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The Six Arrows Cumhuriyet Halk Partisi Logo (2).svg
The Six Arrows

Kemalism (Turkish : Kemalizm), also known as Atatürkism (Turkish : Atatürkçülük, Atatürkçü düşünce), or the Six Arrows (Turkish : Altı Ok), is the founding ideology of the Republic of Turkey. [1] Kemalism, as it was implemented by Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, was defined by sweeping political, social, cultural and religious reforms designed to separate the new Turkish state from its Ottoman predecessor and embrace a modernized lifestyle, [2] including the establishment of democracy, secularism, state support of the sciences and free education, many of which were first introduced to Turkey during Atatürk's presidency in his reforms. [3]

Turkish language Turkic language mainly spoken and used in Turkey

Turkish, also referred to as Istanbul Turkish, and sometimes known as Turkey Turkish, is the most widely spoken of the Turkic languages, with around ten to fifteen million native speakers in Southeast Europe and sixty to sixty-five million native speakers in Western Asia. Outside Turkey, significant smaller groups of speakers exist in Germany, Bulgaria, North Macedonia, Northern Cyprus, Greece, the Caucasus, and other parts of Europe and Central Asia. Cyprus has requested that the European Union add Turkish as an official language, even though Turkey is not a member state.

The Six Arrows Symbol of the Turkish Republican Peoples Party

The Six Arrows is the symbol and flag of the Turkish Republican People's Party (CHP). The arrows represent the fundamental pillars of Kemalism, Turkey's founding ideology. These are Republicanism, Populism, Nationalism, Laicism, Statism, and Reformism. The arrows are believed to have been conceived by İsmail Hakkı Tonguç, a Turkish scientist who made significant contributions to the Turkish education system. The principles of the Six Arrows were added to the Turkish Constitution on 5 February 1937. From August 1938 the flag was hoisted at all official buildings.

Mustafa Kemal Atatürk Founder of the Republic of Turkey

Kemal Atatürk, commonly referred to as Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, was a Turkish field marshal (Mareşal), revolutionary statesman, author, and founder of the Republic of Turkey, serving as its first President from 1923 until his death in 1938. His dictatorship undertook sweeping liberal reforms, which modernized Turkey into a secular, industrial nation. Ideologically a secularist and nationalist, his policies and theories became known as Kemalism.


Many of the root ideas of Kemalism began during the late Ottoman Empire under various reforms to avoid the imminent collapse of the Empire, beginning chiefly in the early 19th-century Tanzimat reforms. [4] The mid-century Young Ottomans attempted to create the ideology of Ottoman nationalism, or Ottomanism, to quell the rising ethnic nationalism in the Empire and introduce limited democracy for the first time while maintaining Islamist influences. In the early 20th century, Young Turks abandoned Ottoman nationalism in favor of early Turkish nationalism, while adopting a secular political outlook. After the demise of the Ottoman Empire, Atatürk, influenced by both the Young Ottomans and the Young Turks, [5] as well as by their successes and failures, led the declaration of the Republic of Turkey in 1923, borrowing from the earlier movements' ideas of secularism and Turkish nationalism, while bringing about, for the first time, free education [6] and other reforms that have been enshrined by later leaders into guidelines for governing Turkey.

Ottoman Empire Former empire in Southeast Europe, Western Asia and North Africa

The Ottoman Empire, historically known in Western Europe as the Turkish Empire or simply Turkey, was a state that controlled much of Southeast Europe, Western Asia and North Africa between the 14th and early 20th centuries. It was founded at the end of the 13th century in northwestern Anatolia in the town of Söğüt by the Oghuz Turkish tribal leader Osman I. After 1354, the Ottomans crossed into Europe, and with the conquest of the Balkans, the Ottoman beylik was transformed into a transcontinental empire. The Ottomans ended the Byzantine Empire with the 1453 conquest of Constantinople by Mehmed the Conqueror.

Tanzimat Ottoman Empire reform period, 1839-1876

The Tanzimât was a period of reform in the Ottoman Empire that began in 1839 and ended with the First Constitutional Era in 1876.

Young Ottomans political party

The Young Ottomans were a secret society established in 1865 by a group of Ottoman Turkish intellectuals who were dissatisfied with the Tanzimat reforms in the Ottoman Empire, which they believed did not go far enough. Young Ottomans sought to transform Ottoman society by preserving the empire and modernizing along the European tradition of adopting a constitutional government. Though the Young Ottomans were frequently in disagreement ideologically, they all agreed that the new constitutional government should continue to be somewhat rooted in Islam to emphasize "the continuing and essential validity of Islam as the basis of Ottoman political culture" and syncretized Islamic ideals with liberalism and parliamentary democracy. The Young Ottomans sought to revitalize the empire by incorporating certain European models of government, while still retaining the Islamic foundations of the empire. Among the prominent members of this society were writers and publicists such as İbrahim Şinasi, Namık Kemal, Ali Suavi, Ziya Pasha, and Agah Efendi.


