History Writing among the Greeks and Turks: Imagining the Self and the Other
PDF Print E-mail

First published in The Contested Nation –  Ethinicity, Class, Religion  and Gender in National Histories, Edit. Stefan. Berger and Chris Lorenz, Palgrave MacMillan, New York, 2008.



History Writing among the Greeks and Turks:

Imagining the Self and the Other


Hercules Millas





     The dynamics of nation-building in Greece and in Turkey were different. The Greeks first developed a national identity, then went through a fierce nine-year war of independence (1821-1829) against the Ottoman Empire, and finally established their national state. Meanwhile the political leaders of the Ottoman Empire, which was threatened with disintegration, tried to create a citizenship identity (‘Ottomanism’) that would secure the loyalty of all its subjects, Muslims and Christians alike. As the Greeks, Serbians and Bulgarians rejected this option and established their own nation-states, the Ottomans next tried ‘Islamism’ as a reference of unity. But an alliance of all the Muslim populations could not be secured either, and the Albanians and later the Arabs seceded. ‘Turkism’, that is, a national identity, was initiated as a political project, promoted by the state, starting with the Young Turks (1908). Finally, decisive battles in Anatolia won against the Greek irredentist forces were the highlight of a successful war of independence (1922) that gave a new impetus in creating ‘the nation’ and its state: The modern Turkish republic.[1]

     There are other differences too. Greece is a small country in terms of its population and its area with respect to its neighbour. Turkey has a heritage of a sophisticated state apparatus, whereas the Greek state is relatively new. The Turks believe that they have an uninterrupted presence in history, having established various states at various times and places, whereas the Greeks believe that they have an uninterrupted presence in history in one place, in spite of the ‘loss’ of their state and independence for four centuries, succumbing to the ‘invasion’ of the Other. The Greeks were the first in the Balkans to establish a ‘national consciousness’ and a national state, whereas the Turks were among the last. The Greeks have a sense that in the last two hundred years they have extended their boarders, ‘liberating’ traditional Greek lands (but not all), whereas the Turks have the grievance that they have lost ‘lands’ that were originally Ottoman, in other words, theirs. The Greeks are mostly Christians, the Turks mostly Muslims, and for some, this religious difference is of significance: many (Greeks, Turks and third parties) identify the Christians with the ‘West’ and the Muslims with the ‘East’.

     There are similarities too. Each side fought its ‘war of liberation’ against the other in order to establish its nation-state (in 1829 and 1922). Because of this unique coincidence both communities perceive the other as the historical enemy, and the other operates as a constituent of a modern national identity. Grievances and insecurity with respect to sovereignty (or historical) rights are expressed mostly between the lines in both national historiographies. Greeks claim the heritage of the ancient Greeks and of the Byzantines, whereas the Turks insist that there is no connection between modern Greeks and ancient civilizations. A perception of being ‘autochthons’ on the Greek side and ‘a new-comer’ on the Turkish side is felt in the respective historical narratives. Some Turks still call Central Asia their ‘home’ (ana yurt), whereas others propose historical theses to promote the idea of a homeland within the boarders of present-day Turkey. The controversies on claims and ‘legitimacy’ are still alive (expressed as phobias vis-à-vis the Other), but both sides declare that they do not experience any insecurity on issues of sovereignty.     



Greek historiography and the perception of the nation (ethnos)


     During the age of revolutions and on the eve of the Greek war of independence, that is, in the years 1780-1830, some Grecophone intellectuals of the Diaspora who lived in various cities of Western Europe and who were influenced by the French Revolution and the ideological controversies of the time spread republican ideas within their ethnic communities and proposed radical actions against ‘the tyrant’, the Ottoman ruler. Others, such as those close to the conservative patriarchate of Constantinople, who lived within the Ottoman state anathematized them as ‘atheists’ and advised prudence and adherence to ‘paternal ideals’. For the latter, the Ottoman rule was God’s will, probably a punishment for not being pious enough. It was during this period that questions related to national/ethnic identity were posed for the first time: are we Romeoi (Romans, in the sense of Byzantines), Grekoi (Greeks, ‘as the westerners call us’), Hellens (as the ‘Ancients’) or Orthodox Christians? There were serious political, ideological and identity disagreements among the Grecophone intellectuals of that time, but still all shared a sense of belonging to a common genos (in the sense of a community/race).

     The Grecophone Orthodox Christian community living in the Ottoman empire under the official status of a millet (religious community), and which in modern times could be identified as an ‘ethnic group’, perceived itself as a genos. Genos is a Greek word etymologically originating from Sanskrit, meaning a group of the same origin (genus in Latin, gen/gene in English). During the years of nation-building the word genos was gradually replaced by ethnos, and the latter was and is still used in Greek in the sense of ‘nation’. There is no other word for ‘nation’ and the ethnic/national distinction does not exist among the Greeks in general, but only among a small group of historians who are aware of the latest trends in historiography.[2] ‘Ethnic’ (ethnicos) is used for ‘national’. In other words, in the Greek historiography ‘Greekness’ and Greek nationhood are heavily loaded with a sense of ‘ethnicity’ and not with citizenship and/or loyalty to a state. This may be due to the historical fact that the Grecophones did not directly associate ‘identity’ and ‘state’, since a communal identity (as genos, characterized by a consciousness of a religious difference vis- a-vis the Muslim Ottoman state) was widespread and established among them long before the existence of a state with which the community identified itself.

     Therefore those who do not possess the basic ‘national’ prerequisite of Greekness, namely Greek Orthodox belief, were almost completely absent from Greek historiography. Groups that ethnically would have been defined as minority groups were perceived to belong to another nation/ethnos. As a popular belief that is encountered in historiography too, ‘Greekness’ is associated with a common language, a common origin and a common religion, in other words with an ethnicity. The notion of ‘citizenship’ (or loyalty to a state) is not fashionable in the Greek discourse. On the other hand, Orthodox Christian Grekophones are seen as ‘Greeks’ irrespective of their citizenship and self-identification. 

