Özge Sezer (Berlin Technical University)

Idealisation of the Land: Forming the New Rural Settlements in Early Republican Turkey

In the early republican period of Turkey transformation of the rural areas occurred in a development programme that involved peasants: On the one hand, rural lifestyle was idealized in the national and cultural context. Also, Turkish peasantry was considered as a significant labour for the agriculture-based economy. On the other hand it was aimed to control the rural population in the new settlements, which were forms of internal colonization practiced especially during the second half of 1930s. Starting from this point of view, the new rural settlements, built from 1934 to the end of 1930s, emerged significant examples to explain republican programme to modernize the village community under a united Turkish identity, even in completely diverse localities.

This paper aims to re-open the discussion of Turkey’s nation building and modernization process from a perspective projected to the rural ideals, specifically to the Turkish village. It generally seeks to demonstrate how the policies of early republican authority controlled the rural Turkey in economic and socio-cultural terms, and altered the environment of village community. It particularly focuses on the elaboration of ideas in architectural implementations during the early republican period of Turkey. Consequently this paper introduces the new rural settlements, emerged in the late 1930s in Turkey, pointing to their values as the historical monuments in Turkey’s architectural culture.

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Kezer, Zeynep. ‘Spatializing Difference: The Making of an Internal Border in Early Republican Elazığ, Turkey’, Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians, 73.4 (2014), pp.507–27.
Full-text available here: HTTPS://DOI.ORG/10.1051/SHSCONF/20196301004