The Reinvention of Kemalism: Between Elitism, Anti-Elitism and Anti-Intellectualism

Gurpinar D.

MIDDLE EASTERN STUDIES, vol.49, no.3, pp.454-476, 2013 (SSCI) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 49 Issue: 3
  • Publication Date: 2013
  • Doi Number: 10.1080/00263206.2013.783822
  • Journal Indexes: Social Sciences Citation Index (SSCI), Scopus
  • Page Numbers: pp.454-476
  • Istanbul Technical University Affiliated: No


This article probes the transformation of Kemalism to a xenophobic nation-statism with a strong anti-western animus diluting its self-styled westernism and elitism in response to the rise of the reformist-Islamist ruling JDP and its patchy liberal rhetoric and pro-EU stance. The article points to the novel qualities of the Kemalism of the 2000s but also attests to its inherent anti-elitist, anti-liberal and anti-intellectual nature that reigned in the 1930s given that the Kemalist project in the inter-war period involved the denunciation of the Ottoman establishment with its elite and intelligentsia and its replacement with an intelligentsia of its own that is acquainted with anti-liberalism, anti-cosmopolitism and also anti-intellectualism.