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Turkey, Islam, Nationalism, and Modernity

Turkey, Islam, Nationalism, and Modernity: A History

Carter Vaughn Findley
Copyright Date: 2010
Published by: Yale University Press
Pages: 480
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    Turkey, Islam, Nationalism, and Modernity
    Book Description:

    Turkey, Islam, Nationalism, and Modernityreveals the historical dynamics propelling two centuries of Ottoman and Turkish history. As mounting threats to imperial survival necessitated dynamic responses, ethnolinguistic and religious identities inspired alternative strategies for engaging with modernity. A radical, secularizing current of change competed with a conservative, Islamically committed current. Crises sharpened the differentiation of the two currents, forcing choices between them.

    The radical current began with the formation of reformist governmental elites and expanded with the advent of "print capitalism," symbolized by the privately owned, Ottoman-language newspapers. The radicals engineered the 1908 Young Turk revolution, ruled empire and republic until 1950, made secularism a lasting "belief system," and still retain powerful positions.

    The conservative current gained impetus from three history-making Islamic renewal movements, those of Mevlana Halid, Said Nursi, and Fethullah Gülen. Powerful under the empire, Islamic conservatives did not regain control of government until the 1980s. By then they, too, had their own influential media.

    Findley's reassessment of political, economic, social, and cultural history reveals the dialectical interaction between radical and conservative currents of change, which alternately clashed and converged to shape late Ottoman and republican Turkish history.

    eISBN: 978-0-300-15262-3
    Subjects: History

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Maps and Illustrations
    (pp. ix-x)
  4. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xi-xii)
  5. Note on Usage
    (pp. xiii-xvi)
  6. Introduction: Turkey, Islam, Nationalism, and Modernity
    (pp. 1-22)

    The scholarly study of Ottoman and Turkish modernity was launched by a cluster of important books published between 1959 and 1964.¹ All of them reflected the modernization theory of the period, explicitly or implicitly. Their greatest flaw, consequently, was their teleological vision of an upward march from Islamic empire to secular republic. The title of Niyazi Berkes’s book,The Development of Secularism in Turkey,epitomized this understanding. Of these books, BernardLewis’s Emergence of Modern Turkeyinfluenced thousands of readers among students, politicians, government officials, and the general public; that book remains in print. For students entering the field when...

  7. 1 The Return Toward Centralization
    (pp. 23-75)

    During the late eighteenth century, the Ottoman Empire lived through wars and defeats that opened a new epoch in the empire’s history. Simultaneous with revolutionary change in Europe and the Americas, these crises expressed, at the regional level, global forces that tightened spatial interlinkages and accelerated change. Studies focusing on the Middle East see the crisis that opened this new era in the Napoleonic invasion of Egypt (1798). Studies examining all the Ottoman lands, including the Balkans and Black Sea region, see the Ottoman-Russian war of 1768 as the new era’s opening crisis. That war ended in 1774 with the...

  8. 2 The Tanzimat
    (pp. 76-132)

    Mahmud II’s death in 1839 opened a new period that became known simply as the Tanzimat, “the Reforms.” A causative or intensive form from the same Arabic root as the already familiarnizam,as in Nizam-1 Cedid (New Order),tanzimatimplied “giving order” and thus expanding and accelerating the scope and pace of reform. There would not be another sultan as decisive as Selim III or Mahmud II until 1876. Until then, the initiative for reform came not from the palace but from the Sublime Porte (Bab-1 Âli). Europeans applied that term indiscriminately to the entire Ottoman government, but it...

  9. 3 The Reign of Abdülhamid
    (pp. 133-191)

    During Abdülhamid II’s reign (1876–1909), the differentiation between the two great currents of change in Ottoman society sharpened, despite continuing commonalities. Politically, this period was distinguished by the sultan’s reconcentration of power in his hands. In one of the most decisive reigns in Ottoman history, Abdülhamid wrested power from the bureaucrats who had dominated it since 1839. The contrast between the First Constitutional Period (1876–1878) and the autocracy that followed added drama to the shift in the center of power, until 1908 when the Young Turk Revolution restored constitutional rule.

    No Ottoman ruler left a more controversial legacy....

  10. 4 Imperial Demise, National Struggle
    (pp. 192-246)

    From the Young Turk Revolution of 1908 through the Turkish National Struggle of 1919–1922, change accelerated catastrophically for the Ottomans. This period is shorter than that addressed by any other chapter in this book. Yet compared to the experiences of the other World War I belligerents, the crisis lasted longer for the Ottomans. Assaults on the empire started hard upon the 1908 revolution, intensified with World War I, then continued immediately with the National Struggle, turning the entire period from 1908 to 1922 into the Ottomans’ final crisis.

    This prolonged chronology differentiates the Ottoman experience from that of the...

  11. 5 The Early Republic
    (pp. 247-304)

    Founded amid devastation, by 1939 the Turkish republic arguably became the second most successful independent developing nation outside Europe and North America, outstripped only by Japan. Turkey under Atatürk produced evolutionary change in institutions and elites, substituted a secular national republic for the Islamic empire, reformed society extensively, and wrought a cultural climacteric in its alphabet and language reforms. These measures severed the imperial past from the national future, lastingly politicizing language and culture. Founded in stark conditions, the republic displayed developmental shortfalls: a single-party regime, top-down “populist” mass mobilization, external economic dependency severed with little growth to show. Arguably,...

  12. 6 Turkey’s Widening Political Spectrum
    (pp. 305-349)

    Under both Democrat Party rule (1950–1960) and the Second Republic (1961–1980), Turkey continued its transition to multiparty politics. As the scope of political mobilization broadened, the rise of extremist movements led to political polarization and the military interventions of 1960, 1971, and 1980. Neutral during World War II and subsequently threatened by the USSR, Turkey confirmed its Western orientation, joining NATO in 1952, fighting in the Korean War, applying for membership in the European Economic Community in 1959, and becoming an associate member in 1963. As Turkey—in common with all developing countries—experienced its share of the...

  13. 7 Turkey and the World
    (pp. 350-404)

    In recent decades, Turkey and other nations have formed parts of a world increasingly disordered by the tension between globalizing and localizing forces, the latter closely identified with identity politics. While globalization has sometimes misleadingly been equated with the worldwide spread of a single set of ideas and practices originating in the West, globalization can be fully understood only by acknowledgingallthe networks that gird the world together. However far back in time earlier stages of global interconnectedness extend, the acceleration of technological change reached a point of critical mass in the late twentieth century. Especially with the proliferation...

  14. Conclusion: Reflecting on the Present and the Past
    (pp. 405-422)

    A panoramic perspective on political, economic, social, and cultural history unfolding across two centuries has revealed a developmental dynamic quite different from the linear, secularizing trend presented by the works of the 1960s that launched the modern historical study of Ottoman and Turkish modernity. The added perspective of succeeding decades makes it possible instead to perceive a dialectical interaction between two great currents of change. Since the 1960s, a new competition between forces of globalization and localization has also arisen to compete with, perhaps eventually to override, this dialectic. Concluding this book creates the opportunity to consider this possibility while...

  15. Abbreviations Used in the Notes and Bibliography
    (pp. 423-424)
  16. Notes
    (pp. 425-456)
  17. Bibliography of Published Sources
    (pp. 457-488)
  18. Index
    (pp. 489-528)