131 Interwar Turkey: (A) Modern? Authoritarian? Secular? Nation?

Wednesday, June 26, 2013: 11:00 AM-12:45 PM
C1.23 (Oudemanhuispoort)
This panel focuses on Turkey during the interwar years. We analyze the transition era from the Ottoman Empire to the Republic of Turkey. This transition has usually been depicted (both in the historiography and in popular accounts) as one being from a multiethnic, religiously-justified rule of an imperial, monarchic order to a nation-state structure in which the state prioritized ethnic homogenization, secularization, and Westernization, all understood as “modernization.” This panel re-visits all these statements. We will debate how Turkish authoritarianism was similar to and different from its European contemporaries, and examine how the new regime treated its non-Muslim minorities and how the minorities responded back. We will also inquire about the limits of laïcit้ in a Turkish which was becoming increasingly free of fezzes and almost-free of women’s headscarves. As the state and society negotiated the limits of being “modern” we will talk about how the center communicated its message to the masses and how the masses, at least those in urban, cosmopolitan centers and on the pages of illustrated magazines debated the bright and dark sides of being “modern.”
Ugur Umit Ungor
Christine Philliou
• Politics of Exclusion in the Early Turkish Republic: The Case of Non-Muslim Citizens
Lerna Ekmekcioglu, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
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