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YUSUF AKÇURA: THREE TYPES OF POLICY Title: Üç tarz-ı siyaset (Three types of policy) Originally published: Cairo, 1904, in numbers 24 (14 April); 26 (28 April); and 27 (5 May) of the newspaper Türk. Language: Ottoman Turkish The excerpts used are from the 1991 reprint published by the Turkish Historical Society, Ankara, pp. 19–24, 31–35. About the author Yusuf Akçura (Akçuraoğlu Yusuf or Yusuf Akchurin) [1876, Simbirsk (Russia ) – 1935, Ankara]: historian, political theorist and activist. He was born to an upper -bourgeois family of Volga Tatars in Simbirsk, the home town of Lenin. Upon the death of his father, he was taken to Istanbul at the age of seven. Following his elementary education, Akçura was enrolled in the Military Academy, the seedbed of rising Turkish nationalism in the Ottoman Empire. In 1896, under the oppressive rule of Abdülhamid II, he was exiled to Trablusgarb (Tripoli) in Ottoman Libya for being involved in the clandestine Young Turk movement. He managed to flee to Paris in 1899, where he studied political science and history close to figures such as Albert Sorel and Émile Boutmy. He also linked up with the Young Turk exiles in Paris and published nationalist and pan-Turkist articles in the group’s newspapers. In 1903 he returned to Russia, and was thereafter involved simultaneously in two different political movements in two separate countries. He played a leading role in the shaping of the nationalist agenda pursued by the Turkic peoples of Russia, who strove to secure political rights and achieve cultural autonomy within a nascent representative system in Russia. At the same time, he remained a prolific figure among the Young Turk circles, publishing profusely on the political and cultural significance of national identity in the Ottoman context. Akçura came back to Istanbul in 1908, in the wake of the Young Turk revolution, and was the driving force behind the ‘Turkish Hearth’ movement that served as the fulcrum of Turkish nationalism in the 1910s and 1920s. He founded and directed the most important Turkist journal of the time, Türk yurdu (Turkish homeland), in which, along with other Turkic exiles from Russia , he attempted to instill a consciousness about the cultural unity of all Turkic peoples of the world. He was also a founder, along with Ziya Gökalp and Halide Edib, of the Halka Doğru (Towards the people) movement (1912), which pursued a populist agenda, striving to inculcate the national idea among the Anatolian masses. YUSUF AKÇURA: THREE TYPES OF POLICY 219 Akçura never became a member of the Committee of Union and Progress due to the Young Turk regime’s continuing adherence (till the end of the Balkan Wars) to the ‘Ottomanist’ cause, which prescribed the incorporation of different ethno-religious communities under the idea of a common Ottoman nationhood. Following the Ottoman defeat in the First World War, Akçura was immediately embraced by the national resistance movement in Anatolia, due to the careful distance he had maintained from the Unionists. Upon the founding of the Republic, he became a member of the Turkish Parliament, and in the 1930s, worked as a professor of Turkish history at Istanbul University. In 1932, he was appointed as the first president of the Turkish Historical Society, hence playing a paradigmatic role in the shaping of the official narrative of ‘national history’ in Republican Turkey. Although a major fountainhead of Turkish nationalism at its moment of emergence, Akçura does not occupy as prominent a position in the Turkish national pantheon as, for instance, Ziya Gökalp. This was largely due to his abiding reputation as the architect of ‘pan-Turkism,’ a political movement that was marginalized by the Republican regime and appropriated by the extreme right. Main works: Üç tarz-ı siyaset [Three types of policy] (1904); Türk, Cermen ve İslavların münasebat-ı tarihiyeleri [Historical relationships between the Turks, Germans and Slavs] (1914); Şark meselesine ait tarih notları [Historical notes on the Eastern Question] (1920); Muasır Avrupa’da siyasi ve içtimai fikirler ve fikri cereyanlar [Political and social thought and intellectual currents in contemporary Europe] (1923); Osmanlı İmparatorluğu’nun dağılma devri [The Ottoman Empire’s period of disintegration] (1934). Context Yusuf Akçura composed ‘Three types of policy’ as a long article upon his return to his homeland in Russia, following a highly formative period of study in Paris. At this point, as a political exile who was not permitted to return...


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