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AtatürkAn Intellectual Biography$
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M. Sükrü Hanioglu

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780691175829

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: May 2018

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691175829.001.0001

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Turkey and the West

Turkey and the West

(p.199) 8 Turkey and the West

M. Şükrü Hanioğlu

Princeton University Press

This chapter discusses how Mustafa Kemal Atatürk held strongly to the old Committee of Union and Progress (CUP) belief that maintaining the state's European character was crucial for its survival. For Mustafa Kemal, Turkey's essential Europeanness remained unchanged; it simply had to be expressed in cultural rather than geographical terms. This attitude resembles the modern Israeli sense of belonging to the West despite residing in the East. Not unlike the Ashkenazi Jews of Israel, who championed the idea of belonging to Western civilization, Mustafa Kemal—a native of European Turkey—was determined to shape the Turkish state and society in the cultural mold of Europe. His attempts in this regard constitute one of the greatest projects of intellectual and social transformation of the early twentieth century. His initiatives in Westernization surpassed even the most avant-garde projects of the radical Ottoman Westernizers of the Second Constitutional Period.

Keywords:   Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, Western civilization, European Turkey, social transformation, intellectual transformation, Westernization, Ottoman Westernizers

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