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Online Meeting: Understanding the Kurdish movement in Turkey and its political demands

29 April 2021

6:00PM – 7:30PM BST

Since its emergence in the early 1960s, the Kurdish political movement has experienced various transformations and ups and downs. Despite the severe state repression, it has grown into a major non-state political actor in the Middle East and mobilises many Kurds since the late 1970s. This online meeting will discuss two recent books on the Kurdish movement in Turkey. First, Fréderike Geerdink, an independent Dutch journalist, will discuss her book, This Fire Never Dies, an account of her year spent with the Kurdish political and guerrilla group, the PKK (Kurdistan Workers’ Party). Second, Dr Hanifi Baris will set out the Kurdish movement’s vision of national liberation and its current proposals for constructing a Kurdish political community in the Middle East, as elaborated in his book The Kurdish Model of Political Community: A Vision of National Liberation Defiant of the Nation-State.

Moderator of the discussion – Dr Cengiz Gunes.

Speakers’ biographies

Fréderike Geerdink is a journalist from the Netherlands who focuses on power structures and those who want to tear them down. She was based in Turkey between 2006 and 2015, the last couple of years as the only foreign correspondent based in Diyarbakir. She was expelled from Turkey in 2015, after which she decided to join the PKK for a year to write a book about the organisation, which was just published in English as ‘This Fire Never Dies‘. In 2014, she published the book ‘The Boys Are Dead‘, about Roboski massacre. She publishes for a wide range of Dutch and English-language media and has a weekly column on MedyaNews. Follow her on Twitter.

Dr Hanifi Baris was born in 1978. He studied law for his undergraduate degree at Başkent University in Ankara, Turkey, and sociology for his graduate degree at Master of Arts in Inter-Asia NGO Studies (MAINS) at Sungkonghoe University in Seoul, South Korea. He studied constitutional law and political theory as a postgraduate scholar at Centre for Citizenship, Civil Society and Rule of Law (CISRUL) at the University of Aberdeen in Scotland, UK. He obtained his PhD in 2018. He is currently the Leverhulme Early Career Fellow at CISRUL, the University Aberdeen. Dr Baris practiced law as a private attorney in Istanbul, Turkey, for about 8 years between 2004 and 2019, with a focus on human rights law. He also worked at the Grand National Assembly of Turkey as a legislative consultant for a short period before taking up his current post. Dr Baris has been a member of Board of Directors at the prestigious non-governmental organization Toplum ve Hukuk Araştırmaları Vakfı (Foundation for Society and Legal Studies) in Istanbul since late 2018.

Dr Cengiz Gunes has extensive research experience and is the author of several key publications on the rise of the Kurdish national movement in Turkey, the transformation of Kurdish politics in the Turkey, Iraq and Syria, the impact of the rise of Kurdish political actors and entities on the politics and international relations of the Middle East, the evolving new security landscape in the Middle East, and dynamics of and challenges to the political representation of Kurds in Turkey since the 1960s. He completed his PhD in 2010 at the Government Department, the University of Essex, UK. He is currently an Associate Lecturer and an Honorary Research Associate in Politics at the Open University, UK.