tries. To ascertain retarded development and to promote optimal development, culturally valid measures are needed that would build upon both cross-cultural research in the field and also within each sociocultural context. Both commonalities and differences would need to be taken into consideration, integrating comparative standards and culture-sensitive conceptualization.
It is with these considerations that we undertook the Turkish Early Enrichment Project. Supporting the mothers to support their children's overall development and school readiness entailed using comparative school-related cognitive standards, but this was done within a culturally relevant contextual approach. Our research experience and the applications emerging from our project have reinforced my belief in the feasibility of such an integrative approach, combining comparative standards of human development with culturally sensitive endogenous conceptualizations of well-being.
Our study and its policy-relevant outcomes have also strengthened my conviction about the potential of psychology to contribute to societal well-being. Developmental psychology in particular can contribute significantly to global efforts to promote human potential development if it accepts both a scientifically and socially responsible self-definition. Human development is the core of societal development, and psychology is centrally relevant to it.
It was against this background that the Ottoman Empire entered World War I siding with Germany, mainly in response to British political activity instigating ethnic/national independence movements throughout the Ottoman Empire. When the war was lost, Istanbul and Anatolia, the central heartland of the Ottoman Empire, were occupied.
This was the starting point of the resistance movements emerging in many places in Anatolia that were successfully merged under the leadership of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk. A war of independence was fought for three years against the armies of the occupying forces all over Anatolia and against all odds was miraculously won. In the process, Ottoman rule was defied and rejected, and a national assembly was instituted.
In 1923 the republic was established, the sultanate and the caliphate were abolished (the Ottoman sultans had also been the caliphs of the Islamic world since the occupation of Egypt in the sixteenth century). Atatürk was elected the first president of the Turkish Republic, and a series of reforms was enacted during the first two decades of the republican era. These covered all spheres of civil society. Most important, they entailed secularization