Ozan Ozavci talks to James Ryan about early Republican political thought and loyal opposition in Turkey: liberals and leftists from Nazım Hikmet to Sabiha and Zekeriya Sertel. What made these figures the loyal opponents of the republic? And what did Lausanne mean to them?

James Ryan is the Associate Director of Hagop Kevorkian Center for Near Eastern Studies at New York University and an expert in early republican Turkish political thought. While in the early days of the republic, Turkish intellectuals entertained diverse ideals for the future of the nascent state, within a few years’ time, they all found themselves having to align their thoughts with the aspirations of the authoritarian Kemalist regime. Ryan’s monograph in progress, provisionally titled The Other Republic: The Culture of Dissent Under Turkey’s One-Party State, 1919-1950, explores the narrow(ed) space within which early republican thinkers sought to voice their critiques to the regime’s elites.

Episode 7 – ‘The Other Republic’ with James Ryan and Ozan Ozavci

Podcasts are published by TLP for the purpose of encouraging informed debate on the legacies of the events surrounding the Lausanne conference. The views expressed by participants do not necessarily represent the views or opinions of TLP, its partners, convenors or members.

Further Reading

The Origins of Kemalism

Yeşim Bayar, The Formation of the Turkish Nation-State, 1920-1938 (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2014)

Niyazi Berkes The Development of Secularism in Turkey (Montreal: Mcgill University Press, 1964)

Sibel Bozdoğan and Reşat Kasaba, eds., Rethinking Modernity and National Identity in Turkey (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1997)

Ryan Gingeras, Eternal Dawn: Turkey in the Age of Atatürk (New York: Oxford University Press, 2019)

Şükrü Hanioğlu, Atatürk: An Intellectual Biography (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2017)

Behlül Özkan, From the Abode of Islam to the Turkish Vatan: The Making of a National Homeland in Turkey, (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2012)

Taha Parla and Andrew Davidson, Corporatist Ideology in Kemalist Turkey: Progress or Order? (Syracuse: Syracuse University Press, 2004)

Ahmet Seyhun, Competing Ideologies in the Late Ottoman Empire and Early Turkish Republic: Selected Writings of Islamist, Turkist and Westernist Writers, [London: I.B. Tauris, 2020]

Erik Jan Zürcher, The Unionist Factor: The Role of the Committee of Union and Progress in the Turkish National Movement 1905-1926 (Leiden: E.J. Brill 1984)

Dissent and Opposition

Cem Emrence, Serbest Cumhuriyet Fırkası: 99 Günlük Muhalefet (İstanbul: İletişim, 2014)

Hakan Özoğlu, From Caliphate to Secular State: Power Struggle in the Early Turkish Republic, (Santa Barbara: Praeger, 2011)

Ozan Ozavci, Intellectual Origins of the Republic: Ahmet Ağaoğlu and the Genealogy of Liberalism in Turkey (Leiden: Brill, 2015)

Christine Philliou, Turkey: A Past Against History (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2021)

A. Holly Shissler, Between Two Empires: Ahmet Ağaoğlu and the New Turkey (New York: I. B. Tauris, 2003)

John M. VanderLippe, The Politics of Turkish Democracy: İsmet İnönü and the Formation of the Multi-Party System, 1938-1950 (Albany: State University of New York Press, 2005)

Walter Weiker, Political Tutelage and Democracy in Turkey: The Free Party and its Aftermath (Leiden: Brill, 1973)

Erik Jan Zürcher, Political Opposition in the Early Turkish Republic: The Progressive Republican Party, 1924-1925 (Leiden: Brill, 1991)

Leftism between Communism and Social Democracy

Şakir Dinçşahin, State and Intellectuals in Turkey: The Life and Times of Niyazi Berkes, 1908-1988 (New York: Lexington Books, 2017)

Nergis Ertürk, “Nazım Hikmet and the Prose of Communism” Boundary 2 47(2):153-180 and “Vala Nureddin’s Comic Materialism and the Sexual Revolution: Writing across Turkey and the Soviet Union” Comparative Literature 73.3: 299-310

Bülent Gökay, Soviet Eastern Policy and Turkey, 1920-1991: Soviet Foreign Policy, Turkey and communism (New York: Routledge, 2006)

Ethnopolitics, Race, and Reaction

Elise K. Burton, Genetic Crossroads: The Middle East and the Science of Human Heredity (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2021)

Jacob Landau, Radical Politics in Modern Turkey (New York: Routledge, 1974)

Nazan Maksudyan, Türklüğu Ölçmek: Bilimkurgusal Antropoloji ve Türk Milliyetçilliğin Irkçı Çehresi, 1925-1929 (Istanbul: Metis Kitapları, 2005)

Günay Göksu Özdoğan, Turan’dan Bozkurt’a: Tek Parti Döneminde Türkçülük (Istanbul: İletişim Yayınları, 2001)

Umut Uzer, An Intellectual History of Turkish Nationalism: Between Turkish Ethnicity and Islamic Identity (Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press, 2016)


Nazım İrem, “Turkish Conservative Modernism: Birth of a National Quest for Cultural Renewal” International Journal of Middle East Studies 34.1: 87-112 and “Undercurrents of European Modernity and the Foundations of Modern Turkish Conservatism: Bergsonism in Retrospect” Middle East Studies 40.4: 79-112. 

Women’s Rights, Women’s Politics

Ayşegül Altınay, The Myth of a Military Nation: Militarism, Gender, and Education in Turkey (New York: Palgrave, 2004)

Yeşim Arat, The Patriarchal Paradox: Women Politicians in Turkey (Rutherford: Farleigh Dickinson University Press, 1989)

Alan Duben and Cem Behar, Istanbul Households: Marriage, Family, and Fertility 1880-1940 (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1991)

Thinking Transnationally

Nathalie Clayer, Fabio Giomi and Emmanuel Szurek, Kemalism: Transnational Politics in a Post-Ottoman World (London: I.B. Tauris, 2019)

Erik Jan Zürcher and Touraj Atabaki, Men of Order: Authoritarian Modernization under Atatürk and Reza Shah (London: I.B. Tauris, 2004)

FEATURE IMAGE: “Nazım Babıali’de”, nd, Abidin Dino Archive, Sakip Sabanci Museum, Istanbul 

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