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A Splintered Icon: The Tensions of Politics, Ideology and Representation in Early Republican Ankara

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Zeynep Kezer


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This paper examines how in the process of building a new capital city in Ankara, the military bureaucratic elite, mostly transplanted from Istanbul, marginalized the existing town and its inhabitants. The fragmentation of Ankara’s space and inhabitants generated a “new” and an “old” town, which invokes parallels with colonial urban developments, which also separated the “native” towns from the colonizers’ settlements, with comparable rhetorical, economical, and socio-cultural dimensions. While recognizing the similarities, the paper provides a more nuanced analysis, bringing up the inherent instability of such polarized constructions. Through the examination various examples, it demonstrates that, torn between their nationalist loyalties, modernizing ideology, and personal interests, Ankara’s ruling elite produced highly ambivalent visual and verbal representations of the “old Ankara,” which they portrayed simultaneously as a place to be revered and reviled. These irreconcilably discrepant characterizations reveal not only the inherent tensions of within the making of Modern Turkey, but also the historiographic challenge of interpreting their subtlety

Publication metadata

Author(s): Kezer Z

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Informationen zur modernen Stadtgeschichte

Year: 2005

Volume: 2005

Issue: 1

Pages: 38-46

ISSN (print): 0340-1774

Publisher: Deutsches Institut fuer Urbanistik