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Title:A more modern Turkey?: the political use of modernity in Turkish domestic politics
Author(s):Endres, Chelsay R
Department / Program:Liberal Arts & Sciences
Discipline:European Union Studies
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
European Union
Justice and Development Party (AKP)
Turkish Politics
Abstract:In 1923, Kemal Atatürk began his modernization project that was to bring Turkey to the ranks of “civilized nations.” In doing so, he utilized modernity as a political tool, a method that would be adapted by other domestic actors in a similar fashion. This thesis argues that as a result of this legacy, there has been no true political project based on modernization or democratization in Turkey. Modernity, when used as a political tool, rather than an end in itself, cannot be delivered. In this case, the governing Justice and Development Party (AKP) and Atatürk’s Kemalism are similar to each other, in that their plans for modernity fell short because they became distracted by their own limitations. Understanding domestic politics in this light, the EU worsens the domestic situation of modernity; it can be counterproductive, furthering societal divides and therefore also failing to deliver modernity. This argument is made through the historical examination of modernity through Kemalism, how that concept and legacy has effected the AKP and their use of modernity as a political tool, and in conjunction with those two parties, how the EU affects Turkish domestic politics. Kemalism’s lasting concept of modernity is a loaded notion and influences all other conceptions of modernity discussed in Turkey. Currently the debate exists between Kemalists, the AKP, and even the EU where each group claims to represent the path to a more modern Turkey. Through the utilization of modernity, they have found the perfect tool for political gain and influence.
Issue Date:2015-04-28
Rights Information:Copyright 2015 Chelsay Endres
Date Available in IDEALS:2015-07-22
Date Deposited:May 2015

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