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Emergence Of Turkish Nationalism History Essay

In the 18th century, the Grand Viziers and commanders were generally Turkish origin. The Turkification of the administration in the Ottoman Empire in these years spread over art and cultural fields. These improvements paved the way for Turkish nationalism in the following centuries. During the 18th century, nationalism was an ideology which was seen in the Balkans. [1] 

As examining the emergence of Turkish nationalism, it is obvious that it is far later than its Western counterpart. There were several reasons led to this delay. Firstly, Turks were the main element of the Ottoman Empire that could have prevented them. If the Turks had realized the Turkish nationalism, others might have been influenced. National discourse on Turkism would have shaken the established order in the boundaries of Empire.

There is also another reason for this delay that bourgeois and labor classes did not occur among the Turks before they did in other nations. Until the 19th century, Turk as a concept had negative meaning. [2] 

The beginning of the concept of Turkish nationalism traced back to the Turcology studies in the 19th century in Europe. Especially the linguistic features of the various Turkish groups were emphasized. The studies of European Turcologists works were affective on Ottoman intellectuals while they were trying to stop the decline of the Empire. [3] These Turcology studies were one of the most significant sources both in the emergence of Turkish nationalism and Pan- Turanism.

The idea of nationalism also emerged among the Muslims in Russia especially the Tatars of Volga before Turks in the Empire. As the reasons for that considered; they were the most advanced ethnic group in the Muslims of Russia. Although they suffered from Russian suppression for centuries, with Catherine II this situation has changed and Tatars gained some kind of religious and civil autonomy. Among the Tatar community traders class rose however; the Turks in the Ottoman Empire had no special place within the millet system and they only have been the dominant nation with other Muslims such as Arabs, Kurds and Albanians.

More importantly, between these nations there were no ethnic barriers and Turks in the Empire have accepted Islam as their life style. [4] 

For these reasons, although there were ideas of nationalism which were actualized by Greek independence and Serbian autonomy, Turkish-Ottoman consciousness was not present at that time.

With the Ottoman Russian War in 1877- 1878 large numbers of Tatars, Azerbaijanis and Caucasian Turks migrated to the Empire. The Turkish intellectuals that fled to Ottoman Empire, Pan-Turkism began to spread out. [5] 

As it was stated before this ideology was consolidated by the impact of Western ideas and via the works of Turcologists in Europe , who showed the Turks that they belonged to such an ancient nation. The work of Western Turcologists was later followed by that of Turkish intellectuals. In a world of chaos and inequalities, many Ottoman intellectuals were influenced by the charms of nationalism. They adopted a romanticized image of the nation rising up from the ruins of a decadent empire. [6] 

However, Turkish national discourse did not gain full political content and aim until 1908 which was the date of the Constitution’s declaration. This relative delay of political controversy on Turkish nationalism was not due to the ignorance of the bureaucrats and intellectuals towards the problem of saving of the state. [7] 

As we evaluate politically, the 1877-1878 Ottoman-Russian Wars, Germany and some Balkan nations’ close relationships and the disappointments resulted from ideologies of Pan-Islamism and Pan-Ottomanism and lastly, Ottoman intellectuals’ actions opposed to the bureaucrats of Tanzimat ere and reforms were all the reasons behind the emergence of Turkish nationalism in the Ottoman Empire as an alternative to two ideologies that were explained in the previous parts of our paper. All these developments prepared and formed the conditions for Turkish nationalism. [8] 

G. PAN-TURKISM

Pan-Turkism refers to political, cultural and ethnic unity of all Turkic-speaking people. Before explaining practices of Pan-Turkism in the Ottoman Empire, noticeable personalities in this issue will be mentioned.

One of the most influential and significant personality on the issue of Pan-Turkism in the Russian Empire. He was among the Tartar of Kazan region. In the periodical ‘Türk’, his famous article was published. ‘Üc Ter-i Siyaset’ is seen as the main manifest of Pan- Turkism. He compared the 3 ideologies that Union and Progress Party pursued. Consequently, he supported Turkish nationalism as an alternative to pan-Ottomanism and pan- Islamism. Whereas traditional Ottoman elite found Akçura’s new Turkish nationalism as inappropriate, Unionist regime adopted it later. According to them, pan- Turkism was a mean to compensate the Empire’s African and European losses by Turkification policy at Empire and in Asia over the Turkic society. [9] Yusuf Akcura (1904), in his well-known article on the 3 ideologies stated that:

‘‘By such a policy all Turks living in the Ottoman Empire would be perfectly united by both ethnic and religious bonds and the other non-Turkish Muslim groups who have been already Turkified to a certain extent would be further assimilated.’’ [10] 

He also examined the advantages and disadvantages of pan-Turkism policy over the Empire. He suggested that main service of this policy would be unification of all the Turks who are being spread over Asia and the Eastern Europe, belong to the same language groups, ethnicity and religion. Among the other great nations, greater national and political unity would be created.