Kemalism is a modernization philosophy which guided the transition between the multi-religious, multi-ethnic Ottoman Empire to the secular, unitary Republic of Turkey. Kemalism sets the boundaries of the social process in the Turkish Reformation. Atatürk is the founder of Kemalism, and his doctrine was implemented as state ideology even after his death. [7] Kemalism has also sometimes been called "Socialism peculiar to Turkey" or "Turkish socialism".

Unitary state state governed as a single unit with a supreme central government

A unitary state is a state governed as a single power in which the central government is ultimately supreme. The central government may create administrative divisions. Such units exercise only the powers that the central government chooses to delegate. Although political power may be delegated through devolution to local governments by statute, the central government may abrogate the acts of devolved governments or curtail their powers. A large majority of the world's states have a unitary system of government.


There are six fundamental pillars (ilke) of the ideology: Republicanism (Turkish : cumhuriyetçilik), Populism (Turkish : halkçılık), Nationalism (Turkish : milliyetçilik), Laicism (Turkish : laiklik), Statism (Turkish : devletçilik), and Reformism (Turkish : devrimcilik). Together they represent a kind of Jacobinism, defined by Atatürk himself as a method of utilizing political despotism in order to break down the social despotism prevalent among the traditionally minded Turkish-Muslim population, for which he blamed foremost the bigotry of the ulema. [8] The principles came to be recognized as unchangeable and sacrosanct.

Republicanism is a representative form of government organization. It is a political ideology centered on citizenship in a state organized as a republic. Historically, it ranges from the rule of a representative minority or oligarchy to popular sovereignty. It has had different definitions and interpretations which vary significantly based on historical context and methodological approach.

Populism political orientation or standpoint

Populism refers to a range of political stances that emphasise the idea of "the people" and often juxtapose this group against "the elite". The term developed in the 19th century and has been applied to various politicians, parties, and movements since that time, although has rarely been chosen as a self-description. Within political science and other social sciences, several different definitions of populism have been employed, with some scholars proposing that the term be rejected altogether.

Nationalism is an ideology and movement characterized by the promotion of the interests of a particular nation, especially with the aim of gaining and maintaining the nation's sovereignty (self-governance) over its homeland. Nationalism holds that each nation should govern itself, free from outside interference (self-determination), that a nation is a natural and ideal basis for a polity, and that the nation is the only rightful source of political power. It further aims to build and maintain a single national identity—based on shared social characteristics such as culture, language, religion, politics, and belief in a shared singular history—and to promote national unity or solidarity. Nationalism, therefore, seeks to preserve and foster a nation's traditional culture, and cultural revivals have been associated with nationalist movements. It also encourages pride in national achievements, and is closely linked to patriotism. Nationalism is often combined with other ideologies, such as conservatism or socialism for example.


Republicanism (Turkish : cumhuriyetçilik) in the Kemalist framework replaced the absolute monarchy of the Ottoman dynasty with the rule of law, popular sovereignty and civic virtue, including an emphasis on liberty practiced by citizens. Kemalist republicanism defines a type of constitutional republic, in which representatives of the people are elected, and must govern in accordance with existing constitutional law limiting governmental power over citizens. The head of state and other officials are chosen by election rather than inheriting their positions, and their decisions are subject to judicial review. In defending the change from the Ottoman State, Kemalism asserts that all laws of the Republic of Turkey should be inspired by actual needs here on Earth as a basic tenet of national life. [9] Kemalism advocates a republican system as the best representative of the wishes of the people.

Absolute monarchy is a form of monarchy in which the monarch holds supreme authority and where that authority is not restricted by any written laws, legislature, or customs. These are often hereditary monarchies. In contrast, in constitutional monarchies, the head of state's authority derives from and is legally bounded or restricted by a constitution or legislature.

Ottoman dynasty ruling family of the Ottoman Empire

The Ottoman Dynasty was made up of the members of the imperial House of Osman, also known as the Ottomans. According to Ottoman tradition, the family originated from the Kayı tribe branch of the Oghuz Turks, under Osman I in northwestern Anatolia in the district of Bilecik Söğüt. The Ottoman dynasty, named after Osman I, ruled the Ottoman Empire from c. 1299 to 1922.

Rule of law Political situation where every citizen is subject to the law

The rule of law is defined in the Oxford English Dictionary as: "The authority and influence of law in society, especially when viewed as a constraint on individual and institutional behavior; (hence) the principle whereby all members of a society are considered equally subject to publicly disclosed legal codes and processes." The phrase "the rule of law" refers to a political situation, not to any specific legal rule.

