The History and Politics of Modern Turkey


This course introduces the main themes for, and provides a critical assessment of, Turkey’s society, politics and international relations from the early 20th century to the present day. It engages with the key domestic and international events, dynamics, actors and critical junctures that have shaped the modern history of Turkey.  

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 Turkey is a strategically important country located at the intersection of multiple geopolitical neighbourhoods. As a successor state  to the Ottoman Empire, Turkey proclaimed the republic in the early 1920s. Tumultuous, exciting and fragile the young republic paved its way to its own style of democracy. For many decades the country was the pillar of hope for liberal democracies in the Middle East. But today, many observers claim that Turkey is on the crossroads of a major change. Economically weak and socially divided the country couldn’t defeat his ancients’ demons and still struggle with issues like secularism, civil society and democracy.

Understanding the conditions for the emergence of Turkey as a nation-state in the early 20th century and its subsequent socio-political and geopolitical evolution through the same century will give students an insight about themes, dynamics, historical events and ideologies. The aim of this course is to provide students a grounded understanding of the historical background, structure, actors and events of Modern Turkey. Therefore, we will start with the political developments in the second half of the 20th century after we touch briefly the ottoman legacy. Each week we will approach another political and cultural decade (from 1920s to 2020s) in Turkey’s framework to get a comprehensive understanding of today‘s dynamics.

2 LP – Referat

4 LP – Referat plus Seminarbeit


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