     The forerunner of republicanism among the Grecophones was the Jacobin-type intellectual Rigas Velestinlis (1757-97), who planned a revolution against the Ottoman monarchs. His sense of history was one of class controversy, the people being on one side and the dominating aristocrats on the other. For Velestinlis all ethnic groups, irrespective of religion, origin and language, ought to unite against the tyrants. He foresaw a state where all (‘Greeks, Bulgarians, Albanians, Wallachians, Armenians, Turks and all other kinds of peoples’, as Article 7 in his ‘constitution’ stated) would be equal and sovereign. Religion is not even mentioned in his writings. Apparently he was – if his vision is expressed in modern terminology – in favour of a strictly secular state where class privileges would not exist. He was executed by the Ottomans in 1797 and his ideals were soon silenced. He was reclaimed twice much later and ‘appropriated’: first, at the beginning of the 19th century, by nationalists who presented him as a national hero fighting for a Greek state and ‘the nation’, and, a century later, by socialists, as an ‘internationalist’. Actually he can be envisaged as a proto-nationalist republican, who had not yet aligned himself wholly with the Greek nationalist/ethnic movement.[3] 

      The ideals of Greek intellectuals who were for an ethnically/nationally independent state can be traced in the political pamphlets of Adamantios Korais (1748-1833), who lived in Paris, as well as in the historical analysis entitled Hellenic Nomarchy (in the sense of  ‘reign of law’) which was published anonymously in 1806. These texts were clearly anticlerical, even sceptical, on issues of religion, and they were attacked by the Greek Orthodox patriarchate of Istanbul as anti-religious. Their discourse was ethnic/national, in the sense of an identity that was defined as a historical continuum based on language and culture. A class controversy was indirectly voiced in these texts, since it was pointed out that some (e.g. religious dignitaries and wealthy farmers) lived in luxury, whereas the laymen suffered. In fact, during this pre-revolutionary period a contention prevailed between middle-class/secular intellectuals on one hand and the religious/conservative groups on the other, even though both sides tried to prove that their visions were not in opposition to communal traditions and values.  



The Greek state and Helleno-Christianity


     The republican discourse was silenced before the termination of the uprising for independence and even forgotten after the founding of the new Greek nation-state. The founding of the Holy Alliance (of throne and altar) in 1815 and Metternich’s determination to discourage popular class and anti-royalist revolutions should have played a decisive role in this. Instead, a simple national myth dominated historiography during the 19th century: The Greeks, the descendants of the glorious ancient Greeks, after many centuries under the tyrannical ‘Turkish yoke’ staged a national revolt and won their independence anew.[4] Greek-Orthodox Christianity, that constituted the basic belief of most of the Grecophones, was dexterously integrated into the ancient heritage. According to this ideological construction, the ancient Greeks were somehow the heralds of the new ‘light’, of Christianity. The term ‘Helleno-Christianity’ was invented (by S. Zambelios in mid-nineteenth century) to express this national harmony, and religion was thus ‘ethniced’ during this nation-building phase.[5] Greekness was closely associated with a religion, and even with a part of it: with the Greek Orthodox Church and its legacy. The class dimension of the Greek revolution was completely silenced in the nineteenth century.   

     The sense of ‘being the offspring of a glorious past’ was initiated and encouraged to a great extent by the European republican intellectuals. The Romantic movement also gave momentum to this (modern) Greek revival. The Greeks themselves, on the other hand, promoted the idea of their resurrection because it was to their political advantage to appear as a nation that was heir to a glorious past but which had suffered and had been unfairly treated by the (Muslim) Other. In fact, the national enterprise was presented basically as ‘religious liberation’. In the Greek national iconography Greece was represented as a suffering woman mostly dressed in a torn ancient Greek robe. This image accorded with the grammatically feminine ‘definite article’ that defines in Greek the word ‘Greece’ (η Ελλάς). 

     It was during the nineteenth century that the Other – the Ottoman Turk - was constructed in Greek historiography as the absolute negative Other: despotic, barbaric, backward, uncivilized, cruel, corrupt, perverted, exploitative, and so on. This image in general was not different from the one prevalent in the West. The more the Other was negative, the more the Greek revolution and the new state were justified and legitimised. The Ottoman period was described in almost all historical texts of the nineteenth century as a period of darkness, of the death of the nation; on the other hand, the successful Greek revolution was named – and it is still known as – the ‘Resurrection of the Nation’. The story of the nation is narrated in terms of the familiar story of Jesus Christ: death, resurrection and eternal life thereafter. The fighters of the revolution and of the subsequent wars are called ‘ethno-martyrs’. The losses in this war are ‘sacrifices made on the altar of the homeland’. Even the patriarch of Constantinople, who opposed and condemned the Greek revolutionaries of 1821 - but who was still hanged by the Sultan for his inability to control his ‘flock’ - is metamorphosed into a ‘martyr of the Greek nation’. This grand narrative presents all Greeks, the nation, being united and in harmony, and consistently against the Other. Class differences and skirmishes are redundant in this narration, as the Orthodox affiliation was considered the pillar of the nation. 

         A major ‘addition’ to this historical narrative was initiated after an unexpected challenge. In the 1830s the German historian Jakob Philipp Fallmerayer (1790-1861) made public his views: modern Greeks could not be the descendants of ancient people because there was a great gap between the ancient and modern Greeks. According to him, modern Greeks are ‘Hellenized’ Slavs and Albanians who moved to Greece during the eighth century. Racially, the modern Greeks were not the continuation of the old civilisations. The glorious ancient civilisation had perished without leaving any heirs.[6]

     This thesis was perceived as a direct threat to the modern Greek identity based on the belief in the revival of the ancient nation. The confusion and the agony were overcome by the discovering (for some, by the invention) of the Byzantine empire. The immediate reaction was culminated in the publication in 1852-3 of the studies of the best-known Greek historian, K. Paparrigopoulos (1815-91).[7] With his History of the Hellenic Nation he cut the Gordian knot by demonstrating that the Byzantine empire was ‘Greek’, thus securing the ‘uninterrupted continuation’ of the Greek nation from antiquity to the present. Paparrigopoulos is still very popular among Greeks: his thesis, which is the most official interpretation of the national historiography, is welcomed as common sense, and his general approach is followed by many Greek historians. His work is the closest to what could be called a master narrative.   

     Today we are in a position to suspect that there were also political considerations behind this thesis of ‘Greek Byzantium’: it legitimised the Greek claims to Ottoman lands. The decades 1850-1920 became the years of a national ideal known as the Megali Idea  (‘Great Idea’), according to which the Greeks could and should ‘liberate’ all of their lost and enslaved lands and populations. Greek historiography was marked for a few decades by this irredentist historical interpretation. This idea, that was first voiced in the Greek parliament in 1844, proved unrealistic and was finally abandoned when the Greek armies were decidedly defeated in Anatolia in 1922.   

     In the second half of the nineteenth century and the first quarter of the twentieth  Greek historiography turned to the study of the Greeks of Byzantium, as well as of the Greeks living outside the national boarders of Greece and especially in Anatolia (Asia Minor). The prominent historian Pavlos Karolidis (1849-1930) is remembered mainly for this enterprise.[8] The general tendency was to portray the Greeks as a great nation that created superior civilisations but had to face the menace of the Turks, who dominated ‘our’ lands and who retained them, enslaving part of ‘our nation’. The ‘Greek lands’ were perceived to extend beyond the boarders of the new state. What legitimized the unity of the nation (the ethnos) was not the state but an historical ‘essence’ or ‘Greek culture’, defined by an enduring language and a religious affiliation expressed as Christian Orthodoxy. 