Among the many types of republic, the Kemalist republic is a representative democracy with a Parliament chosen in general elections, a President as head of state elected by Parliament and serving for a limited term, a Prime Minister appointed by the President, and other Ministers appointed by Parliament. The Kemalist President does not have direct executive powers, but has limited veto powers, and the right to contest with referendum. The day-to-day operation of government is the responsibility of the Council of Ministers formed by the Prime Minister and the other Ministers. There is a separation of powers between the executive (President and Council of Ministers), the legislative (Parliament) and the judiciary, in which no one branch of government has authority over another–although parliament is charged with the supervision of the Council of Ministers, which can be compelled to resign by a vote of no-confidence.

Representative democracy Democracy where citizens elect a small set of people to represent them in decision making

Representative democracy is a type of democracy founded on the principle of elected officials representing a group of people, as opposed to direct democracy. Nearly all modern Western-style democracies are types of representative democracies; for example, the United Kingdom is a constitutional monarchy, France is a unitary state, and the United States is a federal republic.

The president is a common title for the head of state in most republics. In politics, president is a title given to leaders of republican states.

The separation of powers is a model for the governance of a state. Under this model, a state's government is divided into branches, each with separate and independent powers and areas of responsibility so that the powers of one branch are not in conflict with the powers associated with the other branches. The typical division is into three branches: a legislature, an executive, and a judiciary, which is the trias politica model. It can be contrasted with the fusion of powers in some parliamentary systems where the executive and legislative branches overlap.

The Kemalist republic is a unitary state in which three organs of state govern the nation as a single unit, with one constitutionally created legislature. On some issues, the political power of government is transferred to lower levels, to local elected assemblies represented by mayors, but the central government retains the principal governing role.


Dimensions of Populism
GNAT speakers.jpg
"Sovereignty belongs, without any restrictions or conditions, to the nation" is embossed behind the speaker's seat at the GNA

Populism (Turkish : halkçılık) is defined as a social revolution aimed to transfer the political power to citizenship. Kemalist populism not only to establish popular sovereignty but also the transfer of the social-economic transformation to realize a true populist state. However, Kemalist reject class conflict and believe national unity is above all else. To Kemalist populism envision a sociality that emphasizes work and national unity. Populism in Turkey is to create a unifying force that brings a sense of the Turkish state and the power of the people to bring in that new unity. [10]

Kemalist populism is an extension of the Kemalist modernization movement, aiming to make Islam compatible with the modern nation-state. This included state supervision of religious schools and organizations. Mustafa Kemal himself said “everyone needs a place to learn religion and faith that place is a Mektep not a Madrasa". This was intended to combat the “corruption” of Islam by the Ulema. Kemal believed that during the Ottoman period, the Ulema had come to exploit the power of their office and manipulate religious practices to their own gain. It was also feared that were education not brought under state control, unsupervised Madrasas could exacerbate the rising problem of Tarikat insularity that threatened to undermine the unity of the Turkish state. [11]


Kemalist social content (populism) does not accept any adjectives placed before the definition of a nation [a nation of ...]; denies the types of national unity based on racial, religious, totalitarian and fascist ideologies. It strongly opposes any kind of authority, oppression, colonialism, imperialism, etc., against the sovereignty of the people. Sovereignty must belong solely to people without any term, condition, etc.:

Sovereignty belongs to the people/nation unrestrictedly and unconditionally. [12]

Mustafa Kemal Atatürk


Kemalist social content (populism) was brought against the political domination of sheiks, tribal leaders, and Islamism (Islam as a political system) of the Ottoman Empire. Initially, the declaration of the republic was perceived as "Returning to the days of the first caliphs". [13] However, Kemalist nationalism aimed to shift the political legitimacy from autocracy (by the Ottoman dynasty), theocracy (based in the Ottoman Caliphate), and feudalism (tribal leaders) to the active participation of its citizenry, the Turks. Kemalist social content wanted to establish the value of Turkish citizenship. A sense of pride associated with this citizenship would give the needed psychological spur for people to work harder and achieve a sense of unity and national identity. Active participation, or the "will of the people", was established with the republican regime and Turkishness replacing the other forms of affiliations that were promoted in the Ottoman Empire (such as the allegiance to the different millets that eventually led to divisiveness in the Empire). The shift in affiliation was symbolized with:

Turkish: Ne mutlu Türküm diyene. (English: How happy is the one who calls themself a Turk.)

Mustafa Kemal Atatürk

The motto "Ne mutlu Türküm diyene" was promoted against the "long live the Sultan," "long live the Sheikh", or "long live the Caliph."


