Ankara (1929-35)/ Building Modern Turkey: State, Space, and Ideology in the Early Republic
Building Modern Turkey: State, Space, and Ideology in the Early Republic was written by Zeynep Kezer in 2015, currently a senior lecturer in the School of Architecture Planning and Landscape at Newcastle University, United Kingdom, specialized in architectural research of Tukey. In this book, she portrays Turkey’s transition from a pluralistic empire to a modern unitary nation-state as a fitful twofold process that simultaneously unleashed creative and destructive forces. It juxtaposes the drive to put in place the physical infrastructure and sociospatial practices of a new cultural and political order with the urge to dismantle the vestiges of its predecessor and also reveals the inextricable – if hitherto overlooked – interdependence between the two. By studying the case of Turkey, she explores the spatiality of nation-state building processes in different scales.
The book contains 3 sections, namely “Forging a New Identity”, “Erasures in the Land” and “An Imaginable Community”. The first section focuses on the forming processes of the new state and how it was played out spatially. The second section explores how the republican leaders sought to take apart the ‘physical and figurative scaffolding that sustained the Ottoman society so as to realign and reunited people. The third section discusses how indispensable the creation of a tangible network of sites and services designed to sustain the social reproduction of a homogeneous polity was to forging an ‘imagined’ national community.
The first chapter in the first section, “Political Capital”, is particularly significant to the research and analysis of Ankara during the Early republican age. It documented the origins and planning process of Ankara in detail, including earlier Lörcher’s plan and the plan by Hermann Jansen in 1929. After that, she continues with the alteration and violations of plan by describing the changes and consequence made by Atatürk and the Austrian architect Clemens Holzmeister. Providing a great amount of historical plans and photos, she further illustrates and proves with the evidence of political background at that time, suggesting how an authoritarian political state and exclusive political and cultural elite characterized modern Turkey for decades to come.