Redefining the nation : Nazim Hikmet and nationalist discourse in contemporary Turkey

Sutchoglu, Bilgen (2010) Redefining the nation : Nazim Hikmet and nationalist discourse in contemporary Turkey. (PhD thesis), Kingston University, .


This thesis is an analysis of the hegemonic and colonising nationalist discourse of the Turkish state in dealing with one of its “others”, communism, which is presented through the changes in the articulation of a symbol of that “other”, namely, Nazim Hikmet, in the official discourse about him. In doing so, it aims to make a contribution to the discussion of nationalism in light of the social constructivist approach which stresses the malleability of national identity and the dynamic social struggles over the definition of any given national identity, through an example from Turkey. In this sense, I would not argue that the case study of Nazirn Hikmet is unique since other instances of strategic changes from antagonism, to incorporation, and to colonisation can be traced in the relationship of the Turkish state and its various “others”. The case study of Nazim Hikmet will be situated in the general context of the ambiguities of the official Turkish nationalist discourse. In order to serve this aim, the role of language, religion and race in the Kemalist nationalism in different periods will be analysed. A study of the malleable relationship of the Turkish left with Kemalism, the construction of national literary canons, as well as a study of the life and works of Nazim Hikmet and their representation in the state discourse on him will be provided.

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