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Maksudyan, Nazan; Alkan, Hilal

Commemorating the First World War and its Aftermath

Neo-Ottomanism, Gender, and the Politics of History in Turkey

In: (Ed.)
Neo-Ottoman Imaginaries in Contemporary Turkey

Springer, Palgrave Macmillan, London, 2023
Reihe: Modernity, Memory and Identity in South-East Europe

S. 175-208

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-031-08023-4_7

This chapter discusses the Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) neo-Ottomanist history politics with a focus on commemoration and memorialisation of the First World War and the “Independence War” in Turkey. These commemorations refer to a mythical Ottoman past that stresses Sunni-Muslim-Turkish imperial legacy and the prominence of Muslim faith, solidarity, and martyrdom. While they undermine the hero cult around Mustafa Kemal and pluralize heroism by including women (and other male warriors), the commemorations consciously omit the existence of non-Muslim soldiers and ethnic violence against non-Muslims. The chapter traces incorporation of mythical narratives of women warriors into the centennial memorialisation in order to explore the shift in the construction of masculinities and femininities. Although the recognition of women’s participation in the war effort is a step towards pluralisation, women’s heroic representations reflect the same neo-Ottomanist obsession with “Muslim martyrdom” that rests on a masculinist notion of heroism, and a homogeneous ethno-religious identity.