Religion and Nation-Building in the Turkish Republic: Comparison of High School History Textbooks of 1931-41 and of 1942-50

Ari B.

TURKISH STUDIES, vol.14, no.2, pp.372-393, 2013 (SSCI) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 14 Issue: 2
  • Publication Date: 2013
  • Doi Number: 10.1080/14683849.2013.805057
  • Journal Name: TURKISH STUDIES
  • Journal Indexes: Social Sciences Citation Index (SSCI), Scopus
  • Page Numbers: pp.372-393
  • Middle East Technical University Affiliated: No


In the period from 1923 to 1946, the new regime was consolidated through a series of radical secularizing reforms. In order to make these reforms acceptable to a wider public, the new Republic tried to build a secular Turkish identity that does not include Islam. High school history textbooks were prepared to this end in 1931. It has generally been argued that the transition to a multi-party regime constituted a break by opening greater space for religion in society. However, the Kemalist Project to develop a secular Turkish identity without Islam ended in 1942, i.e. during the single-party rule of the Republican People's Party (RPP). The reasons behind this change show that the RPP was a more heterogeneous party in terms of the views of its policy-makers on religion.