Faculty Publications


Civic nationalism and ethnocultural justice in Turkey.

SelectedWorks Author Profiles:

Thomas W. Smith

Document Type


Publication Date


Date Issued

January 2005

Date Available

January 2012


Are civic states culturally neutral? The Turkish model of civic nationalism is often praised as a success, albeit an authoritarian one, in creating a unitary national culture. In fact, Turkey's national identity has come at a steep cultural cost. Civic institutions have homogenized and folklorized minority cultures. Ethnoreligious conceptions of Turkish identity have underpinned immigration and naturalization, internal movement and resettlement, education, language, and cultural policies. Turkish nationalism has weighed heaviest on Kurds, lslamists, religious minorities, and the left. A state-run "Turkish Reformation" of Islam failed in the 1930s; more recent attempts to nationalize Islam have turned the state into a mouthpiece for mainstream Sunni doctrine. The Turkish case suggests that in states with deep societal divisions, the dream of civic nationalism may be a coerced one.


Abstract only. Full-text article is available only through licensed access provided by the publisher. Published in Human Rights Quarterly, 27, 436-470. DOI: 10.1353/hrq.2005.0027 Members of the USF System may access the full-text of the article through the authenticated link provided.




Johns Hopkins University Press