The dramatization of cultural hybridity and the "in-between" Turkey in Fazil's Kunye.
Cultural hybridity, on the other hand, "refers to the cultural practice of combining and assigning new meanings to previously separate beliefs, practices, or ideas" (Howell and Paris, Introducing Cultural Anthropology 213), which habitually creates a strong link between hybridity and culture. It is due to the fact that humanness is the basis of the cultures, and culture is constituted by the kinds of moral and material properties revealed by a nation throughout history and transferred from generation to generation. Culture is the result of a society's perception, thinking, and lifestyles; in a way, a society's identity, separating it from other communities' values. To Raymond Williams, "beginning as a noun of process--the culture (cultivation) of crops or (rearing and breeding) of animals, and by extension the culture (active cultivation) of human mind--it became in the late nineteenth century, especially in German and English, a noun of configuration or generalization of the 'spirit' which informed the whole way of life of a distinct people" (The Sociology of Culture 10).
Just as the above definition suggests, the concept of culture has been redefined throughout the evolution of history. The term has been intellectualized within different perspectives from normative to historical, psychological to structural, and even genetic definitions (Smith, Cultural Theory 3). Among these definitions, the normative one, signifying "a rule or way of life that is shaped patterns of concrete behavior and action" (3), is much more in harmony with hybridity that foregrounds the combination of conflicting patterns of behaviors or ways of life. Being one of the architects of the term cultural hybridity, the postcolonial critic, Homi K. Bhabha indicates that "the representation of difference must not be hastily read as the reflection of pre-given ethnic or cultural traits set in the fixed tablet of tradition. The social articulation of difference, from the minority perspective, is a complex, on-going negotiation that seeks to authorize cultural hybridities that emerge in moments of historical transformation" (The Location of Culture 2).
This kind of transformation in culture and identity is, in its most basic sense, related to the mixture of cultures that "renews the past, refiguring it as a contingent 'in-between' space, that innovates and interrupts the performance of the present" (Bhabha, The Location of Culture 7). Cultural hybridity, therefore, encompassing the past and the present, may be used to define the mixture of cultures feeding from different cultures (Eastern-Western), just like those minorities with differing identities in America, Great Britain, Africa, and India (Bhabha, The Location of Culture 20, 60), or the cultures that stem from the same origin (Islamic-Ottoman-Turkic), such as modern Turkey. In order to comprehend the phases of cultural hybridity in Turkey, it is crucial to backtrack to the transition period from Ottoman to Republican Turkey.
Besides the proclamation of the Republic--the central landmark in shaping today's Turkey--the conditions preparing this transferring process, and assessing the period after the Republic have been the focus of many discussions. Within this discussion and evaluation process, the transition movement from Empire to Republic has been, at times, likened to some other social transformation movements and even considered equivalent to those that led to the formation of key social-political revolutions in the world. The individual narratives examined here put forward that the political unrest is central to contextualizing how social and cultural structures were built and the ways in which it continues to obfuscate topics of 'the personal is political' authorization. It is, therefore, essential to suggest that cultural hybridity in Turkey is based on four major unities: Islam, westernization, modernization, and secularism.
The transformations that the late Ottoman Empire and the early modern Turkey went through were not consisted of 'unnoticeable' moves; instead, the rulers and the intendants were gone for the jugular regarding the Islamic identity and Islamic perspectives for which many reformists strove. The formation of a new identity was inevitably practiced through a more secular constitution, culture, social life, customs, and traditions, which may be referred to as modernism, and which Zygmunt Bauman contextualized as "solid modernity" (Liquid Modernity 145). These two basics--secularism and modernism--are like two peas in a pot "fortified by the mutuality of their dependency" (145).
