Problems of Modernization, Ideology and Interpretation
Palgrave Macmillan 2019
Vahram Ter-Matevosyan's new book Turkey, Kemalism and the Soviet Union: Problems of Modernization, Ideology and Interpretation (Palgrave Macmillan, 2019) examines the Kemalist ideology of Turkey from two perspectives. It discusses major problems in the existing interpretations of the topic and how the incorporation of Soviet perspectives enriches the historiography and our understanding of that ideology. To address these questions, the book looks into the origins, evolution, and transformational phases of Kemalism between the 1920s and 1970s. The research also focuses on perspectives from abroad by observing how republican Turkey and particularly its founding ideology were viewed and interpreted by Soviet observers. Paying more attention to the diplomatic, geopolitical, and economic complexities of Turkish-Soviet relations, scholars have rarely problematized those perceptions of Turkish ideological transformations. Looking at various phases of Soviet attitudes towards Kemalism and its manifestations through the lenses of Communist leaders, party functionaries, diplomats and scholars, the book illuminates the underlying dynamics of Soviet interpretations.
Robert Elliott is a Ph.D. student in the Department of History, Duke University.