Geçtiğimiz hafta Benedict Anderson abimizin Metis yayınları tarafından yayımlanan "Hayali Cemaatler" adlı eserini okudum. Anderson bu kitabında bize "milliyetlerin ne olduklarını, nasıl oluştuklarını, yapsını ve dinamiklerini" açıklıyor. 'Milliyetler birer hayal ürünüdür'. Yazımda size kitap hakkında bilgi vermektense, Anderson'un bu görüşünün nasıl coğrafyamızda hayat bulduğunu kitaba referans vererek açıklayacağım.
Ulus-devletler hepimizin bildiği üzere, modern zamanların ve toplumların ürünüdür. Nasıl mı? İşte şu şekilde :
1750-1920-1950 ve 2000 tarihleri üzerinden hareketle yola çıkalım. 1750 tarihine "A Zamanı", 1920 ve sonra gelen tarihlere ise "B Zamanı" diyelim. A zamanına "kozmik" B zamanına ise "tarihi" Zaman adını verelim.
Kozmik zamanda insanların zihinlerinde ve hafızalarında eski ve yeni kavramı bizim anladığımız "eski ve yeni" olarak zuhur etmemekteydi, çünkü, "yeni" "eskinin" bir tekrarı niteliğindeydi, dahası "yeni" ilahi bir kalıbın tekrarı olarak görülmekteydi. Örneğin, bir kişi size yeni bir Kuran hediye aldığını söylediğinde, yeni kuranın içeriğine değil yeniden yazılmış bir kopyasına işaret etmektedir. Ancak, Tarihi zamandaki "yeni" tıpkı anladığımız gibi "eski" olanın gelişmişi niteliğindedir.
Kendini yenileyen olgular ve objeler "ilahi" yada "doğal" olarak karşılandığından asla ve asla hafızamızda hatırlanma eğleminde bulunmaz. Zaten şuanda olan olgulara baktığınızda onu görmeniz gayet mümkündür. Fakat bir olguda veya objede gelişmişlik yani bir faklılık varsa, eski olan hafızamızda yer edinmektedir. Anderson'a göre milliyetler her zaman tarihten birşeyleri "hatırlar", bu da onlara tarih içerisinde yolculuk etme olanağı sağlamaktadır.
Milletlerin, milliyetlerin ve milliyetçiliğin çıkmasının bir diğer kaynağı ise yazım kapitalizmidir. Eski imparatorluklarda 3 ayrı dil vardır bunlar: Devlet dili, Basım dili ve Din dilidir. Bunu daha anlaşılır hale getirmek için 3 dili de kullanan insanların perspektifinden hareket edeceğim. İlk olarak Dinin dilini kullanan insanları ele alalım. Sorumuz şu: Bir müslüman Kuran okurken kendinden başka kimin kuran okuduğunu bilir? Tabii ki diğer müslümanların! Diğer müslümanlar Türkiyeli de olabilir, Endonezyalı da olabilir, İranlı da olabilir, Arap da olabilir. Yani farklılıkları olan çoğunlukları birleştirici bir etkisi vardır. Öteki taraftan devlet dilini kullanan insan yine benzer bir şekilde devletin ve devlet için çalışan insanların bu dili konuştuklarını bilir. Bir devlet memuru imparatorluklarda çeşitli tebaanın insanı olabilirdi. Yani yine birleştirici bir etki yaratmaktaydı. Tarihsel olarak ele alacak olursak, basım dili matbaanın bulunmasından, dinin eski önemini kaybetmesiyle beraber insanların dini dili kullanan yazıları ve eserleri okumamasından ve kapitalizmin farklı pazarlara yayılmasından dolayı önemli derecede hem yaygınlaşmış hem de lokalize olmuştur. Bunu en iyi açıklayan Anderson'un da dediği gibi romanlardır. Romanlar spesifik olarak tek bir dilde yazılır ve romandaki ana karakter okuyucu tarafından sanki romanın yazıldığı dili konuşuyor gibi algılanır. Yani okuyucu romanda sadece ve sadece kendi gibi konuşan, yaşayan, hareket eden bir karakterle karşı karşıya kalmaktadır. Yazılan bir romanı okuyan bir okuyucu diğer okuyucuların da kendisiyle aynı dili konuştuğunu bilir, onları okurken hayal eder. Bu hem kendi aralarında bir benzerliği ortaya koyar hem de diğerlerinden olan farklılıklarını tek bir karaktere indirger.
