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Born in London to a Turkish mother and British father, Alev Scott moved to Istanbul to discover what it means to be Turkish in a country going through rapid political and social change, with an extraordinary past still linked to Mustafa Kemal Ataturk and an ever more surprising present under the leadership of Recep Tayyip Erdogan. From the European buzz of modern-day Constantinople to the Arabic-speaking towns of the south-east, Turkish Awakening investigates mass migration, urbanisation and economics in a country moving swiftly towards a new position on the world stage. This is the story of discovering a complex country from the outside-in, a candid account of overturned preconceptions and fresh understanding. Relating wide-ranging interviews and colourful personal experience, the author charts the evolving course of a country bursting with surprises - none more dramatic than the unexpected political protests of 2013 in Taksim Square, which have brought to light the emerging demands of a newly awakened Turkish people. Mass migration, urbanisation and a growing awareness of human rights have changed the social, economic and physical landscapes of a powerful country, and the 2013 protests were just one indication of the changes afoot in today's Turkey. Threatened as it is by recent developments in Syria and Iraq and the approaching danger of ISIS. Encompassing topics as varied as Aegean camel wrestling, transgender prostitution, politicised soap operas and riot tourism, this is a revelatory, at times humorous, at times moving, portrait of a country which is coming of age.
FROM the land of the Turks-Turkestan in Central Asia-there descended beginning in A.D. 800 a series of hordes and armies which overran and gradually took possession of that portion of South-Eastern Europe and Western Asia once known as Turkey. After five hundred years Mohammed II seized upon Constantinople, and that city became the capital of the Turkish Empire;-for the next two hundred years the dominion spread until it became an immense and important world-power. Then began a period of decline; and vice and prodigality in harem and seraglio brought about disruption and war. Russia saw her opportunity to extend her borders towards the sea-and went on gaining Turkish territory from early in the 18th until the middle of the 19th century when the Crimean war crippled her power in that corner of Europe. But Turkey could not hold the heterogeneous populations of her European provinces. Insurrection after insurrection broke out and one by one she lost many of the more important of them. She became bankrupt and a concert of the European Powers proposed and partially carried out a scheme for her reform. But she proved stubborn and went to war with Russia in 1877-1878; this ended disastrously for her and more territory was lost.
How does a people move from tribal and religiously based understandings of society to a concept of the modern nation-state? This book examines the complex and pivotal case of Turkey. Tracing the shifting valences of vatan (Arabic for “birthplace” or “homeland”) from the Ottoman period—when it signified a certain territorial integrity and imperial ideology—through its acquisition of religious undertones and its evolution alongside the concept of millet (nation), Behlül Özkan engages readers in the fascinating ontology of Turkey’s protean imagining of its nationhood and the construction of a modern national-territorial consciousness.
Examining the transformation of Turkey from a traditional to a secular state, this text covers such topics as: the economic and political impact of the West; constitutional absolutism; the secularism of the Mesrutiyet; the birth of a nation under fire; and the secularism of the Kemalist regime.
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