Turkish Nationalism and Western Civilization

Turkish Nationalism and Western Civilization

Turkish Nationalism and Western Civilization

Turkish Nationalism and Western Civilization


The purpose of this volume is to provide the English reader with samples of the writings of Ziya Gökalp (1876-1924), the Turkish thinker, regarding Turkish nationalism and its meaning in terms of Islam and Western civilization. It must be emphasized, therefore, that the present volume is not a complete edition of Gökalp's writings.

Gökalp's writings can be classified roughly into three groups: (a) literary works, (b) writings on folklore, history, and sociology, and (c) prose writings dealing with cultural matters in short essay form.

The first and second categories are left entirely outside the framework of the present work. In excluding these, I believed that the Western reader would lose very little. Gökalp's poetry was devoid of art and was extremely didactic. He seems to have written poems as a hobby and never posed as a poet. He used poetry, however, to popularize his ideas in the form of rhymed slogans. This, I believe, helped to popularize some of his ideas, but, on the whole, was a factor in causing his ideas to be understood partially or inadequately. Another of his aims seems to have been to develop a modern literature which would develop into the writing of religious hymns as well as folk stories for children, but, unfortunately, his lack of artistic genius made this attempt almost a complete failure in so far as art went.

The second category of his writings have been excluded because of their length and technical nature. Among them must be mentioned his Türk Medeniyeti Tarihi (The History of the Turkish Civilization), of which only the first volume appeared, then posthumously.

The present volume has been compiled from his essays. Again, it is not a complete collection of this type of his writings. It contains selections which I found to express Gökalp's often repeated basic ideas best, to demonstrate the changes that took place in his formulations, and to show inconsistencies or contradictions in his ideas.

This volume will be found lacking by some readers because it includes nothing specific to one issue. Gökalp was believed to have been the prophet of Pan-Turanism. The belief was widespread and was shared by me when I began making an assortment of articles for translation. Upon completing a first selection, I found, to my surprise, that I had not included a single essay dealing directly or exclusively with Pan-Turanism. On reviewing Gökalp's works, I found, to my . . .

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