Burak Onaran

Wednesday, 9 January 2019, 5.00 pm - 6.30 pm |
Forum Transregionale Studien, Wallotstr. 14, 14193 Berlin

New Histories for a New Turkey: The First Battle of Kut (1916) and the Reshaping of the Ottoman Past

Burak Onaran
(EUME Fellow of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation 2019-20)

Chair: Zeynep Türkyilmaz
(EUME Fellow 2018/19)

“New Turkey” became the label for the Turkish government’s political vision since 2010. As it could be expected of any claim of political rupture in modern times, this “new” has also been founded upon a remapped historical ground. The rediscovery process of the Battle of Kut (a defense victory won against the British army during World War I) is a stunning example which discloses all the characteristics of New Turkey’s understanding of history. The government promotes with all possible means the history of this victory for the last three years. Hence, the battle of Kut which for a long time remained unnoticed by the Turkish public is already implanted in the national memory.
Through the case of Kut, this talk will overall explore the links between “New Turkey” and its recalled Ottoman past, and discuss the mechanisms which allow the current political power to define the historical truth.

Burak Onaran is Associate Professor at the Department of Sociology at Mimar Sinan Güzel Sanatlar University, Istanbul. He received his PhD in History from the EHESS in Paris. His research interests cover the social, political and culinary history of the Ottoman Empire and Republican Turkey. He published two books: Détrôner le Sultan [Dethroning the Sultan] (Paris-Leuven: Peeters, 2013) and MutfakTarih [History–in the–Kitchen] (Istanbul: İletişim, 2015). His current research project focuses on the relationship between politics, history, and the experience of time during the period surrounding the 1960 coup d’état in Turkey. During the years 2019-2020, he is a EUME Fellow of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation.

The event is organized in cooperation with the Division of Modern European History of Prof. Dr. Oliver Janz at Friedrich-Meinecke-Institut, Freie Universität Berlin.

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