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Gökalp, Ziya (1876–1924)

Serif Mardin

Subject Sociology » Sociological and Social Theory

Place Middle and Near East » Turkey

Period 1000 - 1999 » 1800-1899

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405124331.2007.x


Turkish sociologist Ziya Gökalp was the first to use western sociological theory as a foundation of his thought. He is known as the originator of a systematic theory of Turkish nationalism. This theory was elaborated in the confluence of three problematic issues in the Ottoman Empire at the end of the nineteenth century. One was the policy of “Ottomanism,” an attempt by the reformist Ottoman bureaucracy to modernize the empire. Ottomanism attempted to present Ottoman reform to the Concert of Europe (composed of Russia, Prussia, Austria, and Great Britain) as having modernized the structure of the empire and granted a new status to non-Muslim communities. It was hoped this would make Turkey worthy of acceptance in the Concert. This strategy was successful (1856), but met with much criticism from various groups inside the empire. The second Ottoman problem was the question of the viability of a union of all Muslims under Ottoman leadership. This issue was known as Islamism or Islamcilik . The third issue was an option increasingly discussed among Ottoman intellectuals in the 1890s, i.e., the ideology of rallying all Ottomans around “Turkishness.” In Cairo in 1904, an article appeared in the Young Turk periodical Turk entitled “Three Types of Policies” that weighed all three alternatives, condemning Ottomanism and “pan-Islamism” but expressing a hope for the promotion of a Turkish ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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