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Book description

Between 1945 and 1960, the birth of a multi-party democracy and NATO membership radically transformed Turkey's foreign relations and domestic politics. As Turkish politicians, intellectuals and voters rethought their country's relationship with its past and its future to facilitate democratization, a new alliance with the United States was formed. In this book, Nicholas L. Danforth demonstrates how these transformations helped consolidate a consensus on the nature of Turkish modernity that continues to shape current political and cultural debates. He reveals the surprisingly nuanced and often paradoxical ways that both secular modernizers and their Islamist critics deployed Turkey's famous clichés about East and West, as well as tradition and modernity, to advance their agendas. By drawing on a diverse array of published and archival sources, Danforth offers a tour de force exploration of the relationship between democracy, diplomacy, modernity, Westernization, Ottoman historiography and religion in mid-century Turkey.


'An original and perceptive piece of work. In his focus upon the country’s turn towards democracy after 1950, Nicholas Danforth depicts the development of politics and identity in Turkey in a new light. Danforth challenges popular convention in demonstrating the ongoing resonance of ideas and institutions dating back to the Ottoman Empire. The beginning of the Cold War, we learn, marks important moments of continuity and rupture in terms of Turkey’s relationship with the West and secularism. In his retelling of this critical period in the country’s history, Danforth offers readers a new point of orientation in dealing with the legacies of Turkey’s imperial past. It is a book that is groundbreaking in many ways.'

Ryan Gingeras - Naval Postgraduate School

‘Danforth's volume is the best interpretive study of modern Turkey in some time … Anyone interested in democracy should read this insightful book … Highly recommended.’

R. W. Olson Source: Choice

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