Northwestern Events Calendar


Visiting Speaker Dr. Aslı Bâli: Decentralization as Self-Determination?: Reframing the question of minority rights in Turkey

When: Wednesday, May 12, 2021
1:00 PM - 2:30 PM CT

Where: Online

Audience: Faculty/Staff - Student - Public - Post Docs/Docs - Graduate Students

Contact: Gina Stec   (847) 467-2359

Group: Keyman Modern Turkish Studies (Northwestern Buffett)

Co-Sponsor: Buffett Institute for Global Affairs

Category: Global & Civic Engagement


This talk explores how the Kurdish political movement has re-imagined the terms of self-determination to facilitate the realization of minority rights in Turkey. One starting point for this inquiry is to explore the model of "democratic confederalism" as a novel institutional design proposal that instantiates the reconceptualization of governance in the Kurdish political project. Assessing the potential of this innovative approach to decentralization requires both an examination of the history from which the proposal emerges and the technical experiments with implementing it. In this talk, Dr. Bâli examines the formulation of demands for decentralization during the so-called reconciliation process in Turkey between 2009 and 2015 and its impact on Kurdish leaders’ views on devolutionary modalities for greater autonomy. She will then offer an analysis of the model of “democratic confederalism” based on a close reading of the published manifestos and political tracts that articulate this vision. She will also discuss experiments with enacting democratic confederalism on the ground both within Turkey’s borders and beyond them. Finally, she will consider from the perspective of the comparative law literature on federalism the generative innovations made possible by framing decentralization as a form of self-determination both to address the current impasse over Kurdish rights in Turkey and, more generally, to solve institutional design challenges in deeply divided societies grappling with minority rights questions.

Please register:

Aslı Bâli is Professor of Law at the UCLA School of Law and Faculty Director of the Promise Institute for Human Rights. She previously served as the Director of the UCLA Center for Near Eastern Studies. Bâli’s research focuses on two broad areas: public international law—including human rights law—and comparative constitutional law, with a focus on the Middle East. Her scholarship has appeared in the American Journal of International Law, Cornell International Law Journal, International Journal of Constitutional Law, University of Chicago Law Review, Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law, Virginia Journal of International Law and Yale Journal of International Law among others; her edited volume Constitution Writing, Religion and Democracy was published in 2017 and a second edited volume, From Revolution to Devolution: Experiments in Decentralization in the MENA Region is forthcoming from Cambridge University Press. She has served as the Florence Rogatz Visiting Professor of Law at the Yale Law School and was a fellow at the Institute for Advanced Study. She received her J.D. from Yale, her M.Phil. from Cambridge University and her Ph.D in Politics from Princeton University.


Add to Calendar

Add Event To My Group:

Please sign-in