Turkey is one of the best examples of hybrid cultural identity, and the country, where political-based transformation process made some basic contributions to its new face, was challenged to launch a new (modern) cultural revolution. Although cultural changes had something to do with the politics of westernization, the Cultural Revolution came into being as a direct reaction against Turkey's Ottoman-based structure, and its urge to have a new-fangled identity. The high tide of cultural transfer, which was initiated in the earlier part of the twentieth century, and which had a predominantly noticeable upshot in various regions belonging to the Turkish Republic, functioned prominently. Under Mustafa Kemal Ataturk's time in power, Turkey was for the first time consciously disclosed as a national culture which "would encompass the nation's creative legacy as well as the best values of world civilization, and thereby emphasize personal and universal humanism" (Raw, Exploring Turkish Cultures 20); it, therefore, encrypted Turkic transfers concurrently as national transfers into other contexts. The swift change introduced some contradictory identities that were torn between two essentials: Ottoman and Turk. The acculturation period of refusing the old and accepting the new and the process of getting used to all of these were the rudimentary fundamentals that led to cultural hybridity in Turkey.
Considering the modernization or westernization of Ottoman Empire in the introduction of A Brief History of the Late Ottoman Empire, Sukru Hanioglu expresses that "Westernization, too, was not just a matter of importation. Rather, it was a complex process of acculturation, in which Western ideas, manners, and institutions were selectively adopted and evolved into different forms set in a different context" (4). This acculturation brought a complex and highly hybrid generation into the spheres of the new Republic, and through the transferring of novelties, a major difficulty to the way in which the period is viewed was overlooked: that of the transition from Ottoman conservatism to Republican secularism. Here, westernization--as an inflection of modernization--brings Bauman's inquiries into being: "Was not modernity a process of 'liquefaction' from the start? Was not 'melting the solids' its major pastime and prime accomplishment all along? In other words, has modernity not been 'fluid' since its inception?" (3) It is a fact that the transition from Empire to Republic unfolded a period of cultural fluctuation through which 'conservatism' metamorphosed gradually into 'modernism,' which gave rise to a more secular and national community.
In this respect, what Bauman conveys through his 'fluidity of modernity' has something to do with this communal alteration. However, the 'fluidity' through a modern Turkey was not just an instantaneous moment. It rather took a very long period of time that started in the late Ottoman period, that is, the turn of the nineteenth century. Though the starting point of Ottoman "westernization-modernization" could be witnessed from the seventeenth century, these motifs of metamorphoses did not attract the attention of the large population. However, in the nineteenth century the concept of modernization began to be treated as an issue of identity (Toprak, Islam and Political 58). As expressed by Hanioglu: "The cumulative impact of military, economic, and administrative challenges at the end of the eighteenth century obliged the rulers of the empire to come to terms with the imperative of reform. Their conservative instincts at first produced only superficial changes. But once cosmetic alteration had failed to yield substantial results, a more radical response became inescapable" (A Brief History 42).
These reforms were, in general, connected to the 'westernization' of Ottoman army, economy, and administration, let alone education; nonetheless, there were numerous challenges against these western-centric alterations (Inalcik, Faroqhi, McGowan, Quataert, and Pamuk, Economic and Social 766-69). During the reign of Mahmud II, "for the first time Westernization appeared as a formal policy linked to extensive bureaucratic reform and implemented with brutal force" (Hanioglu, A Brief History 63). In 1839, with the proclamation of Tanzimat Fermani (The Rescript of Gulhane), Ottoman Empire gave way to "the modernization of the Ottoman conception of government based in part on concepts borrowed from abroad" (Hanioglu, A Brief History 73). The removal of the 'conservative' values of Empire went effective for the first time in the articles of that declaration. The proclamation of Tanzimat created a profound influence on the emergence of modern Turkey (through a national and secular direction) by semi-elimination of Islamic concepts in which Ottoman Empire--both rulers and the large population--were anchored (Hanioglu, A Brief History 101). "In this regard, the Tanzimat epoch exemplified a general inclination toward a more secular conception of the state" (Hanioglu, A Brief History 74). Hanioglu goes on to assert that "an early draft of the decree contained far fewer references to Islamic concepts than the final version, indicating that Islamic citations in the final text were cosmetic changes added as a sop to the ulema in order to shield the government from the criticism that it was imitating infidel practices (A Brief History 73).