Milletlerin oluşumunda karşımıza çıkan bir diğer mevzu ise Anderson'un değimiyle 'hac'dır. Burada bahsedilen hac Mekke-Efes-Fatima gibi yerlere değildir, fakat bunun dışında herşey aynı şekildedir. Bir merkez vardır ve bu merkeze taşradan gelip giden insanlar vardır. Bu insanlar çoğunlukla eğitim ve iş gibi sebeblerden dolayı merkeze gidip gelirler. Burada unutulmaması gereken nokta hareketteki tekrarlanma ve çift yönlülük, çünkü insanlar gelip gittikçe kendileri gibi gelip giden insanları fark eder ve aralarında olan benzerliği keşfeder. Bu da kendi aralarında bir dayanışma sağlamaktadır, bu dayanışmanın çeşidi ise Durkheim'ın bahsettiği üzre mekanik bir dayanışmadır(benzerliklerden doğan bir dayanışma)
İşte bu bahsedilen nedenlerden ötürü millet ve üyeleri birbirlerine mekanik bir dayanışmayla bağlıdırlar. Hatta aile gibidirler.
Yukarıda yazdığım book review'i geçtiğimiz sene yazıp taslak halinde bırakmışım, şimdi kendimi kastırmıyıp, bu kitap sonrası farklı kaynaklardan da faydalanıp bir termpaper yazdım. İngilizce bölüm okuduğum için dili de haliyle İngilzce, yanlız yazmış olduğum ilk paperlardan biri olduğu için biraz biçim ve stil bakımından amatörce oldu, affola.
From the beginning of this semester, we have focused on some particular subjects like: different forms of power, procreation of nationalism and its maintenance by the means of discourses in the society, possibility of history manipulation, dark sides of ex-European empires, importance of national identity, and ways of accessing to the “real” stories in a society. After reading Geertz, Weber, Anderson, Hall, Rostow, Trouillot and Kincaid, I felt that I was living in a movie, and most of what I do or know had been arranged and planned before, by someone. He wrote the script and I was just playing my role in the given area according to this script. There is no coincidence in life, because everything happens for a reason. I’ve understood it more explicitly after the presentation that I made about my hometown –Bayburt (It is Turkey’s second poorest city with the lowest population in north eastern part of the country).
As a person who lived all of his life in different metropolises, and today, still, 1162 kilometers away from his poor hometown, my report on Bayburt was very interesting and hard project. The three things that I’ve analyzed about Bayburt –monument, piece of artwork and a song– showed me that the script was written in details, even for the places like Bayburt. The Clock Tower (the monument) shaped like a minaret, opened on Republic Day, and located at the heart of the city center stands there not only for architectural reasons; it tells and shows the people their national identity makes them imagine about the people who are like them. Ehram (the artwork) was worn by women not only for aesthetic and religious reasons; it widens their consciousness about who they really are. Bayburt Barı was performed and danced in a specific way not for entertaining the audience; with the symbols and figures attached in it, it discourses the national heritage. Important point about these three instruments which exists in all societies is that; they are controlled by the ones who have the power and authority, then, in Turkish case the central state was controlling them. The state controlled them in order to create and maintain a nation: the state provided tools, manipulated the culture and history, tied or untied the ties with the past to make people to re-think about “who they are”.
As you can see there is a shift occurring from past to the present, from one location to another, and from one “type” to another. This shift occurred 87 years ago in Turkey, from the Ottoman Empire to the Turkish Republic, from traditional to modern, from sultanate to “democracy”, from Islamism to Secularism, people turned into members of Turkish nation from being subjects of sultan.
However, in my opinion, on the contrary, this transition from Empire to the “democratic” republic did not change the rulers’ view on the members of the nation. The lack of freedom of speech and free press, limiting people’s freedom by institutional laws, attempt to create ideal citizens by force are the major events in the Turkey’s history which are greatly illustrates this.
In this paper, I will focus on the policies, strategies, ideologies, restrictions, bans of the state on religion to create a Turkish nation, in early years of Turkish Republic. I will especially examine discrepancy between the democratic manifestations and undemocratic actions of the state.
Are we living in a democratic state or not? Has Kemalism played a good role in democratization or not? Was the way of “neutralization of the religion” in Turkey helped us to become modernized and industrialized or not? At the end of this paper, I will be able to answer these questions from a sociologist view.
What Is the Story Behind Kemalism and Religion?
Freedom and democracy is what we actually need today; however in 2010, I believe that we are living in a country that can only see the shadow of democracy and freedom. Undeveloped civil society, the police brutality in protests, domination and imposition of Kemalism, peer pressure, weak understanding of self-expression values and other millions of examples are proving my “belief”. If we are having these problems in the present time, then we should investigate our history.
87 years ago, after the abolition of the sultanate in Turkey, religion was the only thing that left in the hands of the people living in the borders of Turkey today, it was also the only thing that the people could fight for, and again, it was the only thing that made people alike and tied to each other. The limiting the Turkish society in order to emancipate them, was started exactly from this aspect, moreover, these limitations were not the soft ones thanks to idea of making strong politics by creating fear culture. However, in this assignment I will not solely talk about the obvious things, I will focus on the things that silenced the people about their religion invisibly as well.
