Imagining Turan: homeland and its political implications in the literary work of Hüseyinzade Ali [Turan] and Mehmet Ziya [Gökalp]
Middle Eastern Studies
482 - 495
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While scholarly interest in the influence of Tatar intellectuals on Turkish nationalism has been strong, less attention has been paid to the interactions between Russian Azerbaijani and Ottoman Turkish intellectuals. This study applies theoretical tools developed by Benedict Anderson in the study of ethnic nationalism in the late Ottoman and Russian Empires. In doing so, this study focuses on the works of one leading intellectual from each side, Hüseyinzade Ali [Turan] and Mehmet Ziya [Gökalp]. Particular attention is paid to the concept of Turan, which they defined and elaborated as both a political ideal and a key element of the nationalist ideology they espoused through four poems they authored, two of which have homonymous titles. Their different views of the limits of the Turanian ‘imagined community’ and the political operationalization of the concept shed light on the development of ethnic nationalism in the declining Ottoman and Russian Empires. Ever since, Turan has become a significant symbolic conceptual tool that has fired the imaginations of Turkic nationalists (without, yet, having led to the establishment of a serious political movement).