The laicism (Turkish : laiklik) of Kemalist ideology aims to banish religious interference in government affairs, and vice versa. It differs from the passive Anglo-American concept of secularism, [14] but is similar to the concept of laïcité in France.

The roots of Kemalist secularism lie in the reform efforts in the late Ottoman Empire, especially the Tanzimat period and the later Second Constitutional Era. The Ottoman Empire was an Islamic state in which the head of the Ottoman state held the position of the Caliph. The social system was organized according to various systems, including the religiously-organized Millet system and Shari'ah law, allowing religious ideology to be incorporated into the Ottoman administrative, economic, and political system. This way of life is today defined as Islamism (political Islam): "the belief that Islam should guide social and political as well as personal life". [15] In the Second Constitutional Era, the Ottoman Parliament pursued largely secular policies, although techniques of religious populism and attacks on other candidates' piety still occurred between Ottoman political parties during elections. These policies were stated as the reason for the countercoup of 1909 by Islamists and absolute monarchists. The secular policies of the Ottoman parliament also factored in the Arab Revolt during World War I.

When secularism was implemented in the fledgling Turkish state, it was initiated by the abolition of the centuries-old Caliphate in March 1924. The office of Shaykh al-Islām was replaced with the Presidency of Religious Affairs (Turkish : Diyanet). In 1926, the Mejelle and shari'ah law codes were abandoned in favor of an adapted Swiss Civil Code and a penal code modeled on the German and Italian codes. Other religious practices were done away with, including the dissolution of Sufi orders and the penalization of wearing a Fez, which was viewed by Atatürk as a tie to the Ottoman past. [2]

State and religion (Laïcité)

Atatürk was profoundly influenced by the triumph of laïcité in France. [16] Atatürk perceived the French model as the authentic form of secularism. Kemalism strove to control religion and transform it into a private affair rather than an institution interfering with politics, scientific and social progress. [16] "Sane reason," and "the liberty of [one's] fellow man," as Atatürk once put it. [17] It is more than merely creating a separation between state and religion. Atatürk has been described as working as if he were Leo the Isaurian, Martin Luther, the Baron d'Holbach, Ludwig Büchner, Émile Combes, and Jules Ferry rolled into one in creating Kemalist secularism. [16] Kemalist secularism does not imply nor advocate agnosticism or nihilism; it means freedom of thought and independence of the institutions of the state from the dominance of religious thought and religious institutions. The Kemalist principle of laicism is not against moderate and apolitical religion, but against religious forces opposed to and fighting modernization and democracy.

According to the Kemalist perception, the Turkish state is to stand at an equal distance from every religion, neither promoting nor condemning any set of religious beliefs. Kemalist, however, has called for not only separation of church and state but also a call for the state control of the Moslem religious establishment. For some Kemalists, this means that the state must be at the helm of religious affairs, and all religious activities be under the supervision of the state. This in turn drew criticism by the religious conservatives. Religious conservatives were vocal in rejecting this idea, saying that to have a secular state, the state can’t control the activities of religious institutions. Despite their protest, this policy was officially adopted by the 1961 constitution. [10]

Kemalism must stamp out the religious element within society. After the Turkish independence of the western powers all education was under the control of the state in both secular and religious schools. They centralized the education system with one curriculum in both religious and secular public school in hope this would eliminate or lessen the appeal of religious schools. The laws were meant to abolish the religious order called Tarikats. Titles like Shirk and dervish were abolished, and their activities banned by the government. The day of rest was changed by the government from Friday to Sunday. But the restrictions on personal choice extended to both religious duty and naming. Turks had to adopt a surname and are not allowed to make a pilgrimage to Mecca. [10] [11]

Politics and religion (Secularism)

The Kemalist form of separation of state and religion sought the reform of a complete set of institutions, interest groups (such as political parties, unions, and lobbies), the relationships between those institutions, and the political norms and rules that governed their functions (constitution, election law). The biggest change in this perspective was the abolishment of the Ottoman Caliphate on March 3, 1924, followed by the removal of its political mechanisms. The article stating that "the established religion of Turkey is Islam" was removed from the constitution on April 10, 1928. [18]

From a political perspective, Kemalism is anti-clerical in that it seeks to prevent religious influence on the democratic process, which was a problem even in the largely secular politics of the Second Constitutional Era of the Ottoman Empire, when even non-religiously affiliated political parties like the Committee of Union and Progress and the Freedom and Accord Party feuded over matters such as the Islamic piety of their candidates in the Ottoman elections of 1912. [19] Thus, in the Kemalist political perspective, politicians cannot claim to be the protector of any religion or religious sect, and such claims constitute sufficient legal grounds for the permanent banning of political parties.


