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A research on the representation of Turkish national identity : buildings abroad

Zelef, M. Haluk
This thesis is the result of an attempt to record, classify and develop an understanding of the motivations and dynamics in the design and realization of the buildings that explicitly or implicitly represent the Turkish identity abroad. In the meantime it is aimed to reflect on and identify the function of architecture and buildings in the formulation and representation of national identity. Besides the analysis of the meanings assigned to the architectural forms, one underlying intention was to clarify how different aspects of architecture and building processes could play roles in the construction and representation of national identity within the context of the embassies, monuments, exhibition pavilions and centers for cultural and religious purposes. During the analysis of these architectural works, basic mechanisms of the concept of أidentityؤ and its repercussions in relation to physical milieus -i.e. its comparative nature, its reception by the others- are tried to be elaborated. Cases other than the Turkish case are referred to when necessary. Viewpoints of variety of actors in the realization of these works -i.e. architects, diplomats, statesmen and contractors- are analyzed to elucidate the similarities and differences of approaches. iv Besides the role of international relations, the dominant social, political and economic characteristics in different historical periods of Turkey and their implications on the buildings abroad are exposed by this study. Reactions of the architectural discourse in Turkey to those characteristics concerning the national identity, i.e. foreign architects, globalization, and promotion of architects by the state, are elaborated. While some themes are perennial at the discursive and formal level, variations of attitudes regarding the host context are observed in the study.