Outlook on non-muslim characters in the turkish novel (1900-1960)

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Bilkent University
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This study focuses on the approaches towards non-Muslim characters in selected Turkish novels, published between 1900–1960. It also reviews the political, social and economic developments involving non-Muslims and aims to point out the significance of literary works in historical context. Non-Muslim citizens of the Ottoman Empire, who had been assumed to have an advantage over others in many areas, were defined as minorities by the declaration of Republic. The Treaty of Lausanne, by constituting the legal basis of this definition, plays a significant role in the establishment of the Republic. In this regard, the year 1923, when the Treaty was signed, is the theoretical focal point of the study. This study considers the prominent developments along the phases including government changes in the period of Republic and social events that are essentially breakpoints for non-Muslims, and in this way, it aims to reveal how those novels react to these transformation processes, through non-Muslim characters and discourses on non-Muslim identity they include. This study includes thirty novels from twenty five different authors, and when it comes to non-Muslims, generated implications in the novels –it is also possible to come across with novels reflecting a different, or even an opposite discourse– ,selected from an ideologically wide range, mostly overlap with the official discourse. Besides, it is observed that the forms of alienation concerning non-Muslim characters in novels generally correspond to each other and constitute a whole. This thesis study which, on one hand, examines the extent and content of the alienating discourse, attempts to analyze the relations between the discourses on non-Muslims in novels and the ones in political and social levels in detail during a period from the beginning of the twentieth century to the end of the Democrat Party Power.

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Turkish novel, Non-muslims, Nationalism, Alienation, Political history
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