In this unity, Ottomans would be the most powerful and civilized of all the Turkish societies. Among the ethnicities of Caucasian and the East Asian, a Turkish world came into existence. Except these advantages, there was shortcoming of this policy that can lead to the separation of the non-Turkish Muslims from the Empire. As a consequence, the Muslims would be divided into Turks and non-Turks. [11] 

Furthermore, another supporter of the Pan-Turkist ideology among the Turks in Russia was İsmail Gaspıralı who is a Crimean Tatar. He stated his ideas in the Crimean newspaper Tercüman with the motto of ‘‘unity in language, ideas, deeds’’. He advocated not only concept of Turkism but also Islam and Westernization. Although he was in favor of Turkish nationalism, he had avoided formulating a political Turkish identity and he had formed this unions social and cultural background , while leaving the political union to others. [12] 

It can be inferred that in Ottoman Empire Pan-Turkism was mostly dominated in the literature domain. Especially between the Russian War and Greek War, idea of Turkish nationalism was treated by Şemseddin Sami, Necib Asım and Veled Çelebi ant may of the Turkist intellectual and authors. [13] 

G.1. PAN-TURKISM AS A DOMINANT IDEOLOGY IN THE EMPIRE

Until the years 1912-1913 that Balkan Wars occurred other policies pursued instead of Pan-Turkism. 1908 Revolution adjusted the way of looking the Turks and Pan-Turkist movement became popular. The reason behind this popularity was the continuous attempts of Great powers that interfered in the affairs of the Ottoman Empire.

The justification of these interventions was protection of the minorities. As a result, young intellectuals adopted Turkish nationalism.

The first attempt of pan-Turkist movement was immediately after from the 1908 Constitutional Period. On 7 January 1909, Turkish Association was founded. It was a cultural association and Armenians, some of the European Orientalists were also among the members. With the foundation of these kind of associations, there published some journals that had important role of the developments in pan-Turkism. As a result of Turco-Italian War, this nationalist movement was accelerated. [14] 

The Ottoman intellectuals and bureaucrats were obviously concerned about the future of the Empire. They were also imbued with patriotic feelings because of the latest conflictive political developments. In the opposition wing, the Young Turks had strongly devoted themselves to Pan-Turkism. They thought that domestic and modern changes could only be achieved through radical structural changes, not through imitation of western institutions. Political Turkism was the final ideological recourse of the Young Turks. They defended the ideology of Ottomanism in place of political Turkism even after the Young Turk Revolution in 1908 since Ottomanism was more promising in keeping the unity of the Empire. Although the Young Turks looked after the Turkish elements of the Empire and declared Turkish language as the official language in 1909, they never supported political Turkism as a solution to the problems of the Empire. For them, the most considerable objective was to keep the unity of all ethnic elements under the patronage of the Ottoman Empire, which Ottomanism was the best ideological tool for this end. [15] 

It was obvious that Committee of Union and Progress developed the consciousness of Turkish nationalism as political organization.

CUP government’s most important step towards a nationalist policy was the acceptance of Turkish language as the official language of the Ottoman society which eventually would be taught to all Ottoman citizens. These applications were carried out not in the name of Turkism, but of secularism and Westernism. Application of a nationalist policy on a secular line was natural in the Ottoman Empire since the emergence of the Pan-Turkist ideas, too, As a consequence, at one of the party congress Union and Progress’ preferred Turkish nationalism in 1911. [16] 

There were some events that were influential on this transformation from pan-Ottomanism to pan-Turkism. Congress of the Young Turks in 1902 was the milestone for clearness of anti-imperialist line. In this Congress, liberal wing that led by Prince Sabahaddin and nationalist wing broke apart. Moreover, as a result of Russian defeat in 1904 Russo-Japan War and recession of Russia from the World War I because of the Bolshevik Revolution, Turkic society in Turkistan gained their independence temporarily. This situation gave hope to Pan-Turkist ideas. With the serious defeat and loss of territory in the Balkan Wars in the 1912-1913, Ottoman Empire became Turkish-Arab Empire. Through these conditions, pan-Turkism which was only cultural issue on the Young Turks’ mind came into prominence immediately as a sole political option. [17] 

During the World War I, pan-Ottomanism was abandoned and this time was determinant on pan-Turkism. Public opinion and foreign policy were also affected by the advocates of the ideology by 1914. There was a question on the Ottoman Empire’s place in the new system of alliances of Europe. According to Yusuf Akçura, alliance with Germany would be the best option and he supported this choice. Russia was seen as a great obstacle on the way for Turkish unity. As the France allied with Russia, this country was not anymore one of the alliance options for the Ottoman Empire.

