The eastern provinces of the Ottoman Empire used to be a multi-ethnic region where Armenians, Kurds, Syriacs, Turks, and Arabs lived together in the same villages and cities. The disintegration of the Ottoman Empire and rise of the nation state violently altered this situation. Nationalist elites intervened in heterogeneous populations they identified as objects of knowledge, management, and change.
These often violent processes of state formation destroyed historical regions and emptied multicultural cities, clearing the way for modern nation states.
Researcher: dr. Ugur Üngör
Promoters: Prof. dr. Michael Wintle and Prof. dr. Johannes Houwink ten Cate
Publication: The Making of Modern Turkey. Nation and State in Eastern Anatolia, 1913-1950 (Oxford; Oxford University Press 2012)
This study highlights how two successive Turkish-nationalist regimes, from 1913 to 1950, subjected Eastern Turkey to various forms of nationalist population policies aimed at ethnically homogenising the region and including it in the Turkish nation state.
It examines how the regime used technologies of social engineering such as physical destruction, deportation, spatial planning, forced assimilation, and memory politics, to increase ethnic and cultural homogeneity within the nation state.
The province of Diyarbekir, the heartland of Armenian and Kurdish life, became an epicenter of Young Turk population policies and the theater of unprecedented levels of mass violence.