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Ethnicity and Elections in Eastern Turkey: What do the Kurds Want?

Mesut Yeğen, Uğraş Ulaş Tol, and Mehmet Ali Çalışkan


Relying on a survey conducted in 2014 in 12 provinces in eastern Turkey, this article analyses the extent to which (a) ethnicity and religiosity shape Kurds’ electoral choices and (b) the Kurds in the East support the demand for education in Kurdish and the demand for self-rule for Kurds. The findings demonstrate that ethnicity is an important factor in shaping Kurds’ electoral choices and that the demands for education in Kurdish language and self-rule are backed not only by the vast majority of those Kurds who support the pro-Kurdish party but also by a significant number of those Kurds who support the AK Party.

Keywords: Elections, ethnicity, Kurds, Kurdish question, Turkish politics

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pp. pp. 446–463