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[Script of Lec_8] Kemalism and the Turkish Republic.docx

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Simon Fraser University
HIST 151
Paul Sedra

Kemalism and the Turkish Republic 5/15/2012 2:54:00 PM the successor to the Ottoman empire in Anatolia, the Turkish nation state. The Ideology that dominated the Turkish nation state, and really to a great extent dominate Turkey to the stay namely Kemlalism o The principle tenants of Kemlalism as they were described in the peoples party program of 1931 were Nationalism. Secularism. Populism. And what was called Revolutionism. Nationalism We will talk about how each of these ideas influenced a nation state, but it should be said from the outset that these ideas, these notions, emerged from a military o And quite specifically nationalism and secularism were absolutely critical components of the ultimately political formula that enabled a military man, by the name of Mustafa Kamal (who became known as Ataturk), to secure and preserve power. Ataturk initial legitimacy as a political leader was derived very heavily from his military triumph, one that happened on the 30 thof August 1922 over Greek forces at Izmir (otherwise known as Smyrna), and those Greek forces, to his mind, threatened what the defense of rights movement called the Turkish and Muslims character of the area. o Hence this focus on nationalism (this new focus on ethnicity within a specifically Turkish nation state) The struggle for Turkish independence that Mustafa Kamal lead was, to a large degree, one of ethnic purification. One that was intended to crush the aspiration of the Greeks, the Armenians, and the Kurds who lived in Anatolia and who themselves aspired to self determination after the first WW. And during that struggle, just to give an idea of the extend to which this ethnic purification took place, the percentage of Muslims in Anatolia rose from 80% to 98%. o Now, just to give some raw numbers the Greek population, fell from 1.8 million in 1914 (this is the great in Anatolia) to 400,000 after the war and the population transfers that took place as a result The Armenians population fell from 1.2 million in 1896 to less than 100,000 in 1927. So, given the realization of this ethnic purification in the wake of the independent struggle, Mustafa Kamal decided to employ, not surprisingly, ethnic nationalism to consolidate Turkish statehood, to consolidate this new state of nations Turkey and his grip on power within that state. And to this end, he use what is called, the Turkish historical thesis which was that ethnic Turks had created the world great civilizations ranging from China to Europe to the Middle East o And this was a thesis that was ultimately indorsed by the Turkish state and really came to permeate, or discourse, about Turkish history within the Turkish nation state. came to permeate newspapers. came to permeate textbooks. This exultation of Turkish culture required the denigration, the putting a side, really the marginalization of rival Anatolian cultures. And so under Mustafa Kamal, the Turkish state prohibits any public ardencies in the Kurdish language, and indeed, prohibits any other instruction in the Kurdish language. Despite what would be called the don of democracy in Turkey in 1950, this prohibition actually remained in place. And in 1980, much much further along, not only public but indeed private ardencies in Kurdish were forbidden as well. And given this severe restrictions on their participation in public life, a Kurdish faction, that is known as PKK, undertook armed action against the Turkish state in March of 1984. In response to this, in response to what the Turkish states label as subversive activities, that are concentrated largely in the areas in which Kurds reside in Turkey in large numbers, namely in the southeast of Turkey (in the southeast of the Anatolian peninsula), the Turkish military has raised thousands of Kurdish villages destroyed them in the struggle against the PKK. And further the participation of Kurds as Kurds, that is to say without marginalization once identity, in the Turkish political process has proved very problematic o Actually exceedingly difficult if not, in many cases, impossible. So that gives an idea of the influence of this first tenant of nationalism on the Turkish nation state. One that has starched (influence that has starched) right from the origins of the nation state to this very day. secularism the second tenant of Kamalism which is, perhaps, is the one that is most strongly associated with Mustafa Kamal and the one that is, perhaps, best known among the tenants of his ideology. Through his insistent on secularism, Mustafa Kamal sought not nearly to eradicate all vestiges of, and really all lingering, attachments to the Ottoman regime. His aims went, still beyond that, o such measures as the abolition of the Khalifat (what we discussed last time) o the prohibition of the fads. o The espousal, which we see here, of the European calendar. o The espousal of the European numerals and weights and measures. o The adoption of the Suez civil o The elimination of religious colleges. All of these wouldve sufficed in that effort to distance the Turkish nation state from its Ottoman predecessors (from the Ottoman empire). But, as we say, Mustafa Kamals aim extended beyond this, beyond simply marginalizing or denigrating the Ottoman cartage , arguably, Mustafa Kamal sought control not only of what weve called in this class official Islam, the Islam of the state, he also wanted to maintain a very strain grip on popular Islam, the Islam of common people. And so what we find are the dervish order with white spread networks of Shrines, obedience to Sheikhs, the closed secretive brotherhood that operated in various parts of the country.
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