Revisiting Millî: Borders and the Making of the Turkish Nation State

Balistreri, Alexander E.. (2022) Revisiting Millî: Borders and the Making of the Turkish Nation State. In: Regimes of mobility : borders and state formation in the Middle East, 1918-1946. Edinburgh, pp. 29-58.

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In 1921, a flurry of diplomatic activity on the part of the nationalist government in Ankara defined two long segments of the post-war country's territory: its northeastern border with the Caucasus, running from the Black Sea to Nakhichevan, and its southern border with Syria, running between the Mediterranean and the Tigris. Th e northeastern border was settled in two 1921 treaties, the Treaty of Moscow in March and the Treaty of Kars in October. The southern border was delineated in two 1921 agreements, the London Agreement in March and the Ankara Agreement in October. Though the subsequent Treaty of Lausanne (1923) has overshadowed discussion of these agreements, it would hardly be an exaggeration to point to 1921 as the year the Turkish nation state took concrete shape. The process of delineating Turkey's northeastern and southern borders in 1921, although they appear to be separate, were closely interconnected. One argument I have advanced in this chapter posits the simultaneity of these border-making processes: Their courses were negotiated and debated by the same actors, with developments on one border acting reciprocally on developments on the other. The other argument presented in this chapter is that we can arrive at a better understanding of the nature of the early Turkish nation state, in particular its concept of 'the national' (millî), through an analysis of its border-making process. Tension between nationalist discourse and the necessity of pragmatism on the border can force nation state founders to debate the new state's fundamental mission or ideological foundations.
Faculties and Departments:04 Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences > Departement Gesellschaftswissenschaften > Fachbereich Nahost-Studien > Islamwissenschaft (Reinkowski)
UniBasel Contributors:Balistreri, Alexander E.
Item Type:Book Section, refereed
Book Section Subtype:Further Contribution in a Book
Publisher:Edinburgh University Press
Note:Publication type according to Uni Basel Research Database: Book item
edoc DOI:
Last Modified:30 May 2022 14:57
Deposited On:30 May 2022 14:57

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