Kemalism and the Making of Modern Turkey

Episode 323

hosted by Andreas Guidi and Elif Becan

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In this collaboration with The Southeast Passage, we discuss the emergence of the Turkish nationalist movement under the leadership of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk and the establishment of a sovereign Republic of Turkey in 1923. As our guest Prof. Erik-Jan Zürcher notes, Kemalism can be studied both as a political transformation from armed struggle to a one-party state administration system and as a repertoire of discursive symbols based on the imaginary of nation, civilization, and modernity. This installment is structured along a series of lectures that Prof. Zürcher has given at the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales in Paris, in which he has framed Kemalism’s activism and worldview within its contemporary international context as well as along a broader chronological axis continuing into the 1950s.

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Contributor Bios

Erik-Jan Zürcher is Professor of Turkish Studies at the University of Leiden (The Netherlands). He has published widely on the period of transition from the Ottoman Empire to the Republic of Turkey from the point of view of social, economic, and political history. Professor Zürcher is also a member of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences.
Andreas Guidi is a Ph.D. candidate at the Humboldt University in Berlin and at the EHESS in Paris researching on networks, generations, and capital transmission in late and post-Ottoman Rhodes. He is also the creator of the Southeast Passage podcast.
Elif Becan is a Ph.D. Candidate at the CETOBaC/EHESS in Paris. Her doctoral research focuses on the categorization of outsiders through the case of populations of Albanian origin in Turkey in the first half of the 20th century.

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Episode No. 323
Release Date: 6 July 2017
Recording Location: EHESS, Paris
Audio editing by Andreas Guidi
Music: Giulio Stermieri – “The Southeast Passage Theme” (intro and outro); Turku, Nomads of the Silk Road – “Ah bir ataş ver” (Creative Commons)
Images and bibliography courtesy of Erik-Jan Zürcher


Mustafa Kemal meets Henry Franklin-Bouillon, 1921. The French diplomat signed a treaty with the emerging Ankara government which marked the first prominent act of international recognition of the Turkish Nationalist institutions.
Peasants waiting for the arrival of Kemalist troops in Edirne, 1923 (Agence de Presse Roll, Bibliothèque Nationale de France) 

Cover of the revue published in French“La Turquie Kamaliste” used in 1935 and 1936

Select Bibliography

Georgeon, François (1995): Des Ottomans aux Turcs. Naissance d'une nation. Istanbul: Éd. Isis.

Gingeras, Ryan (2016): The fall of the Sultanate. The Great War and the end of the Ottoman Empire 1908-1922.Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Hanioglu, M. Sukru (2011): Ataturk. An intellectual biography. Princeton: Princeton University Press.

Meeker, Michael E. (2002): A nation of empire. The Ottoman legacy of Turkish modernity. Berkeley: University of California Press.

Robinson, Richard D. (1963): The First Turkish Republic. A Case Study in National Development. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

Rostow, Walt W. (1959): The stages of economic growth. A non-communist manifesto. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Yilmaz, Hale (2013): Becoming turkish. Nationalist reforms and cultural negotiations in Early Republican Turkey 1923-1945. Syracuse: Syracuse University Press.

Zürcher, Erik Jan (1984): The Unionist factor. The rôle of the Committee of Union and Progress in the Turkish National Movement, 1905 - 1926. Leiden: Brill.

Zürcher, Erik Jan (2003): The Young Turks - Children of the borderlands? In International Journal of Turkish Studies 9 (1-2), pp. 275–286.

Zürcher, Erik Jan (2010): The Young Turk legacy and nation building. From the Ottoman Empire to Atatürk's Turkey. London: I.B. Tauris.

Zürcher, Erik Jan (2017): Turkey. A modern history. Fourth edition, new paperback edition. London, New York: I. B. Tauris (Library of modern Turkey, 27).


YoungHistorian said…
thank you for this great podcast, prof. Zurcher very intelligent person also his many books shows us.

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