An Intellectual History of Turkish Nationalism

Between Turkish Ethnicity and Islamic Identity

In this book, Umut Uzer examines the ideological evolution and transformation of Turkish nationalism from its early precursors to its contemporary protagonists. Turkish nationalism erupted onto the world stage in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, as Greeks, Armenians, and other minority groups within the Ottoman Empire began to seek independence. Partly in response to the rising nationalist voices of these groups, Turkish intellectuals began propagating Turkish nationalism through academic as well as popular books, and later associations published semipropagandist journals with the support of the Unionist and Kemalist governments.
While predominantly a textual analysis of the primary sources written by the nationalists, this volume takes into account how political developments influenced Turkish nationalism and also tackles the question of how an ideology that began as a revolutionary, progressive, forward-looking ideal eventually transformed into one that is conservative, patriarchal, and nostalgic to the Ottoman and Islamic past. Between Islamic and Turkish Identity is the first book in any language to comprehensively analyze Turkish nationalism with such scope and engagement with primary sources; it aims to dissect the phenomenon in all its manifestations. 

Umut Uzer is an associate professor in the Department of Humanities and Social Sciences at Istanbul Technical University. He has published on Turkish foreign policy, Turkish nationalism, Israeli-Turkish relations, and Arab perceptions of the Cold War and is the author of Identity and Turkish Foreign Policy: The Kemalist Influence in Cyprus and the Caucasus

Author website

Table of Contents:
1. The Emergence of Turkish Nationalism: From Ottomanism to Turkism
2. Two Great Minds: Yusuf Akçura and Ziya Gökalp
3. Kemalist Nationalism: “Happy Is the Person Who Says I Am a Turk”
4. Ethnic Nationalism under the Shadow of the Gray Wolf: Racism and Pan-Turkism
5. Conservative Nationalism: The Turkish-Islamic Synthesis or the Turkish-Islamic Ideal?
Conclusion: The End of Nationalism?

Praise and Reviews:
“Surveys some of the major ideas of Turkish nationalism as it traces the development and transformation of this idea in its various forms. Nothing of the sort exists in English that is not outdated or that offers similar coverage.”
—Yücel Yanikdag, author of Healing the Nation: Prisoners of War,Medicine, and Nationalism in Turkey, 19141939

“The book is useful for students of Turkish nationalism and can be used for undergraduate classrooms or as a reference book for the genealogy of Turkish nationalist thought. Currently, such information can only be obtained by sifting through several outdated books.”
—Hakan Özoglu, director of Middle Eastern Studies at the University of Central Florida

“An IntellectualHistory of Turkish Nationalism is a valuable addition to the corpus of works on Turkey.”—Middle East Quarterly

An Intellectual History of Turkish Nationalism is highly recommended as a well-written and perceptive work of scholarship that should be the definitive English-language text on the subject for years to come.”—Insight Turkey

“The book fills a void on the topic especially in English by both introducing several Turkish sources inaccessible to a broader audience and for providing a much needed sophisticated understanding of the idea.… A useful source for students of nationalism and Turkish studies alike.”—Middle East Journal 

“In addition to Uzer’s analysis of the racial components of Turkish nationalism, the expansive primary sources contained within the book make it an important and useful resource for students and scholars interested in the region and era, but who cannot read Ottoman and Turkish.” —International Journal of Middle East Studies