Tolerated but not equal

Insel A.

PHILOSOPHY & SOCIAL CRITICISM, vol.45, no.4, pp.511-515, 2019 (Journal Indexed in AHCI) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 45 Issue: 4
  • Publication Date: 2019
  • Doi Number: 10.1177/0191453719831332
  • Page Numbers: pp.511-515


Tolerance is an ambivalent attitude. It allows living in plurality but not in equality. The tolerant tradition of the Ottoman Empire, for example, is based on a very clear political and social hierarchy between different religions. Dominants boast of their tolerant tradition. Tolerance is also about imposing limits on the other in a unilateral way. In Republican Turkey where theoretically all citizens are equal, the majority of Turkish-speaking Sunnis tolerate non-Muslim minorities, Alevis, Kurds. It is the 'liberal' currents of this ethno-religious majority that pronounce themselves tolerant of others. However, minorities do not demand tolerance but equality because the history of Turkey for more than a century with the genocide of Armenians, pogroms, massacres, deportations have shown those who say they are tolerant can switch to each moment in extreme violence against those whom they now consider intolerable. In this framework, the discourse of tolerance prepares the ground for the reproduction of the domination of a double nationalism, religious and ethnic, under cover of a republican equality all theoretical.