Soner Cagaptay
Soner Cagaptay
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Pundicity: Informed Opinion and Review

Books by Soner Cagaptay

Cover of Islam, Secularism, and Nationalism in Modern Turkey

Islam, Secularism, and Nationalism in Modern Turkey
Who Is a Turk?

by Soner Cagaptay
Routledge, 2006. 256 pp. $43.60
January 13, 2006

It is commonly believed that during the interwar period, Kemalist secularism successfully eliminated religion from the public sphere in Turkey, leaving Turkish national identity devoid of religious content. However, through its examination of the impact of the Ottoman millet system on Turkish and Balkan nationalisms, this book presents a different view point. Cagaptay demonstrates that the legacy of the Ottomon millet system which divided the Ottoman population into religious compartments called millets, shaped Turkey's understanding of nationalism in the interwar period. Providing a compelling examination of why and how religion shapes national identity in Turkey and the Balkans the book covers topics including:

  • Turkish nationalism
  • The Ottoman legacy
  • Kemalist citizenship policies and immigration
  • Kurds, Muslims and Jews and the ethno-religious limits of Turkishness.

Incorporating documents from untapped Turkish archives, this book is essential reading for scholars and students with research interests in Turkey, Turkish nationalism and Middle East history.


'There is no question that Cagaptay - a highly intelligent, serious, soul-searching, and inquisitive scholar - has put his finger on several crucial issues in Turkish political and cultural life.' -
Kemal H. Karpat, International Journal of Middle East Studies, Vol. 39 No. 2, May 2007

' stands apart from some of the previous works on the subject by its in-depth and judicious analysis based on a careful reading of the available archival evidence' - Sabri Sayari, Sabanci University, Istanbul, Middle East Studies Association Bulletin, Winter 2007

Table of Contents

Introduction: Turkish Nationalism Today 1. From the Muslim Millet to the Turkish Nation: The Ottoman Legacy 2. Secularism, Kemalist Nationalism, Turkishness, and the Minorities in the 1920s
3. Kemalism Par Excellence in the 1930s: The Rise of Turkish Nationalism 4. Who is a Turk? Kemalist Citizenship Policies 5. Secularized Islam Defines Turkishness: Kurds and Other Muslims as Turks
6. Ethno-Religious Limits of Turkishness: Christians Excluded from the Nation 7. Jews in the 1930s: Turks or Not? Conclusion: Understanding Turkish Nationalism in Modern Turkey: The Kemalist Legacy

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