Islam, Secularism and Nationalism in Modern Turkey: Who is a Turk?, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Islam, Secularism and Nationalism in Modern Turkey

Who is a Turk?, 1st Edition

By Soner Cagaptay


264 pages

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It is commonly believed that during the interwar period, Kemalist secularism successfully eliminated religion from the public sphere in Turkey, leaving Turkish national identity devoid of religious content. However, through its examination of the impact of the Ottoman millet system on Turkish and Balkan nationalisms, this book presents a different view point. Cagaptay demonstrates that the legacy of the Ottomon millet system which divided the Ottoman population into religious compartments called millets, shaped Turkey’s understanding of nationalism in the interwar period. Providing a compelling examination of why and how religion shapes national identity in Turkey and the Balkans the book covers topics including:

* Turkish nationalism

* the Ottoman legacy

* Kemalist citizenship policies and immigration

* Kurds, Muslims and Jews and the ethno-religious limits of Turkishness.

Incorporating documents from untapped Turkish archives, this book is essential reading for scholars and students with research interests in Turkey, Turkish nationalism and Middle East history.


'There is no question that Cagaptay - a highly intelligent, serious, soul-searching, and inquisitive scholar - has put his finger on several crucial issues in Turkish political and cultural life.' - Kemal H. Karpat, International Journal of Middle East Studies, Vol. 39 No. 2, May 2007

'…it stands apart from some of the previous works on the subject by its in-depth and judicious analysis based on a careful reading of the available archival evidence' - Sabri Sayari, Sabanci University, Istanbul, Middle East Studies Association Bulletin, Winter 2007

Table of Contents

Introduction: Turkish Nationalism Today 1. From the Muslim Millet to the Turkish Nation: The Ottoman Legacy 2. Secularism, Kemalist Nationalism, Turkishness, and the Minorities in the 1920s 3. Kemalism Par Excellence in the 1930s: The Rise of Turkish Nationalism 4. Who is a Turk? Kemalist Citizenship Policies 5. Secularized Islam Defines Turkishness: Kurds and Other Muslims as Turks 6. Ethno-Religious Limits of Turkishness: Christians Excluded from the Nation 7. Jews in the 1930s: Turks or Not? Conclusion: Understanding Turkish Nationalism in Modern Turkey: The Kemalist Legacy

About the Author

Soner Cagaptay is senior fellow and director of the Turkish Research Program at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, a Washington-based think tank. His research interests include U.S.-Turkish relations and modern Turkish history.

About the Series

Routledge Studies in Middle Eastern History

The region's history from the earliest times to the present is catered for by this series made up of the very latest research. Books include political, social, cultural, religious and economic history.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Ethnic Studies / General
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Islamic Studies
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Regional Studies