Class and State in the Transformation of Modern Turkey

  • Caglar Keyder


The origins of the Republican state in Turkey may be traced back to the bureaucratic rebellion against the peripheralisation of the Ottoman Empire. The mechanisms of nineteenth-century integration of the Ottoman economy into capitalist networks, that is trade, debt, and direct investment, had allowed for the rapid expansion of a class that acted as intermediary between the local economy and European capitalism. From a systemic point of view there were two reasons establishing the material basis of a conflict between the traditional bureaucracy and the new class of merchants and bankers. First, these intermediaries were the physical agents of capitalist integration, threatening to change the very principles of the traditional system guarded and defended by state functionaries. It did not require great foresight to comprehend the implications of the replacement of a bureaucratic system by market rationality for the traditional role of the bureaucracy. Secondly, if the bureaucracy attempted to take a more active role in the new world, through effecting a transformation from above of the social system, it risked losing its legitimacy in the eyes of the social groups making up the traditional order.


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Notes and references

  1. 1.
    For the history of Ottoman reform movements, see R. Davison, Reform in the Ottoman Empire, 1856–187. (Princeton, 1963);Google Scholar
  2. S. J. Shaw and E. K. Shaw, History of the Ottoman Empire and Modern Turke., vol. II:Reform, Revolution and Republi. (Cambridge, 1977).Google Scholar
  3. For the Young Turks see E. E. Ramsaur, The Young Turks: Prelude to the Revolution of 190. (Princeton, 1957), and F. Ahmad, ‘Vanguard of a nascent bourgeoisie: The social and economic policy of the Young Turks, 1908–1918’Google Scholar
  4. O. Okyar and H. Inalcik (eds), Social and Economic History of Turke. (Ankara, 1980).Google Scholar
  5. 2.
    On the Public Debt Administration see D. C. Blaisdell, European Financial Control in the Ottoman Empir. (New York, 1929).Google Scholar
  6. 3.
    Ahmad, ‘Vanguard of a nascent bourgeoisie’; and Z. Toprak, Turkiye’de ‘Milli Iktisat’. (‘National Economics’ in Turke.) (Ankara, 1982).Google Scholar
  7. 4.
    This exchange was compulsory for Greeks living in all parts of Turkey except in Istanbul, and for Muslims in Greece except those living in Western Thrace. See D. Pentzopoulos, The Balkan Exchange of Minorities and Its Impact on Greec. (Mouton, 1962).Google Scholar
  8. 6.
    The best account of the politics of this period is in M. Tunçay, Türkiye Cumhuriyetinde Tek Parti Yönetiminin Kurulmasi (1923–1931. (The Establishment of Single-Party Government in the Turkish Republi.) (Ankara, 1981).Google Scholar
  9. 7.
    Ç. Yetkin, Türkiye’de Tek Parti Yönetimi, 1930–194. (Single-Party Government in Turkey) (Istanbul, 1983), p. 98.Google Scholar
  10. 8.
    On the Wealth Levy, see E. C. Clark, ‘The Turkish Varlik Vergisi reconsidered’, Middle Eastern Studie. (May 1972).Google Scholar
  11. 9.
    S. Mardin, ‘Religion and secularism in Turkey’, in A. Kazancigil and E. Özbudun (eds), Atatürk, Founder of a Modern Stat. (London, 1981)Google Scholar
  12. B. Toprak, Islam and Political Development in Turke. (Brill, 1981).Google Scholar
  13. 10.
    A useful collection of essays on the so-called ‘planned’ period in Turkish economy is O. Türel (ed), Two Decades of Planned Development in Turke. (1981 Special Issue, METU Studies in Developmen.).Google Scholar
  14. 11.
    See the essays in E. Özbudun and A. Ulusan (eds), The Political Economy of Income Distribution in Turke. (New York, 1980).Google Scholar
  15. 12.
    For the more economic aspects of the crisis see K. Boratav, Ç Keyder, Ş. Pamuk, Krizin Gelişimi ve Türkiye’nin Alternatif Sorun. (The Evolution of the Crisis and the Problem of Alternatives for Turkey) (Istanbul, 1984).Google Scholar

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© Caglar Keyder 1988

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  • Caglar Keyder

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