New Book Out: Little Turkey in Great Britain

23 01 2017

9781910781197Sirkeci, Ibrahim et al.

Transnational Press London, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-910781-19-7

This book is the outcome of a collaborative writing exercise drawing upon a dozen of researches carried out by authors independently and jointly from 2011 to 2015 on Turkish, Kurdish and Turkish Cypriot diaspora populations in Britain, and particularly in London. It is a well round account of these particular immigrant populations from Turkey in the UK. Rich material covers official statistics, survey data as well as a wealth of narratives built upon hundreds of face-to-face interviews carried out in London and elsewhere in Britain. Each chapter looks into different aspects of the three populations ranging from political participation to employment relations to integration and identity formation, and from remittances to football and community life.
Turkish migration to British Isles has a long history but sizeable diaspora communities and enclaves of Turkish origin have emerged only in the last four to five decades. Earlier groups arrived were Cypriots fleeing the troubled island in the Eastern Mediterranean whilst Turks and Kurds of the mainland were not even considering the UK as a destination. This book is about these contemporary movers from Turkey, their movement trajectories, practices, and integration in Britain. Eight researchers from different disciplinary backgrounds and methodological schools came together to do the ground work for the students of this emerging subfield of human mobility studies. Turkey is now at the forefront of accommodating large scale inward mobility mostly due to the crisis in Syria and Iraq. This also brings some attention to Turkey’s own diasporic populations.

Call for Abstracts: Kurdish Migration Conference 2017

10 01 2017

MiddlesexUniFollowing the success of the first international Kurdish migration conference (KMC) held in 2016 at Middlesex University (London) and the strong interest and participation by the international scholarly community, the 2nd KMC will be held at Middlesex University on 15 and 16 June 2017. Displacement and forced migration have a distinct meaning and significance in the history of the Middle East. In recent years, the political and economic instability of the area, together with the repressive and coercive policies of most regional states and their international allies, the marginalisation of minority groups and the rise of fundamentalist movements, continue causing permanent crises, fuelling displacements and forced migrations. Millions of people have lost their homes and livelihood and were forced to seek a safe haven either in the neighbouring countries or taking a long and dangerous journey to Europe. The images of drowned three-year-old Kurdish boy Alan Kurdi in the Aegean Sea, mass killing of Yazidis and Syrian nationals, displacements of religious and ethnic minorities made global headlines without any effect.

Similarly to its neighbouring countries, today the Kurdistan Region in Iraq hosts some 1.8 million refugees from Syria and internally displaced persons. A considerable number of refugees and displaced people are also hosted by the Kurdish Cantons in Rojava (Kurdish region in Syria) and by municipalities in the Kurdish Region of Turkey.

Far away from the homeland, the over 2 million Kurds living in Europe, the USA, Canada, Former Soviet republics and other countries are following with great concern the events in the Middle East. Since the 1980s, the Kurdish diaspora in the Western has played an important role, recreating new Kurdish diasporic spaces in settlement countries while simultaneously reconnecting to their home country and making the question of Kurdistan a transnational political issue through their political engagement, media and cultural production and activism. However, what is the relationship of the Kurdish diaspora with the contemporary challenges and conflicts in and around Kurdistan? What kind of exchanges and interactions are taking place? How do Kurds relate with new refugees and displaced people living in Kurdistan, the Middle East and Europe? Moreover, what are the experiences of the Kurdish diaspora in countries where hostility and discrimination towards immigrants are alarmingly on the rise?

The Kurdish Migration Conference 2017 aims to bring together researchers from a range of disciplines working on Kurdish migration to discuss these and other relevant questions and to exchange their views and findings about all aspects of migration from, through and into Kurdistan, as well as about the experiences of diasporic communities and second generations abroad.

Keynote speakers

  • Professor Joshua Castellino (Middlesex University, London)
  • Dr Osten Wahlbeck (University of Helsinki, Finland)

More speakers will be confirmed in the coming weeks.

Call for abstracts

Researchers are encouraged to contribute to and help shape the conference through submissions of their abstracts. The conference themes cover issues relating to migration from, through and into Kurdistan.

