This study attempts to explain the emergence and possible resolution of the issue of human rights violation in modern Turkey. Underpinned by a portrayal of human rights in their relation to the development of capitalism and the social philosophy of natural law, a theoretical framework of economic self-interest and an emotional 'social imagination' is constructed. Being a contemporary variation on Adam Smith's understanding of self-love and sympathy, this theory develops a ‘world economy’ based view of ‘cosmopolitan responsibility’ for the institutionalisation of human rights. Empirically, a comparative analysis of the emergence of social dislocation and related inter-ethnic tension during the decline of the Ottoman Empire serves to illuminate further analyses of the social character of modern Turkey, and the challenges inherent in resolving the human rights violations of which the country contemporarily stands accused
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