Research Center for International Relations

Research Center for International Relations

April 21, 2010

Dr. Behlül Özkan

FROM IMPERIAL TO NATIONAL HOMELAND:
THE SOCIAL CONSTRUCTION OF TURKISH VATAN

In Turkey and in other Middle Eastern societies, constructing the borders of the national identity and homeland, vatan, required the transformation of the value-based and ontological Dar al-Islam to mechanism-based Western nation-state paradigm. In the twentieth century, as Muslim societies began to be shaped by the newly founded nation-states, the modernizing ruling elites faced an arduous task of creating national societies and national vatans in place of ummah and Dar al-Islam. The national Turkish homeland differs from previous entities that occupied the space of today’s Turkey, not only in terms of geographical shape but also in the nature of conception of space and sovereignty. This presentation examines how the ruling elites in Turkey adopted the modern discourse of nationalism and presented the nation’s territorial conception as a naturalized and uncontested fact.

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Research Center for International Relations