VARTANYAN E.G. The Reflection of the Ideas of Ziya Gyokalp in the Theory and Practice of Kemalism


Egnara G. Vartanyan

Doctor of Sciences (History), Professor,

Department of World History and International Relations, Kuban State University,

Stavropolskaya St., 149, 350040 Krasnodar, Russian Federation

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Abstract. Introduction. The article is devoted to reflecting the ideas of Turkish philosopher, sociologist, culture expert Ziya Gyokalp in the concepts of Kemalism, to the problem of reasonable mutual influence of the East and West, to the attempts of the first President of the Republic of Turkey Mustafa Kemal Atatyurk to introduce turkish society in the Westernized civilization in the 1920–1930s. The first Turkish president interpreted the ideas of Ziya Gyokalp, who fought for the synthesis of national traditions and European civilization achievements. The president defined such milestones in the political life of Turkey as europeanization, nationalism, laicism, etatism, revolutionism, nationality, republicanism. The article shows the struggle of westernists and traditionists; calls of nationalists to preserve national traditions, study the history of Muslim peoples and state institutions to make their adapting to new conditions of life in modernity easier. Only the balance between traditionalism and modernism can correspond to the realities of a particular society and era, while the westerners called for the transfer of European values to the national soil.

Methods. The historical-typological and historical-system research methods used in the article allowed to analyze the typology and transformation of Turkish culture in the first two decades of the republic’s existence.

Analysis. The article shows the struggle of Westerners and Traditionalists, the appeals of nationalists to preserve national traditions, to study the history of Muslim peoples and state institutions in order to adapt them for modern life more easily, because only the relationship between traditionalism and modernism can correspond to the realities of a particular society and to the modern epoch, while Westerners wanted to bind European values and national soil.

Results. The article draws the conclusion that fundamental principles of Kemalism were formulated by M.K. Atatyurk and implemented by him and his supporters not immediately, but step by step, beginning with 1918. The ideology of Kemalism is in tune with the ideas of Ziya Gyokalp to a great extent. The paper emphasizes that during the decades since the first attempts to modernize Turkey the state has taken unprecedented steps to import Western culture. Undoubtedly, transformations in Turkish society in the field of government, culture, and everyday life were of progressive importance. It contributed to national strengthening of Turkey and its transition from feudal to bourgeois forms of social life.

Key words: Turkey, westernisation, traditionalism, islamizm, kemalizm, laicism, modernization.

Citation. Vartanyan E.G. The Reflection of the Ideas of Ziya Gyokalp in the Theory and Practice of Kemalism. Vestnik Volgogradskogo gosudarstvennogo universiteta. Seriya 4. Istoriya. Regionovedenie. Mezhdunarodnye otnosheniya [Science Journal of Volgograd State University. History. Area Studies. International Relations], 2019, vol. 24, no. 3, pp. 137-146. (in Russian). DOI:

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The Reflection of the Ideas of Ziya Gyokalp in the Theory and Practice of Kemalism by Vartanyan E.G. is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

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