Empire to Republic: The Rise of Hysterical Nationalism in Turkey

Serhun Al


The rise of nation-states along with the international political system with hundreds of ‘national’ territories paved the way for a new ideological movement, nationalism, all over the world. One of the most accepted classifications of nationalism is the Western vs. Eastern dichotomy. While Western nationalism is mostly associated with the liberal democracies of Western Europe where different ethnicities form a community of laws under a common constitutional citizenship, Eastern nationalism characterizes the nation mostly in ethnic and cultural surroundings. This thesis will offer a third way under ‘hysterical nationalism’ through analyzing the nationalist formation of the Ottoman/Turkish case. Hysterical nationalism is a combination of Eastern and Western nationalism in which the state-centric notions of Western nationalism develop alongside Eastern ideas of exclusivity and a fear of ‘the other’. Within that analysis, the Kurdish question of Turkey will be the main indicator of demonstrating the ‘hysterical’ structure of Turkish nationalism.