Topics of interest for submission include, but are not limited to:

  • Migration, ethnicity, citizenship, belonging and identity politics
  • Migration, labour market, entrepreneurship and economic integration
  • Migration, gendered experiences, and sexuality
  • Family dynamics and intergenerational relationships
  • Migrants, media and translocal cultural politics and representations
  • Political participation, (digital) networks and organizations
  • Transnational ties and/or remittances
  • Migration, law, legal status, rights, and undocumented migration
  • Internal and international migration, borders and borderlands
  • Discrimination and xenophobia and diasporic narratives of Kurdish resistance
  • Refugee and internal displacement issues
  • Migration theories and frameworks
  • Research methodology and Kurdish migration

We also welcome submissions of proposals for panels.

Special panel: Kurdish Studies at British Universities

Due to a strong demand of scholars working in all subject of Kurds and Kurdistan at British universities, we have decided to organise a special panel(s) on “Kurdish Studies at British Universities”. The papers for this panel are not limited to migration but is open for all subject of Kurds and Kurdistan studies. If you would like to be considered for the special panel please note this in your submission.

How to submit

Click here to submit your abstract (or panel) proposal online 

N.B. All speakers will be required to register and pay the registration fee ahead of the conference. You will be sent information on how to register upon acceptance of your paper.

Registration fee:  £ 50
Discount fee for students (undergraduate, postgraduate or doctoral): £ 25

For more information, please contact the conference organisers:
– Dr Janroj Yilmaz Keles:
– ‎Dr Alessio D’Angelo:

Important Dates

– Deadline for abstract submissions: March 1st, 2017
– Notification of acceptance: March 15, 2017
– Conference date: June 15-16, 2017

This conference is organised by the Business School
and the Social Policy Research Centre at Middlesex University

New Book Out: Contemporary Turkey in Conflict – Ethnicity, Islam and Politics

6 01 2017

9781474417990_2Abbas, Tahir

Edinburgh University Press, 2016

ISBN: 9781474417990

New perspectives on ethnic relations, Islam and neoliberalism have emerged in Turkey since the rise of the Justice and Development Party (AKP) in 2002. Placing the period within its historical and contemporary context, Tahir Abbas argues that what it is to be ethnically, religiously and culturally Turkish has been transformed. He explores how issues of political trust, social capital and intolerance towards minorities have characterised Turkey in the early years of the 21st-century. He shows how a radical neoliberal economic and conservative outlook has materialised, leading to a clash over the religious, political and cultural direction of Turkey. These conflicts are defining the future of the nation.

Key features

  • Uses original qualitative data and observational analysis of the Gezi Park protests of 2013 and of a Kurdish community in the southeast of Turkey to explore aspects of political resistance and mobilisation.
  • Analyses attitudes and perceptions of Turkish respondents based on survey data from the European Social Survey.
  • Includes case studies to provide an insight on intergroup relations, social conflict and cultural cohesion in Turkey.
  • Offers an important contribution to the discussion of Islamism, capitalism and democracy in Turkey.

For details click here.

New Book Out: The Kurds of Turkey – National, Religious and Economic Identities

5 01 2017

9781784535452-2Cicek, Cuma

I. B. Tauris, 2016

ISBN: 9781784535452

In fact, Kurds in Turkey have many diverse political and ideological orientations. Focusing on the elites of these informal groups – national, religious and economic – Cuma Cicek analyses the consequences of the divisions and subsequent prospects of consensus building. Using an innovative theoretical framework founded on constructivism, the ‘three ‘I’s’ model and various strands of sociology, Cicek considers the dynamics that affect the Kurds in Turkey across issues as diverse as the central state, geopolitics, nationalism, Europeanisation and globalisation. In so doing, he examines the consensus-building process of 1999-2015 and presents the possible route to a unified Kurdish political state. Cicek’s in-depth and meticulously researched work adds an indispensable layer of nuance to our conception of the Kurdish community. This is an important book for students or researchers with an interest in the history and present of the Kurds and their future in Turkey and across the Middle East.

For details click here.

