confederalism, in theory, seems to be a more democratic system that includes all part of society and thus is an alternative to the nation-states in the Middle East.