Turkey between Democracy and Militarism: Post Kemalist
By İhsan Dağı
Ankara: Orion Publications, 2008, 301 pp., ISBN 978-9944-769-19-8.
“Turkey between Democracy and Mili- establishment and reformist societal actors.
tarism: Post Kemalist Perspectives” pro- The following six chapters are devoted to
vides a comprehensive picture of the strug- the major political issues such as the Kurd-
gle taking place in contemporary Turkey. It ish question, EU integration, foreign policy
consists of 13 chapters that deal with issues and emerging anti-Americanism. Finally,
ranging from militarism to Kemalism and the author offers his assessment of political
secularism, from nationalism to Kurdish developments in Turkey.
question, political parties and finally rela-
tions with the West, particularly the EU Dagi states upfront that the driving
and the US. theme of the book is a concern for “devel-
oping a post-Kemalist reading of contem-
The book identifies the Kemalists/au- porary Turkish politics” (p. 6), and analyses
thoritarian elite and democratic periphery throughout the book flow from this per-
as the major protagonists of what Dagi calls spective. One of the most interesting sec-
the “grand struggle” for Turkey. Maintain- tions of the book is chapter one, entitled
ing an optimistic outlook, Dagi seeks to “Nationalism and Its Victims”, which focus-
demonstrate the existence of political will es on the nature and formation of Turkish
for change, a grassroots demand for deeper nationalism, as well as nationalists’ percep-
democracy and a quest for integration with tion of the world and the nation state. Dagi
the world on the part of peripheral forces classifies Turkish nationalism into three
that are encountering isolationist state groups, namely, Kemalist nationalism, rad-
elites in Turkey.
ical nationalism and popular nationalism,
The book is organized thematically and and claims that all these forms of national-
divided into 13 chapters that provide read- ism “share a culture that treat the state, not
ers with an informed background about re- the nation, as the supreme entity and view
cent political developments. The first four its survival as constantly at stake. Because