International Society of Political Psychology

Conference Abstracts

Difficult dialogues: Turkish students’ willingness to talk about inequality with Kurds and Armenians

Nida Bikmen, Denison University; Diane Sunar, Istanbul Bilgi University

Conference: ISPP 2011
Affiliation: Denison University
Research Area: Social inequality and social change

Recent research has demonstrated that while minority and majority members were equally willing to talk about commonalities (e.g., in cuisine or arts) between groups, majority members were significantly less willing to address power inequalities (e.g., in political representation) in intergroup encounters (Saguy, Dovidio, and Pratto, 2008). The present study explored attitudes of a majority group, Turks, toward dialogue with two minority groups, Kurds and Armenians, in Turkey.  We investigated whether majority Turks would be equally likely to avoid discussing inequality in imaginary dialogues with Kurds and Armenians.  One hundred and sixty Turkish university students completed a survey that investigated their attitudes toward dialogue with Armenians and Kurds, national and religious identities, social dominance orientation, endorsement of cultural diversity and perceived discrimination in the Turkish society.  Ethnic Turks were equally willing to talk about commonalities with both of the minority groups, and less willing to talk about power inequalities with either group.  A “partner ethnicity” by “dialogue type” interaction revealed that participants were even less willing to address power inequalities with Armenians than with Kurds.  Social dominance orientation mediated the negative effect of Turkish identification on attitudes toward power talk with both groups.  However, attitudes toward power talk with Kurds benefited from the positive effects of Muslim identification and endorsement of cultural diversity. Findings suggest that religion and, possibly, status as an official minority group contribute to who is considered as more of an outsider in the Turkish context despite similar levels of prejudice toward both groups.