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The Turkish Republic’s history witness fights over identity tend to be destabilizing and protracted; this conflict can be traced back to the founding moment of the republic. For modern Turkey’s founder, Mustafa Kemal—known universally as Ataturk—to be successful, it was neces¬sary build a mythology around the idea of “Turkishness.” This mythology established linkages between Turks, the Turkish language, and the land. As a result, the loyalty of citizens would, in theory, shift from the Ottoman political-religious establishment that ruled over a predominantly Muslim domain, to a nation of Turks and a state whose rulers derived their legitimacy from the defense of Turkishness. In this study, formation and role of Turkish identity, social and cultural reflections in Turkey were discussed. In particular, the fact that Atatürk acknowledged the West who doesn’t regard Turkey as an equal partner in order to reach the level of contemporary civilizations was perceived as unrealistic efforts / reforms by those who focused on Islamic ideas. However, today Atatürk’s efforts partly achieved success and Turkey is said to reach contemporary civilizations level. Those who concentrate on Islamic ideas were at the least mistaken.

Turkish Identity, Islam and Secularism, Ataturk


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