• Offered by Centre for Arab and Islamic Studies
  • ANU College ANU College of Arts and Social Sciences
  • Classification Transitional
  • Course subject Middle Eastern & Central Asian Studies
  • Areas of interest Arab and Islamic Studies
Modern Turkey: History, Culture and Regional Relations (MEAS6503)

Westerners prior to the foundation of Modern Turkey referred to the Ottoman State as Turkey. The usage was vague and most probably in Western mind covered only Asia Minor and Thrace where the Muslims (in the sense of Turks) were in majority regardless of their ethnic origin. The Balkans and Arabia as well as almost all of North Africa were once the Ottoman lands with a continuing Ottoman heritage and culture. The word Turkey was used for a geographical region that fell between the Balkans and Arabia, but with no clear-cut boundaries. First World War marked the end of Ottoman Empire. The Allied Plan for the so called Turkey confined the Turks to central and centre part of northern Anatolia. The Turks under the leadership of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, later the founder of Modern Turkey, fought the War of Liberation. Fighting against the great imperial powers of the day they were finally able to secure the boundaries of Modern Turkish Republic. Ataturk was declared as the first president of Turkey. The new modern state was founded following the Western model and started to act as a bridge between the East and the West.
There is still a controversy whether Turkey was founded on the Ottoman heritage or not. In any case it is generally accepted that the Ottoman culture and its heterogeneous population were amalgamation and continuation of the most civilized Christian and Islamic empires such as Roman and Byzantine, Abbasid and Seljuk. It is very unfortunate that the ethno-cultural problems that had already existed or were created during the process of breaking up the Ottoman Empire are kept alive and continue to pose danger both to Modern Turkey and the newly founded states in the Balkans and the Middle East. The main concern of this course will be to tackle these problems and analyze them within the dynamic framework of change and continuity. The course will also concentrate on the political, cultural, economic and social dangers that Modern Turkey, as a bridge between the Middle East and West, is facing today. Course Objectives: 1. To provide an in-depth coverage of the problems that a nation might face during the process of state building and thereafter. 2. To demonstrate the ways the big powers can tamper and manipulate with ethno-religious mosaic in a region. 3. To discover the ways socio-economic, cultural, religious and ethnic factors can play in the break up of an empire and formation of a new state.

Indicative Assessment

5,000-word essay (50%), final examination or second optional essay (40%) and tutorial assessment based on attendance, reading and performance (10%)

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Two one-hour lectures and one tutorial per week

Preliminary Reading

J M Landau (ed.), Ataturk and the Modernization of Turkey, Boulder, Westview Press, 1984.
S Deringil, The Ottomans, the Turks, and World Power Politics, Istanbul: The ISIS Press, 2000.
FS Larrabee & I O Lesser, Turkish Foreign Policy in an Age of Uncertainty, National Security Research Division, Santa Monica: RAND, 2003.


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6 units

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6.00 0.12500
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Second Semester

Class number Class start date Last day to enrol Census date Class end date Mode Of Delivery Class Summary
3212 20 Jul 2015 07 Aug 2015 31 Aug 2015 30 Oct 2015 In Person N/A

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