Some Observations on the Contemporary History of Turkey

The reform movements in Late Ottoman Period attained over time a character influencing almost every spaces of our life and molding the future of our country. Today, it constitutes one of the most central problems of our intellectual life. The literature on this process, which has been tried to be defined by the concepts having such distinct meanings like westernisation, modernisation, westernizing etc., includes several debates on conceptualization, periodization and aimed goals in this process. In this essay, the principal approaches to westernisation literature are analyzed. How our researchers have dealt with the issues related to westernization process is evaluated and the fact that our history of modernization still contains a plenty of questions to be enlightened by researchers is attempted to be shown.

The Missing Ring in the Turkish Political Thought: Kemalism, Socialism and Islamism

In this article one of the most important problems of Turkish political thought is put forward as the “lacking of the political”. This lacking is depicted as a missing ring in the Turkish political thought. Without putting aside any trend in Turkish political thought, including each of Kamalism, Socialism and Islamism, the reasons of the missing or the underdevelopment of the political is examined. Having been thought at the basic level as the construction of man as a political being, as part of given antagonisms, and as a search for human self-determination, the political is questioned in terms of the approaches that hinder its coming to being. Being inspired by Carl Schmit and Slavoj Zˇizˇek arche-politik, para-politik, meta-politik, anti-politik and post-politik attitudes are determined and the negative impacts of each such attitudes in the emergence of the political are examined. The origins of several fatalist, conspiracy theorist, reductionist and stereo-typist tendencies are evaluated in the frame of these concepts. Finally the concept ictihat is rethought as a strong possibility for reestablishing the political in the contemporary political thought.

"The Unsteadiness of Ottoman-Turkish Westernisation: 'Dilapidated' Past, 'Glorious' Future”

The failure in Vienna Siege and the long-lasting wars in the following centuries that mostly ended in failure caused to big motion and considerable transformation in the military, administrative, financial, political, social and intellectual fields in the historical process that extends from Ottoman to Republican Turkey. In early periods, the proposals (layiha) indicating the bad conduct was offering a return to Kanun-i kadim, to past as a solution. Yet within the second half of the 18th century, the ‘past' was considered as the reason behind the bad conduct. Late Ottoman and Early Republican intellectuals put forward the idea of ‘savior' and ‘glorious' future contrasted to the ‘dilapidated' past. Thus, for two centuries, we have been facing the experience of Turkish westernization that has faltered between past and future at the social, political and individual dimensions; it is action-centric because of its pragmatist and impatient quality; exalted by technology as a fascinating concept; and in which consequently the “human” and “thinking” is rendered to meaningless. The present study, in principle, argues how this earlier political falter turns subsequently into cultural and existential inconsistency.

The Westernisation and Modernisation in Niza-m-ı Cedid Thought

The memoranda and treatises from the Niza-m-ı Cedid period have hitherto been subjected to isolated studies. Recent attempts to analyze them as a group of texts have made it possible to reinterpret the whole era. In this essay, mental patterns of the Cedidist intellectuals will be analyzed through a categorization of these pro-reform texts according to their audience as well as the discourses they utilize. Despite the modern preconceptions that view modernisation as a process of secular identity creation transcending ethno-religious differences, this era witnessed both modernization and the reinforcement of the Islamic orthodoxy. The Cedidist elite, thus, considered the non-Muslims no less a threat than the Janissaries and Bektaşis. The memoranda and the ambassadorial accounts that constitute the first two groups of our category targeted the ruling elite as their audience. They diagnosed the ills of the system and offered various models for renovation. The third group is composed of treatises that do not put forward new reform proposals. While some of them attempted to overcome the crisis of legitimacy in the Age of Napoleon by portraying the Western façade of the Niza-m-ı Cedid to the European audience, others tried to turn the renovation program into a social movement through mobilizing the Islamic concepts such as principle of due reciprocity, bowing to the authority, and service to state and religion. Finally, those in the fourth group once again addressed the ruling elite to criticize the inadequacies of the program and propose new reform articles, giving us a balance sheet of the Niza-m-ı Cedid program. We should point out that conjunctural factors (i.e., diplomacy, the disorders caused by the Mountaineers and the Wahhabis, Russo-Ottoman war and so forth) make more sense than religio-cultural factors in explaining the rebellion that ended this period.

