Kurdish Studies

ISSN: 2051-4883 | e-ISSN: 2051-4891
Email: editor@kurdishstudies.net

Mapping action and identity in the Kobani crisis response

Thomas McGee
An independent researcher based in Duhok, Kurdistan Region-Iraq
Keywords: Kobani displacement; humanitarian action; Suruç; Turkey.


This article compares humanitarian operations associated with Turkish state and pro-Kurdish movement actors in response to the large cross-border displacement of Kurdish-Syrians into Turkey from the September 2014 Kobani crisis. Analysis draws on actor mapping methodologies and fieldwork conducted in the Kurdish-majority town of Suruç in southern Turkey. Parallels with the 2011 Van earthquakes highlight the ethno-national complexities and potential controversy encountered when responding to humanitarian needs of predominantly Kurdish populations in Turkey. The alternative territorial identities generated by practices of Kurdish municipal-level “governmentality” (through camp management and humanitarian assistance) trouble the assumed hierarchy between Turkish state authorities and Kurdish challengers.

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