An assessment of the Translation Bureau and the cultural politics of Turkey (1940-1946)
Charriere, Etienne Eugene Christian
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In this study, the cultural politics of the period is tried to be investigated through the activities of the Translation Bureau between 1940 and 1946. Hasan-Âli Yücel was appointed as the Minister of Culture in the government formed just after Atatürk’s passing away. A fully Westernist approach was adopted by the cultural politics of the İnönü period and the ideological framework of this politics was identified as the Turkish humanism. According to this approach, severing all ties with the authentic culture belonged to the post-Islamic era and the constructing modern Turkish identity based on Western humanism consisting of Greek and Latin works was aimed. The translation movement functioned as a channel which bridged the political and literary fields in this period. A cultural transfer was aimed through Western classical works translated by the Translation Bureau. Additionally, these works were put at the centre of national literature system as canonical works. This thesis focused on the various writings and speeches of Yücel, who kept his position as a Minister of Culture/National Education for the longest time during the all-Republican era, and several studies on him. It was concluded that the ideology of Turkish humanism, which framed the cultural politics implemented during Yücel’s ministry, was a kind of Westernist nationalism that was future-oriented rather than being focused on past.