Culturalism or cultural nationalism has been a rooted scholarly motion in Turkey. Indeed, its historical past extends past the historical past of the Republic of Turkey and dates again to the final a long time of the Ottoman period. On the opposite hand, although radical or militant nationalism has been debated by many writers each academically and ideologically, little literature has been written on culturalism. Furthermore, culturalism is mostly used as a pejorative label to denounce sure authors or mental circles. Culturalists or cultural nationalists appeal to such criticism due to their very own perfectionism, essentialism and culturally biased evaluations.
However, Turkish culturalists have by no means been merely superficial fascists who see the world in black and white. Many of them have been scientists, social scientists to be exact, reminiscent of sociologists, social psychologists, historians, students of philosophy and linguists, who’re praised for his or her contribution to the disciplines they work in. The school of arts in Turkish universities has been the temple of culturalism, maybe greater than anyplace else. It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to declare the social sciences and humanities have been born within the cradle of culturalism in Turkey.
It is fascinating that many members of the primary era of humanities students of the Republic of Turkey despatched to European universities by the Kemalist elite returned with an array of anti-Western conservativism, populism and culturalism quite than what they have been tasked to convey, which was pro-Western secular humanism. Among these undesignated culturalists, Nurettin Topçu is probably the most well-known; but, Remzi Oğuz Arık is price additionally mentioning.
Arık was born on July 15, 1899, within the village of Kozan (a district of southern Adana province right this moment) to a reasonable middle-class household. His father, Mehmet Ferit, was a authorities official, whereas his mom, Zekiye, was a literate housewife, who was referred to as “Zekiye Hodja” (Teacher Zekiye) by her neighbors.
Arık was first schooled in Kozan earlier than shifting to the Vilayet of Salonica (Thessaloniki) along with his mom to be a part of his elder sister, the place he was enrolled on the Yadigari Terakki Junior High School and later the High School for Commerce. After a few years, Arık and his mom moved to the Vilayet of Shkoder, the place his elder brother was working as a navy officer. His brother helped him study French.
Unfortunately, Arık was among the many Shkoder residents who suffered in the course of the blockade of enemy forces in the course of the Balkan Wars. The expertise of such a terrifying incident had a terrific impression on his emotions about his homeland. We can confidently declare that Arık’s nationalism was cultivated in the course of the Balkan siege preventing in opposition to the Ottoman state and its parts, together with the Turkish Muslim society.
After the Balkan Wars, Arık returned to Istanbul and was admitted to Mercan High School. However, World War I broke out and at a sure level, he volunteered to battle, an act doubtless impressed by his expertise in Shkoder. However, he had an accident and was injured throughout coaching. As a outcome, he was unable to take part in fight. Meanwhile, he was launched to Mehmet Emin Yurdakul, the main nationalist poet at the moment, who additionally drastically influenced his ideas and emotions each politically and on a private stage.
Arık was admitted to the School for Teachers after a brief journey at Izmit High School and graduated as a schoolteacher in 1917. The similar 12 months, he printed his first piece of literary work, an novice poem primarily based on nationalistic sentiment.
Among the Türk Ocağı (Turkish Hearths) circle of nationalist intellectuals, Arık was shut to the Turanism mindset, which sought to unify the Turkish individuals of the world. Turanism is the intense type of nationalism, providing that Islam and the Middle East relations had been a setback for the supreme Turkish tradition, so Turks of the world ought to unite and go after their ancestral and pure Turkish identification with out incorporating different cultures. Arık added “Oğuz” (the identify of a western Turkic individuals) to his first identify “Remzi,” displaying his enthusiasm for the Turan, the imaginary better Turkish homeland.
Arık was in a navy hospital on the finish of World War I. The occupying forces pressured Turkish navy sufferers to depart hospitals, which made him rejoin the Turkish forces to battle in opposition to them. But once more he couldn’t handle to battle due to his damage. So, he determined to enroll on the Darülfünun (right this moment’s Istanbul University), the place he graduated from the philosophy division. Meanwhile, he was working as a faculty trainer.
In 1926, Arık was despatched to Paris to research archaeology and artwork historical past. After he returned, he started to work as an professional on the Istanbul Museums of Archaeology in 1931. He carried out his first archaeological excavation in northwestern Yalova province in the identical 12 months. In the next 12 months, he participated within the Alişar mound excavation in central Yozgat province because the state commissioner. In 1933, he was transferred to the capital Ankara with the title of archaeologist of the Ministry of Education. He participated in lots of excavations in Anatolia, which helped him rectify his nationalism.
In reality, Turkish archaeologists typically tended to be pro-Western in ideology, although a lot of them had a sense of geographic nationalism, which is a really disputed sort of ideological style in Turkey because the geographic nationalists want to assume that Turks have been current in Anatolia lengthy earlier than the Seljuk conquests.
Arık was not a typical humanist-geographic nationalist. On the opposite, he believed that geography itself meant nothing with out the stamp of a tradition on a sure piece of land. This impressed his motto, “From geography to homeland.” He argued that homeland, which is the premise for any nationalism, shouldn’t be merely a geographic a part of the world the place a sure nation lives. In reality, it’s the nation counting on its tradition that makes a chunk of a territorial area its homeland by its acts and works. Culture is the inside soul and talent of a nation to create a civilization. But, then again, a nation additionally wants a sure land to flourish, which is Anatolia within the Turks’ case.
Therefore, we will see that Arık departed from Turanism for culturalist nationalism depending on historic Turkish identification fashioned by the Seljuk and Ottoman polities quite than the imaginary Turan union.
Arık turned an archaeology professor in 1939. However, he resigned three years later due to a dispute with the Ministry of Education. After his resignation, he labored because the director of Ankara’s archaeology museums. He was employed once more as a professor of artwork historical past on the Faculty of Divinity at Ankara University in 1949.
Arık was elected as a member of Parliament from the Democrat Party (DP) within the 1950 basic elections. After two years, he resigned from the DP, which was a liberal democratic social gathering with conservative cultural facets. Arık based the first-ever populist-nationalist social gathering, the Republican Villagers Nation Party (CKMP), in 1952. He was killed in a aircraft crash whereas touring to Ankara from Adana for an election marketing campaign in 1954. His grave is on the Cebeci Military Cemetery in Ankara.
A junior highschool in his hometown, Kozan, was named after him. A neighborhood in Ankara province’s Çankaya additionally carries his identify.