Kahraman ŞAKUL
Debating Through “The Other”: Celal Nuri and Abdullah Cevdet on Europe

The long history of relations between the Turks and the Europeans had a deep impact on the formation of their identities. After a long period of superiority over the Europeans, Turkish acceptance of first European equality and then European superiority had long lasting effects on the Turkish identity. Celal Nuri and Doctor Abdullah Cevdet, the two leading members of the Garbcılık movement (a group of Ottoman intellectuals formed during the early years of the 20th century) had heated debates as to what attitude should be taken towards Europe. This article mainly focuses on the debates on the acceptance of Europe during the aftermath of the Balkan Wars of 1912–1913. In this context, due attention is also paid to the ideas developed against the concept of mono-civilization and its history up to the formation of the Turkish Republic.

On the Memoirs of Sultan Abdulhamid

The first task of the history researchers is to determine the correct sources, especially the most important one. A main step to guarantee this is to ask under what conditions did such a source emerge. This means an inquiry about the origin of the sources. Only after this kind of inquiry comes the evaluation of the content of the source. Within this context, The Memoirs of Abdulhamit II, a book printed many times and widely used by historians is an important case. What surprises us is to find that this book has in fact two authors. Here we face an example of neglect by our historians. It is historians' duty to make research of the same kind about each sources they use.

"The methods of teaching are still in old style": Educational Reform Activities of Ferid Pasha, the Governor of Konya

The unfavorable consequences of nationalism and missionarism in the Ottoman lands accelerated policies of educational reform during the era of Sultan Abdulhamid II (1876-1909). The activities of the Albanian Mehmed Ferid Pasha of Vlore, the governor of Konya (March 1898-November 1902) who later became the last Grand Vizier of the Hamidian absolutist regime, are worth to mention in this context. This article deals with the educational activities in this important Anatolian province through the correspondance of Governor Ferid Pasha with the central authorities in İstanbul. Ferid Pasha's report of September 1901 on the educational conditions of the province, which is analized and transcripted in this article, is of special importance. The governor investigated even the villages of his province for over three years before compiling this report, where he examines the educational conditions and problems of the province. Information given by Ferid Pasha on Konya is applicable to the whole Ottoman lands and presents the educational conditions of an old empire on the eve of the twentieth century.

Abdulhamit KIRMIZI
A Tanzimat Bureaucrat and Intellectual: Münif Paşa and His Economic Thought

In addition to those in political and social spheres, Tanzimat period witnessed developments and transformations in Ottoman economic thought. What is primarily aimed in this article is a discussion of the evaluations of an Ottoman bureaucrat and intellectual, Münif Paşa, regarding the new, originally Western economic thought that began to develop in Ottoman realm within the political and economic context of 1840s. It is further aimed to relate Münif Paşa's evaluations to the contemporary agenda of economic thought and try to determine his contribution to the Ottoman economic thought. By considering his contemporaries who discussed and wrote about the modern economic thought developed during the Ottoman modernisation, this article seeks to locate Münif Paşa in his proper place in the Ottoman economic history. Hence, this article elaborates on the transformations that took place in the 19th century Ottoman economic thought and structure.

Fatma Samime İNCEOĞLU
The Discussions of Modernism on Women in Turkish Story in the Era of the Second Constitutional Monarchy

The era of The Second Constitutional Monarchy (1908-1918) is an important stage of Turkey in the process of modernisation after Tanzimat. In this article, the problems of women reflected in the story in the movement of modernisation of constitutional Monarchy are studied. The article consists of the subtitles such as “the subject of veiling”, “different life zones of male and female”, “the demand of woman rights” and “the changing role of woman”. In the stories, the dilemma between traditions and modernism of Turkish women in the changing life of Ottoman Empire is emphasized. Although no one dared to mention the idea of omitting veiling completely in the stories, woman rights and especially the right of getting divorced are encouraged. With this study, we had the opportunity of observing the Ottomans within their collapsing period, and the Turkish people in modernizing process in the mirror of small stories.

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