The Making of Modern Turkey: Nation and State in Eastern Anatolia, 1913-1950
Üngör, Ugor Ümit.
Oxford University Press, 2011, 334 pages. ISBN 9780199603602.
For centuries, the eastern provinces of the Ottoman Empire had been a multi‐ethnic region, where Armenians, Kurds, Syriacs, Turks and Arabs lived together in the same villages and cities. The disintegration of the Ottoman Empire and rise of the nation state would violently alter this situation. Nationalist elites intervened in heterogeneous populations which they identified as objects of knowledge, management, and change. These often violent processes of state formation destroyed historical regions and emptied multicultural cities, clearing the way for modern nation states. This book highlights how the Young Turk regime, from 1913 to 1950, subjected Eastern Turkey to various forms of nationalist population policies aimed at ethnically homogenizing the region and incorporating it into the Turkish nation state. It examines how the regime utilized technologies of social engineering such as genocide, deportation, spatial planning, forced assimilation, and memory politics, to increase ethnic and cultural homogeneity within the nation state. Drawing on secret files and unexamined records, the author demonstrates that concerns of state security, ethnocultural identity, and national purity drove these policies. The eastern provinces, the heartland of Armenian and Kurdish life, became an epicentre of Young Turk population policies and the theatre of unprecedented levels of mass violence.