Graduation Year


Date of Submission


Document Type

Campus Only Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



Reader 1

Heather Ferguson

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Nezihe Atun


This thesis is an exploration of Turkish media depictions of Kurds throughout the 20th century through analysis of news media and the Turkish film industry. While I take news media to be largely representative of the state-sanctioned understanding of the Kurdish issue, I examine films of the 70s onwards as a reflection of popular conceptions. There is a linear development in these depictions throughout the decades as Kurds are typified first as first foreign collaborators, then mountain Turks in the post-WWI era, then communists during the Cold War and finally terrorists in the latest period of state-PKK clashes. However, there is also a continuity in Kurdish media depictions in that Kurds are always made into the foil of Turkish modernity, as being backwards, inferior, inherently rebellious or unruly, and religiously conservative. In this thesis, I argue that media depictions of Kurds demonstrate that the Kurdish issue is more accurately understood as a Turkish issue, in that it reflects a deep-seated humiliation and trauma over the loss of empire that has caused a self-perception of existential insecurity.

Available for download on Wednesday, May 15, 2024

This thesis is restricted to the Claremont Colleges current faculty, students, and staff.