MEMORY, MODERNITY AND THE REMAKING OF REPUBLICAN TURKEY: 1945-1960
Memory, Modernity and the Remaking of Republican Turkey: 1945-1960 explores the relationship between ideology and politics during a transformational period in 20th century Turkish history. During these years, NATO membership and the advent of multi-party democracy radically reshaped Turkey's foreign and domestic policies. These changes forced Turkish writers and statesmen to rethink their understanding of modernity and invent new discourses surrounding their country's history, religion, and geography. In doing so, Turkey's political and intellectual leaders simultaneously built on and critiqued the Kemalist ideology they had inherited. Across Turkey's growing partisan divide, representatives of rival political movements claimed to be uniquely capable of synthesizing paradoxical elements of Turkish identity by reconciling tradition and modernity and bringing together the best of East and West. Their competition created a secularized and nationalized version of Ottoman history while promoting a self-consciously scientific form of Islam enmeshed in Western religious trends. At the same time, Turkish diplomats sought to exploit the rhetorical possibilities inherent in their country's geography and history to reconcile long-standing anti-imperial instincts with the needs of their new anti-Soviet allies in the Middle East. And US diplomats, observing Turkey's internal debates, developed their own views on the country's identity, which routinely shifted to accommodate converging and diverging US and Turkish interests. Taken together, the political, diplomatic and cultural controversies of mid-century Turkey prefigured present-day critiques of modernity and led to the consolidation of a consensus within which many of Turkey's contemporary identity debates occur.
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