A major common misconception in scholarship on Kurdish journalistic discourses is that Kurdish intellectuals of the late Ottoman period cannot be portrayed as Kurdish nationalists. This theory prevails because of the belief that they not only endorsed and promoted Pan-Islamism and Ottoman nationalism instead of Kurdish ethnic nationalism, but also because they allegedly eschewed political demands and instead concerned themselves with ethno-cultural issues to articulate forms of “Kurdism” rather than “Kurdish nationalism.”
Refuting this underlying misconstruction of the nexus between Pan-Islamism, Ottomanism, and Kurdish nationalism, this book argues, based on empirical findings, that the Kurdish periodicals of the late Ottoman period served as a communicative space in which Kurdish intellectuals negotiated and disseminated an unmistakable form of Kurdish nationalism. It claims that hegemonic Ottomanist and Pan-Islamist political thought were used in pragmatic ways in the service of burgeoning Kurdish nationalism, but were rejected altogether when they were no longer useful to fostering Kurdish nationalism.
Deniz Ekici received his PhD from the Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies in the Center for Kurdish Studies at the University of Exeter.
Chapter 1: Religion, Nationalism, and Power
Chapter 2: The Journal Kurdistan: Kurdish Nationalism and Pseudo-Pan-Islamism
Chapter 3: The Journal Kürd Teavün ve Terakkî Gezetesî (KTTG) and its Ottomanist Rhetoric
Chapter 4: The Journal Rojî Kurd: Kurdish Identity Redefined
Discussion and Conclusion
This is a welcome addition to the literature on the early history of Kurdish nationalism. Whereas most studies focus on the political history of the late Ottoman Empire and its interactions with the Kurdish elites, Deniz Ekici approaches the rise of Kurdish nationalism from the perspective of critical discourse analysis. With his detailed and sophisticated reading of the most important Kurdish-language publications from around the turn of the twentieth century, he considerably enriches our understanding of this crucial period.
Dr. Ekici’s book constitutes a decisive contribution not only on the Kurdish intellectual microcosm at the turn of the twentieth century, but also on the ideological and political debates during the very last years of the Ottoman Empire.
Deniz Ekici's work demonstrates that the Kurdish-language articles in the early Kurdish press differed in tone and message from the Ottoman Turkish-languages articles in the same papers. Mr. Ekici has made a case for the importance of knowing Kurdish as well, and his meticulous textual analysis changes our understanding of the early Kurdish periodicals and their contributors, who due to the circumstances had to adopt a more subtle tone to promote Kurdish nationalism.If we knew then what we know now, perhaps the misguided policy decisions taken after World War I, which still affect us today, could have been prevented.