The fact that the formation of an early modern Turkey was the inevitable result of the rise of a spreading secularist lifestyles, principles laid out with modern European concepts of law, and the gradual downfall in the ascendance of religion was reinforced with the Constitution in 1876, and through Birinci Mesrutiyet (First Constitutional Period) in 1908, Ikinci Mesrutiyet (Second Constitutional Period) in 1912, and the time periods between the years 1912-1919 (Kapucu and Palabiyik, Turkish Public Administration 71). Disobedience, strikes, and oppositions took place during a stream of turbulences within these time periods. A few groups of Young Turks, ulemas, old regime supporters, Islamists, liberals, and non-Turkish nationalists came together and thus "new parties began to emerge soon after the revolution, covering the entire range of the political spectrum" (Hanioglu, A Brief History 154). The emergence of some ideological views (Ottomanism-Turanism) laid the groundwork for some movements along with the strengthening of some political parties to be the leader of these supporting groups. With the formation of Ittihat and Terraki (Party of Union and Progress), the rulers (Pashas) of the Ottoman Empire were repressed to abolish their public powers which dragged them towards the First World War (Karpat, Studies on Ottoman 73-74).
After WWI, which reduced "an empire of three continents to an Asiatic state" (Hanioglu, A Brief History 173), and the Turkish War of Independence, the new nationalist state of Turkey was under the rule of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk. This establishment of the state was a process fraught with internal contradictions; the incoming political atmosphere shaped the cultural, social, and interpersonal faces of modern Turkey. As showed by Erol Koroglu in the preface of Literature in Turkey during WWI, it has been the leading teleological attitude that "modern Turkish culture was shaped within the context of the post-1923 nation-state and national identity form; after some vague experimentation in the late Ottoman period, it found its real identity during the Republic" (xv). Thus, the political, social, and cultural hybridity was armor-plated with public promotions of the new while preserving the old. Paraphrasing Hanioglu, this renewal raised a double-bind generation: keeping the sultan, while introducing the committee; maintaining the Islamic identity of the regime, yet endorsing secularism; espousing Turkism, yet professing Ottomanism; advocating democracy, but practicing repression; attacking imperialism, while courting empires; and proclaiming etatisme while promoting liberal economics (A Brief History 202). With the proclamation of Turkish Republic, the nationalist and Kemalist ideologies, emerging with the construction of the new state, began to be effective in education along with the separation of religion and state. In this respect, Turkish secularism can be assumed only in the context of a "modern nation-building project" (Yavuz, Secularism and Muslim Democracy 26).
On the other hand, Niyazi Berkes in the very beginning of The Development of Secularism in Turkey, expresses that "among the Muslim countries it was in Turkey that, prior to World War II, a secular concept of state, religion, law, education, and economy was first promoted, and a definite doctrine of secularism implemented as a political, constitutional, educational, and cultural policy" (4). Basically, Berkes tries to explain the modernization process of Turkey with regards to the phenomena of 'secularism' and 'laicism.' To him, secularism is "on the idea of worldliness," while laicism "emphasizes the distinction of the laity from the clergy" (5). He attempts to elucidate Turkey's modernization with regards to a case of separation of religion (Islam) from world affairs. However, the concept he indicates to use within this milieu is not laicism, but secularism. In the same token, Alev Cinar sets forth, as in "congruent with the official state ideology founded by Mustafa Kemal Ataturk in the 1920s," that the dominant meaning of modernity refers, all in all, to societal and political philosophies of secularism, Turkish nationalism, and western-orientation. She attributes the early modernization of Turkey to the two basic constituents of institutionalization of the preliminary years of the republic: secularism and nationalism (Modernity, Islam and Secularism 4-5). Like Berkes, Cinar regards Islam as the chief contender of modernism; that is, in Turkey--with its tradition which conveys the authorization of the governing Islam--secularization has unescapably subsumed a major turmoil.
