The Syrian war was undoubtedly one of the greatest tragedies of the 21st century. It was also a very important test for Türkiye. According to official figures,Türkiye hosts more than three and a half million Syrian refugees (UNHCR). Countless NGOs stood in solidarity with migrants all over Türkiye. However, being the recipient of such an influx in a short period of time has also created societal friction. One can see similar reactions globally and the tensions created by the flux of immigrants to Türkiye are not peculiar in this regard.
For instance, if one looks at Turkish social media and checks the discourse of the newly established Zafer Party (Victory Party / VP), one can say there
is a new far-right movement in Türkiye, which pursues an anti-immigrant discourse and policy like no other. However, it would be incomplete to depict this development only as a reaction to the influx of migrants that Türkiye faced after the Syrian war.
This discussion paper analyses VP’s origins and status. It also delves on debates on nationalism and Turkish identity, which have been omnipresent in Turkish politics since the republic’s founding. This discussion is paramount to examine the position and expected trajectory of nationalism(s) in Turkish democracy. The VP, founded under the leadership of Ümit Özdağ, cannot be understood independently of these debates.Download the Discussion Paper