The History of Modern Turkey, 1789 to the Present

This information is for the 2022/23 session.

Teacher responsible

Prof Marc Baer SAR 3.17


This course is available on the BA in History, BA in Social Anthropology, BSc in History and Politics, BSc in International Relations and History, BSc in Politics and History and BSc in Social Anthropology. 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 may be 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 Germany; 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.

There will be a reading week in the Michaelmas and the Lent Terms.

Note that lectures are pre-recorded and available to the students online.

Formative coursework

Students are required to submit one essay of 2000 words in the Michaelmas Term.

Indicative reading

A full reading list will be provided at the start of the course. Most of the selected readings are written by scholars from Turkey. The textbook is Erik J. Zürcher, Turkey, A Modern History, 4th ed. Other readings will include Nilufer Göle, The Forbidden Modern: Civilization and Veiling; Kemal Karpat, The Politicisation of Islam; Müge Göçek, Denial of Violence; Mark Mazower, Salonica: City of Ghosts; Yalçin Çetinkaya, The Young Turks and the Boycott Movement; Taner Akçam, A Shameful Act; Sükrü HanioÄŸlu, Atatürk: An Intellectual Biography; Esra Özyürek, Nostalgia for the Modern; Fethiye Çetin, My Grandmother: An Armenian-Turkish Memoir; Begüm Adalet, Hotels and Highways: The Construction of Modernization Theory in Cold War Turkey; Gökçe Yurdakul, The Headscarf Debates; and a graphic novel, Jenny White and Ergün Gündüz, Turkish Kaleidoscope: Fractured Lives in a Time of Violence.


Essay (50%, 3000 words) in the LT.
Essay (50%, 3000 words) in the ST.

Key facts

Department: International History

Total students 2021/22: 30

Average class size 2021/22: 15

Capped 2021/22: Yes (30)

Value: One Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Course selection videos

Some departments have produced short videos to introduce their courses. Please refer to the course selection videos index page for further information.

Personal development skills

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