In my opinion the many of our problems today on democracy and freedom has started with these visible or invisible controlling hands of the state on religion, therefore I find it worth to be taken as a subject to my paper. The other reason why I am writing this paper on this subject is; the separations, extremist acts and discourses, and inequality within the Turkish society have started with, so called, “neutralization of religion” in Turkey.
In order to analyze the schema that was applied by the state, I firstly focused on the nationalism and nation state issues; because nation is a mean of identity and that identity has changed in Turkey after the Republic. I tried to explain how this identity of an individual and state emerged through the history from my knowledge that I gained this semester from our class readings, especially Anderson’s Imagined Communities and Hall’s Dialectic Identities. In addition to those, the “nationalization” of a country seemed to me as an unnatural and something like a Fiction. My professor Mr. Charles Allen Scarboro recommended me James C. Scott’s book Seeing Like A State. There I’ve found the how the social engineering failed in many societies and how state is utilitarian in terms of looking at the things.
Then, I applied what I knew to the Turkish case; I examined the policies that were developed in the first years of republic. I took seven of them, namely; hat revolution, closure of Tekkes and Zaviyes, script & language revolutions, calendar revolution, and Turkish Azan. I made four interviews in religious and regional associations, for two of these policies; hat revolution and closure of tekke and zaviyes. I firstly, went to two Cemevi in Yenibosna in order to investigate how the policy on tekke and zaviye affected Alevi people and what difficulties that they were exposed to. I talked two Alevi dedesi Hüseyin Doğan and Binali Doğan. Secondly, I went to Kastamonulular Derneği in Okmeydanı and Erzurumlular Derneği in Şirinevler, to talk about hat revolution. The persons who I interviewed with accepted the interview, only if I don’t publish their names. Besides asking about the hat revolution, I also asked them about the script & language reforms. Lastly, to examine the policy on Calendar, I used interpretative way on looking at the changes that occurred before the acceptance of Gregorian Calendar and after. In these examinations I showed that the policies were planned to create a new form of citizen, and to change the nature of these citizens’ understanding of life.
To make my points much more clear, I wanted to know that what the other scholars found similar to my concern. I read two Turkish scholar’s works in which they analyze the Turkish Modernization; Serif Mardin’s Türk Modernleşmesi and Türkiye’de Toplum ve Siyaset, and Nilüfer Göle’s Modern Mahrem, Göle’s book was not really useful to my concern but further, I’ve found one article Göle in Rethinking Modernity and National Identity in Turkey edited by Sibel Bozdogan and Resat Kasaba. There I understood the state’s and people’s role on modernization, and then found a similar work by Ayhan Akman Modernist Nationalism: Statism and National Identity in Turkey. After all, I came up with question of “Why the people don’t know about these facts?” there I remembered Michel Foucault’ docile bodies and Trouillot’s Silencing the Past.
From what I knew and what I’ve found in the scholars works, I came up with a new organism that you will see further in this paper.
How Nation and Nation-State Emerged
Today a nation has a vital meaning for the societies, which is not directly connected to patriotism, however, for the identity of one; stronger nation means greater identity and social order. Therefore, I say it is the most popular and dependable ‘type’ of power simply because of the modernization of the world. Nation, besides being a ‘type’, is a product of modernization too. Unlike the nationalists around the world are saying, there was no single nation existing in the earth just a few centuries ago. In other words, nation is something that we humans have “created”, “produced”, “presumed” or ‘imagined’, by another creation of ours: Modernization.
But what is a nation? It is not something that we can touch or see, but it is something that we live in; not exactly like a society but rather like a community – not like your work place, but like your peer group. I ask the question: if an existing ‘thing’ cannot be seen or touched, then where does it exist? In our minds, of course, we imagine this community so hard that we even can go and die for it.
Then, how does the human mind imagine the nation, what did the modern people have different than their ancestors? In fact there is nothing new, what has been changed and made us to “create” a nation is the limitation of the “kind” of people that we imagine because of limiting the time and space in our minds. Anderson (1991) tells us about two things: The apprehension of time, and products of printed capitalism.
Firstly, the events that we put to the time was in cyclical order, there was an one event or entity existing in the time, and it was re-occurring by the time passed, moreover, these events or entities had a divine meaning for the people, we can conceptualize this time as a place. However, in modern times, such understanding was destroyed, time received the meaning that today we use it, and the events became movable in not in place, but in relational order, therefore each events were unique –if the event is unique and in movable character, that means it is changing, this change is referring to an improvement in general– then the societies could be like that; they could have the past, the present and the future at the same time in the same place for the same people, that people who were moving and changing just like each other with the society made them to imagine a community just like their families. The other limitation was in the scripts and language; let me make it clear with a story.