As Britain was evaluated, the Ottomans were aware of British interest in route to India. After these evaluations, alliance with Germany was favored. [18] 

Ziya Gökalp formulated the Turkish nationalism in the articles for the journal Türk Yurdu. With his framework, this current gained an economic dimension. Union and Progress’ National Economy Program caused emergence of the economic extent. Aims of this program were discharging the minority and foreign tradesmen, entrepreneurs and substitute them with Turks. In other words, this program aimed to create Turkish bourgeoisie.

As we look at this national current in political realm, Enver Pasha was mostly responsible for state policy on Pan-Turkism especially for following Pan-Turkist objectives on the military domain. His ideas and inspiration of uniting Turkic people of Caucasus and Central Asia later led to the invasion of Trans-Caucasus and his personal action in Central Asia. [19] 

Through this information, the rise of Turkism would owe to the defeats of Ottoman Empire. In other words, it was a political movement which was based on the idea of a Turkish nation, came about in a period where Ottomans were defeated and Muslims were humbled, feeding on various developments. These were the Ottoman reaction against separation movements in the Balkans, the rebellious Tatar actions against Russian pan-Slavism, the new ideas brought forward by European nationalism and the studies on Turcology.

However, after World War I Pan-Turkism ideology became unrealistic. The ideological debate on pan- Ottomanism and pan-Turkism continued with a different perspective. The question ‘‘how to save the Empire?’’ transformed into ‘‘how to institutionalize the state that would replace the fallen Empire?" However, Union and Progress’ Turkification policy was extremely criticized.

The reason for these critics was that this policy weakened the link of the Ottomanism and it led to Armenians and Greek minorities’ separation from the Empire. Consequently, Ottomanism was reconsidered.

H .CONCLUSION:

In conclusion, “How could the Ottoman Empire have been saved?” That was the question all ideologies tried to find an answer. However, each of them came with different answers, it can not be said there were imcompatible differences between them.

Many Young Turks who were supporters of Ottomanism, were at the same time Muslims and Pan- Turkists in their minds who were deeply entrenched in nationalism. A majority of the intellectuals were not oppose to those parts of the Western civilization that they considered functional.

Supporters of the Ottomanism accepted that, so the Pan-Islamists also did. Ottoman Empire’s pragmatic nature also observed while investigating the actualizations of these ideologies. Tanzimat reforms were criticized by Pan Islamists.

Pan-Islamism that adopted Islamic practices and cooperation between the Muslim communities defended a return to traditional values but they were also in favor of using Western techniques. In World War I, Ottomans needed Muslim Arabs support and they declared Jihad. The Committee of Union and Progress used a Western thesis against the West: nationalism. After 1913, CUP favored Pan-Turkism and put this ideology against Russia during World War I. [20] Ziya Gökalp who was a influential advocate of pan-Turkism, argued that Westem ways should be accepted was also criticizing the Tanzimat reformers for their loss with their own nation's culture.

The idea of pan-Ottomanism was tried to be dynamise during World War I became impossible with the Sevres Treaty and the idea of unifying all the Turks happened invalid and futile in the beginning of the Russian Revolution in 1918 and the Turkish War of Independence. After this ideological confusion seen in the 19th and early 20th centuries, modem Turkey which rose off the ashes of Ottoman Empire was located on a far sounder and decisive ideology. [21] 

As it is all known, Mustafa Kemal opposed to the ideologies of Pan-Ottomanism, Pan-Islamism and Pan-Turkism. He stated that the Turks had actions to do in Turkey, and acceptance of another policy would be unnecessary. The new nationalism which was adopted in the Republic of Turkey aimed at saving and developing the Anatolian Turks. Therefore, this nationalism was very dissimilar from nationalism of the Young Turk era. [22] However, it would be said that the Young Turk nationalism called Ottoman Turkish’s attention to the existence of a nationality.

Mustafa Kemal Atatürk had two major objectives: the foundation of a sovereign and independent Turkish state and to succeed this state's modernization. As a result of these reasons, during the War of Independence the connection with the Sultan was cut off. Moreover, the sultanate was abolished on 1 November 1922 and the Caliphate was also abolished on 3 March 1924. By these reforms, Atatürk wanted a strong break from the past. His reforms constituted a well-organized and systematic tendency towards the West and he had the aim of achieving level of the European states in cultural, industrial, and economic fields. [23] 

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