Hande Özkan / The History of Geographical Perceptions in the Turkish Republic: A Spatial Interpretation of the Republican Regime

The History of Geographical Perceptions in the Turkish Republic: A Spatial Interpretation of the Republican Regime During the Single-Party Era

Geography played a significant role in the establishment of the Turkish nation-state through the implementation of a new spatial mentality and of a series of spatial policies fundamentally different from those of the Ottoman Empire. While the turbulent and relatively liberal environment of the 1920s was built on the spatial resistance and emancipation of the newly arisen national consciousness vis-à-vis external powers, the authoritarian mentality of the 1930s targeted the physically oppressive spatial conquest of the domestic landscape. The cartographic dichotomy between the Treaties of Sèvres and Lausanne was finalized by the discussions on the territorial delimitation of the nation-state, passing through different ideological perspectives such as Turanism and Anatolianism and finally, Kemalist nationalism. Finally, the period following World War II welcomed the adoption of a "disciplinary" form of spatial power and control with respect to the national territory. The organization of the First Turkish Geography Congress and the adoption of a "modern", "rational" conceptualization of geography were the basis of this disciplinary form of spatial control. This thesis is built on the overlaps between a chronological/vertical and spatial/horizontal narrative of the interaction between geography and politics during the single party era. Rereading early Republican history through the articulation of a spatial analysis, this work also attempts to discuss certain basic postulates about the dynamic position acquired by "space" within the interdisciplinary framework of social sciences.

(Approved by Prof. Dr. Zafer Toprak, Prof. Dr. Füsun Üstel, Asst. Prof. M. Asim Karaömerlioglu)