The Ottoman social system was based on religious affiliation. Religious insignia extended to every social function. Clothing identified citizens with their own particular religious grouping; headgear distinguished rank and profession. Turbans, fezes, bonnets, and head-dresses denoted the sex, rank, and profession — both civil and military — of the wearer. Religious insignia outside of worship areas was banned.

While Atatürk considered women's religious coverings as antithetical to progress and equality, he also recognized that headscarves were not such a danger to the separation of church and state to warrant an outright ban. [20] But the Constitution was amended in 1982, following the 1980 coup by the Kemalist-leaning military, to prohibit women's use of Islamic coverings such as headscarves at higher education institutions. [21] Joost Lagendijk, a member of the European Parliament and chair of the Joint Parliamentary Committee with Turkey, has publicly criticized these clothing restrictions for Muslim women, [22] whereas the European Court of Human Rights ruled in numerous cases that such restrictions in public buildings and educational institutions do not constitute a violation of human rights. [23] [24]


Reformism, or revolutionism (Turkish : devrimcilik / inkılâpçılık) is a principle which calls for the country to replace the traditional institutions and concepts with modern institutions and concepts. This principle advocated the need for fundamental social change through revolution as a strategy to achieve a modern society. The core of the revolution, in the Kemalist sense, was an accomplished fact. [25] In a Kemalist sense there is no possibility of return to the old systems because they were deemed backward.

The principle of revolutionism went beyond the recognition of the reforms made during Atatürk's lifetime. Atatürk's reforms in the social and political life are accepted as irreversible. Atatürk never entertained the possibility of a pause or transition phase during the course of the progressive unfolding or implementation of the revolution. The current understanding of this concept can be described that active modification. [25] Turkey and its society, taking over institutions from Western Europe, must add Turkish traits and patterns to them and adapt them to the Turkish culture, according to Kemalism. [25] The making of the Turkish traits and patterns of these reforms takes generations of cultural and social experience (which results in the collective memory of the Turkish nation).


Nationalism (Turkish : milliyetçilik): The Kemalist revolution aimed to create a nation state from the remnants of the multi-religious and multi-ethnic Ottoman Empire. Kemalist nationalism originates from the social contract theories, especially from the principles advocated by Jean-Jacques Rousseau and his Social Contract. The Kemalist perception of social contract was effected by the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire which was perceived as a product of failure of the Ottoman "Millet" system and the ineffective Ottomanism. Kemalist nationalism, after experiencing the Ottoman Empire's breakdown into pieces, defined the social contract as its "highest ideal".

In the administration and defense of the Turkish Nation; national unity, national awareness and national culture are the highest ideals that we fix our eyes upon. [26]

Mustafa Kemal Atatürk

Kemalist ideology defines the "Turkish Nation" (Turkish : Türk Ulusu) as a nation of Turkish People who always love and seek to exalt their family, country and nation, who know their duties and responsibilities towards the democratic, secular and social state governed by the rule of law, founded on human rights, and on the tenets laid down in the preamble to the constitution of the Republic of Turkey. [27] Mustafa Kemal Atatürk defines the Turkish Nation by saying

The folk which constitutes the Republic of Turkey is called the Turkish Nation.

Mustafa Kemal Atatürk


Kemalist criteria for national identity or simply being Turkish (Turkish : Türk) refers to a shared language, and/or shared values defined as a common history, and the will to share a future. Kemalist ideology defines the "Turkish people" as:

Those who protect and promote the moral, spiritual, cultural and humanistic values of the Turkish Nation. [27]

Membership is usually gained through birth within the borders of the state and also the principle of jus sanguinis. Kemalist form of nationality is integrated to the Article 66 of the Constitution of the Republic of Turkey. Every citizen is recognized as a Turk, regardless of ethnicity, belief, and gender, etc. Turkish nationality law states that he or she can be deprived of his/her nationality only through an act of treason. [28]

In 2005, the Article 301 of the Turkish Penal code made it a crime to insult Turkishness (Turkish : türklük), but under pressure of the EU, this was changed in 2008 to protect the "Turkish nation" instead of Turkish ethnicity in 2008, an 'imagined' nationhood of people living within the National Pact (Turkish : Misak-ı Milli) borders. [29]


Kemalist nationalism believes in the principle that the Turkish state is an indivisible whole comprising its territory and people, which is defined as the "unity of the state". It is a concept of nationalism which respects the right to independence of all other nations.


