Minorities are particularly vulnerable during times of emergency, particularly those that challenge the state. However, it is not understood how minorities can be targeted through emergency decrees despite the government agreeing they had nothing to do with the reasons for declaring the state of emergency. The Turkish emergency in 2016 highlights this little-understood tendency where the government constructed an emergency around a threat from coup plotters, but then much of the subsequent extraordinary legislation targeted the Kurdish minority. We argue that this was possible because the Turkish government engaged in modular emergency rule. Modular emergency rule combines modes of ordinary rule with emergency powers, thus blurring the boundaries between the two. Emergency measures were laid on top of already existing policies that sought to restrict Kurdish politics in public life. In this way, modular emergency rule became more than just a transient form of government.
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- state of emergency