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From the Abode of Islam to the Turkish Vatan

From the Abode of Islam to the Turkish Vatan: The Making of a National Homeland in Turkey

Copyright Date: 2012
Published by: Yale University Press
Pages: 288
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  • Book Info
    From the Abode of Islam to the Turkish Vatan
    Book Description:

    How does a people move from tribal and religiously based understandings of society to a concept of the modern nation-state? This book examines the complex and pivotal case of Turkey. Tracing the shifting valences ofvatan(Arabic for "birthplace" or "homeland") from the Ottoman period-when it signified a certain territorial integrity and imperial ideology-through its acquisition of religious undertones and its evolution alongside the concept ofmillet(nation), Behlül Özkan engages readers in the fascinating ontology of Turkey's protean imagining of its nationhood and the construction of a modern national-territorial consciousness.

    eISBN: 978-0-300-18351-1
    Subjects: History

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
    (pp. ix-x)
  4. Introduction
    (pp. 1-11)

    Max weber’s definition of the state as “a human community that (successfully) claims themonopoly of the legitimate use of forcewithin a given territory” (emphasis in original) became a well-established dictum in the social sciences of the twentieth century.¹ In line with Weber, who accepted the territorial element as given and focused on examining the legitimate use of force, most political scientists have long been ensnared in the “territorial trap,” because they have neglected problematizing and questioning the territoriality of the nation-state.² As James Anderson noted, “Nations, like states, are not simply located in geographic space—which is the...

  5. CHAPTER ONE Searching for a New Legitimacy: Ottoman Patriotism and Imperial Vatan
    (pp. 12-55)

    In the last two centuries, nation-states have become the prevailing form of political and social organization. The success of the nationstate largely depends on its construction of individual and group identities based on bounded territories, in which it legitimizes its monopoly of power. To put it briefly, territoriality emerged as a significant form of power. However, to attain uniformity within its territory, nation-states had to abolish the heterogenic organizational structure of the political system it succeeded. In the case of Turkey, the millet system bound people to their autonomous religious institutions, which were the backbone of the political and legal...

  6. CHAPTER TWO From Imperial to National Vatan
    (pp. 56-101)

    In 1913, when the Ottomans were fighting against the Balkan armies, a series of conferences was organized in Istanbul by Sati Bey (1880–1969), the director of the School of Education, about the defense of vatan. During the turmoil due to the loss of the Rumelia and the historic city of Edirne, Sati Bey undertook a comprehensive analysis of how to imbue citizens with Ottoman patriotism. These conferences were published in a book calledVatan İçin Beş Konferans(Five Conferences for the Vatan).¹ The titles of the conferences were as follows: (1) The Idea of Vatan, (2) The Education for...

  7. CHAPTER THREE From Geography to Vatan
    (pp. 102-145)

    Remzi oğuz arık’s article “From Geography to Vatan,” published by the journalMilletin 1942, exemplified the Kemalist elites’ efforts and policies to nationalize the territories within the boundaries of Turkey after the proclamation of the Republic in 1923.¹ According to Arık, the main difference between geography and vatan was that the former was simply an area where certain physical actions were performed, whereas the latter was a sanctified territory that had a venerated value for those who act within it. For Arık, “at first glance, the geography of a country seems to be miserable and inferior.”² It is merely...

  8. CHAPTER FOUR Vatan and Turkey’s Foreign Policy
    (pp. 146-210)

    Turkey’s foreign policy discourse generated specific systems of meaning, common sense, and regimes of truth in order to legitimize the Turkish state as a political unit. By using representations of threats and dangers to vatan, ruling elites formed a historical bloc to discipline Turkish people and eliminate other antagonistic groups that challenged their power and hegemony. As David Campbell rightly put it, “Foreign Policy is a discourse of power that is global in scope yet national in its legitimation. Foreign Policy is a number of discourses of danger circulating in the discursive economy of a nation state at any given...

  9. Conclusion
    (pp. 211-214)

    In 1951, geographer Jean Gottmann raised a question far more profound and beyond the theoretical importance of his discipline: “if the earth’s surface had been as even and uniform as a billiard ball, would it have been divided into so many political compartments?”¹ Gottmann was not quite sure about the answer at the time, but in an article published in 1978, he had concluded that “Geographical partitioning is fundamentally rooted in the minds of men.”² The state-centered system of territories essentially defines how we understand the world and how our geopolitical imagination of the world is produced, organized, and used...

  10. NOTES
    (pp. 215-258)
    (pp. 259-260)
  12. INDEX
    (pp. 261-272)