Kemalism had not only displaced "Pan-Turkism" as the official state ideology; it also focused on the nation-state's narrower interests, renouncing the concern for the "Outside Turks". [30]

Pan-Turkism was an ethnocentric ideology [to unite all ethnically Turkic nations] while Kemalism is polycentric [united under a " common will"] in character. [30] Kemalism wants to have an equal footing among the mainstream world civilizations. Pan-Turkists have consistently emphasized the special attributes of the Turkic peoples, and wanted to unite all of the Turkic peoples. Kemalism wants an equal footing (based on respect) and does not aim to unite the people of Turkey with all the other Turkic nations. Most Kemalists were not interested in Pan-Turkism and from 1923 to 1950 (the single state period) reacted with particular firmness. [30]


Kemalism had not only displaced "Turanism" as the official state ideology; it also focused on the Turkish People, within the alive and historical cultures and peoples of Anatolia [an Anatolian-centered view].

Turanism centered the nation as the union of all Turanian peoples (Tungus, Hungarians, Finns, Mongols, Estonians and Koreans) stretching from the Altai Mountains in Eastern Asia to the Bosphorus. [31] Kemalism had a narrower definition of language which wanted to remove [purify] the Persian, Arabic, Greek, Latin, etc. words from the language used in Anatolia. Turanian leaders, such as Enver Pasha, wanted an evolving language common to all Turanian peoples, minimizing differences and maximizing similarities between them.


Regarding expansionism, Kemalist nationalism opposes imperialism and aims to promote "peace" in both the domestic and the international arenas. Mustafa Kemal Atatürk wrote in 1930:

Within the political and social unity of today's Turkish nation, there are citizens and co-nationals who have been incited to think of themselves as Kurds, Circassians, Laz or Bosnians. But these erroneous appellations - the product of past periods of tyranny - have brought nothing but sorrow to individual members of the nation, with the exception of a few brainless reactionaries, who became the enemy's instruments. This is because these individual members of the nation (Kurds, Circassians, Laz or Bosnians) share with the generality of Turkish society the same past, history, concept of morals and laws. [32]


Statism (Turkish : devletçilik): Kemal Atatürk made clear in his statements and policies that Turkey's complete modernization was very much dependent on economic and technological development. The principle of Kemalist Statism is generally interpreted to mean that the state was to regulate the country's general economic activities and engage in areas where private enterprises are not willing to do so. This was the result of post-revolutionary Turkey needing to redefine the relationship between societal and international capitalism. The revolution left Turkey in ruins as the Ottoman empire was focused on raw materials and was an open market in the international capitalist system. Post-revolutionary Turkey is largely defined by its agricultural society which includes many landlords and merchant. The control of people in the Turkish economy is quite evident from 1923 to 1930s but they still managed, through foreign joint investment, to establish a state economic enterprise. However, after the 1930s depression, there was a shift to more inward-looking development strategies during an era generally referred to as etatism. During this era, the state had an active involvement in both capital accumulation and investment as well as taking the interest of private businesses into consideration. The state often stepped into economic areas that the private sector did not cover, either due to not being strong enough or having failed to do so. These were often infrastructure projects and power stations but also iron and steel industries, while the masses shouldered the burden of the capital accumulation. [33]


Kemalism and Turkey's political parties

"Six Arrows" as depicted by the CHP's logo Cumhuriyet Halk Partisi.png
"Six Arrows" as depicted by the CHP's logo

The Republican People's Party was established by Mustafa Kemal Atatürk on September 9, 1923, not long before the declaration of the Republic of Turkey on October 29. The Republican People's Party did not attempt to update or define the philosophical roots of it party Kemalism from the 1940s to the 1960s. However, since the 1960s, there has being a move to the left-of-center. The supporter of the left-of-center accepts the tented of the Kemalism also entrained the idea that structural changes brought forth by the government are necessary for modernization. Later in the 1970s, the RRP had to make fundamental changes to its party platform as the country Abandonment of Kemalism. The party thought several programs as being labeled the democratic left. Most still believe in the six principles of Kemalism while others seek to reduce the role of etatism in Turkish society. [34]

Kemalism and Turkey's constitutional law

The six principles were solidified on 5 February 1937, 14 years after establishment of the Republic of Turkey.

In the 1924 Constitutional Law Article 2, Clause 1:

Turkey is republican, nationalist, attached to the people, interventionist, secular, and revolutionary.

Both the military coup of 1960 and the military coup of 1980 were followed by fundamental revisions of the Turkish Constitution. The texts of the new constitutions was approved by popular referendum in each case.

In the 1961 Constitutional Law Article 1, Clause 1 states "The Turkish State is a Republic." Article 2, Clause 1:

The Turkish Republic is a nationalistic, democratic, secular and social state, governed by the rule of law, based on human rights and fundamental tenets set forth in the preamble.

