Nationalism and Non-Muslim Minorities in Turkey, 1915-1950


Nationalism and Non-Muslim Minorities in Turkey, 1915 – 1950 by Ayhan Aktar | Published: 22 April 2021 [Society and Politics Series: 7] | Paperback: ISBN: 978-1-80135-042-6 Buy from Amazon |’dan al | Digital version: ISBN: 978-1-80135-043-3  Read on Google PlayRead on Kindle | Read on CEEOL |’da oku


Nationalism and non-Muslim minorities in Turkey

Nationalism and Non-Muslim Minorities in Turkey, 1915 – 1950

by Ayhan Aktar
Published: 22 April 2021 [Society and Politics Series: 7]

Paperback: ISBN: 978-1-80135-042-6  Buy from Amazon |’dan al
Digital version: ISBN: 978-1-80135-043-3  Read on Google PlayRead on Kindle | Read on CEEOL |’da oku

Ayhan Aktar has been working on anti-minority policies in modern Turkey since 1991. In the Ottoman Empire’s final decade (in 1906), non-Muslims constituted 20% of the population; by 1927, they were reduced to 2.5% and, nowadays, they make up less than 0.02% of the population of Modern Turkey. Armenians were subjected to deportations (1915), Greeks were ‘exchanged’ (1922–1924) and Jews were forced to migrate abroad (after 1945). Like many other nation-states in the Near East, Turkey has been able to homogenize its population on religious grounds. This book is a collection of Aktar’s articles about this transformation.

Aktar criticises nationalist historiographies and argues “For instance, a scholar conducting research on the Jewish community during the republican period could easily come to the conclusion that only Jews were discriminated against by the Turkish state. However, this is only partially true! All non-Muslim minorities were discriminated against and their stories cannot be understood unless the Turkish state and its policies are placed at centre stage. Utilizing diplomatic correspondence in the British and US National Archives has enabled me to understand anti-minority policies as a whole and to treat the subject within a totality.”

This book will interest scholars and students of nationalism, minority studies and Turkish history and politics.


  • Foreword
  • Chapter 1. Debating the Armenian Massacres in the Last Ottoman Parliament, November – December 1918
  • Chapter 2. Organizing The Deportations and Massacres: Ottoman Bureaucracy and the Cup, 1915 – 1918
  • Chapter 3. Homogenizing the Nation, Turkifying the Economy: The Turkish Experience of Population Exchange Reconsidered
  • Chapter 4. Conversion of a ‘Country’ into a ‘Fatherland’: The Case of Turkification Examined, 1923–1934
  • Chapter 5. “Turkification” Policies in the Early Republican Era
  • Chapter 6. “Tax Me to the End of My Life!” Anatomy of Anti-Minority Tax Legislation, (1942 – 3)
  • Chapter 7. Turkish Attitudes vis à vis The Zionist Project by  Ayhan Aktar and Soli Özel
  • Chapter 8. Economic Nationalism in Turkey: The Formative Years, 1912 – 1925


Ayhan Aktar is a sociologist who worked at the Department of Political Sciences, Marmara University until 2006. After early retirement, he joined to Istanbul Bilgi University. He studied the discrimination, forced migration and genocidal policies conducted against non-Muslim minorities in Turkey. His research on notorious anti-minority Wealth Tax (1942-43) is based upon field research and the British and US Archives. His books include Varlik Vergisi ve Türkleştirme Politikalari [Wealth Tax and Turkification Policies] (2000) and Türk Milliyetçiliği, Gayrimüslimler ve Ekonomik Dönüşüm [Turkish Nationalism, Non – Muslims and Economic Transformation] (2006), Yorgo Hacıdimitriadis’in Aşkale Günlüğü (1943) [The Diary of Yorgos Hacidimitriadis in Askale Labour Camp, 1943] (2011), and Nationalism in Troubled Triangle: Cyprus, Greece and Turkey, (With Niyazi Kızılyürek and Umut Özkırımlı) London, 2010. Finally, he published the memoirs of Captain Sarkis Torossian, Çanakkale’den Filistin Cephesine [From Dardanelles to Palestine] in 2012. Memoirs of the Armenian artillery officer had initiated heated debate in Turkey and abroad. Nearly hundred newspaper articles and reviews were published in Turkish and English. An edited volume published as Tarih, Otobiyografi ve Hakikat: Yüzbaşı Torosyan Tartışması ve Türkiye’de Tarihyazımı [History, Autobiography and Truth: Captain Torossian Debate and Historiography in Turkey] in 2015.

CREDITS: Cover design by Nihal Yazgan | Cover Photo: Ali Öz


ISBN: 978-1-80135-042-6 (Print)
ISBN: 978-1-80135-043-3 (Digital)
Publisher: Transnational Press London
Published: 22 April 2021
Language: English
Pages: 246
Binding: Paperback
Interior Ink: Black & white
Weight (approx.): 0.45 kg
Dimensions (approx.): 15cm wide x 23cm tall

Additional information

Weight 0.40 kg




Interior Ink

Black and White

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