By Mustafa Gurbuz | March 2015 – RETHINK INSTITUTE – The Kurdish question is one of the major issues that have dominated the Turkish political landscape. In the aftermath of the corruption scandal in December 2013, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Justice and Development party (AKP) officials have frequently accused the Hizmet movement of impeding the negotiations between the government and the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). This paper attempts to provide an overview and assessment of where Hizmet stands on the Kurdish issue.
Takeaways – The Kurdish question poses a challenge, not only to Turkey at large, but also to the Hizmet movement, which has a diverse following that includes a large number of Kurdish participants. By recognizing Kurdish identity, the Hizmet movement has taken a progressive attitude by supporting ethnocultural reforms in both discursive and institutional conduct.Educational and charitable efforts by Hizmet volunteers are aimed at removing prejudices in both Turkish and Kurdish constituencies, and accordingly, building social trust in the long run.
Critics find Hizmet to be assimilationist. The main reason referred to by critics is the content of some TV shows in Hizmet-affiliated media.
The AKP government’s attempt to shut down Hizmet schools in the region has accelerated disenchantment with the peace process among Hizmet participants.
Hizmet participants find official talks with the PKK on disarmament acceptable with one caveat: Kurdish cultural rights should not be on the table with the PKK, since that would make the PKK “the” legitimate advocate of all Kurds.
As long as the AKP government negotiates pro-Kurdish rights solely with the PKK, refusing to consult other civil actors including the Hizmet organizations, the movement’s constituency may remain skeptical about the peace process. http://www.rethinkinstitute.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/Gurbuz-Turkeys-Kurdish-Question-and-Hizmet.pdf?utm_source=Kurdish+and+Hizmet+movement&utm_campaign=Kurdish+and+Hizmet&utm_medium=email