Secondly, I want you to think about a house that is at the middle of the mountains and imagine that, there is a book in this house which is written in one specific language, this book consists of a story about one unknown man who moves through the time and conquers the empires of darkness. Let me make it much more interesting; there are only one million people who can read this book, just because they know the language in which that book was written, but these one million people lives in a country with five million people besides our one million. The similarity of the one million makes them tied together and they think about the people read this book, who are reading it and who will read it in the future. Therefore the notion of “us” according to them is much more limited than before, they will be estranged to the people in their country (to the five million) and most probably they might want to live together in one specific region. Apparently, these limitation is truly implying to a shift on our thinking about the notion of in-group and it occurred in some specific issues, such as; the language, memories rather than the religion and the sovereign or state.
Few decades ago, nation has become so prevailed that the states started to be formed by this notion, even it became a must for the societies which wants to exist in the scene of the history, and then we started to have nation-states. Power of the nation-statecraft was so immense because of easy-to-control citizens and both citizens’ and state’s high-modernist ideology, and nation-state became so popular because the modernism was the most efficient way.
In the next section I will talk about Turkey’s transition to nation state and the “events” that occurred in that period, but before doing so, I would like to clarify what “easy-to-control citizens” really means. First of all, having a control over society means the capability to influence both its members and their environment, in order to do that, one has to clearly understand the society. But a society is not often fully understandable because of social and regional variations; in this case, the very first step is filling the society with easy-to-understand citizens and changing the existing members into this type in an efficient way. James C. Scott (1998) referred that, reconstructing and reforming a legible society comes through social engineering (p. 4), which compels and provides simplifications and standardizations, high-modernist ideology, authoritarian state, and weak civil society (p. 6). In this process, we see a kind of “model for” creation, an ideal model for the society which is single, monosemic, and because of the initiation of the state and weak civil society; legitimate.
Turkey, after the foundation of Republic, went into the whole process of state-initiated social engineering, and the ideal model for a new Turkish society was rotated to the modernism and westernization ideologies, and these two were practiced more like faith then political ideas. Drawing from the constitutional law, Turkey, in many ways, was much more modern than the European states(1). Yet, because of the weak civil society and authoritarianism, the modernity in Turkey has done majorly through standardizations and simplifications which were based on the modern and western systems and principles.
The policies like hat revolution (1925), veiling ban (1925), closure of Tekkes and Zaviyes (1925), population registers (1927), script (1928) & language (1932) revolutions – Latin alphabet accepted and Arabic and Farsi rooted words were erased-, measurement revolution –European measures and numbers were accepted- (1931), Turkish Azan (1932), changing of holidays (1935) –from Friday (Muslim’s holiday) to Sunday (Europeans’ holiday) were the standardizations that were done with high-modernist approach and “authoritarian” way, that I will discuss later on this paper.
But the important point is that, after these simplifications and standardizations, Turkish society was full of illiterate, inarticulate, powerless people, while the “state” was so powerful; in other words, at the first years of Turkish Republic, the people did not know anything about the measures, the script, the words, and the time of holidays while the state knew their situation in statistical records.
Besides destroying the social order, these simplifications also cut the social relations and communication among the society. Therefore, Turkey put the first step forward to be a legible nation for the goals of state. After the integration to these standards, the identity was changed in Turkey; Turks were not considered themselves in the Ummah, because the way how the Muslims and how Turks live was far more different than each other.
On the other hand, Turkey was still having social crises on adaptation to new form of their identity. In order to solve these crises, Turkish state established new social and political institutions, such as Turkish Language Institution (Türk Dil Kurumu), Turkish History Institution (Türk Tarih Kurumu), Sumer Bank and Etibank to finance, Religious Affairs Directorate (Diyanet İşleri Başkanlığı), and community centers (Halkevleri) to literate people. These institutions completely destroyed the ties with ancient regime and renewed the “forgotten” ties with pre-Ottoman Turks (Anderson, 1991:12). The national discourses were given both as symbols and subjects –the names of these institutions are symbols and the subjects that they were issuing were driving the people to make conclusions about how to be a “good” Turk-, the reforms might not be done in a process but the reconstruction of the memories and identity was done semi-progressively(2).
I am not saying that, Turkey should have been kept in the same way; however these reforms could have been done in a process that the society adapts them progressively. The rapid policies of democratic institutions, especially on issues related to religion, often ended up with undemocratic events. In the following section; I will discuss how those policies were done in authoritarian way and as a consequence of the method how the civil society in Turkey was destroyed and how self-expression values were not established.