Alternative approaches: class analysis and religion 


     The Greek national/nationalistic historiography was challenged from the first quarter of the twentieth century. Following the Russian revolution of 1917, the Marxist movement in Greece developed relatively rapidly as an alternative worldview. The Greek Communist Party of the time opposed the expedition against the Ottoman state that was defeated in the First World War, not only because it was in general against irredentism but also because it was against the British policy and in favour of the Turkish Kemalist resistance which had friendly relations with the Bolshevik regime.   

     Yanis Kordatos (1891-1961), the former secretary of the Greek Communist Party, a young lawyer who dedicated his life to history writing, in 1924 challenged the taboo of the Greek Revolution, claiming that it was not a national uprising against the Turks, but a class struggle of the oppressed masses against the oppressors who happened to be both Turkish and Greek dignitaries and landlords.[9] Starting with his first book, he showed that not only the Sublime Porte but also the patriarchate of Istanbul was against the revolution. He published his studies in a hostile social environment, facing fierce opposition and threats, but insisted on claiming that modern Greeks were a new nation and not the ‘continuation’ of ancient people. He was the first to use the term ethnotita (‘ethnic group’) to describe the Grecophone communities of the Middle Ages, distinguishing them qualitatively from the modern Greek nation.  

     The approach of Yanis Kordatos, who was apparently influenced by Marxist historiography, was a negation of traditional national paradigm. He published studies on ancient Greece, the Byzantine period and modern Greece, as well as works on such topics as the life of Christ, Greek philosophy and Greek literature. It is interesting to note that, even though he negated the ‘diachronic’ existence of a Greek nation, all his work covers the cultures and the people that the traditional Greek national historiography considered as Greek. A more careful analysis of this work may show that his approach is a combination of class analysis not completely disconnected with the national paradigm.

     This blending of the two paradigms becomes apparent when the portrait of the Other vis-à-vis ‘us’ is examined. The Turks, even though they were not presented with permanently negative racial characteristics, still appeared as backward and generally negative, for ‘historical’ reasons. This controversial approach is also found in subsequent Marxist historians who followed Kordatos. Nikos Svoronos (1911-1990), for example, who stated in the 1970s that the modern Greek national consciousness appeared for the first time in the thirteenth century (and not in ancient Greece), did not express a very different opinion about the Other either. In fact, Greek Marxist historiography did not revise the traditional image and ‘role’ of the Turks, even though these historians did not reproduce extreme nationalist stereotypes.[10]

     A number of religious researchers constituted a small group of historians that were relatively distant from the national paradigm and seemed closer to the Marxist approach. Trying to negate the ethnic/national understanding that set barriers between groups of people based on ethnic characteristics – language, race, colour, and so on - and appropriating a more universal approach (a more ‘ecumenical’ approach, as they would say), they developed an all-inclusive discourse. They voiced, mostly in encyclopedias financed and published by the Greek Orthodox Church and in personal publications, a comprehensively different historiography, distant from the nationalist one,  evaluating correctly both the contingent character of the ‘nation’ but also its limitation in envisaging a reconciliation of the ‘human race of the Creator’.[11]

     However, in their enthusiasm to stress the importance and the contribution of the Greek Orthodox Church they seemed to reproduce the old demarcation lines that were set between East and West, between believers and unbelievers, or between the Greek Orthodox communities and the Others. At times when they criticized the intellectuals of the ‘Greek Enlightenment’ – of the period when the Greek intelligentsia was under the spell of the developments in Western Europe – they sounded like the Marxists who opposed some Western ideals (capitalism, exploitation, imperialism); when they expressed their reservations about the Other opposing Catholicism, Protestantism, and so on, they were reminiscent of the Manichaeism of the nationalists and the barriers set between nations.  

     The recent decades a considerable number of Greek liberal historians, following the professionalisation of historians and having come into contact with the latest trends, have produced texts that are distanced from the nationalist paradigm. This modern approach which typically presents its methodology and interpretation as ‘academic’, uses a language special to a field of interest and voices a new paradigm, but it is not readily deciphered and understood by the public. This anti-nationalist historiography manages to coexist with the popular understanding of (national) history without creating serious conflicts and clashes, exactly because of its specialized covert discourse. In practice it neither publicly challenges national taboos nor blatantly contradicts traditional interpretations. It operates protected against probable attacks within a specialised group of academics.

     This school of thought has gained momentum. A series of studies that question nationalistic and semi-nationalistic interpretations related to Greek history have been published in book form or in specialist periodicals.[12] The historians concerned are inclined to investigate ignored fields, such as the Greek case of nation-building and the history of marginalized ethnic groups, such as the Jews, the Albanians and the Turks of Greece. Various ethnographic studies and local histories by professional historians and of historically minded intellectuals have also been published in recent years. However, the phenomenon of Rigas Velestinlis of the 1790s, the ‘Greek national hero’ as is characterised by Greek historiography, has still to be redefined, and his ideals in favour of a republic in which ‘all will be sovereign’ irrespective of ethnicity, religion and language, still awaits its historian.        



The political conjuncture and the rise of Turkish ethnic nationalism


     During the last decades of the Ottoman empire the authorities initiated various desperate efforts to save the state. Parallel to economic and administrative reforms, the ‘identity’ of the citizens became a major issue. As happened with the Greeks, discussions took place as to what this ‘identity’ ought to be. The agents during these debates, however, were different on the two sides: in the Greek case the state was still nonexistent and intellectuals initiated the discussion, whereas in the Turkish case the state itself and its dignitaries played a major role in trying to determine under what umbrella the loyalty of subjects of the empire could be secured. 

     The crisis of successive ‘secessions’ in the Ottoman empire started with the Greek revolution of 1821. Up to that time the empire had lost lands as a result of attack by foreign countries (Russia, Austria, France), but not because of its subjects wanting their own state. With the Tanzimat reforms in 1839, nine years after the establishment of the modern Greek state, the state policy known as ‘Ottomanism’, intended to secure equality and peace among all citizens, was introduced. However, Bulgarians seceded and Armenians were next in line. Islamism was supposed to secure at least the loyalty of the Muslim population of the empire. But there was unrest among the Arabs, and the Muslim Albanians seceded too. ‘Turkishness’ seemed an alternative to accomplish a unitary state by combining citizenship and ethnicity.  

     In the Ottoman period history writing in the modern sense developed during these turbulent years. The traditional Ottoman historians, who exceeded 500 in number[13] and were known as vakanüvisler (‘recorders of incidents'), had been mostly concerned with the political affairs of the empire. The ‘modern’ historians differed mostly in being much better informed about developments in the West and about the kind of history that was produced there, but most importantly in being the bearers of a new identity, Turkishness, that was in the ascendant. Ahmet Cevdet Pasha (1822-95), with his 12-volume History of Cevdet, was a high-ranking civil servant.[14] He was influenced by the Arab historian and philosopher Ibn-Khaldun (1332-1406), who believed in the eventual demise of any state. Cevdet’s influence on the subsequent generations looking for rather more optimistic worldviews, however, was limited.

