This revised edition builds upon and updates its twin themes of Turkey's continuing incorporation into the capitalist world and the modernization of state and society. It begins with the forging of closer links with Europe after the French Revolution, and the changing face of the Ottoman Empire in the 19th century. Zürcher argues that Turkey's history between 1908 and 1950 should be seen as a unity, and offers a strongly revisionist interpretation of Turkey's founding father, Kemal Atatürk. In his account of the period since 1950, Zürcher focuses on the growth of mass politics; the three military coups; the thorny issue of Turkey's human right's record; the alliance with the West and relations with the European Community; Turkey's ambivalent relations with the Middle East; the increasingly explosive Kurdish question; and the continuing political instability and growth of Islam.
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The modern history of Turkey has been marked by momentous political transformations and the rapid evolution of all aspects of cultural, social and economic life. The first comprehensive history to appear in twenty years, Erik J. Zurcher's book takes as its twin themes Turkey's continuing incorporation into the capitalist world and the modernization of the state and society in the face of this challenge. Beginning by exploring the closer links with Europe forged in the period following the French Revolution, the book looks at the changing face of the Ottoman Empire in the nineteenth century. Zurcher charts its progressive decline in the face of emerging nationalisms and European imperialism, and the fruitless attempts by the ruling elite to reverse the process through modernizing reforms. Arguing that Turkey's history between 1908 and 1950 should be seen as one continuous period, dominated as it was by the efforts of a coalition of Young Turk bureaucrats and officers to construct a sense of Turkish national identity and to introduce a programme of radical modernization and secularization, Zurcher goes on to offer a substantial and strongly revisionist interpretation of the influence of Turkey's 'founding father', Kemal Ataturk. In its account of the period since 1950, the book focuses on the growth of mass politics; the three military coups; rapid industrialization and migration; the thorny issue of Turkey's human rights record; integration into the international global economy; the alliance with the West (including membership of NATO and efforts to join the EC) and Turkey's ambivalent relations with the Middle East; the increasingly explosive Kurdish question, and the role of Islam inan avowedly secular state. Offering a new and original reading of Turkish history and drawing on all the most recent studies, this is an important book that will be of great interest to students as well as to readers with a general interest in Turkey.About the Author:
Erik J. Zürcher is Professor of Turkish Studies at the University of Leiden.
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