Associate Professor Hans-Lukas Kieser will present a lecture entitled “From Talaat Pasha’s to Atatürk’s Turkey” at the Greek Centre, on Wednesday 13 March, as part of the Greek History and Culture Seminars, offered by the Greek Community of Melbourne.

Seen through the lenses of Kemalism and largely Kemalist-inspired Western textbooks, Kemal Atatürk appeared for decades as a unique leader and the founder of an entirely new republic after the collapse of the Ottoman Empire.

In reality, Kemal Pasha took over from Mehmed Talaat Pasha – Ottoman Turkey’s last strong ruler and grand-vizier – the leadership of Turkish-Muslim nationalism.

Number one in the Young Turks’ single-party regime (1913-18), Talaat had concentrated personal power both as a party boss and a dominant minister. Although his party lost the Great War and related imperial ambitions, they largely implemented their minimal domestic goal: making Anatolia a modern and sovereign Turkish-Muslim national home (Türk Yurdu) in demographic, economic and cultural terms.

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Atatürk accomplished this goal and perpetuated patterns of leader-centred single-party rule, although Islam – the main factor of Turkish-national coherence – posed a major problem.

Historian Hans-Lukas Kieser is an Australian Research Council Future Fellow (2014–19) at the University of Newcastle NSW and a honorary Titularprofessor at the University of Zurich. After studies in Zurich, Neuchâtel, Basel and Paris, he finished his doctoral thesis at the University of Basel in 1999 and his professoral habilitation thesis at the University of Zurich in 2004. He is the author of Talaat Pasha (2018); Nearest East: American Millennialism and Mission to the Middle East (2010); A Quest for Belonging: Anatolia Beyond Empire and Nation (19th-21st centuries); and Der verpasste Friede (Squandered Peace) (2000; enlarged 5th ed. in Turkish, 2018).

When: WEDNESDAY, 13 March, 7.00pm
Where: Greek Centre, 168 Lonsdale Street, Melbourne