In the 1982 Constitutional Law Article 1, Clause 1 states "The Turkish State is a Republic." Article 2, Clause 1:

The Republic of Turkey is a democratic, secular and social state governed by the rule of law; bearing in mind the concepts of public peace, national solidarity and justice; respecting human rights; loyal to the nationalism of Atatürk, and based on the fundamental tenets set forth in the Preamble.

Only the principles of secularism, nationalism and democracy were maintained in each change to the constitution. The 1961 Constitution more strongly emphasized human rights, the rule of law, and the welfare state than the original 1924 constitution, while the 1982 constitution focused on the peace of the community and national solidarity, but also explicitly referenced some of Atatürk's principles and included them as well.

External interpretations of Kemalism

In the 1920s and 1930s, Turkey's domestic transformations and the evolution of the Kemalist system of ideological and political principles were closely observed in Germany, France, Britain, the USA, and beyond, including several nations farther East. In recent years, scholarly interest in the transnational history of Kemalism has expanded. Some scholars have focused on the interwar period in Bulgaria, Cyprus, Albania, Yugoslavia, and Egypt to reveal how, as a practical tool, Kemalism was relocated as a global movement, whose influence is still felt today. [35] Some scholars have examined the impact of Atatürk’s reforms and his image on the Jewish community in British-ruled Palestine before the establishment of Israel, [36] some went farther East—to Persia, Afghanistan, China, India, [37] and other parts of the Muslim world—to assess the influence wielded by Mustafa Kemal and his modernization project. These works explore perceptions of Kemalism that are mostly positive in their respective countries providing few critical insights into Kemalism’s evolution and its reception as an ideological project. Against this background, one of the critical partners of Turkey in the interwar period – the Soviet Union, its leaders, Communist Party functionaries, journalists and scholars initially interpreted Kemalism as an ideological ally in the struggle against the West. Since the late 1920s until the 1950s, Kemalism was viewed negatively by the Communists. In the 1960s and 1970s, the Soviet position returned to normalization. Views and analyses of Soviet leaders, diplomats, Communist party functionaries, and scholars helps us grasp the underlying dynamics behind these changing attitudes. Placing them in the larger context of republican history—delineating phases in the Kemalist paradigm of development and discerning its various rises and falls—will enrich our knowledge of the transnational history of Kemalism. [38]

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The Turkish War of Independence was fought between the Turkish National Movement and the proxies of the Allies – namely Greece on the Western Front, Armenia on the Eastern, France on the Southern, the royalists and the separatists in various cities, and with them, the United Kingdom and Italy in Constantinople – after parts of the Ottoman Empire were occupied and partitioned following the Ottomans' defeat in World War I. Few of the occupying British, French, and Italian troops had been deployed or engaged in combat.

Islam in Turkey

Islam in Turkey is the largest religion in the country. The established presence of Islam in the region that now constitutes modern Turkey dates back to the latter half of the 11th century, when the Seljuks started expanding into eastern Anatolia.

Atatürks Reforms Reforms to the Republic of Turkey under Mustafa Kemal Atatürk

Atatürk's Reforms were a series of political, legal, religious, cultural, social, and economic policy changes that were designed to convert the new Republic of Turkey into a secular, modern nation-state and implemented under the leadership of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk in accordance with the Kemalist ideology. Central to these reforms were the belief that Turkish society would have to Westernize itself both politically and culturally in order to modernize. Political reforms involved a number of fundamental institutional changes that brought end of many traditions, and followed a carefully planned program to unravel the complex system that had developed over the centuries.

Turkish Left is a weekly nationalist and socialist magazine as the official organ of the Turkish Left is a nationalist group in Turkey. It is the continuation of Yön, an influential political magazine in Turkey in the 1960s. Türk Solu was formed following a split in the Workers' Party (İP). The magazine is led by Gökçe Fırat Çulhaoğlu and is based in Istanbul.

One-party period of the Republic of Turkey

The single-party period of the Republic of Turkey began with the formal establishment of the country in 1923. The Republican People's Party (CHP) was the only party between 1923 and 1945, when the National Development Party was established. After winning the first multiparty elections in 1946 by a landslide, the Republican People's Party lost the majority to the Democratic Party in the 1950 elections. During the single-party period, President Mustafa Kemal Atatürk repeatedly requested that opposition parties be established against the Republican People's Party in order to transition into multi-party democracy; in 1930, the Liberal Republican Party was established but dissolved by its founder. The Progressive Republican Party had also been established in 1924 by Kazım Karabekir, but was banned after its members' involvement in the 1925 Sheikh Said rebellion. Despite Atatürk's efforts in establishing a self-propagating multi-party system during his presidency, this was only established after his death in 1938.

