omer Seyfettin-The Balkan Wars, World War I, and His Criticism of Ottomanism and Minority Nationalisms

Uzer U.

JOURNAL OF MUSLIM MINORITY AFFAIRS, vol.39, no.3, pp.356-371, 2019 (ESCI) identifier identifier


omer Seyfettin (1884-1920) was one of the significant ideologues of Turkish nationalism disseminating his ideas through his activism and his literature by invoking Turkish history. In the journal Young Pens, published in Ottoman Salonica between 1910-1912, Seyfetttin together with Ziya Gokalp laid the foundations of Turkish nationalist thought as well as national policies toward the Turkish language. While Gokalp developed a more systematic ideology of Turkism with his writings, Seyfettin appealed to the sentiments of the Turkish people with his short plays arguing that Turkish nationalism was the only viable option for the Turkish speaking people of the Balkans and Anatolia. A literary figure as well as an ideologue, Seyfettin's ideas against Ottomanism and Islamism were clearly expressed in his plays and articles focusing on Ottoman Turks, their heroism and their betrayal by the subject peoples living under the Ottoman state. Consequently, nationalism was the only natural solution to the plight of the Turks and for the prospects of their salvation against imperial encroachments and minority separatist movements. His literary production, however, had strong nationalist tones making ideological considerations to be more important than any intention to produce belles-lettres. Seyfettin's influence can be observed as his plays are still included in the curriculum of Turkish primary and secondary education as devised by the Ministry of National Education in Turkey.