Turkey as an Islamic Modern Country

Topics: Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, Istanbul, Kemalist ideology Pages: 3 (826 words) Published: June 13, 2009
What is Kemalism? Together with if Kemalism is an ideology or not, this question is frequently asked one and actually has not definitely been answered. As widely accepted, however, Kemalism "never became a coherent, all embracing ideology, but can be described as a set of opinions which were never defined in any detail"13. The 'set of opinions' that are considered to form Kemalism has been fixed in six principles or arrows, each signifying a target and characteristic of the reforms and was claimed to complement each other. The six arrows have become the emblem of the Republican People's Party which was founded in 1923 by Mustafa Kemal [Atat�rk] and now the main opposition party. These are republicanism, secularism or laicism, nationalism, populism, etatism/statism and reformism/transformationism. Except for republicanism, all these had actually firm Ottoman roots, not in form of doctrine or principle but as characteristics of the modernization process, and as a part of the Ottoman polity14. Secularization/laicization was one of the essential characteristics of the Ottoman modernization since, roughly to say, the second half of the nineteenth century; early writings on the history of the Turks began at the same time and by the end of the century, Turkism, then denoting Turkish nationalism, became one of the cornerstones of political thought among intellectuals. Populism was one of the components of the ideology of the Committee of Union and Progress, which was the party in power in between 1908-18. Etatism emerged as practical and pragmatic economic policy during the First World War. That is to say, Mustafa Kemal was not the creator of these principles; instead, he was the political leader that systemized them as a political program tobe implemented for the transformation of Turkey into a modern state. Nevertheless, he and the bureaucratic elite surrounding him presented them as novelty through which the state and nation would catch up the contemporary and...
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