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Ensuring National Unity Through Crack-Down On Minorities?
Besides her struggles with free speech and secularization versus freedom of religion conflict, Turkey also has historically had issues with dealing with its minorities. The default course of action has traditionally been to limit the rights of minorities or deny their existence altogether. As if diversity would vanish through oppression and denial, so that Turkey can finally become some sort of a homogenous state and national unity would be guaranteed; as if diversity, and not the constant attempt to oppress, was the real threat to Turkey’s unity.
Mr. Erdogan initially signaled the much needed positive changes in regard to dealing with minorities, particularly affecting the two major groups, the Alevis and the Kurds. He led an Alevi opening and extended rights of Kurds to speak and broadcast in their language. However, his reforms were short-lived as his administration continues to deny equal rights to Alevis and cracks-down on Kurdish media.