Trans-Kemalism: The politics of the Turkish state in the diaspora

Banu Şenay*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)


In contrast to the huge amount of research on Turkish migration and migrants, the diasporic politics of the Turkish Kemalist state constitutes a neglected research subject in the scholarship on Turkish diaspora. How does the Turkish state reach out to its nationals and expatriates abroad? In what ways does the Turkish Republic seek to make Islam (as it does in Turkey) into an instrument legitimizing its politicizing and mobilizing enterprises? To explore these questions, this article investigates the long-distance Kemalism engaged in by the Turkish state to Turkify and secularize its nationals in the diaspora, using its activities in Australia as its case study. In sketching out trans-Kemalism's dimensions, the analysis directs attention to the intimate relationship between the political and religious fields of transnationalism manufactured by the state. The paper concludes that the intense political polarization in Turkey in the present makes the future of trans-Kemalism abroad somewhat uncertain.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1615-1633
Number of pages19
JournalEthnic and Racial Studies
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2012


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