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Title: International legal perspectives on aspects of self-determination in north Kurdistan and Turkey : Kurdish language education, and political participation
Author: Phillips, Thomas James
ISNI:       0000 0004 8506 4643
Awarding Body: University of Liverpool
Current Institution: University of Liverpool
Date of Award: 2020
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This thesis seeks to analyse how the group right of self-determination and related individual human rights standards interface with selected aspects of the Kurdish Question in Turkey. The aim is to discover to what extent, if at all, certain demands made by the Kurdish movement in Turkey are supported by international law. Having argued that the right of self-determination does not entail a right of unilateral secession, whether contingent or otherwise, the thesis will focus on how the right could be fulfilled internally. It seeks to unpack the various dimensions of internal self-determination and to investigate their links with the right to non-discrimination, minority rights, and other selected individual human rights standards. The thesis will then disaggregate the myriad claims that together make up the Kurdish Question in Turkey. The thesis asks why and in what way self-determination and associated rights engage with these sub-claims, which involves paying close attention to the historical and contemporary treatment of Turkey's Kurds and to the particular injustices against them that need to be mitigated. To that end, the thesis goes on to consider two of the most important aspects of the Kurdish Question in Turkey, namely the demand for mother tongue education and the demand for political participation at both the national and local levels. In terms of the former, it is argued that the right of self-determination and associated individual human rights standards offer strong normative support to the demand for Kurdish mother tongue education. In terms of political participation at the national level, it is argued that the existing obstacles to 'proKurdish' representation in the national parliament ought to be removed because some of them are straightforwardly in violation of human rights law while others hamper its full realisation. In terms of political participation at the local level via territorial autonomy it is argued that such an institutional arrangement would, in this particular instance, be a valuable way of implementing the right of self-determination and fulfilling minority rights. Both of these rights categories add weight to the Kurdish demand for territorial autonomy. As well as engaging in the abovementioned legal analysis, the thesis presents several models from other countries which might be capable of accommodating the claims to mother tongue education and territorial autonomy in Turkey in order to link-up the human rights framework with existing self-determination practices. The thesis will conclude by reflecting on the usefulness of the normative support offered by international law to these aspects of the Kurdish Question. It will be argued that the ability to claim the support of international human rights law adds something valuable to the ideological armory of the Kurdish movement in Turkey.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral