Allied Occupation, National Resistance, and Turkification in Istanbul, 1918-1923
Ülker’s doctoral research deals with the formation of the Turkish national movement between the end of World War I and the founding of the Republic of Turkey in October 1923. His dissertation focuses on Istanbul, the Ottoman Empire’s cosmopolitan capital city, which was under the British, French and Italian occupation in this critical period of transition from empire to nation state. Examining the organization of a resistance movement among the various segments of the Muslim population, he argues that the power struggles between the rival factions of the movement were a significant factor in the rise of a nationalist campaign against the non-Muslim communities of the city. This grassroots mobilization provided the initial popular base of the Turkification policies implemented in Istanbul during the interwar period and beyond.
As a EUME Fellow, Ülker will work on a book manuscript based on his dissertation. In the process, he will expand his research by exploring how Istanbul’s demographic and urban structure changed by the end of the occupation period. What policies did the Allied authorities pursue in the face of mounting inter-communal tensions in the city? Why did a great number of Ottoman Christians flee Istanbul despite the ongoing Allied military presence?