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Turkeys Imperial Legacy: Understanding Contemporary Turkey Through Its Ottoman Past

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Chapter Summary

The modern Turkish Republic emerged from the ashes of the Ottoman Empire less than 85 years ago. Yet the majority of analysis and writing on contemporary Turkey neglects or superficially treats the Ottoman historical legacy. This chapter argues that contemporary Turkey is very much shaped by the legacy and identity that the Ottoman Empire left it as a clear imperial successor state. A key contention is that understanding Turkey's Ottoman legacy and the historical memory of past leadership among the Turkish public, in the region and globally, is instrumental for any analysis or discussion about Turkey's present or future. By looking at Turkey's identity and international behavior since the Republic, the chapter seeks to develop a better understanding from which to analyze the historical roots of many of the values, tensions, institutions, and motivations that permeate contemporary Turkey today.

Keywords:international relations; Ottoman Empire; Turkey



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