This study examines whether identification (ethnic and national) and perception of discrimination between minority and majority members are related to attributions of responsibility in the context of the prolonged Kurdish conflict in Turkey. Understanding attributions of responsibility for the conflict are important because they can exacerbate or hinder conflict. The two ethnic groups, Turks and Kurds, hold different views of the conflict in which they are involved. We identify four primary parties in the current context of conflict: the Turkish state, the PKK, Kurdish citizens, and foreign states. The official state discourse holds that the PKK and the Kurds are responsible for the conflict. A shared national identification might reduce in-group conflict but also might result in minority group members adopting the official state discourse. Ethnic identity might operate differently for the different groups. Furthermore, perception of discrimination might be related to endorsing alternative explanations for the conflict, different from the state discourse. Kurds are the largest ethnic minority group in Turkey but have been denied ethnic, political, and cultural rights until recently. They have also been the targets of a long-standing assimilation policy aimed to create a nation state based on Turkish ethno-cultural identity. The Turkish Republic’s founding ideology has historically denied the existence of the Kurdish ethnic minority group (currently around 18% of the population). For this study, we used a nationally representative data set of 10,386 participants; of the participants, 76% self-identified as Turkish and 13.4% as Kurdish. We conducted multiple regression analyses to predict how the two groups differed in their ethnic and national identification and perception of discrimination in predicting four different sources of conflict. Results were discussed in terms of social identity theory and conflict resolution approaches.
Balkaş, Z., Yanık, Z., & Çelebi, E. (2016). Who is responsible for the conflict? The role of identification and perception of discrimination. In C. Roland-Lévy, P. Denoux, B. Voyer, P. Boski, & W. K. Gabrenya Jr. (Eds.), Unity, diversity and culture. Proceedings from the 22nd Congress of the International Association for Cross-Cultural Psychology. https://scholarworks.gvsu.edu/iaccp_papers/217