In 1925 in Kastamonu, Ataturk after his speech enacted the “hat law”, after it has seen as a revolution, this law made compulsory to wear a hat to each and every Turkish man. The type of the hat was of course the European one, and actually the aim was to westernize Anatolian people. However, many people all around the Anatolia resisted this law by not wearing it and by unconventional participations; demonstrations, campaigns etc. the state’s reaction to this resistance, according to the law, should have been imprisoning the people who do not wear a hat for about 2 moths (3), however, most of the people were executed (4). The living men were not the only ones who exposed to this revolution, many dead bodies were exposed to this revolution as well as the living ones; after few years of this law many ottoman tomb stone were destroyed because of not being suitable to the law (5). Likewise, in same year a similar law enacted with the same purpose, by this law “Islamic clothes” such as; burqa was banned, this law was developed especially for women. The nationalism apparently was procreated with these laws too, because the people who were wearing as such were only the people in Turkey, they were far more different than both Muslims and westerners.
Apart from the compulsory change in life-style, in my opinion, the most tragic event that occurred in the Turkish Republic’s history came after the script and language revolution. Turkish language was written in Arabic scripts until 1928, after this year writing in “ottoman” was banned by the state, ban was constitutionalized in one night; all the books that are written in Arabic script were collected and burnt by the soldiers (6). This law was not only affected the scientific or “ordinary” books, also to the religious books including Quran.
But, all the societies need religion even the most basic forms of societies had religion, the state knew about this fact and did not completely erased it, but changed its form in “Turkish way”. Since the Arabic scripts and words prohibited, the process of ‘Turkification of Islam’ has started in order to differentiate Turks from other Muslims in the world; we had Turkish azan, Turkish translation of Quran and its verses, Turkish namaz (the verses were read in Turkish in pray). There are two major points in this process; nationalism was strongly developed from religious aspect of the life, Islamic symbols, institutions were profaned, even trivialized. It has been trivialized because; hearing the sacred in “profane” language (that the people use in everyday life) makes this sacred icon to enter profane life, therefore, the sacredness of the icon ends.
Let me move on now, a recent debate on Alevi rights is related to our concern; “Alevism”, Alevi rituals and Alevi places of worship (cemevleri) had been ignored by the state according to the religious correspondents of Alevi sect. That is exclusively related with the law on closure of the tekke and zaviyes (dervish lodges), because by that law cemevleri were categorized as tekke and the state closed them. Today all the cemevleri which are recognized by the administration have registered as “foundations”, therefore, they are not related with Religious Affairs Directorate. But still at the first years of this law, many Alevi people could not freely prayed in any place, they were performing their religious rituals secretly, with candle light and with a guard on the door (7). a That tells us firstly, the state by not recognizing the cemevleri, so Alevi people as well, attempts to create a mono-culturoreligious structure in the society. This creation is done by illegitimating one sect, and “creating” the identity of a Muslim, for the state. Secondly, establishment of notions like, tolerance and pluralism in the society has damaged and any other system of belief, even within the Islam, is seen as “wrong” by the society because of such structure. For instance, religious rituals of Alevi people are done together with men and women such as; çerağ, semah, dem etc. in cemevi, however thanks to the law it was illegal to do such ritual, Alevi people started to do their rituals secretly in one house with candle lights. The lack of knowledge about this led many Sunni people to misinterpret this and they accused Alevi people with Mum Söndü (After blowing the candles the attenders of the rituals have sexual intercourse with a random partner, and it can be anyone –can be incest, gay sex etc.) which has nothing to do with reality(3b). By this way, the solidarity occurring through belonging to same religion is even more limited, and the sects went in to the “identity politics”.
The revolutions that I examined above were the ones which are related to the space, they effected the social life in a specific sphere and the change of the society came with the changes in that specific space. Lastly, I will talk about the reforms or revolutions that are related to time, which are reforms on calendar and measurements. Hicri (Islamic Calendar) and Rumi (Ottoman) calendars were used in Turkey until 1935, and there was an Islamic order of life according to these calendars; weekly holidays, the holidays, the beginning of the day, end of the day, and New Year were all specified according to Islam. They were referring to the divine pattern of the cyclical time, the social actions and inter-actions were organized according to this calendar, the calendar on the other hand, was consist of the social actions and inter-actions of Islamic world. Hicri calendar was replaced with Georgian Calendar by the law in 1935; however, the Georgian calendar is consisting of Christian way of living, not the Muslim one. However, since the rotation of the country was turned to the western world, the state did not consider that as a problem, but did not completely take the Georgian calendar too; the Georgian calendar was re-organized according to Turkish nation-state’s events and major eids of Islam; the weekly holiday was shifted from Friday to Sunday, New Year was shifted from 1 Muharram to 1 January, the time of day shifted from 12 hours to 24 hours, many national holidays added and only 2 religious holidays remained etc. with this changes the Turkish people could not imagined themselves in the Ummah anymore, the borders between “us” and “them” was more explicit than before; “we Turks and others” were the basis of their identity.
