The impact of strong state tradition on the early republican reforms of secularization in Turkey (1923-1938)
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This thesis aims at identifying the implications of strong state tradition from the Ottoman Empire to the Early Republic within the case of the secularization process. It relies on the theory that the Turkish nation-state has inherited from its predecessor a strong state tradition, in which the state is more than the sum of sectional interests within the society. In the Ottoman-Turkish polity, the state enjoyed a supreme position, which resulted in a pragmatic view toward social institutions like religion. In addition, elitism appeared through the conception of state as the sole agent for total development. Atatürk maintained the same mentality parallel to the Turkish state tradition: he had a pragmatic approach to religion along with the conception of the supreme state. He also continued the elitist top-down modernization launched by the Ottoman reformers. This thesis argues that in Turkish practice, it is the state that prevails.