Tekinalp, Munis

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TEKINALP, MUNIS (1883–1961), pseudonym and later officially adopted name of Moiz Kohen , political ideologue and economist. Born into an Orthodox Jewish family in Serres, Macedonia, he devoted his life and writings to promoting the political interests of the *Ottoman Empire, then those of the Republic of *Turkey. As a youngster, he went to *Salonika to study at the school run by the *Alliance Israélite Universelle, later in the Jewish Teachers' College (where he was ordained as a rabbi, although he never practiced), finally at the École Impériale de Droit. He lived in Salonika until 1912, when it was conquered by the Greeks; thereupon, he moved to *Istanbul, where he remained for most of his life.

Salonika and Istanbul were then hotbeds of intellectual activity and Moiz/Munis became involved in political writing for various Turkish newspapers, focusing on socioeconomic issues, socialism, nationalism and (briefly) Zionism; he even attended, as a delegate, the World Zionist Congress in Hamburg. He preached fraternization between Muslims and Jews via the complete Ottomanization of the latter, e.g., by urging Jews to adopt and employ Turkish rather than their communal languages (a subject to which he reverted frequently).

In addition to the above propaganda for the Turkification of Jews in the Ottoman Empire, then in the Republic of Turkey, Tekinalp's main writings were devoted to serve the advance of the empire, or of Turkey. Besides numerous newspaper articles in Turkish, French, and German, he wrote several books. Türkismus und Pantürkismus (1915), of which Turkish and English versions also exist, was an impassioned plea for saving the embattled Ottoman Empire through the mobilization of support by all peoples and groups of Turkic origins. Türkleştirme (i.e., Turkification) (1928; 20012) appealed to all ethnic minorities – and, most especially, to Jews – to integrate into the recently founded Republic of Turkey. Kemalizm (1936), translated a year later into French as Le Kémalisme, was the first detailed systematic analysis of Kemalism, the republic's new official ideology. Finally, Türk Ruhu (i.e., the Spirit of the Turks, 1944) presented his views on the Turkish past, present, and future.


J.M. Landau, Tekinalp, Turkish Patriot 18831961 (1984; Turkish translation 1996), includes bibliography; idem, Pan-Turkism (1881; 19952), index; L. Behmoaras, Bir kimlik arayişinin hikâyesi (2005).

[Jacob M. Landau (2nd ed.)]