     Two historians of the Western world inspired Turkish ‘consciousness’ and Turkish historiography. The French historian David Léon Cahun (1841-1900) and the Hungarian philologist Ármin Vámbéry (1832-1913) were both renowned among Ottoman intellectuals, the first for his book Introduction à l’histoire de l’Asie, les Turks et les Mongoles (1896), and the second for his studies on the Turkish language which he started publishing from 1858.[15] These western sources gave an impetus to Turkish nationalism, to ‘Turkishness’, then known as Pan-Turkism and/or Turanism/Pan-Turanism,  and which among the Young Turks was conceived as an ideal which would unite all Turkic people, of the Balkans as well as of Asia. This unity was understood as an ethnic and cultural unity, which found expression above all in a common language. Interestingly Vámbéry tried to develop a Hungarian national historical interpretation of an ‘Asiatic past’, but in practice he inspired the Turkish nationalists and an ‘Asian’ ideal in a distant country.

     The Ottoman/Turkish historians of this period did not develop systematic contact with historians of other countries; their sources were rather erratic and few historians produced prominent works during this period. Ziya Gökalp (1876-1924), who was influenced by the teachings of Emile Durkheim, and Yusuf Akçura (1876-1935), a Turk from Russia who was influenced by the nationalist movements of the Tatars, were the most influential historians of the period prior to the founding of the modern Turkish democratic state.[16] The Romantic understanding of the ‘people’ and the views of Herder, the original, ‘very old’ cultural past of the nation, the positivism of Comte, social Darwinism and the teachings of Gobineau were some of the main ideas that dominated the understanding of their texts.

     Islam, the religion of the nation-to-be, was mentioned and even stressed by these historians, not so much as a characteristic of the nation but as a reference in demarcating the Self and the Other, the enemy of the state and of the country. The idea that was highlighted was nationalism (milliyetçilik), which was not very clearly defined, but understood as union on a cultural/ethnic/racist basis. The main concern was to demonstrate the historical importance of the Turkish nation. Issues of the Turkish language were widely discussed, and literary texts played an important role in spreading the idea of the nation. During this initial period of nation-building the nation was understood as the union of the Turks, where the Turks were perceived as a group with certain ethnic characteristics: a common language, culture, religion, history and ideals. As in Greece, during this period there is no clear distinction between nationhood and ethnicity. Turkish nationalists perceived the citizens of the country that were not Muslims and spoke a language different from Turkish as members of another nation, though they also preserved the notion of citizenship and loyalty to the state as a means of legitimizing membership of the nation.



The modern Turkish state and secular nationalism


With the defeat of the Ottomans in the First World War the country was occu­pied by the Allies. The Greek army occupied western Anatolia, the ancient Ionian lands, taking a step towards the 'Great Idea', that is, in the direction of establishing the 'Greek' Byzantine state anew. The Turkish liberation war fol­lowed and was won - and this is the self-image of many Turks - against the biggest powers of the world (the United Kingdom, Italy and France). But it was only the Greeks who had come to stay, and the critical battles and the associ­ated military victories were won in practice against the Greeks (1922). [17]

Turkish nation-building gained new momentum with the systematic foster­ing of national identity in the newly established modern Turkish state, the Republic of Turkey (1923). The bases of Turkish national ideology and national narratives were founded by intellectuals who were mostly literary authors and poets. In many cases the historians followed. Even prominent Turkish historians and spokesmen of Turkish national ideology, such as Ziya Gökalp (1876-1924) and Fuat Köprülü (1890-1966), started their political activities in literary journals together with the nationally influential short-story writer Ömer Seyfettin (1884-1920). In the Turkish case there has not been an historian who attained the social recognition of, say, the Greek Paparrigopoulos, nor a corresponding oeuvre of indisputable validity to be considered a master narrative. The historio­graphy is more diversified, probably because society has not yet attained a consensus on some issues.

     As was the case with the Greeks, there is no clear distinction in the Turkish language between the meanings of the words 'national' and 'ethnic'. Millet, an old Arabic word that once had various meanings, was eventually used to denote the nation. Milli and milliyetçilik mean 'national' and 'nationalist', and both have a very positive meaning since they denote the 'modern' ideology that is distanced from the refuted 'Ottoman understanding' characterised as conservative and backward, basically because it lacked the Turkish 'national consciousness', that is, nationalism. Many Turks identify themselves as nationalists, but this is not understood in the Western sense. In fact, 'Atatürk nationalism' is a constitutional requirement. The word 'ethnic' (etnik) has recently been used by the new generation of academics mostly in connection with existing local minority and ethnic (Kurdish) issues that Turkey faces. However, unlike Greece, where the concept of a common origin of the nation is very strong, and probably the legacy of an empire, the notion of 'citizenship' (vatan­daşlık, being a subject of a state) is also encountered.

     The main issue of concern to history writing during the first years of the Turkish republic was the legitimisation of initiatives taken by the new repub­lic. Notions such as 'modernisation', 'westernisation', 'equality of the genders' and 'positivism' (actually the word 'science' was used) were presented as posi­tive axioms, and the past evaluated anew accordingly. The ancient regime of the Ottomans was criticised as backward and conservative, even though it was not rejected in its totality. Great effort was exerted to demonstrate that the Turks had been a great nation throughout history, having established many states and founded an important civilisation.

In the 1930s a great historical project was initiated with the encouragement of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the leading figure of the modern Turkish nation-state. The project was called the 'Turkish History Thesis' (THT) and its main purpose was to create a grand national narrative that would assist Turkish nation-building. According to this thesis, the Turks were the oldest people on earth and originally lived in Central Asia; they then migrated and founded almost all the major civilisations (Mesopotamian, Ionian, ancient Greek, and so on). They had come 'very early' to Anatolia. All ancient people were actu­ally Turks - even Homer was presented as a Turk whose real name was Omer. Related to this, a second thesis, the 'Sun Language Theory', propagated the idea that all languages were derived from Turkish.

    These extreme views were popularised mostly through textbooks published by the state apparatus, and it is in these books that one can find their most systematic presentation. Almost all professional historians in the country were mobilised to find the historical 'facts' that would prove the above ethnocen­tric understanding. This thesis was the main 'history' that was read and taught in Turkey for about two decades. The thesis approached racism at the end of the 1930s as Dr Afet İnan (1908-85), a protege of Atatürk, investigated the origin of the Turkish people by taking measurements of their skulls.[18] Event­ually the Western view that the Turks belong to the 'yellow race' was refuted. During the Second World War some of the Turkish intelligentsia briefly flirted with racist ideals that were popular in many countries in Europe, and this was indirectly reflected in historiography, too. At this time neither class analysis nor religious historical interpretations were welcomed by the authoritarian Turkish regime, which censored all views that did not endorse the dominant secular and nationalist interpretations of history.



