Big Man Little Love: Investigation of Sociological Perspective on Nationalism and the Kurdish Problem in Turkey

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Updated: Jun 19, 2022
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In this study, the ideology of nationalism will be examined in general terms first. Then, the emergence of Turkish nationalism, Turkish nationalism and the position of the Kurds in Turkey will be discussed. The basis of the work will be the “Big Man Little Love” movie directed by “Handan ?pekçi”. The movie, which was released in 2001, will be analyzed on the basis of the ideology of Nationalism and the Kurdish problem in Turkey.


The phenomenon of nationalism emerged with the French Revolution of 1789 and has developed and spread throughout the 19th century.

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(TURAN, 2011)

Terry Eagleton, in his book named ideology, explained that the definition of no ideology could be clear and complete until today about the difficulty of defining the ideology, and that the reason for this could be due to the incompatibility of the ideology phenomenon, rather than the intelligence required to define it. As a matter of fact, the ideology of nationalism is not far from this mentality. It is not possible to describe nationalism with definitive discourses. The points in which nationalism is separated have the uncertainty just like other ideologies. Despite the fact that the definitions of social scientists who make important studies about the phenomenon of nationalism do not show much similarity with each other, nationalism can be defined in a pure manner such as embracing the love of the country, homeland, nation and spiritual feelings. (Ha?lak)

However, on the other hand, the nature of nationalism also covers other social structures, and these societies, defined as the other, may be victims according to the understanding and reflection of the phenomenon of nationalism. In this context, the ideology of Nationalism differs from other ideologies before it. (Freeden, 1998) Since the concept of nationalism can be expressed as a state of unity and integrity in essence, it aims to manage expanding and classifying societies together and its tolerance to differences such as culture is less than other ideologies. (Freeden, 1998) Although the general expression for nationalism is the way of thinking about protecting national and spiritual values with the desire to bring communities together, we can say that with the Modern Age, this way of thinking has evolved into an example of ideology aiming to put societies into a mold. In this context, according to many considerations, the concept of nationalism; It has become a concept of modern nations by limiting certain values and compressing the concept of “nationalism” in line with the “identities” determined by the state. (A?KIN, 2018)

Since every nation defines the concept of nationalism according to its own interests, it is not possible to talk about consistency regarding the meanings of nationalism. Indeed, this also applies to Turkish Nationalism. The concept of nationalism in Turkey, as in other nations around the world have various meanings and impact on society.


Turkish nationalism emerged with the publication of the article titled Three Styles of Politics written by “Tatar Türkü Yusuf Akçura” in 1904 in the newspaper “Türk” (Akçura) and has evolved in different forms with the conditions and developments of the periods.

Ottomans lost their sovereignty, Turkism was seen as the possibility of producing a new policy later With the completely end of the Ottoman sovereignty, the Republic of Turkey, “nationalism” phenomenon of language, culture, society in the case of the frame as the ethnic structure has considered the idea of bringing together. (Can, 2019) There were many lives of different religions, sects and nationalities within the borders of the Ottoman state. With the declaration of the “Tanzimat Ferman ” and “Islahat Ferman ” that took place in the last periods of the Ottoman Empire, some rights were also granted to non-Muslims and minorities. This led to the reason why non-Muslims and Arabs demand independence from the Ottoman Empire. Turks came together with the feeling of abandonment and started to strive to find the way of salvation with the dominance of the idea of recovery, and put forward the ideals of common language, common culture, common history and common homeland. (ÇALIK & ER, 2016)

Tan?l Bora and Murat Güntekingil, in his book ‘Political Thought in Modern Turkey’ Turkish Nationalism varieties; Conservative Nationalism, Liberal Nationalism, Ethnicist Nationalism, National Left Nationalism and Official Nationalism. (BORA & GÜNTEK?NG?L, 2004)

1. Conservative Nationalism; It is based on Islamism and the building block of national identity is the phenomenon of religion. (ERGÜÇ, 2013)

2. Ethnicist Nationalism; It was developed within the framework of the Turanism principle on the basis of cultural ethnicity. (ER?AH?N, 2010)

3. Liberal Nationalism; It is designed with ideas such as capitalism and market society in the perspective of freedom, tolerance, equality and individual rights. (Akif ÖZER,Umut AYHAN, ?brahim ?RDEM, 2018)

4. National Left Nationalism; The idea of modern nation, dominated by secularism and anti-imperial ideals, prevails. (ARI)

5. Official Nationalism; On the basis of Atatürk’s principles, the idea of building a nation-state ideology is dominated. (BORA & GÜNTEK?NG?L, 2004)


In Eastern and Southeastern Anatolia, Kurds, a people of Iranian origin, had the opportunity to preserve their sects, languages and traditions in a comfortable relationship with the Ottoman state, as Eastern and Southeastern Anatolia came under Ottoman rule. (EK?NC?, 2010)

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Big Man Little Love: Investigation Of Sociological Perspective On Nationalism And The Kurdish Problem In Turkey. (2022, Jun 19). Retrieved from