Discuss the reasons why a system of semi-feudalism and consequent tribal societies persist in the east and southeast of Turkey.
It is suggested that you try and elicit the reasons rather than presenting the students with them. A lot of our students are very familiar with the issue as they come from the above regions. This being the case, they should be able suggest plenty of reasons without too much effort. They will probably come up with the following points:
1. The continuation of the current system is in the interest of all political parties. The reason is that parties can depend on these major families for votes during elections. If a certain party can guarantee the support of the head of a certain tribe, the whole tribe will follow his lead.
2. The continuation of the current system is in the interest of tribal leaders. The tribe provides a power base, a source of revenue, opportunities for exploitation and the like. There are quite a few prominent members of famous tribal groups in the current parliament for instance. The tribal leaders are the proud owners of at least two dozen villages in some cases.
3. The continuation of the current system is also due to backwardness, lack of education and conservatism. A society of this kind is violently opposed to change of any sort.
It is suggested that you inform the students of the topic the day before and ask them to read up on it and think about it. If they do so, they will find the introduction far easier to write. It is suggested that they briefly and simply describe the current system in the introduction: the villagers farm the tribal leader’s land in return for a share of the crops. The tribal leader is all powerful in the system and what he or she says goes. Atatürk wished to change the system; an all encompassing land reform was his dream but it was never carried out due to all the vested interests listed above. The conclusion could be a restatement, which you should discuss with them, or suggestions as to what can be done, as the system cannot be allowed to continue.
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