Legitimising identities and sovereignty rights


During the first decades of the modern Turkish nation-state, Turkish historio­graphy was marked by two concerns: 1) deciding on and establishing a national identity, and 2) founding a basis for legitimising the modern state, in other words, the newly secured sovereignty rights. Both concerns were directly con­nected with the main political and cultural issues that shook the Balkans and caused a series of wars and suffering related to ethnic cleansing.

The identity issue was expressed as a question of the kind 'Who are we that want to create a nation? Who is included and who excluded in our enter­prise?' The answer had to satisfy the citizens that were supposed to form a social union with considerable cohesion. Sovereignty, on the other hand, was threatened by the real or imaginary enemies that had claims on the lands of this new country. Both issues were directly connected to 'history' and had to be dealt with by this discipline. A third concern, which was only indirectly connected with 'history', was the legitimacy of the leading cadre of the new state and more precisely with the governing Kemalist elite. This was mostly done by denigrating the Ottoman past (and its leaders) and presenting the present (and its leaders) as the hope for the future.

Most of the Turkish historiography of the twentieth century developed around these parameters. The Turkish history thesis proposed a Turkish iden­tity that had its sources in Central Asia, and mostly for that reason it incor­porated serious shortcomings in legitimising the historical rights of existing borders. It tried to solve the dilemma by constructing a 'history' where all autochthonous nations in the area were 'Turkish'.

     The highly secular THT did not prove very effective. It satisfied neither the masses who felt themselves in alliance with traditional Islam - which was pushed aside by the positivist leading elite, together with the Ottoman legacy, in favour of an imagined 'pagan' Central Asia - nor the intellectuals and people of com­mon sense who could not tolerate the idea that all neighbouring communities and countries throughout history were actually Turks (in which case why all these wars?). The THT was never officially refuted, but gradually, and especially after 1970, it was abandoned, even though its spirit is still felt in some textbooks. Two other grand theories were proposed in the 1950s/1960s and 1970s/1980s that dealt with the above-mentioned national concerns. The first was initiated by an historian who spread his ideas publishing mostly literary texts such as novels and 'narrations', Cevat Şakir (1886-1973), and by Kemal Tahir (1910-73), an author who published historical novels and influenced a number of historians that mostly propagated the idea that the Turkish historical case can be best explained by the Marxist model of the 'Asian mode of production'. Turkish his­torians who developed related theories to define the history of Anatolia are İdris Küçükömer (1925-1987) and Sencer Divitçioğlu (b. 1927). According to these his­torians, the class and religious conflicts that shaped the Western world did not take place in Anatolia.[19] This school, which I will call 'Anatolianism', did not appear as an organised movement but rather as an understanding that is still popular among intellectuals sympathetic to the Western way of life and having 'leftist' tendencies. The second grand narrative, known as the Turkish-Islamic Synthesis (TIS), was initiated by intellectuals of more conservative tendencies.



Anatolianism and the Turkish-Islamic Synthesis


Anatolianism, as expressed in a series of publications by various intellec­tuals, has been a major theme in Turkish historiography. It is an unofficial and non-systematic historical thesis that proposes an 'identity' and a scheme to legitimise the new Turkish state. Contrary to the THT, which locates Turkishness in Central Asia, this new theory presented all the people who once lived in Anatolia (mainland Turkey) as 'our' ancestors and the present Turks as their descendants. As a consequence, the present Turks were not seen as the people that once came from the East but were considered 'autochthons'. The history of Anatolia was mostly perceived as a unique case, justified as an outcome of a dif­ferent course of development, and rather superior to the Western model where class prevailed, definitely more just and humane, often theoretically legitimised as the 'Asian mode of production'.

Accordingly, the ancient Greeks were no longer presented as Turks, but the Greeks and especially the Ionians who once lived in Anatolia were presented as the ancestors of the Turks. This theory, like the THT, is also basically secular, downgrading the Islamic tradition. However, it propagated the idea that the Turkish state (the Ottoman and the present) was a special case in history. It was presented as benevolent, just and caring for its subjects. Therefore all subjects were very happy and loyal to this (Turkish) state. The subsequent revolts of the various ethnic populations are either ignored or explained as 'foreign intrigues'. Deconstructing this understanding, one concludes that in Ottoman society there was no class struggle, but the state operated for the benefit of all. It was the West and its imported feudalism and capitalism that caused the economic and social problems in the Ottoman empire and consequently in modern Turkey. In the 1960s and 1970s mostly young historians published studies along these lines.[20]

This theory, which has many variations and is popular still among Turkish intellectuals even today, had the advantage of being capable of endorsing the Turks as an autochthonous people and at the same time legitimising the exist­ing state: it is legitimate because it has been lawful, benevolent and 'accepted' by all. The question of identity, however, still presented difficulties because it posed a dilemma. Islam was not considered a necessary constituent of the Turkish identity because in such a case the previous pagan and Christian people who lived in Anatolia had to be considered the Other. Religion, lan­guage and even culture and civilisation were therefore silenced in this theory, and the 'geographical' aspect of identity, as well as biological continuity, was predominant: the subordination of all to Anatolian geography thus secured 'an ethnic/national unity'. This approach, however, was not in harmony with the religious sentiments of the majority of Turks.

The role of the Other (the Greek) is unique in the texts of the 'Anatolianists'. He appears as an historical witness testifying to the righteousness, moral superi­ority, magnanimity, and so on of the Turkish state. This Other is developed as an antithesis to Greek accusations that the historical Turk is all-negative. This Turkish myth perceived the Greeks as being happy with the political dominance of the Turks. The Other in the case of the Anatolianists is one who is not from the local area, but the West in general. This Western world is invariably por­trayed as imperialistic and/or nationalist, with strong prejudices against the Turks and the East. The self-image of the Anatolianists is quite comforting: they conceive of themselves as 'humanitarians', anti-nationalists, modern, progressive and secular. Closer analysis reveals a special 'class' relationship: within the 'com­munity' (the state and/or nation) there is no class strife, but the relationship with the West is marked by class conflicts, expressed in terms of 'exploitation' and 'imperialism'.

