Liaisan Şahin / Soviet Studies on Turkey, 1917-1991: Institutional History and Analytical Perspectives

An abstract of the thesis of Liaisan Sahin for the degree of the Master of Arts from the Atatürk Institute for Modern Turkish History to be taken September 2005

Soviet Studies on Turkey, 1917-1991: Institutional History and Analytical Perspectives

Turkish studies represent one of the oldest and most developed branches of Russian Oriental studies. The peculiarities of Russian-Turkish relations and Russia’s consequent close interest in Turkey have determined the fact. In the Soviet period, Turkish studies continued to develop and showed steady proliferation and advance, because Turkey served for Soviet Orientalist scholarship as a model in elaborating many of the problems of the Third World. It stemmed from some peculiarities of Turkish development, namely, the fact that Turkey won its political independent much earlier of the majority of colonial and semi-colonial countries and had a long experience in capitalist way of socioeconomic development. This thesis attempts a comprehensive history of Soviet studies on Turkey, considering them within the context of the overall development of Soviet Oriental studies. Along with institutional history, some aspects of the Soviet analysis of Turkey are dealt with: the Soviet interpretation of the two most important Soviet Turkologist scholarship themes, the Turkish National Struggle and socioeconomic development of the Republic of Turkey, is conveyed. It is indicated that Soviet studies on Turkey showed an obvious continuity with the Tsarist Turkology in regard to the priorities of investigation, as the same focus on contemporary issues and the primary engagement with recent history and economics were the case. Soviet Turkology developed parallel to the overall growth of Soviet Oriental studies and was characterized by a quick response to the state’s demands and to the major trends of research. As to the peculiarities of the Soviet analysis, the Turkish National Struggle was considered by Soviet scholars as a bourgeois liberation revolution under the leadership of the native merchant bourgeoisie and big land-owners and its anti-people character was emphasized. The Soviet scholarship was of the opinion that capitalism in Turkey was characterized by the middle level of development; the strong state element; the existence of many feudal remnants and consequent contradictions and disproportions in socioeconomic structure; and unequal dependence on the world capitalist system.

Atatürk Ilkeleri ve Inkilap Tarihi Enstitüsü’nde Yüksek Lisans derecesi için Liaisan Sahin tarafindan Eylül 2005’te teslim edilen tezin kisa özeti

Sovyetler Birligi’nde Türkiye Üzerine Arastirmalar, 1917-1991: Kurumsal Gelismenin Tarihi ve Analiz Özellikleri

Türk-Rus iliskilerinin özellikleri dolayisiyla Rusya tarihi boyunca Türkiye’ye yakin ilgi duymustir. Bu yüzden Türkiye konulu çalismalar Rus Sarkiyatçilik biliminin en eski ve gelismis dallarindan birini olusturmaktadir. Sovyet döneminde de Türkiye üzerine çalismalar devam etmis ve hatta daha da yayginlasmis ve gelismistir, zira Türkiye’nin diger Dogu ülkelerinden daha uzun olan siyasi bagimsizlik ve kapitalist gelisme tecrübesi Üçünçü Dünya ülkelerinin meselelerini incelemek için Sovyet bilimine bir örnek teskil etmistir. Bu tez, Sovyetler Birligi’nde Türkiye üzerine yürütülmüs olan çalismalarin tarihsel gelisimini içermektedir. Kurumsal tarihin yani sira Sovyetlerin Türkiye analizine de deginilmekte ve Sovyet bilim adamlarini özellikle mesgul etmis olan iki konu – Milli Mücadele ve Türkiye’nin toplumsal ve ekonomik gelisimi – ele alinmaktadir. Varilan sonuca göre, Sovyetler Birligi’ndeki Türkiye uzmanlarinin bilimsel ilgi alanlari Çarlik Rusyasinda yürütülen çalismalara benzerlik göstermis ve ayni sekilde yakin tarih ve ekonomi konularina agirlik verilmistir. Sovyetlerin Türkiye üzerinde çalismalari Sovyet Sarkiyatçilik biliminin genel gelisimi ile birlikte ilerlemis ve Sovyet devleti tarafindan konulan taleplere hizla karsilik vermistir. Sovyet analizinin özelliklerine gelince, Milli Mücadele sonucu kazanilan zafer Sovyet bilim adamlari tarafindan bir burjuva ihtilali olarak degerlendirilmis; yerli ticari burjuvazi sinifinin ve büyük toprak sahiplerinin önderlik yaptigi bu ihtilalin “halk-karsiti” yönüne vurgu yapilmistir.