Designating Islam as the symbol of "the unity of Turkish society [...], a cognitive map of action and meaning, a repository of memory, and also a sense of authority" (Secularism and Muslim 16), M. Hakan Yavuz goes deep into the core of this issue, attaching the secularization of Turkey to Ottoman "kanun, or edicts issued by the Sultan in areas not covered by Islamic law" (Secularism and Muslim 19). Yavuz maintains that the modernization of Turkey was consolidated through that kanun which helped to generate a secular sphere outside the religious law and this, in turn, had a major power on the secularization of the Ottoman policy (Secularism and Muslim 19). To Yavuz secularism as a pillar for the foundation of the Republic of Turkey, "has not meant simply a formal separation between religious and political authority and institutions, but rather a positivist state ideology to engineer a homogeneous and stratified society" (25).
With the Tanzimat, it was revealed that literary exchanges between the various Ottoman communities raised a new sense of literature. As a reflection of Ottomanism, Turkish was embraced to be a very influential language of literary works. Being an influential forerunner in the formation of the Young Ottomans and their free-for-all for constitutional reform in the Ottoman Empire during the nineteenth century, Namik Kemal--an Ottoman Turkish writer, intellectual, reformer, journalist, playwright, and political activist--was among those who gave rise to Birinci Mesrutiyet (First Constitutional Era) in the Empire in 1876 (Yavuz, Secularism and Muslim 20). Many of Kemal's writings were impregnated with the national identity, fatherland, and political reform while embracing Western ideals (Evered, Nations and Nationalism 763). The early Turkish drama primarily translated European plays which were doomed to be a vindication of westernization. The first original play in Turkish--Ibrahim Sinasi's play, Sair Evlenmesi (The Marriage of the Poet)--was written in 1859 as a denunciation of the match-making convention (Halman, Turkish Literature 76-77).
Sinasi stressed the social hitches through his humorous and critical approach in changing values of the people. Voicing the need to make translations from European literature, he paid attention to the basics of modern literature, and "disseminated his belief-which became a correct prophecy--that a modern Turkish literature would be born on the models of Western literature" (Berkes, The Development of Secularism in Turkey 198).
Transliteration of some basic Europe-centric works, which were for the most part French scripts, into the Ottoman literary archives, gave way to the westernization of the late Ottoman period. These differing approaches to literature brought versatility to the spheres of modern literature; the versatility included "modes of psychological states, feelings of conflict, doubt, anxiety, and, above all, the practice of philosophizing and moralizing, both of which were the signs of secularization in mind and morality" (Berkes, The Development of Secularism in Turkey 280). "By 1900, major Ottoman literary figures were presenting images of a new modernist vision informed by French literature" (Hanioglu, A Brief History 141). Hanioglu further maintains that "Works such as Tevfik Fikret's poem "Sis" expressed the moral decay of late Ottoman Istanbul, where a stubborn smoke has shrouded its horizons" (141). The Ottoman novel developed rapidly during the 1890s. One particularly appealing example was Halid Ziya (Usakligil)'s "Ask-i Memnu" (Forbidden Love, 1900), a psychological study of adultery in a Bosphorus mansion. It constituted an allegory on the decline of the empire and a thematic and structural mode for much Turkish literature of the twentieth century" (141).
In addition to the ongoing politics of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, non-state linkages of different manners (folks, journalists, artists, musicians, craftsmen, and specifically writers among others) instigated cultural transfers during the early modern period of Turkey. From the very beginning of its emergence, secularism also led to the diversification of Turkish literature. Rather than using an ideological phenomenon, Serif Mardin tackles with the term distantiation and establishes "Distantiation was a relatively new development in Turkish intellectual life; it also marks the new generation's attitude towards religion. But this was only one aspect of their alienation from the general cast of traditional Ottoman culture" (Hanioglu, A Brief History 139). Such alienation from old Ottoman culture was reflected within the nationalist writings of various authors, including Ziya Gokalp, "the major ideologue of Turkish nationalism" (Ersoy et. al., Representations of National 190), Omer Seyfettin, "one of the most prominent names of the 'national literature' movement that set the stage for the emerging canon of modern Turkish literature" (190), Ibrahim Sinasi, Namik Kemal, Ahmet Mithat Efendi, who worked "to achieve a goal that can only be described as that of forging a shared Ottoman Turk 'national' literature" (Kandiyoti and Saktanber, Fragments of Culture 123), and Mehmet Akif Ersoy, "a faithful believer who wrote the words of the Turkish national anthem" (Ozdalga, "Reflections" 48).
