Not available in 2020/21
The History of Modern Turkey, 1789 to the Present

This information is for the 2020/21 session.

Teacher responsible

Prof Marc Baer SAR 3.17


This course is available on the BA in History, BSc in Government and History, BSc in International Relations and History and BSc in Politics and History. This course is available with permission as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit. This course is available to General Course students.

Course content

The history of modern Turkey provides the student an important opportunity to examine a crucial nation bridging Europe and the Middle East, through the lenses of democracy and dictatorship, globalisation and nationalism, revolution and reform, and tolerance and genocide. This course explores late Ottoman and Turkish Republican history from 1789 to the present. The following topics are studied: Global change and the Ottoman ‘New Order’, 1789-1807; the reforms of Mahmut II and the Tanzimat; reform and repression in the Hamidian era, 1876-1908; Salonica as window onto Ottoman transformations; the revolution of 1908; the Committee of Union and Progress and the Balkan Wars, 1908-1913; Talat Pasha, World War I, and the Armenian genocide; the collapse of the empire; Greco-Turkish wars, 1918-1922; Mustafa Kemal and the new Republic, 1923; the revolutionary changes wrought by Kemalism, 1923-1945; Turkey and World War II; transition to democracy, 1945-1950; democratising reforms, 1950-1960; the three coups of 1961, 1970, and 1980; political Islam in Turkey since the 1970s; the Turkish diaspora in Europe; the Kurdish issue since the 1980s; opening up to the world, 1983-1991; and Recep Tayyib Erdogan: new Atatürk, new caliph.


10 hours of lectures and 10 hours of classes in the MT. 10 hours of lectures and 10 hours of classes in the LT. 1 hour of lectures in the ST.

There will be a reading week in Week 6 of the Michaelmas Term and Week 6 of the Lent Term. There will be a revision lecture in Summer Term.

Formative coursework

Students are required to submit one essay of 3500 words in the Michaelmas Term.

Indicative reading

A full reading list will be provided at the start of the course. The textbook is Erik J. Zürcher, Turkey, A Modern History, 4th ed. Other readings will include Caroline Finkel, Osman’s Dream: The History of the Ottoman Empire; Selim Deringil, The Well-Protected Domains: Ideology and the Legitimation of Power in the Ottoman Empire, 1876-1909; Marc David Baer, The Dönme: Jewish Converts, Muslim Revolutionaries, and Secular Turks; Hans-Lukas Kieser, Talaat Pasha: Father of Modern Turkey, Architect of Genocide; Eugene Rogan, The Fall of the Ottomans: The Great War in the Middle East; Ronald Grigor Suny, “They Can Live in the Desert but Nowhere Else”: A History of the Armenian Genocide; Erik Zürcher, The Young Turk Legacy and Nation Building: From the Ottoman Empire to Atatürk’s Turkey; Vamik Volkan and Norman Itzkowitz, The Immortal Atatürk: A Psychobiography; Hale Yilmaz, Becoming Turkish: Nationalist Reforms and Cultural Negotiations in early Republican Turkey, 1923-1945; Corry Guttstadt, Turkey, the Jews, and the Holocaust; Esra Özyürek, Nostalgia for the Modern: State Secularism and Everyday Politics in Turkey; The Kurdish Question in Turkey: New Perspectives on Violence, Representation, and Reconciliation, edited by Cengiz Gunes and Welat Zeydanlioglu; and Soner Cagaptay, The New Sultan: Erdogan and the Crisis of Modern Turkey.


Exam (50%, duration: 2 hours) in the summer exam period.
Essay (35%, 3500 words) in the LT.
Presentation (15%) in the MT and LT.

Important information in response to COVID-19

Please note that during 2020/21 academic year some variation to teaching and learning activities may be required to respond to changes in public health advice and/or to account for the situation of students in attendance on campus and those studying online during the early part of the academic year. For assessment, this may involve changes to mode of delivery and/or the format or weighting of assessments. Changes will only be made if required and students will be notified about any changes to teaching or assessment plans at the earliest opportunity.

Key facts

Department: International History

Total students 2019/20: 14

Average class size 2019/20: 8

Capped 2019/20: Yes (30)

Value: One Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills

  • Leadership
  • Self-management
  • Team working
  • Problem solving
  • Application of information skills
  • Communication
  • Specialist skills