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HÜSEYIN NİHAL ATSIZ: TURKISH UNITY Title: Türk birliği (Turkish unity) Originally published: In Orhun, no. 8 (June 23, 1934), pp. 141–144; reprinted with additions in Türk ülküsü (Istanbul, 1956), pp. 45–50. Language: Turkish The excerpts used are from a revised version of the article published in Türk ülküsü (Istanbul: Burhan Basım ve Yayınevi, 1956), pp. 45–50. About the author Hüseyin Nihal Atsız [1905, Istanbul – 1975, Istanbul]: novelist, essayist, and poet. After his high school education, he enrolled in the Military School of Medicine, but due to his ultra-nationalist views and activities (he was involved in a brawl at the funeral of the nationalist thinker Ziya Gökalp), he was expelled from the institution. Afterwards, he enrolled in the Teachers’ College in Istanbul and the Faculty of Letters at Istanbul University, graduating from both in 1930. Between 1931 and 1933, he served as an assistant in the Institute of Turkology at Istanbul University under the tutorship of the eminent historian Fuad Köprülü. In 1931, he started publishing a nationalist/Turkist journal entitled Atsız mecmua [Nameless journal], while also adopting the word “nameless” as a surname after the purportedly ancient Turkic custom of keeping an individual anonymous until he performs a heroic task. Atsız was removed from his position at Istanbul University after he sided with his professor Zeki Velidi Togan in openly confronting the official “history thesis,” which was endorsed by Atatürk in the hope of establishing racial/cultural links between Turkish and Ancient Anatolia. He served as a literature teacher in various high schools in Malatya, Edirne, and Istanbul. Between 1933 and 1934, he published another journal named Orhun (after a Central Asian site, home to the monumental inscriptions left by the Göktürks—the “Heavenly Turks,” a 9th -century Turkic dynasty). During the final stages of World War II, the government initiated a series of investigations, known as the “Racist-Turanist trials,” against ultra-nationalist groups. Atsız was arrested along with other proponents of Turanism. Although he was acquitted and released in 1945, the process made Nihal Atsız the indisputable vanguard of the extreme nationalist/Turkist movement. From the 1930s onward, Atsız published many polemical articles in various journals and newspapers, defending a radical form of Turkish nationalism tinged by an overtly racist outlook. He also published several works on Turkish/Ottoman history and literature, while making a significant contribution to Ottoman studies by publishing transcribed editions of numerous primary sources. His first novel, Dalkavuklar gecesi [The night of the sycophants], involves a HÜSEYIN NİHAL ATSIZ: TURKISH UNITY 343 harsh critique of the first fifteen years of the Republic. His later novels, Bozkurtların ölümü [The death of the grey wolves] and Bozkurtlar diriliyor [The grey wolves revive ], both based on Göktürk history, retain their popularity for the ultra-right wing faction in contemporary Turkey, who regard him as an unappreciated hero of the struggle for Turkish supremacy. In the 1960s, Atsız distanced himself from mainstream Turkists, who placed increasing emphasis on the Islamic component of Turkish identity after being organized as a political movement. Main works: Türk edebiyatı tarihi [History of Turkish literature] (1940); Dalkavuklar gecesi [The night of the sycophants] (1941); Bozkurtların ölümü [The death of the grey wolves] (1946); Bozkurtlar diriliyor [The grey wolves revive] (1949); Osmanlı tarihleri [Ottoman chronicles] (1949); Türk Ülküsü [The Turkish ideal] (1956); Türk tarihinde meseleler [Issues in Turkish history] (1966); Ruh adam [Soul man] (1972). Context Early Turkism, gaining momentum after the inauguration of the second constitution in 1908, emerged as a defensive alternative amidst the turmoil of a collapsing multi-national empire (see Yusuf Akçura, Three types of policy ). As a nebulous political and cultural movement, it was nourished by multiple sources of influence, from Orientalist scholarship (and the growing field of Turcology), to Hungarian and Finnish Turanism, to rising Turkic (particularly Tatar) nationalism in Tsarist Russia. In the process of the crystallization of Turkish nationalism and its appropriation by the Republican nation-state as a founding ideology, the ethnic overtones of Turkism were largely retained, while the pan-Turkist ambition of universal expansionism was denounced in favor of a more peaceful international policy (see Ziya Gökalp, What is Turkism?). The Turkist movement gained a more uniform trajectory during the Republican period, as it was taken over by a second generation...


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