Rejecting Ottomanism and Islamism in favor of Turkism, and being a prominent political activist, Mehmet Ziya Gokalp advocated for the inclusion of such 'national courses' as literature and history into the curriculum of secondary education (Mardin, Religion and Social Change 272). Gokalp tried to create a nationalist urge within the escapology of Ottoman identity, and he "believed that a modern state must become homogeneous in terms of culture, religion, and national identity" (Akcam, From Empire 88). Genc Kalemler (Young Pens) was among the ideals of Gokalp that encouraged literature that mirrored societal truths, was absorbed in national hitches, and employed simple language. The other minor communities such as Armenians, Albanians, Arabs, and Kurds also produced some significant literary journals and periodicals related to their nationalistic urges.
"Politics is not the idea itself, but its dregs" ("Cunku siyaset fikrin kendisi degil posasidir" [Kisakurek, Kunye , my trans).
Just like "French literature which provided the intellectual background for the French Revolution" (Berkes, The Development 199), Turkish literary scripts accelerated the transition and secularization period of Republican Turkey. However, whilst there were many authors who idealized such western orientations as the realm of freedom, individual poise, purpose, civility, and prettiness, all as an umbrella for the Republic, there were many others who rejected these highly westbound eulogies. In contrast to the writers who believed that "there was absolutely nothing in the old dissipated, rotten home environment and past to be liked, from which to derive inspiration, to love, with which to identify" (202), Ahmet Necip Fazil Kisakurek--specifically after his spiritual revival beginning in 1934 (Sitembolukbasi, Re-Islamization 172)--adhered to the Ottoman-Islamic-Eastern values and fashioned a very qualified magazine, titled Buyuk Dogu, (Great East-in 1943) (Jenkins, Political Islam 116) that was banned due to its political sarcasms in 1978.
Being among non-state associations, backing the Turkish Literature with more than seventy literary works, and touching on innumerable essential questions, Necip Fazil was one of the most brilliant writers of the Republican period. As is reflected by Serif Mardin "Necip Fazil Kisakurek (1905-1983) is one of the puzzles of modern Turkish literature Although his style is thoroughly modern, he has been an icon for religious conservatives, and he himself assumed the position of someone who systematically attacked Turkey's modern secular culture" ("Thoughts on" 74). Referring to theatre as the greatest discovery among the forms of art (Kisakurek, Kunye 6) ("Sanat sekilleri icinde bence en buyuk kesif tiyatro" [Kisakurek, Kunye ), he revealed a new identity in theatre which reflected the panorama of Turkey being on the threshold of modernity. The cultural impact and the messages behind the clashes of old and new were among the main elements of Necip Fazil's stage. Necip Fazil linked most of the transfers with the transition from Empire to Republic which had shaped an all-inclusive cultural model. However, the evaluation of the transition to the Republic was not just possible via the political turbulence, common in Turkey in 1900s.
Necip Fazil was a well-known Turkish poet, writer, and thinker and one of the "influential Islamist intellectuals" (Duran, and Topcu, "Competing Occidentalisms" 480). He gained recognition for his second poetry book, Kaldirimlar (Sidewalks) at the age of 24 (Okay, 162). His thirst for poetry began when he was a student at Mekteb-i Fununu Bahriye-yi Sahane (Naval Military College), where he learnt English and found the opportunity to read such works of Western authors as Lord Byron, Oscar Wilde, and Shakespeare in the original language of their own (Haksal, Great East River 35 [Buyuk Dogu Irmagi ). During the time he was a university student at the department of philosophy, he met such famous writers as Ahmed Hasim, Yakup Kadri, Faruk Nafiz and Ahmet Kutsi. He was sent to France, with a scholarship, where he entered the Sorbonne University, Department of Philosophy in 1924 (Guida, "Founders of Islamism" 113-14), and met the famous philosopher Henri Bergson (116). His philosophic attachments in some of his works, such as Bir Adam Yaratmak (Creating a Man) and Aynadaki Yalan (Lie in the Mirror) reveal his philosophical background. His life in Paris was too different from that of his in Turkey, and the discrepancies brought a mandatory return to his country (Ayvazoglu, Famous Literaturists 172 [Istanbul'un Meshur Edebiyatcilari ).
