Can identification as Muslim increase support for reconciliation? The case of the Kurdish conflict in Turkey

Gulseli Baysu, Canan Coskan, Yasin Duman

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15 Citations (Scopus)
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Ethnic and national identities, as ingroup and superordinate identities, are key predictors for reconciliation, yet less research considers religious identity a superordinate identity. Focusing on the reconciliation of the Kurdish conflict in Turkey, this study aims to test a mediation model in which the relations between ethnic (i.e., Kurdish) and religious identifications (i.e., Muslim) and reconciliation outcomes were mediated by positive intergroup emotions. Moreover, to understand the diffusion of the conflict in a transnational context, this model is
tested both in Turkey and Belgium among Muslim Kurdish minorities (N=141). Kurdish minorities’ levels of support for reconciliation and the ways they construe reconciliation were analyzed as two outcomes. For the latter, descriptions of reconciliation were first content-coded into seven themes. A latent class analysis of these themes led to two main construals: those endorsing a rights-based versus dialogue-based understanding of reconciliation; which was then
used as a binary outcome. Results supported a similar mediation model in Turkey and Belgium. Accordingly, stronger religious identification as Muslim was associated with positive intergroup emotions and in turn more support for reconciliation, whereas stronger ethnic identification as Kurdish had the opposite effect. However, having Muslim identity as a superordinate identity was
double-edged for the Kurdish minorities: while high Muslim identifiers were more supportive of reconciliation in general; they were also less likely to endorse a rights-based understanding of reconciliation (versus a dialogue-based reconciliation).
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)43-53
Number of pages11
JournalInternational Journal of Intercultural Relations
Early online date30 Mar 2018
Publication statusPublished - May 2018


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