Citizenship and minorities: A historical overview of Turkey's Jewish minority

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Toktaş Ş.

Journal of Historical Sociology, vol.18, pp.394-429, 2005 (SSCI) identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Review
  • Volume: 18
  • Publication Date: 2005
  • Doi Number: 10.1111/j.1467-6443.2005.00262.x
  • Journal Name: Journal of Historical Sociology
  • Journal Indexes: Social Sciences Citation Index (SSCI), Scopus
  • Page Numbers: pp.394-429
  • Police Academy Affiliated: No


Citizenship in Turkey is one of the major instruments of nation-building. The legal framework that Turkish citizenship rests on is universal and equal. The non-Muslim minorities - the Armenians, the Greeks and the Jews - however are granted special group rights in the 1923 Treaty of Lausanne. Despite the protection of minorities and their rights in the treaty, the non-Muslim minorities, from time to time, had been superceded by the universal norms of citizenship in Turkey. This study discusses the history of the Jewish minority with a focus on the development of citizenship in Turkey. The history of the Jews as a minority group and as citizens is illustrated by way of a chronological methodology encompassing a broad range of events, laws, ideas and movements spanning Early Republican Period up to present-day Turkey. In line with the conventional classification utilized by many studies of Turkish politics, the historical projection developed on the citizenship and minority status of Jews in Turkey is categorized into three periods: the Early Republican Period (1923-1945), the Multi-Party Democracy Period (1945-1980) and the Post-1980 Period covering more recent developments.