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Nation-Building in Turkey and Morocco
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Book description

Why do some ethno-national groups live peacefully with the states that govern them, whereas others develop into serious threats to state authority? Through a comparative historical analysis, this book compares the evolution of Kurdish mobilization in Turkey with the Berber mobilization in Morocco by looking at the different nation-building strategies of the respective states. Using a variety of sources, including archival documents, interviews, and memoirs, Senem Aslan emphasizes the varying levels of willingness and the varying capabilities of the Turkish and Moroccan states to intrude into their citizens' lives. She argues that complex interactions at the ground level - where states have demanded changes in everyday behavior, such as how to dress, what language to speak, what names to give children, and more mundane practices - account for the nature of emerging state-minority relations. By taking the local and informal interactions between state officials and citizens seriously, this study calls attention to the actual implementation of state policies and the often unintended consequences of these policies.


'Senem Aslan demonstrates through comparative historical analysis of the Kurds in Turkey and the Berbers in Morocco that intrusive nationalizing projects can undermine rather than increase the strength of a state. The research is exemplary and imaginative, the contribution to our general understanding of states and nations in the contemporary world fundamental.'

John A. Hall - James McGill Professor of Comparative Historical Sociology, McGill University

'Nuanced and insightful, historically grounded and theoretically informed, this first-ever comparative study of Turkish and Moroccan state policies toward their respective ethnic Kurdish and Berber minorities is a masterpiece, and a timely one at that. Scholars and policy makers alike would do well to consider its findings.'

Bruce A. Maddy-Weitzman - Marcia Israel Principal Research Fellow, The Moshe Dayan Center for Middle Eastern and African Studies, Tel Aviv University

'Nation-Building in Turkey and Morocco is elegant, compelling and utterly readable. Aslan’s comparative analysis of the different ways local communities responded to state plans for their integration into the nation-state offers a fascinating corrective to the way we typically think about central authority and fills a critical gap in studies of nationalism and state-society relations. It is impossible to read this work and to ever think about state power the same way again.'

Nicole F. Watts - San Francisco State University

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  • BCA Başbakanlık Cumhuriyet Arşivi (Prime Ministry’s Republican Archives, Turkey)

  • Catalogue numbers of archival documents used in the book:

  • 490.01: Cumhuriyet Halk Partisi (Republican People’s Party)

  • 030.10: Başbakanlık Muamelat Genel Müdürlüğü (Prime Ministry General Directorate of Documentation)

Newspapers and periodicals


  • Bulletin de Liaison et d’Information, Institut Kurde de Paris

  • Cumhuriyet (Istanbul)

  • Demokrat Türkiye (Urfa)

  • Diyarbakır Sesi (Diyarbakır)

  • Diyarbakır Söz (Diyarbakır)

  • Hürriyet (Istanbul)

  • Milliyet (Istanbul)

  • Nokta (Istanbul)

  • Özgürlük Yolu (Ankara)

  • Radikal (Istanbul)

  • TBMM Zabıt Ceridesi (Journal of Proceedings of the Turkish Grand National Assembly)

  • Urfa İçin Hizmet (Urfa)

  • Yankı (Istanbul)

  • Yeni Akış (Ankara)

  • Yeni Gündem (Istanbul)


  • Amazigh: Revue Marocain D’Histoire et De Civilisation (Rabat)

  • Bulletin d’Information de L’Institut Royal de la Culture Amazighe (Rabat)

  • Bulletin Officiel (Rabat)

  • Jeune Afrique/L’Intelligent (Paris)

  • Le Journal Hebdomadaire (Casablanca)

  • Le Matin du Sahara et du Maghreb (Rabat)

  • Le Monde Amazigh (Rabat)

  • Le Petit Marocain (Rabat)

  • Le Reporter (Casablanca)

  • L’Opinion (Rabat)

  • Maroc Soir (Rabat)

  • Revue Tifinagh (Rabat)

  • Tamunt (Rabat)

  • Tel Quel (Casablanca)

List of interviewees

On Turkey

  • Abdullah Demirbaş, June 2006, Diyarbakır.

  • Abdullah Keskin, September 2006, Istanbul.

  • Abdullah Yıldız, April 2006, Şanlıurfa.

  • Ali Akıncı, June 2006, Diyarbakır.

  • Ali Fuat Bucak, April 2006, Şanlıurfa.

  • Ayfer Yürük, June 2006, Diyarbakır.

  • Canip Yıldırım, June 2006, Ankara.

  • Cemal Doğan, June 2006, Diyarbakır.

  • Cengiz Çandar, August 2006, Istanbul.

  • Cevahir Sadak Düzgün, May 2006, Diyarbakır.

  • Davut Dursun, June 2006, Ankara.

  • Edip Polat, June 2006, Diyarbakır.

  • Evrim Alataş, May 2006, Diyarbakır.

  • Filiz Buluttekin, May 2006, Diyarbakır.

  • Hamit Bozarslan, May 2007, Paris.

  • İsmail Dağ, May 2006, Şanlıurfa.

  • Mehmet Baykara, September 2006, Istanbul.

  • Mehmet Kuyurtar, May 2006, İzmir.

  • Melike Coşkun, June 2006, Diyarbakır.

  • Mesut Yeğen, June 2006, Ankara.

  • Mithat Sancar, June 2006, Ankara.

  • Muhsin Kızılkaya, June 2009, Istanbul.

  • Nebahat Akkoç, June 2006, Diyarbakır.

  • Nedret Bilici, May 2006, Diyarbakır.

  • Ömer Kurt, May 2006, Şanlıurfa.

  • Orhan Miroğlu, June 2006, Ankara.

  • Ruşen Arslan, August 2006, Istanbul.

  • Şefik Beyaz, September 2006, Istanbul.

  • Sezgin Tanrıkulu, May 2006, Diyarbakır.

  • Tarık Ziya Ekinci, August 2006, Istanbul.

  • Ümit Fırat, August 2006, Istanbul.

On Morocco

  • Abdellah Kassi, December 2006, Rabat.

  • Abderrahmane Lakhsassi, November 2006, Rabat.

  • Abdulkareem Afoulay, November 2006, Rabat.

  • Ahmed Adghirni, December 2006, Rabat.

  • Ahmed Arehmouch, December 2006, Rabat.

  • Ahmed Boukouss, March 2007, Rabat.

  • Ahmed Assid, October 2006, Rabat.

  • Ali Amahan, April 2007, Rabat.

  • Amina Bouayach, March 2007, Rabat.

  • Amina Ibnou-Cheikh, December 2006, Rabat.

  • Fatima Agnaou, February 2007, Rabat.

  • Hamid Lihi, December 2006, Rabat.

  • Hammou Azday, April 2007, Rabat.

  • Hassan Id Belkassm, December 2006, Rabat.

  • Ibrahim Akhiyat, October 2006, Rabat.

  • Meryem Demnati, November 2006, Rabat.

  • Mohamed Ajaajaa, April 2007, Meknés.

  • Mounir Kejji, March 2007, Rabat.

  • Mustapha Buziani, December 2006, Rabat.

  • Mustapha Qadéry, April 2007, Rabat.

  • Omar Chiban, March 2007, Rabat.

  • Ouzzin Aherdane, January 2007, Rabat.

  • Rachid Raha, March 2007, Rabat.

  • Saida Kouzzi, March 2007, Rabat.

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