Who is Ziya Gokalp?June 26, 2021
Ziya Gökalp is one of the defining figures of the dominant Turkish political thought of the twentieth century, and even of Turkish public philosophy. Perhaps the most important. His corporatist ideas occupy an important place in a wide variety of ideological and political programs from its inception to the present.
Corporatism, both subspecies of which are anti-Marxist and anti-socialist, and which works as an anti-liberal theoretical-moral rationale for capitalism, is, by definition, considered a right-wing ideology. The corporatist thought sees society as an organism consisting of organs that complement each other in harmony and are necessary and indispensable to each other. It rejects both the individualism of liberalism and the existence of social classes, class conflict, labor-capital contradiction.
“To varying degrees, authoritarian and statist inter-forms vary in theory and practice. Corporatism has developed a corporatist capitalist theory aiming to eliminate the risk of class conflict of capitalism by seeing the hit in the production anarchy and class exploitation critique directed by Marxism towards competitive individualist liberal capitalism… Ziya Gökalp, the first and still most competent systematic thinker of the dominant corporatist thought in Turkey. ‘Truck.
The extreme and moderate right-wing currents in Turkey, parties, armed forces, classical Kemalists, ‘Kemalist left’ and ‘social democrats’ (SHP and DSP), and even some left groups to a certain extent, beyond the differences in details, in the final analysis their basic intellectual categories. In terms of this, they fall under this corporatist umbrella, or have had their share of corporatist thinking to varying degrees.”4
Ziya Gökalp’s widespread influence means that he is the most important producer of the founding thought of Turkey, in other words, on the thought that founded the Republic of Turkey. Mustafa Kemal’s saying “Namik Kemal, the father of my feelings, Ziya Gökalp, the father of my ideas” seems to point to this fact. The fact that Turkey’s political parties and movements claiming to be progressive still operate with the ideas produced in those years should be taken as an indication of how comprehensive, systematic and realistically Gökalp’s thoughts identified Turkey’s main problems.
“Ziya Gökalp is the most important systematic thinker that Turkey has produced in the twentieth century. He lived and wrote in a period of deep depression and change, which dominated the transition process from the Ottoman Empire (1299-1922), which contained many ethnic formations, to the Republic of Turkey (1920/1923), which was a nation-state.
In conditions of political turmoil, economic bankruptcy, world war and desperate searches for new cultural values, he tried to create a synthesis of Turkish, Islamic and Western values with a study aiming to provide Turkey’s national revival and identity. 5Therefore, his extensive experiment provided an encompassing paradigmatic worldview to the Turkish ruler and intellectual.
It is possible to call Ziya Gökalp (March 25, 1876 – October 25, 1924) the person who helped institutionalize sociology in Turkey. Both his method and his thoughts on the subjects he dealt with have preserved their priority and decisive place in Turkish sociology for a very long time. Even today, it would not be an exaggeration to say that Ziya Gökalp’s method of dealing with Turkey’s problems and his conclusions still have certain effects.
In this sense, if it would not be wrong to talk about the philosophical influence of Namık Kemal on Turkey’s westernization, especially on the issues of formulating the problems of the Ottoman country in the post-Tanzimat period, how to approach these problems and how to formulate a solution, then the debates that took place in the period after Namık Kemal are the ultimate We can show Ziya Gökalp as the person who brought it into its frame. Ziya Gökalp’s intellectual and conceptual encompassing, which we can express in this sense, has been the reason why his thoughts continued to exist as the most basic sociology school both in the Ottoman Empire and the Republic period, while maintaining his influence and decisiveness in the following periods.
Ziya Gokalp was born in Diyarbakir. His grandfather, Mustafa Sıtkı, was the son of a mufti and served as a civil servant in Van and Nusaybin. Gökalp’s father, Tevfik Efendi, had served in the province of Diyarbakır and worked as an archive and printing press manager. Later, he was brought to the publication of the official newspaper of the province and published a Diyarbakir Yearbook. An important influence of his father on Gökalp is that he was instrumental in understanding both Western values and native/eastern values together.
After primary school, he attended the Military High School. He was the editor-in-chief of the Diyarbakır Newspaper. He studied at the Civil Service High School. It is known that he has been criticizing the Sultan since these years. [Abdullah Cevdet got to know the Committee of Union and Progress (ITC) through him.] Due to his philosophical problems, he tried to commit suicide.