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Turkey: Villages in the South and East
Country Study > Chapter 2 > The Society and Its Environment > Structure of Society > Village Life > Villages in the South and East

VILLAGES IN THE SOUTH AND EAST


The villages of southeastern Turkey are predominantly Arab and Kurdish. Tribal organization -- the grouping of several patrilineages claiming a common historical ancestor -- remains important in some Kurdish villages. However, the political autonomy once enjoyed by tribal leaders was usurped by the central government during the 1920s and 1930s. Tribal leaders who retain local influence do so because they are large landowners. Large landholdings are typical of the region. In most villages, one or two families own most of the arable land and pasturage; the remainder is divided into small plots owned by several families. Most of the small landowners have holdings fit only for subsistence agriculture. From 10 to 50 percent of all families may be landless. Villagers who do not own land work as agricultural laborers or herders for the large landlords. The poverty of most villagers compels them to enter into dependent economic, political, and social relations with the wealthier landlords.

The fighting between the PKK and the government in southeastern Turkey since 1984 has disrupted life in many villages. About 850 Kurdish villages have been uprooted by the government and their inhabitants forcibly removed to western Anatolia. Thousands of other villagers have migrated to cities to escape the incessant fighting. The migrants have included all types of villagers: the landless, small landowners, and large landlords. The long-term effects of these changes were difficult to assess in the mid-1990s.




Last Updated: January 1995


Editor's Note: Country Studies included here were published between 1988 and 1998. The Country study for Turkey was first published in 1995. Where available, the data has been updated through 2008. The date at the bottom of each section will indicate the time period of the data. Information on some countries may no longer be up to date. See the "Research Completed" date at the beginning of each study on the Title Page or the "Data as of" date at the end of each section of text. This information is included due to its comprehensiveness and for historical purposes.

Note that current information from the CIA World Factbook, U.S. Department of State Background Notes, Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade Country Briefs, the UK's Foreign and Commonwealth Office's Country Profiles, and the World Bank can be found on Factba.se.

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