Atatürk Reforms 1923-1946
CitationAKGUL, AHMET S. 2019. Atatürk Reforms 1923-1946. Master's thesis, Harvard Extension School.
AbstractToday, the problems of Muslim-majority countries are overwhelming: War, Oppression, Migration, Corruption and the list goes on. The Jasmine Revolution, that would supposedly bring peace and democracy to the Arab world, has turned out to bring chaos and fighting in almost everywhere in the Islamic World. But the most frightening aspect of the problem is the Muslim Youth who have been exposed to war, oppression, migration and corruption in their own countries -- not to mention their vulnerability to terrorist jihadi groups. No country with a majority of muslim population is recognized democratically free except Tunisia with its share of only 0.6% among them (Freedom House, 2018). According to Council on Foreign Relations’ Global Conflict Tracker Islamic groups are currently involved in 22 out of 28 global conflicts (Gilmore, 2016). Muslim people seemingly are in desperate need for a viable alternative or rather ‘a way out’ with all the anger and frustration they have accumulated. Unfortunately, only solace they could find remains to be fundamentalism and conspiracy theories, which makes the region a hotbed for extremist groups like Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).
As a matter of fact, if these desperate people do keep searching, it is possible to find a unique period in the first half of the 20th century during when Turkey embarked on an unprecedented modernization project under the leadership of Ataturk. Looking closely, this period seems to have squeezed hundreds of years of European reform and renaissance in just a few decades, process of which had attracted such iconic figures as liberal educator John Dewey and leading German scientists, who took shelter from rising fascism in Europe. Standing on the heritage of Ottoman Empire, Turkish Republic was founded in 1923 by Mustafa Kemal Ataturk and his friends, who put Western Civilization as a beacon on its horizon. In the following years, many modernization reforms were achieved under the rule of Ataturk, the era of which is sometimes called as ‘Turkish Renaissance’ with its relentless pace extending until 1946.
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