‘My Muslim Kurdish brother’: colonial rule and Islamist governmentality in the Kurdish region of Turkey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This article critically examines the role of Islamist state discourse and policies in the Kurdish region of Turkey. Academic works on Islamism often address settings where Islamist movements and political parties operate as anti-colonial and oppositional entities. However, this article discusses how Islamist ideology has become an instrument of governmentality to maintain and legitimize colonial rule in the Kurdish region of Turkey under the Adalet ve Kalkınma Partisi (Justice and Development Party, AKP). After contextualizing the Kurdish issue as an internal colonization process since the beginning of the Turkish Republic, the paper focuses on the AKP period to analyse the use of an Islamic discourse of unity and brotherhood and attempts to foster the rise of a loyal conservative civil society among the Kurds. Thus, it argues that the internal colonial paradigm remains fully relevant to analysis of the Kurdish issue during the last decade and that neoliberal Islamist governmentality should be understood as a strategy complementary to repression, to increase popular support for the government
and marginalize opposition.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)350-365
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Balkan and Near Eastern Studies
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2019

Cite this