The state and intellectual in Turkey: between liberal ethos and the myth of democracy
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This study analyzes the liberal discourse in the Republican Turkey with a view to shedding light on the state-intellectual relationship. The aim is to elaborate the reasons for the lack of an intellectual tradition of liberalism in Turkey, The answer is searched in the historical unfolding of the state-intellectual relationship within a state dominant, ever-modernizing context. The bulk of the study has been shaped by the periodization beginning from the foundation of the Turkish Republic and extending throughout the 1990s. The Ottoman period, especially, the Tanzimat era (1839-1876) has been examined with the aim of providing an historical background. The emergence of a liberal identity in different periods, has been analyzed in relation to the problématique that shaped the intellectual discourse in different periods, namely modernization, democratization, and liberalization. In the study the state-opposition pendulum has been taken as the clue to gain an understanding of the impasse that the Turkish liberal intellectual has experienced. In this respect, it is concluded that the liberal intellectual in Turkey has always had to walk on a tightrope between the premises that fed his intellectual matrix and his self-identification with the state. His quest for liberty and salvation of the individual from m the constraints of the state was inspired by the West. Yet, due to his concern for the state he has had to construct the ideal individual which turned his liberal agenda into a project.