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Political and cultural movement that emerged in the late nineteenth century and helped to form the new Turkish republic.

A movement of many tendencies, Turkism evolved largely in response to European nationalism and to the perceived failure of Ottomanism, as the empire was rocked by minority nationalist movements in the Balkans and Armenia. Sentiments of Turkish nationalist feeling can be traced to historical writings of the mid-nineteenth century, such as those of Ahmet Vefik Paşa (18231891). The first Ottoman Turcologist was Necib Asim (18611935). Politically, Turkism was most prominently expressed by the Young Turk movement, first in exile in the 1890s in Europe and Egypt and later in Anatolia after the 1908 Young Turk revolution. Competing tendencies included Anatolian nationalism, which traced Turkish roots in the territory to ancient times, and panTurkism, espoused especially by Turkish refugees from Russia and central Asia. The political manifesto of pan-Turkism is considered Russian-born Yusuf Akçura's 1904 essay, "Üç Tarz-i Siyaset" (Three Kinds of Policy), which rejected Ottomanism and Islam as bases of national identity and policy.

A major Turkish literary movement appeared in the early twentieth century, with groups like the Genç Kalemler (Young Pens) founded in 1911 in Salonika and the Türk Deneği (Turkish Society) founded in 1908 in Constantinople (now Istanbul). These and other groups were devoted to reviving Turkish folklore, studying the roots and branches of the various Turkic languages, and purifying the Ottoman language of non-Turkish words. The most important ideologue of the Young Turk era was the pan-Turkist writer and sociologist, Ziya Gökalp (18761924), who developed a populist vision of the rebirth of Turkish society. Eventually, Anatolian-based Turkism would prevail, with Mustafa Kemal's revolution and war of independence, beginning in 1919.

see also ahmet vefik; genÇ kalemler; gÖkalp, ziya.


Lewis, Bernard. The Emergence of Modern Turkey, 3d edition. New York: Oxford University Press, 2002.

Shaw, Stanford J., and Shaw, Ezel Kural. History of the Ottoman Empire and Modern Turkey, Vol. 2: Reform, Revolution, and Republic: The Rise of Modern Turkey, 18081975. Cambridge, U.K., and New York: Cambridge University Press, 1977.

elizabeth thompson