The rise of Turkish national identity
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This thesis deals with the rise of Turkish national identity and the emergence of Turkish nationalism. In doing so, it begins by providing a lieterature review and a theoretical analyses of nationalism in general and Turkish nationalism in particular. This study argues that there is no unique way of studying the rise of Turkish nationalism, because of the wide range of theories on nationalism, various interpretations about the origins of nationalist movements and different historical facts. The thesis focuses on the historical background of Turkish nationalism at the last quarter of the 19th century. In this period, the Young Ottomans were the most important figures in the formation of national identity. They introduced the ideas of patriotism and nationalism to the Ottoman public for the first time and their influence on the thought and action of the generations that followed was extremely influential. After the Young Ottoman Era, The Young Turks and the Committee of Union and Progress had a significant role in stimulating the national sentiments. This thesis demonstrates such·significance by examining in detail the ideas of Ziya Gokalp and Yusuf Akc;ura, the outstanding representatives of Turkish nationalist ideology. Throughout the study, the identity problem and the attitudes of the intellectuals towards the national identity costitute the focus of this thesis. It is indicated that the Ottoman intellectuls were in a search for alternative solutions to maintain and save their state from the existent discontents and problems. The maintenance and perpetuation of the state have led them to reach more pragmatic and immediate solutions. The conclusion that this thesis arrives at is that the adaptation of the national identity was a way of overcoming the maladies of the state. In this sense, even if Turkish nationalism appears to be contradictory, that is, both against and for the West, it perceived its mission of creating a coherent identity as consistent with its aim to restore state power.