This introductory chapter discusses the rich intellectual heritage of Turkish republican thinking and the resources through which the change from the monarchy to the Republic came about. The works of Feroz Ahmad, Bernard Lewis, Serif Mardin, Stanford Shaw, and Tarik Zafer Tunaya have acknowledged the debt of the eighteenth- and nineteenth-century reforms, the political thinking of the Young Ottomans and Young Turks, and intellectual developments in the Second Constitutional period (1908–18). These works, nevertheless, remain limited by their singular focus on Westernization as a response to external pressure, and fail to appreciate the full intellectual richness and originality of Ottoman thinkers. The chapter argues that modern-day Turkish republicanism represents the outcome of centuries of intellectual disputes between Islamic, liberal, and radical conceptions of republicanism.
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