Beyond ‘Black Turks’ and ‘White Turks’ – The Turkish Elites’ Ongoing Mission to Civilize a Colourful Society

Ramm, Christoph (2017). Beyond ‘Black Turks’ and ‘White Turks’ – The Turkish Elites’ Ongoing Mission to Civilize a Colourful Society. Asiatische Studien / Etudes asiatiques AS/EA, 70(4), pp. 1355-1385. de Gruyter 10.1515/asia-2016-0035

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This article undertakes a conceptual enquiry into the history of the Ottoman/Turkish concept of civilization. It shows how the concept of civilization became one of the key elements of political and intellectual thought in the late Ottoman Empire and the Turkish Republic. Beginning with the adaption of the idea of civilization in the nineteenth century, the desire to be recognized as civilized has moulded the thinking of Ottoman and Turkish elites regardless of their political orientation. From the early Ottoman modernizers to the present-day AKP government the pursuit of medeniyet (Turkish for ‘civilization’) has united radical reformers and religious conservatives. The article analyses how these succeeding imperial and republican elites understood the concept of civilization, how they transformed it into a specific Ottoman and Turkish civilizing mission, and how they approached those groups of the population who were regarded as ‘backward’ and ‘uncivilized’. Thereby medeniyet has maintained its dominance until today, making ‘civilization’ the most influential ideological concept of modern Turkish history besides the idea of the nation.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)

Division/Institute:

06 Faculty of Humanities > Department of Art and Cultural Studies > Institute for Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies

UniBE Contributor:

Ramm, Christoph

Subjects:

200 Religion > 290 Other religions

ISSN:

0004-4717

Publisher:

de Gruyter

Language:

English

Submitter:

Christoph Ramm

Date Deposited:

12 Dec 2016 14:36

Last Modified:

08 Feb 2018 02:30

Publisher DOI:

10.1515/asia-2016-0035

Uncontrolled Keywords:

AKP, Osmanisches Reich, Türkei, Zivilisation, Zivilisierungsmission, AKP, civilization, civilizing mission, Ottoman Empire, Turkey

BORIS DOI:

10.7892/boris.89367

URI:

https://boris.unibe.ch/id/eprint/89367

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