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Book description

For decades after the declaration of the Republic of Turkey in 1923, the Turkish state promoted the idea of a desired citizen. The Kemalist state treated these citizens as superior, with full rights; but the 'others', those outside this desired citizenship, were either tolerated or considered undesirable citizens. And this caused the marginalization of ethnic and religious minorities, religious Muslims and leftists alike. In this book, Ihsan Yilmaz shows how historical traumas, victimhood, insecurities, anxieties, fears and siege mentality have negatively impacted on and radicalised the nation-building projects of the two competing hegemonic ideologies/regimes (those of Ataturk and Erdogan) and their treatment of majority and minority ethnic, religious and political groups. Yilmaz reveals the significant degree of overlap between the desired, undesired citizen and tolerated citizen categories of these two regimes, showing how both regimes aimed to create a perception of a homogenous Turkish nation.


'Autocratisation in Turkey has developed over time, with identity a highly contentious political issue. Yilmaz describes in great detail and with much knowledge and understanding the shift from 'Kemalism' to 'Erdoğanism': an ideological project to create the 'perfect Turk' through the political vilification of many Turkish citizens because of their beliefs. Highly recommended.'

Jeffrey Haynes - London Metropolitan University

'Creating the Desired Citizen methodically dissects the social engineering efforts to craft 'ideal citizens' for what Ihsan Yilmaz calls 'Erdoganism'. This original and enlightening work is an important contribution, furthering our understanding of the social and cultural transformation of Turkey under the AKP.'

Paul Kubicek - Oakland University

'Creating the Desired Citizen successfully analyzes how citizenship has been used as an instrument of the state's social engineering policy in Turkey. It is a must-read for students of Turkish politics.'

Ahmet T. Kuru Source: Political Science Quarterly

'Yilmaz makes essential contributions to the study of nation-building and extends our knowledge on the Kemalist and Erdoğanist nation-building projects in Turkey. Those scholars interested in nation-building, citizenship, and the Turkish experience will find the book indispensable. Its scholarly contributions make the book relevant for graduate courses, and Yilmaz’s engaging prose makes it accessible to the policy community and undergraduate students.'

Ramazan Kılınç Source: Perspectives on Politics

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