Briefly, we can see the four principles of social engineering from these revolutions and laws; high-modernist ideology of state (attempt to develop westerner life style both in time and space), simplification (monoculture), authoritarianism (the power of leader on putting the laws on practice and making them compulsory), and weak civil society (the ones who resisted paid with their lives, therefore the resistance was not established strongly by civil society). Moreover, with these changes Islam not only weakened from the symbols –like lifestyle – but also it became really hard to practice; by closing tekke and zaviye the space where the Islam is practiced was limited to only one place, within this place the Quran, its verses and Azan was profaned –even trivialized, and with the laws on hat and veiling, praying became something hard-to-do (because with a hat you cannot pray, the hat drops from your hat, and women cannot pray without veiling), lastly with the change of measurements and calendars new type of Turkishness was developed.
What The Others Said?
We know that the social engineering was done with the Westernization and modernization purpose and in the previous section I discussed how these engineering was done and in what aspects of social life it showed its effect. But, this social engineering was done to change some specific things in specific subjects, the Turkish modernization is not purely the westernization and one step to achieve the level of civilizations, but it was an attempt to achieve level civilization by re-formulation and applying the “modern” according to the wills of Turkish state (Göle, 2010; 95) Then, I ask the question what were the wills of Turkish state apart from the westerner notion of modernization?
Serif Mardin shows us that the Turkish Republic itself is a modernization project and in this project the will of the Turkish state were; in terms of administration, a shift from personal authority to law, in terms of social stratification, a shift from people-elite differentiation to classless society, in terms of main reference point on understanding of world, a shift from religion to positive sciences, and lastly, in terms of the societal identity a shift from Ummah to nation-state. However, according to Mardin the only will of the state which could became true is the one on societal identity, the others did not succeed. (Mardin, 2008b: 205) Today, the reforms, that I examined, are practiced, however, the main aim of these reforms, that Mardin shows us, are not. Because, as I said earlier, in the process of this social engineering many of the social realities and facts are ignored by the reformist state, Mardin validates me by reporting that, since the reformists do not investigate the society in detail with conscious data, the reforms that they attempt to do cannot become reality, they remain as a project. (Mardin, 2008b: 205) He, in other words, shows that the reforms that were made are simply utopic.
However, this must be mentioned here that, all the policies that I explained how and why they were made in the process of Turkish modernization are not genuine products of Turkish state; they were actually coming from Turkey’s pre-republican era, they started to be debated after Tanzimat Fermanı (1839). The founding fathers of Turkey have re-conceptualized and practiced these policies. (Mardin, 2008a: 17)
The problem that I see with these polices is the undemocratic application to the members of the Turkey. As we have seen above most of the attempts of Turkish Republic were failed and the reforms did only facilitated for themselves.
There is no doubt that, in order to have successful reforms the state and the people must co-operate; therefore a civil society is needed. However, thanks to authoritarianism in the first years of the Republic, segmentation of the power did not occurred as in the societies which are modern and democratic. This is also related to unsuccessfulness of the first two wills of Turkish republic that about the administration and social stratification. The ones who were positioned in the administration or any other institutions in the Turkey were glorified and considered themselves superior than the people. (Mardin, 2008a: 56) Therefore, it is considered that; “in this country the top thinks and knows; the down does not intervene.” (Küçükömer, 1994: 126) besides from the glorification of the top –new ruling elites, the public participation to the process of modernization in Turkey considered as a threat (Akman 2004: 26), because the “public” meant diversity and diversity according to Turkish state was a threat- it was part of the simplifications’ purpose. Göle (1997) notes that “…throughout republican history, all kinds of differentiation—ethnic, ideological, religious, and economic—have been viewed not as natural components of a pluralistic democracy but as sources of instability and as threats to unity and progress. Such a perspective permits Turkish modernist elites to legislate and legitimate their essentially anti-liberal platform.” (p.76) Therefore, all the modern institutions were turned into statist, therefore elitist, institutions rather than being institutions of the state.
Despite the fact that the state was elitist and Jacobin, today the Turkish people do not exactly reproaches those days. I’ve found the reason of this interesting phenomenon in Trouillot’s book; Silencing the Past (1995). According to him, the national narratives, when they are narrating the history, always tempt to be positive and while they are recording the history, the set of bad stories, these can also be our realities, are excluded. We know the stories about our history are usually one sided and serves to hegemony of the ruling power. Similarly, in Turkey, starting from the elementary school we Turkish people only heard the pros of these policies and how did they improved our country, but our knowledge about the “realities” are often very limited or not can be discussed in the public.
