Imagining the Turkish nation through 'othering' Armenians

Ayla Gol

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

40 Citations (SciVal)


National identities are socially constructed and inherently relational, such that collective imagination depends on a dialectical opposition to another identity. The ontology of otherness becomes the necessary basis of social imagination. National identity can hardly be imagined without a narrative of myths, and the Turkish nation is no exception. This article argues that the Turkish nation was imagined as a modern nation with territorial sovereignty after the erosion of traditional Ottoman umma (religious community) identity. During the process of this imagination, the Armenians became the first 'others', whose claims over eastern Anatolia were perceived as a real threat to Turkish territoriality and identity. Based on the analysis of modernist theories of nationalism, the methodological concern of this study is twofold: to explore the causal link between the policies of Ottoman modernisation and the emergence of Turkish nationalism; and to incorporate the self and other nexus into the relationship between the emergence of Turkish nationalism and the process of 'othering' the Armenians.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)121-139
Number of pages19
JournalNations and Nationalism
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2005


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