v6n3_4_toktas - Alternatives: Turkish Journal of...

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Unformatted text preview: Alternatives: Turkish Journal of International Relations, Vol. 6, No.3&4, Fall & Winter 2007 121 Civic Nationalism in Turkey: A Study on the Political Profile of Celal Bayar Ş ule Tokta ş * Abstract Celal Bayar, a prominent figure in Turkish politics who had hold various offices and positions last one being Republic Presidency, contributed to the Turkish nation-building process and took part in its various proceedings and institutions. This article discusses the views of Celal Bayar on nationalism, more specifically on Turkish nationalism. The discussion reflects on Bayar’s conception of ‘Turkish nation’, ‘national state’, ‘the Eastern question’, ‘Democrat Party nationalism’ and ‘the non-Muslim minorities’. The public speeches of him clearly point out that Celal Bayar understood and even promoted a type of Turkish nationalism which is very much close to civic nationalism. Keywords: Celal Bayar, Turkish nationalism, nation, state, civic. INTRODUCTION Celal Bayar had been one of the most prominent figures in Turkish politics. Starting his political career in the Union and Progress Party in the Ottoman Empire, with the establishment of modern Turkey, he took part in Republican People’s Party (RPP) and many of its cabinets until the transition to multiparty system in 1945. He continued his political career as the leader of the Democrat Party (DP) until 1950, the date that the DP won the Alternatives: Turkish Journal of International Relations, Vol. 6, No. 3 &4, Fall & Winter 2007 122 majority of the seats in the Grand National Assembly. However, he left the chairmanship of the DP after having been elected to the Presidency and presumed the office until the military coup of 1960. He was banned from politics but with a decree in 1969 he was permitted again. However, he did not take part in politics actively since then until his death in 1986. In his life of 103 years, the history of Turkey with its roots in the Ottoman Empire can be traced. However, in this paper, the main focus is restricted to his understanding of nationalism. By the same token, his thoughts on Turkish nation, national state, Eastern question, Democrat Party nationalism and non-Muslim minorities will compose the backbone of the article. The discussion, as is argued throughout the paper, illustrate that Celal Bayar’s views on nationalism reflect to the contribution that he makes to the making of civic Turkish nationalism. The paper also argues that Celal Bayar’s thoughts on nationalism do not signal to any change in the course of time. Although long and immense experience in governance and politics may set a reader to think otherwise, starting from the Ottoman times to the military coup of 1960 and even after it, he insisted on his thoughts and did not change them....
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v6n3_4_toktas - Alternatives: Turkish Journal of...

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