By Ebru Boyar

The lack of the Balkans used to be no longer purely a actual but in addition a mental catastrophe for the Ottoman Empire. during this frank evaluation, Ebru Boyar charts the construction of recent Turkish self-perception throughout the transition from the overdue Ottoman Empire to the Turkish Republic. The Balkans performed a key function in identification development in this interval; humiliated through defeat, the Ottomans have been stung through what they observed as a betrayal and ingratitude of the peoples of the sector to whom they'd introduced peace and order for hundreds of years and whom that they had defended on the expense of a lot Turkish blood. It caused a feeling of isolation and encapsulated the destruction of the Ottoman Empire's army computing device and vanity through the good Powers. This sufferer mentality used to be sustained by means of past due Ottoman history-writing and through the historians of the early Republic, for whom background used to be a necessary instrument within the construction of the hot Turkish nationwide identification for the recent Turkish Republic of the twentieth century. 

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THE DEFINITION OF THE BALKANS 37 The lack of internalisation of this idea can perhaps rather be interpreted as Ottoman intellectual resistance to the imposition of the European concept of the Balkans, although this is a difficult argument to develop largely due to the scarcity of material available from which to gage the level of such Ottoman intellectual resistance. Ottoman intellectual rejection of this European term was also a rejection of all that was implied behind it, for the term attempted to impose on the Ottoman empire borders which were obviously not identical to her late nineteenth-and early twentieth-century political and legal boundaries, and formed part of what might be described as a general “cognitive trimming” of the empire by Europe.

In neither late nineteenth-century history texts such as Osmanlı Tarihi of Ali Cevad, who interestingly defines the Balkans in his dictionary but does not use the term himself, nor early twentieth-century texts such as Abdurrahman Şeref’s Tarih-i Devlet-i Osmaniye, does this term appear THE DEFINITION OF THE BALKANS 35 with this newly acquired European-originated meaning. 35 Despite the occasional use of the term in some history or geography books, balkan in its Euro-centric meaning was thus not internalized until the postAbdülhamidian era.

But, although such direct state control may have been lifted, the inherent bond between historian and state remained. Although Enver Ziya Karal argued in 1946 that there was no state intervention in history-writing in the post-Abdülhamidian period, thus allowing for the dissemination of unfounded European views of Turkish history with little or no critical analysis,65 the official abolition of censorship and the decline of state control in fact merely lessened direct state intervention. Historians continued to be part of the state establishment, either working for it or having close links with, for example, the İttihad ve Terakki, or producing text books for the state schools in accordance with the programme prepared by the Ministry of Education.

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