But I think, this is also related to the docility of the people as in:
“…What was then being formed was a policy of coercions that act upon the body, a calculated manipulation of its elements, its gestures, and its behavior. The human body was entering a machinery of power that explores it, breaks it down and rearranges it. A 'political anatomy', which was also a 'mechanics of power’, was being born; it defined how one may have a hold over others' bodies, not only so that they may do what one wishes, but so that they may operate as one wishes, with the techniques, the speed and the efficiency that one determines.” (Foucault, 1977: 138) The individuals of Turkish nation were disciplined within the same sense, the discursive narratives were more functioning as a machine to legitimize or even erase the events that occurred in the past. They were written “objectively” but at the same time according to the desire of “one”. The determination of what was happened was done by the same forces, and the why and how it happened were left to the docile bodies in Turkey.
If we want to analyze the state’s attitudes and its contribution to Turkey and her citizens; I see the events in early beginning of Turkish republic as course of actions that facilitated the genesis of Turkish nation in which re-creation of national memories, process of forgetting about the past, and creation of the “ideal” citizen. All these processes controlled by the elites, and had great influence on the public opinion and social ethics of Turkey. But the state is not the only actor here, the members of Turkish nation were the ones who discussed and applied social ethics by themselves. The failure of the three attempts of Turkish Republic is happened not because the elites gave up on their desire, but it rather happened because of the interaction between the state, its officers, and the people. Since the state is too much powerful and the elites were controlling the whole process of Modernization, the ones who were close to the source of power received great amount of prestige and classified upper strata.
For instance, my village in Bayburt which is called Karlıca has a suit against other village Paynık, the suit was started 20 years ago but it still continues. In 20 years the judge changed for three times, and each of these judges went to both villages more than fifteen times for “investigation”, each time the they visited the villagers made a little ceremony for them and served a dinner. It is interesting that, one of the judges who came to the village and did not satisfied from the “serve” postponed the investigation to the following week, the villagers felt sorry and in his next visit, the villagers served him a stuffed lamb in order to satisfy the judge. Then, if we ask how it is related to the policies that are related to the religion; we see that the resistance of the people was erased by those policies, because each policies removed one way of living from them and replaced with another– to which they were strange, and the ones who resisted to the policies were exposed to “legitimate form of violence” and represented an example for the others who are not willing to obey the state, eventually the people became “ideal” citizens for the state. Lately, the ideal way of life for the citizens emerged in the Turkish nation as an organism; homorepublicus.
Homorepublicus is the one who believes in the state and acts according to the cultural hegemony, bows to all officers of the institutions, glorifies the elites who founded the Turkish Republic, does not resists in the problematic situations but rather acts according to other people, the homorepublicus is not religious person, but he/she denies it by saying “my grandparents were religious”, they are modernist and nationalist, in addition to their modernism, they “imitate” the European progressiveness, but at the same time they insist with the “near-past”. The most important point with these organisms is that, they expect everyone to be like themselves, and accept all the principles that homorepublicus does. In any opposite case, the ones who opposed to this ideal type named as “back warded, bigot, reactionist” by homorepublicus.
Since the beginning of the Turkish Republic, a lot of military interventions happened; 1960 military coup, 1971 (12 March) coup memorandum, 1980 military coup, 1997 (28 February) coup memorandum, Ergenekon Organization (8) and so on. They all were done under the name of “saving” the republic when the parties which are supported by non-homorepublicus people. Besides these military interventions, in 2007 we had Republic Protests by homorepublicus type in various cities of Turkey for the same reason: saving the republic. However, my findings are showing me that the reason behind all those movements is not simply to save republic, but rather to secure the position of homorepublicus and elites in the society. It is interesting to see that hidden reason in every social crisis; issues related to Alevi rights, headscarf, religious people versus secular state, Kurdish rights etc. When the interest of one layer of the society is in danger, they attempt to create chaos in the society by making identity politics. They always use Kemalist values and Ataturk as the fundamental elements of Turkish Republic, nation and society.
This seems to me “schizophrenic”, because the conservativeness of these people is leaves no space for open discussion and policies for change. On one hand, they do want to achieve “the level of civilizations”, but on the other hand, they are stuck with the values established by Kemalism many decades ago. Moreover, they see any change that is not done by Kemalist parties as a threat to democracy and Turkish Republic, even though those things which are wanted to be changed are developed in undemocratic way.
