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America and the Making of Modern Turkey: Science, Culture and Political Alliances

America and the Making of Modern Turkey: Science, Culture and Political Alliances
Ali Erken

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After the fall of the Ottoman Empire, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk's government encouraged substantial American investment in education and aid. It was argued that Turkey needed the technical skills and wealth offered by American education, and so a series of American schools was set up across the country to educate the Turkish youth. Here, Ali Erken, in the first study of its kind, argues that these organizations had a huge impact on political and economic thought in Turkey - acting as a form of `soft power' for US national interests throughout the 20th Century. Robert College, originally a missionary school founded by US benefactors, has been responsible for educating two Turkish Prime Ministers, writers such as Orhan Pamuk and a huge number of influential economists, politicians and journalists. The end result of these American philanthropic efforts, Erken argues, was a consensus in the 1970s that the country must `westernize'. This mindset, and the opposition viewpoint it engendered, has come to define political struggle in modern Turkey - torn between a capitalist `modern' West and an Islamic `Ottoman' East. The book also reveals how and why the Rockefeller and Ford foundations funneled large amounts of money into Turkey post-1945, and undertook activities in support of `Western' candidates in Turkey as a bulwark against the Soviet Union. This is an essential contribution to the history of US-Turkish relations, and the influence of the West in Turkish political thought.

Author Info

Ali Erken is Lecturer in Middle East Studies at the University of Marmara in Turkey. He completed his DPhil at Oxford University

Bibliographic Info

Imprint: I.B.Tauris
Publisher: I.B.Tauris & Co. Ltd.
Series: Library of Modern Turkey

ISBN: 9781788311700
Publication Date: 29 Mar 2018
Number of Pages: 288
Height: 216
Width: 138
Illustrations: 16 black and white integrated illustrations

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