Aktar, Ayhan: The struggle between nationalist and jihadist narratives of Gallipoli, 1915-2015

Ayhan Aktar

The struggle between nationalist and jihadist narratives of Gallipoli, 1915-2015‘, Forum for Modern Language Studies, Vol. 56, No. 2, April 2020, pp. 213-28 (paywall)

There have been a number of milestones in the (re-)writing of the history of the Gallipoli campaign (1915). First, the dominant Turkish nationalist historiography ‘Turkified’ the victory of the Ottoman Imperial Army. Narratives of the 1930s were also constructed in such a way that the presence of Mustafa Kemal (later Atatürk) was used as a bridge to attach the Gallipoli campaign of 1915 to the Turkish War of Independence (1919–1922). In later years, Islamist poets such as Mehmet Akif wrote poems presenting the campaign as a kind of ‘Resistance of Islam against the Infidel’. However, it was not until the mid-1990s that the Gallipoli campaign came to be framed as an ‘Invasion of Crusaders into the House of Islam’. This new narrative reflects a jihadist revision. In this article, these trends will be analysed within the framework of operations of political power in both civil society and the state. (abstract)

The research for this article was done while the author was on a National Library of Australia fellowship during 2017. Other articles by the author on rewriting the history of Gallipoli are here and here (with Brad West). And with West again. See also the documentary by Köken Ergun, Şehitler (Heroes), and this earlier article by Ruth Pollard.

Robert Fisk writes up the article in The Independent.

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