Being a prolific author, Necip Fazil was granted the title of Sultanu's Suara (The Sultan of the Poets) by Turk Edebiyat Vakfi (Turkish Literature Foundation) on 26 May 1980 (Gul, Necip Fazil and the Theatre 38 [Necip Fazil ve Tiyatro ). Acclaimed to be an extraordinary author, he manages to leave his mark on the period despite the challenging circumstances. To overcome all the challenges, he resisted too much and his aspirations revealed something outstanding. His distinctive style was reflected not only in poetry, but also in theatre, novels, newspapers, and periodicals which expressed his far-off views related to the new identity of Turkey. He left a great literary school after him, which invited humanity to the phase of a new existence.
Many Necip Fazil's experts divide his life into two parts: the first is alleged to embrace a bohemian life which comprises his literary life period between the years 1916-1934, and the second is considered to be a turning point starting in 1934 during which he met Abdulhakim Arvasi, a well-known sheikh of Naqshbandi Tariqa (Sitembolukbasi, Turkiye'de Islamin 172). The dichotomy of his life is similar in a way to the shriveled Ottoman Empire and western-oriented Turkey. However, this similarity is inversely proportional. It was during this time that, upon meeting Arvasi after deep insight of the crisis he experienced, he wrote his first important theatre work, Tohum (Seed) in 1935 (Gul, Necip Fazil 62).
Seeing theatre as "the highest tower of art fortress" ("sanat hisarinin en yuksek burcu" [Kisakurek, Siyah Pelerinli Adam ), Necip Fazil describes theatre as: "capturing life in a cube whose front side is openable and closable [...] just like ensnaring [...] This is what theatre is" ("On tarafi acilir-kapanir bir mikap (kup) icinde hayati yakalamak [...] Kapana kistirir gibi [...] Tiyatro budur" ). His words on theatre are as follows: "If you ask me, I'll show you 'the wheel' as the greatest of human exploration. I think, the greatest discovery in the art form is theatre. How the wheel turns on an endless to endless distances, just like this, theatre is freezing of non-stop time with its all matter and motion staff in a jar in the form of a cube ..." ("Bana sorarsaniz, beseri kesiflerin en buyugu olarak tekerlegi gosteririm. Sanat sekilleri icinde bence en buyuk kesif tiyatro... Tekerlek, nasil, bitmeyen mesafeler uzerinde sonsuz bir donusse, tiyatro da, durmayan zamanin mikap bicimi bir kavanoz icinde, butun madde ve hareket kadrosuyle dondurulmasi ..." ).
Focusing on social problems with a nationalistic guiding impulse, he produced many dramatic great works that shed light on the transition period of Turkey. In his plays, it is inevitable not to notice Brechtian epic style which, for the most part, combines fear, anxiety, and psychological metamorphoses, reflecting metaphysical ideas. This mirrors his outstanding embodiment of characterization in which emotions like fear, terror, distress, suspicion, doubt, and loneliness become more obscure and concrete in each character of the plays. Choosing a list of domestic and Turkish-Anatolian dramatis personae, Necip Fazil treats such major themes as fate and free will, casuistry, sense of wrongdoing, the mind-emotion-intuition relationships, substance-mental struggle, and investigation of unbeknown. The mind is a challenge, above all, against faith and emotions. There are some elements of classical drama in his plays; that is, from time to time an expression of potent and influential style, a style somewhat exaggerated, theatrical attitudes, and forms of speech, valor, magnanimity, dignity, self-esteem are all reminiscent of exaltation of classical attachments.
