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Brown Bag Seminar by Mehmet Gürses (Florida Atlantic University)

Between the Mosque and Mountains: Kurds, Islam, and the State

In this lecture, Dr. Mehmet Gurses will discuss the case of Muslim Kurds being forced to choose between the “mosque” and the “mountains.” The “mosque” preaches loyalty to the state, both literally and metaphorically, encouraging Kurds to accept their fate as co-religionists. The “mountains,” in the absence of meaningful democratic alternatives to the mosque, have come to represent both the exit and voice of Kurds dissatisfied with this arrangement. Squeezed between the “mosque” and the “mountains,” and led mainly by secular political organizations, Kurds have experienced various religious recalibrations ranging from secular transformation to Islamic radicalization. Drawing on decade-long fieldwork in Turkey and Iraq and extensive public opinion data, Dr. Gurses offers a comprehensive look at contesting identities, Islams, and worldviews against the backdrop of a rapidly shifting socio-political landscape in Turkey and beyond.

Mehmet Gurses is professor and chair of Political Science at Florida Atlantic University. His research interests include ethnic and religious conflict, post-civil war peace building, post-civil war democratization, Kurdish politics, and the emergence and evolution of the Islamist parties in the Middle East. He has published extensively in journals including, International Interactions, Defense and Peace Economics, Conflict Management and Peace Science, and Political Research Quarterly. He is the author of Anatomy of a Civil War: Sociopolitical Impacts of the Kurdish Conflict in Turkey.


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