     The Turkish-Islamic Synthesis (TIS) is one of the most recent national his­torical interpretations. According to this theory, which reached maturity in the 1980s, the present-day Turks are people who came to Anatolia from the East in the twelfth century having accepted Islam. Thus, Islam is considered part of the national identity as well as the Asian heritage. The followers of the TIS accord importance also to the Ottoman heritage, which they consider significant and superior. The legitimacy of the 'state' is based rather on histor­ical victories and the balance of power in the geographical environment. This theory is popular among political groups that see themselves as nationalists, a word that means in this context 'loving their country and the Turks', whereas others identify them as the 'extreme right'.[21] Ibrahim Kafesoğlu is one of the most esteemed historians of this school, which propagates its ideas through extensive publications, numerous journals and newspapers.[22] 

     The Other in the case of the TIS is almost everyone who differs from the 'Turks', both ethnically and religiously. The tendency to perceive minorities or ethnic groups of non-Turkic origin as foreign is typical. The non-Muslim minorities are very often perceived on a class basis and are described as wealthy communities involved in trade and industrial production (avoiding the word 'capitalists' to distance themselves from Marxism), in close cultural and/or econ­omic contact with the West, and taking advantage of the Turks economically.[23] The Other in this case encompasses different religion, ethnicity and class (he is from the upper class and exploitative).



Alternative Turkish historiographies


The various historical theses mentioned above form the main trends in the Turkish historiography developed after the founding of the Turkish nation-state. Hence a Turkish national master narrative is deeply contested both among professional historians and among the various political groups that espouse one of these interpretations. History became a weapon of diverse ideological camps in Turkey all struggling to mobilise their supporters and defeat their opponents. In the process of all this contestation Turkish nation-building (ethnogenesis) took place.

A radical challenge to the above historical interpretations came, as hap­pened with the case of Greece, first from the Marxist intellectuals and later liberal academics who followed the trends of a more international, and some­times even anti-national profession. The Marxists, who operated more as intel­lectuals than as historians, challenged the ethnic, 'black and white' approach whereby the Turkish side always appeared in a good light and the Other the reverse. This tendency was expressed mostly in literary texts such as novels or newspapers, and in many cases seriously challenged old and established his­torical 'truths'. Kemal Tahir, a novelist who introduced the Marxist 'Asiatic mode of production' to the Turkish historiography in order to stress the pecu­liarity of his national history, was mentioned above. Of the earliest Turkish Marxist historians, Mete Tuncay (b. 1936) has played a major role in question­ing national narratives, such as the THT and later the TIS.

After 1980 in particular, a group of historians appeared, conscious of a Marxist tradition and organised around the Economic and Social History Foundation of Turkey and the publishing house İletişim, which published a series of journals and books in line with modern developments in historiography. They dealt with local history and with taboo issues, such as the past and present of the ethnic and minority groups of Turkey and the population exchange of 1923 (see below). They also reviewed the Turkish historiography critically. This group keeps a deliberate distance from nationalist discourse, and is highly critical of ethno­centric approaches. They have been aware of new developments in the field of historiography, and ready to study and discuss new approaches in history. Zafer Toprak and Şevket Pamuk, who mostly deal with the economic history of Turkey, and Çağlar Keyder, who shows an interest in Ottoman history, can be mentioned as examples of this trend.[24]

Class and economic analysis predominate in their works. For some (Keyder, for example), Christian minority groups are not seen as 'foreign' bodies within the Ottoman state but an economically productive (positive) power. Societal events such as ethnic cleansing are explained on the basis of economic turmoil. When the relationship of states is on the agenda the model becomes rather Leninist where imperialist motifs are used to explain the intentions of the Western powers.

This group of historians, who are politically mostly uncommitted, is also characterised by its zeal in cooperating with the Other. Probably what is new and most important in Greek and Turkish historiography is what has been ini­tiated by the historians of the two countries since 1995, and especially since 2000. Both sides have shown a willingness to study issues that are of interest to both and have jointly produced historical texts. There are a few projects of this kind running at present.

This is not only an indication of the widening of the spectrum of research in history writing but also of a change of philosophy and state of mind, surpass­ing ethnocentric approaches. These historians seem to believe that one-sided national interpretation may not be enough to produce historical narratives that bear international validity. Definitely they are more 'cosmopolitan' in their understandings as well as more relaxed in their communication with the Other and in being exposed to contact with the views of the Other.



An assessment


Both the modern Greek and Turkish states were founded through a proclaimed process of negating the Ottoman empire and traditional social formations: Greece by rejecting the Ottoman legacy altogether, Turkey by transforming it and by re-evaluating it. Irrespective of the degree of success of this rejection and transformation, the national founding myths of the two countries, which were used to legitimise their new political formations, differ and in some respects are almost opposed to each other. The national myths are so deeply rooted that it is difficult to use a lexicon that is not nationally biased. The term 'the two societies', the Greeks and the Turks, is a modern invention. In the Ottoman milieu there were not clear-cut distinct communities with established 'ethnic' characteristics. For example, there were Turkophone Orthodox Christian and Grecophone Muslim communities which in 1923 were forcefully exchanged as Greeks and as Turks respectively. The criterion for nationality/ethnicity was in practice their religious beliefs. The exchange included about two million people.

Even though the religious bias was quite distinctive in both the Greek and the Turkish cases, the legitimacy of the new identity was based mostly on a discourse of 'nation', with an imagined ethnic uniformity. In other words, declarations of secularism and ethnic/national approaches should be consid­ered with caution, since religious background and identity seem to have influenced perceptions and behaviour, both of the individuals and of the states. In other words, religion either played a direct role within the said states, for example as expressed with Helleno-Christianity and TIS, or was used indi­rectly to describe the 'national' aspect of the citizens - mostly the Self and the Other as well as the minorities in each state.

Political confrontations between Greeks and Turks (or Greek Orthodox and Muslim populations) were often the result of coincidence. The conflicting parties then chose different constructed identities (Greekness vs. Turkishness) in order to legitimise and explain the struggles with each other. Class analysis and/or Marxist explanations were developed to highlight economic power relationships; 'exploitation' and 'imperialism' were developed to justify histor­ical enmities and/or current personal or communal interests. In this case, too, a distinction should be made between 'genuine' class analysis that transcends nationalism and sets the basis for a new paradigm, and a class analysis that in fact explains and consequently legitimises national histories. In some of the cases mentioned above, analytical tools such as 'imperialism', 'capitalists' and 'exploitation', mostly directly borrowed from Marxist literature, are utilised to 'explain' nationalistic behaviour.

The historiography that was developed in Greece and Turkey following the establishment of the two nation-states can be seen as a kind of a Greek-Turkish dialogue (or quarrel) on history where the Greeks first posed their arguments and then the Turks developed their counter-arguments.[25] The main concerns seem to be the 'identity of the nation' and the sovereignty rights of the countries, some­thing that is understandable taking into consideration the political strife of recent decades. Anderson defines a nation as a 'political community imagined as both inherently limited and sovereign'.[26] By 'limited' it is meant that beyond national boundaries lie other nations. By 'sovereignty', but also by other sacred principles voiced by all nation states such as 'liberty' and 'independence', is meant the subduing of the imaginable rivals, the enemies, the Other. The Other, as the one beyond our living space, is a sine qua non of every nation.