Lecture Series: Religious Traditions among the Kurds

19 12 2016


Call for Papers: Iraqi Kurdistan at a Crossroads – Current Issues of Domestic and Middle Eastern Politics

20 11 2016

iq-university-of-kurdistan-hewlerUniversity of Kurdistan-Hewler, Erbil, Kurdistan Region Iraq, 24-25 May 2017

The University of Kurdistan-Hewler is pleased to announce the call for papers for a conference on the latest developments in Iraq and the Middle East, Iraqi Kurdistan at a Crossroads: Current Issues of Domestic and Middle Eastern Politics, Erbil, May 24-25, 2017. The defeat of ISIS is a matter of time while restoring peace and acquiring stability in the Middle East will take many years to come.  One of the biggest problems that needs to be addressed in order to achieve long-lasting stability in the region is the Kurdish question, including Iraqi Kurdistan’s plans to break away from Iraq.

The Conference topics include:

·        The Kurdistan regional government in the post-ISIS period 

·        Erbil-Baghdad relations; political, economic and social challenges

·        Neighboring countries’ policies towards the KRG

·        Major global power strategies towards Iraq and Kurdistan


Proposal ideas that extend beyond these thematic areas will be also considered. 

 Proposal submission deadline:   January 16, 2017

For more information and to submit a proposal, please visit

The Best Article Award in Kurdish Political Studies Announcement

15 11 2016

ucf_seal-svgThis award, sponsored by Kurdish Political Studies Program at the University of Central Florida, recognizes the best article in Kurdish Political Studies by a rising scholar during the previous calendar year. In this inaugural year of the award, social science and humanities articles published in English language peer-reviewed journals in 2014 and 2015 were considered.

The First Prize Winner

Wendelmoet Hamelink and Hanifi Barış, “Dengbêjs on borderlands: Borders and the state as seen through the eyes of Kurdish singer-poets,” Kurdish Studies 2 (2014): 34-60.

The Second Prize Winner

Harun Yilmaz, “The Rise of Red Kurdistan,” Iranian Studies 47 (2014): 799-822.

From an impressive pool of more than a dozen articles, the committee has unanimously awarded the first prize to Wendelmoet Hamelink and Hanifi Barış’s “Dengbêjs on borderlands” published in Kurdish Studies. The article masterfully combines theoretical insights with meticulous research involving close textual analysis of the stories and symbols of the kilams (recital songs) and interviews conducted with the dengbêj (Kurdish folk singers) themselves to address one of the most important questions in modern Kurdish political history: why Kurds don’t have a state of their own? In contrast to typical conceptions that Kurdish elites “failed” to gain a nation-state, as well as more general condemnations of Kurds as too internally divided to achieve a state of their own, Hamelink and Barış find that Kurdish communities deliberately avoided and evaded the state as a means of maintaining some measure of freedom and independence. They suggest this evasiveness was not limited to preventing external authorities from imposing their will; it also included trying to ensure no state emerged from within Kurdish society. Their demonstration of the relevance of the local—local alliances, relationships, enmities, battles —and the perception in the kilam of the state and borders as external, far-flung, and invasive also offers an important counterpoint to the highly nationalized depictions common in accounts of Kurdish politics and society. The article also illustrates the rich potential of truly interdisciplinary work and draws on multiple methodologies and fields. The clarity and elegance of the writing, and the careful presentation of the kilams in both the original Kurdish and the English translation are also noteworthy.

The committee has awarded the second prize to Harun Yilmaz’s “Red Kurdistan” published in Iranian Studies. Scholarship on the Kurds have overwhelmingly focused on the Kurds in the Middle East. As a result, the Kurdish communities living in the Caucasus region have not received significant attention. Yilmaz’s article addresses this gap and focuses on the Kurdish population in Azerbaijan under Soviet administration between 1920 and 1937.This original work utilizes a wealth of primary and secondary sources in an attempt to demystify a Kurdish population in the Caucasus region subject to both communist modernization policies and Azeri hegemony during the interwar years. It compellingly documents the tensions between the Soviet modernist goal of presenting Azerbaijan as a regional model of ethnic coexistence and bureaucratic, political, and socioeconomic factors hampering literacy and schooling campaigns that brought few tangible benefits to the Kurds until the 1930s.

The first prize winner is awarded $300, and the second prize winner $200.

The committee is composed of Janet Klein (the University of Akron), Hakan Özoğlu (University of Central Florida), Güneş Murat Tezcür (University of Central Florida), and Nicole Watts (San Francisco State University).