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Empire, Republic, Democracy: Turkey's Past and Future
Second edition. September 2016.
Turkey is found at the crossroads of Europe, Asia, and the Middle East. Its largest city, Istanbul, once known as Constantinople and Byzantium, was previously the capital of the Roman, Byzantine, Latin, and Ottoman Empires. Mustafa Kemal Atatürk's efforts to create a modern, unified, and secular state out of the remnants of the Ottoman Empire is one of the most remarkable stories of the twentieth century. While Atatürk's legacy still looms large, there are new forces at play today that are shaping Turkey and its relationship to the world.
Empire, Republic, Democracy: Turkey's Past and Future traces the final years of the Ottoman Empire, the struggle for independence, and Turkish resistance against European imperialism. Students explore the birth of the Turkish Republic, the emergence of a multiparty democracy, the military coups of the twentieth century, and the Kurdish conflict. The readings conclude by examining current issues in Turkey, including economic development, religion and secularism, human rights, authoritarianism, and foreign affairs. Students explore recent developments, such as the Syrian Civil War, the emergence of ISIS, the global refugee crisis, and the attempted military coup of 2016. In a culminating simulation, students grapple with the questions and challenges facing people in Turkey today.
Part I of the reading provides an overview of Turkey's population and geography before delving into the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire and the creation of an independent Turkey. Part II examines Atatürk's reforms, political upheavals throughout the twentieth century, and the Kurdish conflict. Part III brings students up to date by covering the political and economic developments of the last few decades and exploring the critical issues affecting everyday people in Turkey.
The Choices Role Play
This central activity is a simulation in which students deliberate three options for Turkey's future. Each option is grounded in a clearly defined philosophy about Turkey's place in the world and offers recommendations on Turkey's domestic and foreign policy.
The Geography of Turkey
Students practice map–reading skills and consider how geography has affected the history of Turkey and the Ottoman Empire. Students identify the location of Turkey and its neighbors, explore major geographical features, and compare the reach of the Ottoman Empire with Turkey's contemporary borders.
Art as Political Expression
Students analyze Turkish artist Zeki Faik İzer's 1933 painting, "On the Road to Transformation," by identifying symbols and their historical significance.
Photo Analysis: Looking at Turkey
Students analyze photographs of present-day Turkey to learn about Turkish life and society. Students consider the benefits and limitations of using photographs as a source for learning about Turkey.
The Options Role Play
Working cooperatively, students take on the roles of Turkish politicians and citizens to explore different options for Turkey's future.
Young People Speak Out
Working in groups, students read and analyze oral histories from the "Young People Speak Out" project based at Sabanci University in Istanbul.
Assessment Using Documents
Students review ten documents pertaining to Atatürk's legacy and answer a series of documents-based questions.