     A premise not clearly stated but always insinuated in both Greek and Turkish historiography is that the Other had been harmful and/or a threat since it caused, among other ills, economic difficulties and 'our exploitation'. This nega­tive aspect of the Other has, in other words, a class dimension in the conscious­ness of each nation. The Other is sketched as the appropriator of the nation's means of survival. The Greek historiography described the dominating Ottomans as a kind of upper class that exploited the Greeks; conversely, the Turkish one described the Greeks and the Greek minorities as exploiters and 'rich', too. The religious difference is suggested directly or indirectly every time the Other is described as negative or different. Among the ills of the Other the destruction of 'our sacred places' is quite often called to mind. Interestingly, the national flags of both countries each carry a different religious symbol that had been in a contention for many centuries in Europe: a cross and a crescent. Religion and class analysis are in most cases subordinated to and mostly used to legitimise an ethnic/national narrative.

Even if there are a number of historians who do not agree with this view, the dominant narrative in both countries presents the 'West' as siding with the nation's Other. The West in this case is shown as 'imperialistic', 'biased owing to religious differences' (the West is 'Christian' for the Turkish side, 'Catholic' and/or 'Protestant' for the Greek side), or simply as the aggressive Other. The cases where Greece and Turkey had been favoured and/or assisted by the West are also 'forgotten' in the respective nationalist historiographies. This approach vis-â-vis the role of the West shows how historical religious controversies are used in modern times. It should be added that both historio­graphies infer that 'their country' is located between the East and the West, in other words, in the centre of the world.

Gender, in fact 'women', plays a supplementary role in both historiogra­phies. The national issue seems to bear a masculine importance. In both cases 'our' women (and to a lesser degree children and old people) are presented as the part of the population that must be protected from the ill intentions of the Other. The Other is shown threatening the honour of 'our' women - a metaphor that is often used, especially in literary texts. There is a renowned story in Greek history where Greek women (the Souliots) jumped to their death from a high cliff, dancing a national dance, rather than be captured by the Ottomans. There are many women heroines fighting against the Other, participating in a 'men's war'. These women do not symbolise any particular­ities of 'women' but live and fight like men. This participation operates as an indication that the people act as a whole.

In the Turkish historiography women are also portrayed as assisting the men: psychologically supporting their husbands who are fighting at the front; carrying ammunition; being involved in the fighting themselves and tending the wounded. Turkish women, contrary to Greek heroines, rarely participate in actual fighting. In the republican national discourse the Turkish woman is the main criterion for the 'modernisation' of the country: her dress, her role in the society, her legal status, and so on are of special importance.

In general the Greek historiography seems to be characterised by a greater uni­formity in describing both the past of the nation as well as the Other. The Turkish historiography presents greater diversity. This should be related to the rela-tively late formation of nation-building in the Turkish case, as well as to the multi-ethnic/national heritage of the Ottoman Empire (the millet system) and to its legacy.



Bibliography / references


Akçura, Y., Türkçülüğün Tarihi [The History of Turkishness] (Istanbul, 1998)

Anderson, B., Imagined Communities (London and New York, 1990)

Babinger, F., Geschichtsschreiber der Osmanen und Ihre Werke (Leipzig, 1927)

Babiniotis, G., Lexiko tis neas ellinikis glossas [Dictionary of the Modern Greek Language], Athens, 1998

Cevdet Pasha, A., Tarih-i Cevdet [History of Cevdet], 12 vols (Istanbul, 1853–91)

Daskalakis, A.B., To Politeuma tou Riga Belestinli [The Polity of Rigas Velestinlis] (Athens, 1976)

Delatant, D., Hanak, H. (eds), Historians as Nation Builders (London, 1988).

Divitçioğlu, S., Asya Üretim Tarzı ve Osmanlı Toplumu [Asian Mode of Production and Ottoman Society] (Istanbul, 2003; 1st edn, 1967)

Fallmerayer, J.P., Geschichte der Halbinsel Morea wahrend des Mittelalters, vol. 1 (Stuttgart, 1830)

Gökalp, Z., Turkish Nationalism and Western Civilization: Selected Essays of Z. Gökalp (London, 1959)

Inan, A., Türkiye Halkının Antropolojik Karakterleri ve Türkiye Tarihi: Türk Irkının Vatanı Anadolu [The Anthropological Characteristics of the Turkish People and the History of Turkey: Anatolia, the Fatherland of the Turkish Race] (Ankara, 1947)

Jacob Landau, M., Pan-Turkism in Turkey: A Study of Irredentism (London, 1981)

Kafesoğlu, İ., Türk İslam Sentezi [Turkish-Islamic Synthesis] (Istanbul, 1999)

Karolidis, P., Sygkhronos Istoria ton Ellinon kai Lipon Laon tis Anatolis apo to 1821 mehri to 1921 [Modern History of Greeks and Other Nations of Anatolis from 1821 to 1921], vols 1–7 (Athens, 1922–6)

Keyder, Ç., State and Class in Turkey: A Study in Capitalist Development (London, 1987)

Kordatos, Y., Istoria tis neoteris Elladas [History of Modern Greece], vols 1–4 (Athens, 1957–8)

Küçükömer, İ., Düzenin Yabancılaşması [The Alienation of the Social Order] (Istanbul, 1989; 1st edn, 1969)

Metallinos, G., Tourkokratia [Turkish Rule] (Nea Smyrni, 1988)

Millas, H., ‘Milli Türk Kimliği ve Öteki (Yunan)’ [‘The National Turkish Identity and the Other (the Greek)], in Modern Türkiye’de Siyasi Düşünce: Milliyetçilik, vol. 4, (İstanbul, 2002)

Özal, T., La Turquie en Europe (Paris, 1988)

Pamuk, Ş., Osmanlı-Türk İktisadi Tarihi, 1500–1914 [Economic History of Ottoman State-Turkey, 1500–1914] (Istanbul, 1988)

Paparrigopoulos, K., Istoria tou Ellinikou ethnous [The History of the Hellenic Nation], vols 1–5 (Athens, 1865–74)

Sonyel, S., Minorities and the Destruction of the Ottoman Empire (Ankara, 1993).

Svoronos, N., Histoire de la Grèce moderne (Paris, 1972)

Toprak, Z., Türkiye’de Milli İktisat [National Economy in Turkey] (Istanbul, 1982)

Trikoupis, S., I Istoria tis Ellinikis epanastaseos [The History of the Greek Revolution], vols 1–4 (London, 1853–1957)

Valoudis, G., ‘J. Ph. Fallmerayer und die Entstehung des neugriechischen Historismus’, Südostforschungen, 29 (1970)

Zambelios, S., Asmata dimotika tis Ellados [Folk Songs of Greece] (Athens, 1852)


[1] For these typical models in creating national-states (first the state or first the nation) see Hugh Seaton-Watson, ‘On Trying to be a Historian of Eastern Europe’ in D. Delatant & H. Hanak (eds), Historians as Nation Builders, London, 1988. 

