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Gökalp, Ziya

Gökalp, Ziya

WORKS BY GÖKALP

SUPPLEMENTARY BIBLIOGRAPHY

Ziya Gökalp (1876–1924) was primarily responsible for introducing the study of sociology into Turkey, and he drew from sociology the intellectual basis for his ardent Turkish nationalism.

Born in Diyarbakir, the son of a civil servant who edited the official local newspaper, Mehmed Ziya (later Gökalp) attended secular schools there and also learned traditional Islamic lore from his uncle, a Muslim lawyer. At 18 he attempted suicide. By the following year, however, he was able to go to Istanbul and enroll at the Veterinary College.

He had already been influenced by the ideas of the Young Turks, and in 1895 he became a member of the secret society of Union and Progress in Istanbul. In 1898 he was arrested; after a year’s imprisonment he was banished to his native town, where he devoted all his time to study. In those years the Young Turks who were in exile in Paris were strongly influenced by French sociology. One of them, Prince Sabaheddin, a follower of Le Play, went so far as to declare that only through sociological studies could the Ottomans introduce social change and thus find a way to achieve harmony among the various elements in the empire, a view later supported by Gökalp (in the first issue of his newspaper, Peyman, August 28, 1909).

In 1908, after the Young Turk revolution, Gökalp became the representative of the Union and Progress party in Diyarbakir. The next year he was elected a member of the central council of the party at Salonica and given the task of expounding its doctrine and attracting young people to its ranks. In 1910 he received an appointment to teach sociology in Salonica, the first such appointment in Turkey, and five years later he became the first professor of sociology at the University of Istanbul. He taught in the faculty of letters until 1919, making it a center for studies of Turkey as a nation. Exiled to Malta after World War i, he returned to Diyarbakir in 1921 as a wholehearted supporter of Atatürk and edited the Küçük mecmua (“Little Review”), in which he wrote a series of sociological essays designed to instruct the national leaders. In 1922 he was appointed director of Cultural Publications in Ankara, a department of the Ministry of Public Education, and there published his famous Türkçülüğün essaslari (1923; “Foundations of Turkism”).

Gökalp believed that the political revolution of the Young Turks needed to be completed by a social revolution that would create a “new life” in such areas as economics, the family, fine arts, morality, and law. A new Turkish civilization could be created only by gaining knowledge of Turkey’s genuine national values. As late as 1911 he had believed that values are nothing but idées-forces based on philosophical considerations, but after 1912 he accepted the Durkheimian interpretation of values as collective representations. (He considered Durkheim to be the most penetrating sociologist and the founder of scientific sociology.) According to Gökalp, collective representations are realizations in the “collective consciousness,” which, when they become fully articulated, are called ideals. “The only source of values is society itself and the experience of collective sentiments by individuals constitutes collective conscience” ([1911-1923] 1959, pp. 62-64).

After her defeat in the Balkan War, a critical period began for Turkey. Discussions of reforms were accompanied by conflicts between the Islamists, Westernists, and Turkists. Gökalp, who had come to Istanbul in 1912, felt that these conflicts had to be reconciled in a broader outlook. He argued that humanity was composed of culture groups, each with its own value system, and of civilization groups, with rules and techniques capable of intercultural diffusion and universal acceptance ([1911— 1923] 1959, pp. 97-101). It was sociologically valid that Turks belonged at the same time to the Turkish nation, to the Muslim religious community, and to European civilization (Gökalp [1911-1923] 1959, pp. 71-76; Heyd 1950, pp. 149-151). Increasingly Gökalp stressed nationalism as the most powerful ideal of the modern age and nations as the most highly developed species on the scale of culture groups. In the nation he thought it was possible to integrate Turkish culture, Islam, and Western techniques. He later came to identify collective representations with national mores and asserted that “the …[discipline] which studies how the culture of a nation is distinguished from the civilization to which it belongs is called cultural sociology” ([1911-1923] 1959, pp. 172-173).

Following his belief that the task of the sociologist is to discover the elements of national culture, he embarked on a series of studies on the evolution of the Turkish family and on the pre-Islamic Turkish religion and state. His idea of a modernized Islam was predicated on the theory that the part of the religious law of Islam that is based on consensus is of social rather than divine origin and may therefore change in accordance with secular change ([1911-1923] 1959, pp. 193-196). He was convinced that a national state must be a secular one, and he strongly advocated a national system of education and economy. His programs for secularizing both education and the judiciary and for introducing equal rights for women were partly put into effect in 1917–1918.

Opinion on Gökalp is divided. He himself thought that what was original about his work was his testing of Durkheim’s sociological method by applying it to Turkish civilization. His supporters agree that his conceptualizations of the nature of culture and nation are original and that his work represents scientific sociology in the Durkheim tradition; his critics stress that he had a dogmatic and deductive mind with strong collectivist ideas. Above all, he was an impassioned nationalist, and there is no doubt that his teachings provided an intellectual foundation for the modernization of Turkey.