Turkish National Movement

The Turkish National Movement encompasses the political and military activities of the Turkish revolutionaries that resulted in the creation and shaping of the modern Republic of Turkey, as a consequence of the defeat of the Ottoman Empire in World War I and the subsequent occupation of Constantinople and partitioning of the Ottoman Empire by the Allies under the terms of the Armistice of Mudros. The Ottomans saw the movement as part of an international conspiracy against them. The Turkish revolutionaries rebelled against this partitioning and against the Treaty of Sèvres, signed in 1920 by the Ottoman government, which partitioned portions of Anatolia itself.

The "Three Pashas" refers to the triumvirate of senior officials who effectively ruled the Ottoman Empire during World War I: Mehmed Talaat Pasha (1874–1921), the Grand Vizier and Minister of the Interior; Ismail Enver Pasha (1881–1922), the Minister of War; and Ahmed Djemal Pasha (1872–1922), the Minister of the Navy. They were largely responsible for the Empire's entry into World War I in 1914. All three met violent deaths after the war - Talaat and Djemal were assassinated, while Enver died leading the Basmachi Revolt near Dushanbe, present-day Tajikistan.

Secularism in Turkey

Secularism in Turkey defines the relationship between religion and state in the country of Turkey. Secularism was first introduced with the 1928 amendment of the Constitution of 1924, which removed the provision declaring that the "Religion of the State is Islam", and with the later reforms of Turkey's first president Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, which set the administrative and political requirements to create a modern, democratic, secular state, aligned with Kemalism.

Turkish nationalism

Turkish nationalism is a political ideology that promotes and glorifies the Turkish people, as either a national, ethnic, or linguistic group.

Mustafa Kemal Atatürks personal life certain aspects of a persons life

Mustafa Kemal Atatürk founded the Republic of Turkey, and served as its president from 1923 until his death in 1938. His personal life has been the subject of numerous studies. According to Turkish historian Kemal H. Karpat, Atatürk's recent bibliography included 7,010 different sources. Atatürk's personal life has its controversies, ranging from where he was born to his correct full name. The details of his marriage have always been a subject of debate. His religious beliefs were discussed in Turkish political life as recently as the Republic Protests during the 2007 presidential election.

Islam and secularism

Secularism has been a controversial concept in Islamic political thought, owing in part to historical factors and in part to the ambiguity of the concept itself. In the Muslim world, the notion has acquired strong negative connotations due to its association with removal of Islamic influences from the legal and political spheres under foreign colonial domination, as well as attempts to restrict public religious expression by some secularist nation states. Thus, secularism has often been perceived as a foreign ideology imposed by invaders and perpetuated by post-colonial ruling elites, and understood as equivalent to irreligion or antireligion.

An important influence of Republicanism in Turkey formed a new republic in 1923 after the fall of the Ottoman Empire. In the Ottoman Empire an inherited aristocracy and sultinate suppressed republican ideas until the successful republican revolution of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk in the 1920s. Atatürk preached six basic principles. His Six Arrows were Republicanism, Populism, Secularism, Reformism, Nationalism, and Statism).

Şerif Mardin was a prominent Turkish sociologist, political scientist, academic and thinker. In a 2008 publication, he was referred to as the "doyen of Turkish sociology."

The Citizen, speak Turkish! campaign was a Turkish government-funded initiative created by law students which aimed to put pressure on non-Turkish speakers to speak Turkish in public in the 1930s. In some municipalities, fines were given to those speaking in any language other than Turkish. The campaign has been considered by some authors as a significant contribution to Turkey's sociopolitical process of Turkification.

Atatürks cult of personality

Atatürk's cult of personality was mostly established starting in the late 1930s by Mustafa Kemal Atatürk's successors after his death in 1938, by members of both his Republican People's Party and opposition parties alike, and in a limited amount by himself during his lifetime in order to popularize and cement his social and political reforms as the founder and first President of Turkey, including the introduction of republicanism, secularism, women's political and civil rights, and language and alphabet reform. It has been described as the "world's longest-running personality cult".

Conservatism in Turkey is a national variant of conservatism throughout Turkey reflected in the agendas of many of the country's political parties, most notably the governing Justice and Development Party (AKP), which describes its prevailing ideology as conservative democracy. Elements of Turkish conservatism are also reflected in most parties situated on the political right, including the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP). In Turkey, it is often referred to as Türk tipi muhafazakârlık.

Erdoğanism refers to the political ideals and agenda of Turkish President and former Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who became Prime Minister in 2003 and served until his election to the Presidency in 2014. With support significantly derived from charismatic authority, Erdoğanism has been described as the "strongest phenomenon in Turkey since Kemalism" and enjoys broad support throughout the country. Its ideological roots originate from Turkish conservatism and its most predominant political adherent is the governing Justice and Development Party (AKP), a party that Erdoğan himself founded in 2001.


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