Since October 1923, when the Republic was proclaimed by Kemal Atatürk, Turkey has undergone dramatic transformations that defined its unique nation building experience. By comparison with other Western and Middle Eastern nation-states, the formation of the post-Ottoman state Turkey lacked a powerful enlightenment movement aimed at ‘awakening of Turks to national consciousness’ (Kadıoğlu 1996: 185). As Ahmad (1993: ix) puts it ‘Turkey did not rise phoenix-like out of the ashes of the Ottoman Empire. It was “made” in the image of the Kemalist Elite which won struggles against foreign invaders and the old regime’. The process of making modern Turkey can be well established on the basis of following radical transitions
i. a transition in the political system of authority from personal rule to impersonal rules and regulations
ii. a shift in understanding the order of the universe from divine law to positivist and rational thinking;
iii. a shift from a community founded upon the “elite-people” cleavage to a “populist-based” community;
iv. a transition from a religiously-defined community to a nation-state (Serif Mardin 2003: 19 cited in Keyman 2010: 318).
These transitions casted some unique characteristics of the modernization of Turkey. Firstly, it was a top-down, state-centric and elite-driven process (Kadıoğlu 1996; Keyder 1997; Zürcher 2010). The modernizing elite was comprised of Kemal Atatürk, his bureaucratic and military associates, and political and cultural elites who came to be known as Kemalists. The Republican Peoples Party (RPP) [Cumhuriyet Halk Partisi- CHP], founded by Atatürk, evolved to be the state apparatus, governing the modernization and nation building process (Zürcher 2010), and pursuing a concerted project of social engineering (Keyder 1997). The second characteristic of the modernization process has been the identification of modernization with Westernization (Keyman and İçduygu 2005; Keyder 1997). Modern Turkey turned its back on the East, Islam and the Arab world and embraced ‘the universal validity of Western modernity’ (Keyman and İçduygu 2005: 4). ‘Reaching the level of Western civilization’ became the supreme goal of and slogan for the modern Turkish state (Ahmad 1993; Heper 2001), echoing through the history of the young republic.
The third characteristic involves the tension between this conception of modernity as Westernization and attempts to construct a distinct ‘Turkish’ identity. The nation-building project aimed both to create a distinctive sense of Turkish culture and identity and to position the new state firmly within the orbit of Western Civilization (Kadıoğlu 2005). Salmoni (2004: 103) describes these multiple aims as the ‘convergence of modernization and Turkish nationalism’, while Çayır and Gürkaynak (2008: 51) and Kadıoğlu (1996) characterize this process as a ‘paradox of modernization and nation formation’, with ongoing difficulties in ‘achieving a balance’ between the two (Kadıoğlu 1996: 178). Within this complex and multidimensional ‘state-centric modernization project’ initiated by Kemal Atatürk and continued by his successors, citizenship education has been a key tool to create and transform the Turkish nation. Although the scope and the form of this modernization project have been transformed, central role of the state has been maintained, if not strengthened.
Within this framework, this chapter analyzes citizenship education policies, their transformation and their role as an instrument for forming modern Turkish citizens. The main question addressed is “How did the citizenship education policies change thougrought the history of modern Turkish Republic and what are the consequences of these changes?” It aims at providing a thorough picture of the contemporary Turkish citizenship education in relation to modernity project through a historical and political framework.
Ahmad, F. (1993) The Making of Modern Turkey, London: Routledge. Çayır, K. and Gürkaynak, İ. (2008) ‘The state of citizenship education in Turkey: Past and present’, Journal of Social Science Education, 6(2), 50-58. Heper, M. (2001) ‘Turkey: Yesterday, today and tomorrow’, Southeast European and Black Sea Studies, 1(3): 1-19. Kadıoğlu, A. (1996) ‘The paradox of Turkish nationalism and the construction of official identity’, Middle Eastern Studies, 32(2): 177-193. Keyder, Ç. (1997) ‘Whither the project of modernity?: Turkey in the 1990’, in S. Bozdoğan and R. Kasaba (eds) Rethinking Modernity and National Identity in Turkey, Washington, D.C.: University of Washington Press, 37-51. Keyman, F. E. (2010) ‘Modernization, globalization and democratization in Turkey: The AKP experience and its limits’, Constellations, 17(2): 312-327. Keyman, E. F. and İçduygu, A. (2005) ‘Introduction: citizenship, identity, and the questions of democracy in Turkey’, in E. F. Keyman and A. İçduygu (eds) Citizenship in a Global World London: Routledge, 1-27. Salmoni, B. A. (2004) ‘Ordered liberty and disciplined freedom: Turkish education and republican democracy, 1923-50’, Middle Eastern Studies, 40(2): 80-110.
- Search for keywords and phrases in "Text Search"
- Restrict in which part of the abstracts to search in "Where to search"
- Search for authors and in the respective field.
- For planning your conference attendance you may want to use the conference app, which will be issued some weeks before the conference
- If you are a session chair, best look up your chairing duties in the conference system (Conftool) or the app.