[2] The prestigious Babiniotis dictionary (G. Babiniotis, Lexiko tis neas ellinikis glossas [Dictionary of the Modern Greek Language], Athens, 1998) defines ‘ethnic/ethnos’ the same way as one would defined ‘nation’; it adds that ‘foreigners’ use the Greek word ‘ethnic’ to denote national groups and  minorities.   

[3] See A. B. Daskalakis, To Politeuma tou Riga Belestinli [The Polity of Rigas Velestinlis], (Athens, 1976).

[4] See, for example S. Trikoupis (1788-1873), I istoria tis Ellinikis Epanastaseos [The History of Greek Revolution], vols olumes 1-4 (London, 1853-1957); I. Philimon (1798-1873), Dokimion istorikon peri tis Ellinikis epanastaseos [Historical Essay on the Greek Revolution], vols. 1-4 (Athens, 1859-61); A. Frantzis (1778-1851), Istoria tis anagenithisis Ellados [The History of Greek Rebirth], vols 1-4  (Athens, 1839-1841).

[5] S. Zambelios, Asmata dimotika tis Ellados [Folk Poems of Greece], Athens, 1852.

[6] See, for example: J. P. Fallmerayer, Geschichte der Halbinsel Morea wahrend des Mittelalters, vol. 1 (Stuttgart, 1830). Also G. Valoudis, ‘J. Ph. ‘Fallmerayer und die Entsehung des neugriechischen Historismus’, Südostforschungen, 29 (1970). 

[7] K. Paparrigopoulos, Istoria tou Ellinikou ethnous, [The History of the Hellenic Nation], vols 1-5 (Athens, 1865-1874). 

[8] P. Karolidis, Sygkhronos istoria ton Ellinon kai lipon laon tis Anatolis apo to 1821 mehri to 1921 [Modern History of Greeks and Other Nations of Anatolia from 1821 to 1921], vol. 1-7 (Athens, 1922-6). 

[9] See, for example, Y. Kordatos, Istoria tis neoteris Elladas, vols 1-4 (Athens, 1957-8). 

[10] N. Svoronos, Histoire de la Grèce moderne, (Paris, 1972).

[11] See, for example, Thriskeftiki kai ithiki egkiklopedia [Encyclopaedia of Religion and Ethics], vol. 5 (Athens, 1964); G. Metallinos, Tourkokratia [Turkish Rule], (Nea Smyrni, 1988).  

[12] For examples of history journals published in Athens, see Ta Istorika, Istor and Historein which is published in English.

[13] See: F. Babinger (1891-1967), Geschichtsschreider der Osmanen und Ihre Werke, (Leipzig, 1927).

[14] A. Cevdet Pasha, Tarih-i Cevdet [History of Cevdet], 12 vol (Istanbul, 1853-91).

[15] See M. Jacob Landau, Pan-Turkism in Turkey: A Study of Irredentism, (London, 1981).

[16] See, for example, Z. Gökalp. Turkish Nationalism and Western Civilization: Selected Essays of Z. Gökalp (London, 1959); and Y. Akçura, Türkçülüğün Tarihi [The History of Turkishness] (Istanbul, 1998).

[17] For a detailed account of the role of the ‘Greek’ in the formation of Turkish nationalism, see H. Millas, ‘Milli Türk Kimliği ve Öteki (Yunan)’ [‘The National Turkish Identity and the Other/the Greek’], in Modern Türkiye’de Siyasi Düşünce, vol. 4, Milliyetçilik (İstanbul, 2002).

[18] See, for example, A. Inan, Türkiye Halkının Antropolojik Karakterleri ve Türkiye Tarihi: Türk Irkının Vatanı Anadolu [The Anthropological Characteristics of the Turkish People and the History of Turkey: Anatolia, the Fatherland of Turkish Race] (Ankara, 1947).

[19] See, for example, İ. Küçükömer, Düzenin Yabancılaşması [The Alienation of the Social Order] (Istanbul, 1989; 1st edn, 1969); S. Divitçioğlu, Asya Üretim Tarzı ve Osmanlı Toplumu [Asian Mode of Production and Ottoman Society] (Istanbul, 2003; 1st edn 1967).    


[20] The prime minister of Turkey used this theory in his book addressed to European readers when he tried to advance the idea that Turkey should be accepted as a member of the European Community. See T. Özal, La Turquie en Europe, (Paris, 1988).

[21] It is interesting that the TIS is reminiscent of the Greek understanding of ‘Helleno-Christianity’. They both search for national identity and their national historical origin in two components: ethnicity and religion.

[22] See: İ. Kafesoğlu, Türk İslam Sentezi [Turkish-Islamic Synthesis], (Istanbul, 1999).

[23] The title of the book of Salahi Sonyel is typical of how the non-Muslim minorities are perceived: Minorities and the Destruction of the Ottoman Empire, (Ankara, 1993).

[24] See, for example, Z. Toprak, Türkiye’de Milli İktisat [National Economy in Turkey], (Istanbul, 1982); Ş. Pamuk, Osmanlı-Türk İktisadi Tarihi 1500-1914 [Economic History of Ottoman State-Turkey  1500-1914] (Istanbul, 1988; Ç. Keyder, State and Class in Turkey: A Study in Capitalist Development, (London, 1987).


[25] Consider, for example, the following Greek-Turkish ‘historical’ grand narratives and arguments /  counter-arguments: 1) We the Greeks are the descendants of the glorious ancients. No, you are not, Greeks are actually Turks. 2) The Ottomans were barbarians. No, they were magnanimous and tolerant. 3) The Ancient Greek and Byzantine lands are ours. No, modern Greeks are a different race from the ancient Greeks and Byzantines. 4) You as a nation behaved as invaders in recent centuries. No, you had the Megali Idea and you were the invaders in recent decades. And so on. 

[26] B. Anderson, Imagined Communities, (London and New York, 1990), p. 15.


Your are currently browsing this site with Internet Explorer 6 (IE6).

Your current web browser must be updated to version 7 of Internet Explorer (IE7) to take advantage of all of template's capabilities.

Why should I upgrade to Internet Explorer 7? Microsoft has redesigned Internet Explorer from the ground up, with better security, new capabilities, and a whole new interface. Many changes resulted from the feedback of millions of users who tested prerelease versions of the new browser. The most compelling reason to upgrade is the improved security. The Internet of today is not the Internet of five years ago. There are dangers that simply didn't exist back in 2001, when Internet Explorer 6 was released to the world. Internet Explorer 7 makes surfing the web fundamentally safer by offering greater protection against viruses, spyware, and other online risks.

Get free downloads for Internet Explorer 7, including recommended updates as they become available. To download Internet Explorer 7 in the language of your choice, please visit the Internet Explorer 7 worldwide page.