Haul İnalcik

[For the historical context of Gökalp’s work, seeIslam; Nationalism; Pan Movements; and the biographies ofDurkheim; Le Play.]

WORKS BY GÖKALP

(1911–1923) 1959 Turkish Nationalism and Western Civilization: Selected Essays. Translated and edited with an introduction by Niyazi Berkes. New York: Columbia Univ. Press.

(1923) 1940 Türkçülüğün essaslař (“Foundations of Turkism”). Istanbul: Arkadas Matbaaš.

Külliyat. 2 vols. Ankara: Türk Tarih Kurumu Bašmevi, 1952–1965. → Volume 1: Sürler ve halk masallari. Volume 2: Ziya Gökalp’m mektuplan.

Ziya Gökalp’in ilk yazi hayati, 1894-1909: Doğumu’nun 80. yildönümü münasebetiyle. Istanbul: Diyarbakiri Tamtma Dernegi, 1956.

SUPPLEMENTARY BIBLIOGRAPHY

Heyd, Uriel 1950 Foundations of Turkish Nationalism: The Life and Teachings of Ziya Gökalp. London: Luzac.

TÜtengil, Cavit O. 1949 Ziya Gökalp Rakǩnda bir bibliyografya denemesi. Istanbul: Berksoy Matbaasǐ.

Ülken, Hilmi ZiyaZiya Gökalp. Istanbul: Kanaat Kitavebi. → Date of publication not ascertained.

ZīyĀal-Dīn, Fakhrī 1935 Ziya Gökalp, sa vie et sa sociologie: Essai sur I’influence de la sociologie francaise enTurquie. Nancy (France): Berger-Levrault.

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Mehmet Ziya Gökalp

Mehmet Ziya Gökalp

Mehmet Ziya Gökalp (c. 1875-1924) was a Turkish publicist and pioneer sociologist. He was influenced by modern western European, especially French and German, thought and elaborated an ideology of Turkish nationalism which was largely implemented, after his death, by Kemal Atatürk.

Ziya Gökalp (this last name, Old Turkish "Sky hero," was originally a pen name;) was born in Diyarbakir in southeastern Anatolia either on an unknown date in 1875 or on March 23, 1876. After attending a local secondary school, he arrived in the capital, Constantinople (Istanbul), in 1896. He had already imbibed the liberal and reformist ideas which were associated with what became the Committee of Union and Progress, and his attitudes soon attracted the attention of the despotic Sultan Abdul-Hamid II's secret police, leading to Gökalp's imprisonment for a year.

The Young Turk Revolution of 1908 enabled Gökalp to openly advocate his views and to act as a cultural and educational adviser to the government. In 1915 he became the first professor of sociology at Istanbul University. In 1919 his identification with the party which had led Turkey into World War I resulted in his being exiled to Malta for 2 years, but he subsequently returned and spent the last part of his life in endeavoring to provide an intellectual basis for the new regime of Mustapha Kemal (Kemal Atatürk). Gökalp died in Constantinople on Oct. 25, 1924.

Gökalp was primarily exercised by the problems of how far Turkey should adopt Western culture and how far the traditional Islamic civilization should accordingly change in the direction of a European-type nation-state. He rejected the religious and political conservatism of the pan-Islamists, regarding traditional Islam as a brake on the nation's progress. He was for a while attracted by Ottomanism, the ideal of a multinationalism made up of the separate nationalities within the Ottoman Empire; but as political and military events demonstrated the impossibility of this, he evolved his idea of "Turkism," the realization of the Turkish national spirit and culture, to be achieved through a revival of Turkish popular culture and literature and a purification of the language by ridding it of extraneous elements.

Gökalp flirted only briefly with pan-Turanianism, the union of all Turkic peoples in Asia. His views on the social ideals which should mold a nation he derived above all from the French sociologist Émile Durkheim. Thus, while he was neither a very original nor a very clear thinker, Gökalp's teachings came after his death to have a profound influence on the evolution of Turkey under Atatürk.

Further Reading

Much of Gökalp's work appeared as essays and articles in journals; there is no complete edition of his work. A good general survey of the man and his significance is in Uriel Heyd, Foundations of Turkish Nationalism: The Life and Teachings of Ziya Gökalp (1950).

Additional Sources

Heyd, Uriel, Foundations of Turkish nationalism: the life and teachings of Ziya Gökalp, Westport, Conn.: Hyperion Press, 1979. □

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Gökalp, Ziya

Gökalp, Ziya (1875–1924). A Turkish liberal reformer who prepared his country's orientation towards the establishment of a modern secular state. Turkish authorities have on occasion revived the cult of Ziya Gökalp to check the rising tide of conservative Islam in universities.

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"Gökalp, Ziya." The Concise Oxford Dictionary of World Religions. . Retrieved August 19, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/religion/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/gokalp-ziya