International Conference on the Future of Turkey and the Kurds

International Conference:
The PKK, Kurdish Nationalism and the Future of Turkey
 Thursday, November 7, 2013
 Virginia Tech National Capital Region
1021 Prince Street , Alexandria, VA 22314

Organized and Sponsored by
School of Public & International Affairs, Virginia Tech, National Capital Region.
Ottoman and Modern Turkish Studies Chair (Indiana University)

We plan to organize an international conference on the PKK, Kurdish Nationalism and the Future of Turkey. This will be a one day conference with four specific panels. The conference will be held at the Virginia Tech Alexandria Campus, in the heart of Old Town, Alexandria, and the Washington DC metro region.
The objective of this conference is to understand the complex relationship between Kurds and Modern Turkey. The collapse of the Ottoman Empire left unprecedented political conditions in the region, with the formation of nation-states without any social and economic foundations. In this context, the new form of nationalism attempted to create a territory-based form of national identity; however, demographic challenges such as urban and rural demographic contradictions), a lack of higher education, lack of an established rule of law and of capital accumulation has led to instability and the formation of a non-organic type of modernization and national identity in the region and Turkey. In the meantime, transnational economic development has weakened the role of the nation-state over the last 30 years and ethnic nationalisms have emerged across the Middle East. This set the stage for the resurgence of Kurdish Nationalism in Turkey, Iraq, Syria and Iran. The Marxist-based Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) first waged war against the Turkish Nation State in 1984. However, as a result of the social, political and economic transformations in the world and US involvement in the region, the PKK changed its ideological foundation from Marxism to nationalism in 1995, as part of the 5th PKK Congress. At this time, the Marxist star was removed from its flag and ethnic nationalist symbols and slogans were used to replace it. At the same time, more than sixty percent of the Kurdish population migrated to non-Kurdish industrialized cities in Turkey. Today, the Kurdish population in modern Turkey is more educated, urbanized, and they invest in the Western as much as the Eastern part of the country. Therefore, aspirations and objectives of Kurdish Nationalism is currently in a stage of transformation, and its objectives have begun to shift from that of obtaining an independent Kurdish State to seeking the status as equal citizens of modern Turkey. The latter objective – the integration of the Kurdish population into the larger population of Turkey – is likely to create numerous opportunities for the modernization of Turkey and the wider region. In this conference, we will explore this transformation, and possible future trajectories between Turkey and its relations with the Kurds.           
You will find detailed information about the conference below:
PANEL-1: Kurdish Nationalism in Iran, Iraq and Syria
We welcome submissions related to, but not limited to the following subjects:
•    Kurdish nationalism in Iran
•    Kurdish nationalism in Iraq
•    Kurdish nationalism in Syria
•    Kurdish nationalism in the Diaspora
PANEL-2: Kurdish Nationalism in Contemporary Turkey
We welcome submissions related to, but not limited to the following subjects:
•    Kurdish Nationalism in historical context
•    Kurdish and Turkish nationalisms
•    Imperialism and Kurdish nationalism
•    American foreign policy towards Turkey and the Kurds
PANEL-3: PKK and Kurdish Nationalism
We welcome submissions related to, but not limited to the following subjects:
•    Origin and development of the PKK
•    The PKK and the ‘war on terrorism.’
•    Relationship between the PKK, the US and Europe
PANEL-4: The Kurds and the Future of Turkey
We welcome submissions related to, but not limited to the following subjects:
•    The future relationship between Kurds and Turkey
•    JDP and Kurdish Nationalism
•    Kurdish regional government and Turkey
•    Future trajectories of American foreign policy towards Turkey and the Kurds
•    Future trajectories of Turkish and Kurdish politics  
Please submit your interest, with a short abstract (300-400 Words) and short bio (100-200 words). The deadline for abstract submissions is Monday, August 19th 2013. The authors of accepted papers will be notified by September 1st 2013.
Please submit your paper to the following address:
If you have any questions, please do not hesitate contact us.
Dr. Kemal Silay, Professor of Turkish Language and Literature; Ottoman and Modern Turkish Studies Endowed Chair Professor; Director, Turkish Language Flagship Center; Director, Turkish Studies Program;

Indiana University

Dr. Tugrul Keskin, Assistant Professor of International and Middle East Studies; Affiliated Faculty of Black Studies Sociology, and Turkish Studies; Portland State University

Tugrul Keskin

Assistant Professor of International and Middle Eastern Studies
Affiliated Faculty of Black Studies
Sociology and Center for Turkish Studies
Middle East Studies Coordinator (INTL)
Portland State University

Editor of Sociology of Islam Journal (Brill)
Book Review Editor for the Societies Without Borders  
International Studies and Global Sociology

About Dr Gerard Toal

Irish born academic living in Washington DC researching geopolitical competition and territorial conflicts in post-Communist Europe. Author of CRITICAL GEOPOLITICS (1996), BOSNIA REMADE (w C Dahlman) and NEAR ABROAD: PUTIN, THE WEST AND THE CONTEST OVER UKRAINE AND THE CAUCASUS (Oxford University Press, 2017).
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