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A comparision of the ideas of Ziya Gökalp and Yusuf Akçura on Turkism

Yüner, Meral
The aim of this thesis is to compare the ideas Ziya Gökalp and Yusuf Akçura on Turkism. Nationalism emerged in the 18th century in Western Europe has been a real force in world politics for the last two centuries. Naturally, towards the end of the 19th century, the Ottoman Empire with many different ethnic groups within its borders was influenced by Western nationalist movements. Analyzing Turkish nationalism, it is seen that from the late 18th century to the announcement of the Second Constitution in 1908, Turkish nationalism went parallel to the modernization attempts of the Ottoman reformers. The Ottoman bureaucrats considered modernity as a goal to overcome the difficulties of the Ottoman Empire. Ottomanism and Islamism were the sub-ideologies of the state, which were essential for its survival. However, after the Balkan wars, Turkism became popular among ottoman intellectuals. Both Gökalp and Akçura played a leading role in the direction of Turkish nationalism during the transition from a multi-ethnic Ottoman Empire to a secular and modern Turkish nation-state. Additionally, after the foundation of the Turkish nation-state, they shaped the content of the reforms of the new state with their nationalist way of thinking. In this respect, they served as the intellectual sources of Turkish nationalism. The main purpose of this thesis is to offer an analytical framework for understanding the peculiarities of Gökalp and Akçura’s nationalist thoughts during the late Ottoman and early Republican periods. In this context, this thesis examines the ideas of the two scholars on a comparative basis and aims to reveal the differences and similarities in their ideas.