Time and Location

Tuesday, 14 October, 19 - 21
Diplomatic Academy
Favoritenstraße 15a, 1040 Vienna


Lecture and discussion with

Irfan Aktan, journalist and author, Ankara, Turkey

Chair: Ilker Ataç, University of Vienna/VIDC
Opeing: Norbert Ehrlich, Salam.Orient, and Michael Fanizadeh, VIDC

Languages: Turkish and German with simultanious translation

Irfan Aktan. The Kurdish question beyond Turkey: A Perspective on the Near East?


Syria’s civil war exposed the influence the Kurdish movement in Turkey has on the events in the Near East. The position of the Partiya Yekitîya Demokrat (PYD, Democratic Union Party), which was founded in 2003 and since 2011 has enlarged its influence in Rojava (part of Syria with a Kurdish settlement), is closely linked to the ongoing peace processes in Turkey. The debates about the independence of the autonomous region Kurdistan in northern Iraq and a repositioning of the Kurdish movement in Turkey, Syria, and Iraq run parallel to this position. While the Kurdish movements plead with the PKK against the formation of a nation state, they are criticized by independence-interested movements. In spite of all their differences, PKK-oriented Kurdish movements hope to find a common denominator for all the region’s Kurdish movements during a planned conference in Erbil. In his lecture, Irfan Aktan will discuss the current events in Syria, Iraq, Iran, and Turkey from an international perspective.


Irfan Aktan

studied journalism and gender studies at the University of Ankara. Since 2000 he has worked as a journalist for a diverse set of Turkish newspapers like Express, Bianet, BirGün, Nokta, Yeni Aküel, and Newsweek Turkey. He also worked as an editor for İMC TV in Ankara and wrote for the newspaper Radikal II. He is published in various anthologies and newspapers on the Kurdish question. On the theme Iraqi refugees he worked on the concepts for documentaries Ömer eve gel [Ömer comes home] and Arka Bahçenin İnsanları [People of the Backyard]. He created the documentary Nazê with director Ümit Kivanç, and the film Bûka Baranê with director Dilek Gökçin. Irfan Aktan is the author of Nazê/Bir Göçüş Öyküsü [Nazê/A Story of Flight] and Kürt Sorunu: Zehir ve Panzehir [Kurdish Problem: Poison and Antidote]. He currently works at the journal Express, and writes regularly for zete.com.

Ilker Ataç

studied Economics and Political Science in Vienna and obtained his doctorate at the University of Frankfurt/Main in the social sciences. His research topics are migration politics, social movements, and Turkish politics. He is currently an assistant professor in the Political Science Institute of the University of Vienna and a member of the research group “Politics of Inclusion and Exclusion.” His most recent publications are: “Ökonomische und politische Krisen in der Türkei. Die Neuformierung des peripheren Neoliberalismus“, „Politik der Inklusion und Exklusion (Mithrsg.)“, and „Migration und Entwicklung: Neue Perspektiven (Mithrsg.)“

The lecture is part of the Festival Salam.Orient and a cooperation with the Diplomatic Academy Vienna.

Information material