For instance, the current constitution of Turkey was established in 1982 by military junta, in 2010, the government wanted to change it. But representatives of CHP did not vote for the changes in constitution even though it was developed during the “undemocratic” years and they started a campaign under the name of “the government is changing the values that are developed by Ataturk”. In 2010 summer, Turkey went to referendum for changing the constitution, and the results showed us that majority of people supported this change.
These all are showing me that, Kemalism did not played a good role on democratization of Turkey. It facilitated the interest of one group to maintain the power in their hands. The “neutralization of the religion” in Turkey is considered as a “must” to modernize the both the people and the state, therefore the people, members of Turkish nation, secularized too. However, that only created the notion of Turkish Nation; the other attempts of Turkish state were not successful. Weak understanding of democracy, lack of democratic oppositions, powerless civil society and poor understanding of the expression values came in to scene as a consequence of social engineering for creating a nation. The ideal citizen: homorepublicus could not truly modernize themselves as in westerner sense, but they were successful on imitating it.
We have lost most of our “self” because of imitations of Europe, and denied the fact that we were different than the West. Modernization, of course, is a good thing; however anything that comes with force and imposition makes the people alienated from their culture, the fear of being traditional draws explicit borders between yesterday and today with solid tones. We tried to find the reason of our inferiority in our religion and culture, to improve ourselves we glorified the “west” in our terms, but that did not solved any problem in this country so far.
In my future works, I want to focus on the “cultural colonization” of Turkey after the foundation of Turkish Republic. I will examine the questions around the expansion of the global culture that belongs to the occident, and the desire of the non-occidental nations to apply this culture on their countries, but at the same time alienate from their own. But in the next paper, I will not be much concerned about what the state did for providing a ground for that, but rather how did the people as social actors practiced this colonization with their free interest.
I would like to finish this paper with one of my favorite quotations: “Imitation is the highest form of flattery, but clones kind of get it wrong because we are promoting individuality and being proud of being yourself.” Brian Molko
1. Constitution of the universal suffrage, secularization, abolishment of monarchy was accepted years before many European (“Modernized” Countries).
2. Because the disconnection is from the near past was so rapid, and creation of new identity was compelled in one way and at once.
3. Turkish Criminal Code, Entry 222. (http://www.tbmm.gov.tr/kanunlar/k5237.html)
4. Personal interview by the author in Kastomonulular Derneği, 28 December 2010.
5. Personal interview by the author in Erzurumlular Derneği, 28 December 2010.
6. Personal interview by the author in Erzurumlular Derneği, 28 December 2010.
7. Personal interview by the author with Hüseyin Doğan, 27 December 2010.
8. The ultra-nationalist organization in Turkish army that attempted to make coup after Justice and Development Party won elections in 2002; they had numerous plans to take over the administration such as; organizing the attack to Council of State and bombing Cumhuriyet Newspaper’s headquarter.
1. Akman, Ayhan. 2004. “Modernist Nationalism: Statism and National Identity in Turkey” Nationalities Papers. 32: 23-51. Retrieved November, 5 2010 (http://research.sabanciuniv.edu/345/1/Mod_Nat_Published.pdf)
2. Anderson, Benedict. 1991. Imagined Communities. London: Verso
3. Foucault, Michel. 1977. “Docile Bodies” pp. 135-169. Discipline and punish: the Birth of the Prison. New York: Pantheon Books.
4. Göle, Nilüfer. 1997. “The Quest for the Islamic Self within the Context of Modernity” pp.69-80 in Rethinking Modernity and National Identity in Turkey edited by Sibel Bozdogan, Resat Kasaba. Seattle: University of Washington Press.
5. Göle, Nilüfer. 2010. Modern Mahrem: Medeniyet ve Örtünme. Istanbul: Metis.
6. Küçükömer, Idris. 1994. Sivil Toplum Yazıları. Istanbul: Bağlam Yayıncılık.
7. Mardin, Serif. 2008b. Türkiye’de Toplum ve Siyaset. Istanbul: İletişim.
8. Mardin, Serif. 2008a. Türk Modernleşmesi. Istanbul: İletişim.
9. Narman, Salih. 2010. Personal Interview in Erzurumlular Derneği, December 28
10. Narman, Salih. 2010. Personal Interview in Kastamonulular Derneği, December 28
11. Narman, Salih. 2010. Personal Interview with Hüseyin Doğan, December 27
12. Scott, James C.1998. Seeing Like a State: How Certain Schemes to Improve the Human Condition Have Failed. New Heaven: Yale University Press.
13. Trouillot, Michel. 1995. Silencing the Past: Power and the Production of History. Boston, Mass.: Beacon Press.
14. Turkish Criminal Code.2010. Entry 222. Retrived December, 29 2010 (http://www.tbmm.gov.tr/kanunlar/k5237.html)