Nation, Religion, and the Racial Exception: Framing Difference in Turkey

Journal title MONDI MIGRANTI
Author/s Murat Ergin
Publishing Year 2023 Issue 2023/1
Language English Pages 20 P. 41-60 File size 218 KB
DOI 10.3280/MM2023-001003
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Nationalism presents a multitude of ways to talk about characteristics of its mem-bers and to view how these characteristics are formed in a timeless past. Popula-tions identified as nations imagine themselves as sharing a collective identity and social solidarity. They form discourses offering ways of stipulating what defines nations in terms of collective characteristics, such as race, ethnicity, and religion. In many cases, these outright exclusive characteristics are subterranean, appearing in implicit forms and frequently combining with official claims regarding the civic and constitutional criteria for national membership. Turkish nationalism is no ex-ception. While historical and contemporary examples of exclusion abound in Tur-key’s political history, they are countered with official claims of equal and open membership. Often, these exclusions appear to be based on religion, as rules of in-clusion present a preference for Muslims from Sunni backgrounds. Based on two case studies, this article argues that the relationship between nation and religion is mediated through the racial exception. When racial otherness is present, the over-laps between nation and religion may be negotiated, reinterpreted, or disregarded.

Keywords: nationalism; national membership; religion; racism; Turkey.

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Murat Ergin, Nation, Religion, and the Racial Exception: Framing Difference in Turkey in "MONDI MIGRANTI" 1/2023, pp 41-60, DOI: 10.3280/MM2023-001003