Beyond ‘brotherhood’ and the ‘caliphate’: Kurdish relationships to Islam in an era of AKP authoritarianism and ISIS terror

William Gourlay

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review


Since the rise of the Adalet ve Kalkınma Partisi (AKP), Islam has come to play a more prominent role in public and political spheres in Turkey. This paper draws on ethnographic data gathered in Istanbul and Diyarbakir between 2013 and 2015 to highlight Kurdish attitudes to Islam. Following the electoral success of the AKP amongst Kurds in the general election of 2007, Kurdish actors have sought to incorporate Islamic sensibilities into their political offering in order to appeal to Kurdish constituents. Amid the AKP’s recent authoritarian turn and instrumentalization of religion, and the rise of Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), many Kurds have sought to redefine their relationship with Islam to clearly demarcate distinctly Kurdish religious and political spaces.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages20
JournalBritish Journal of Middle Eastern Studies
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 1 Jan 2018


  • Kurds, identity, Turkey, religion, Islam

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