Portraying Republican Turkey as a country "in-between" new identity, Kisakurek expresses this point of view in Kunye (Identity Disc) as follows: "since Tanzimat, we are blinding our own with a rising submission day by day" ("Tanzimattan beri gun gectikce yukselen bir teslimiyet olcusuyle kendi kendimizi korlestiriyoruz" ). Burhanettin Duran and Cemil Aydin, in one of their articles, accentuate that "the initiator of the ideologization of Islam in Republican Turkey was Necip Fazil" ("Competing Occidentalisms" 485). Here, it is unescapable to say that Necip Fazil's main point was rooted not just in Islamism, but in nationalism, as well. Kisakurek reveals a reproduction of Ottoman pan-islamism. Thus, through the ideal of 'Great Jihad,' as a sub-branch of pan-islamism, he plants the idea of national unity in Turkish people--a unity that is never free of Islam. His words, regarding Great Jihad in Kunye", are subliminally the emphasis on the fact that there is a cognizance of Great Jihad in Islamic belief: "You know, there is a statement called 'Great Jihad' in our religion. Great Jihad is not a fight of one million people against the same number of people. It is the fight of one single person against his own Self" ("Dinimizde 'buyuk cihat' diye bir tabir var, bilirsiniz. Buyuk cihat, milyonlarca insanin bir o kadar insanla kavgasi degildir. Tek kisinin oz nefsiyle cengidir" [Kisakurek, Kunye ). Within this perspective, Kisakurek's leaning towards non-secular unity and anti-western ideologies are admissible in that he urges to stress through 'Man's own Self' is something very far-off non-Islamic manners of life. Again, his proclamations for his ideal of 'Great East' just touch not only Islamic values, but also nation-state structure which is based upon militarist nationalism. Kunye, Gazanfer--as an idealist nation-statesman-soldier--reflects Kisakurek's ideologies and political ideas which signalize that "Turkish military is the representative of the Great East, which is the source of legends" (Kisakurek, 38).
Berkes conveys "from a sociological viewpoint, secularization may be observed in the differentiating of social values into areas removed from the authority of tradition" (The Development 7). Necip Fazil's drama pits traditional values of Ottomanism or Islamism against secularism or westernization. He, with the belief "... the imperial crown, for every artist, is in theatre" ("[...] her sanatkara imparatorluk taci tiyatrodadir" [Kisakurek, Kunye ), propagates a cast of characters that are representationally pointers of conflict. In Kunye, for instance, while there are some soldiers who reflect the national side of the writer, there are some law students who mirror the authority and governmental rules. On the other hand, there are some public ladies and gentlemen who are the representatives of the 'old-rotten' Ottoman, and there are some European pilgrims who symbolize the brilliance of westernization and intelligentsia on their way to Newly-Modernized-Turkey. The modern portrayal of some figures (particularly those European characters) within the historical background of an incoming Republic challenges Bauman's suggestion that "the history of time began with modernity. Indeed, modernity is, apart from anything else, perhaps even more than anything else, the history of time: modernity is the time when time has a history." (110) Here, the main conflict arises from Kisakurek's style of perceiving modernism. He does not confine any time sequence within the boundaries of modernism and he conceptualizes what modernism brought together with westernism.
Moreover, Kisakurek adopted the distinction between good-material and bad-non-material aspects of the west-civilization-modernity formulated by the Islamists of the Second Constitutional Period. By embracing an eclectic method, he is able to argue that the good aspects of western ideologies and values, which had given rise to western political hegemony, were already inherent in Islam" (Duran and Topcu, Competing Occidentalisms 485). That's a reason why he never adopts modernism-westernism as a new identity for Turkey, and he juxtaposes highly contra characters to denote the 'solid' transfers in Turkish culture, which projects the socio-cultural differences in the community. This is what Bhabha reflects when he articulates that, "social differences are not simply given to experience through an already authenticated cultural tradition" (The Location 3) which underlines the evolutionary change within transition (from eastern to western; from traditional to modern). He continues, "they are the signs of the emergence of community envisaged as a project--at once a vision and a construction--that takes you 'beyond' yourself in order to return, in a spirit of revision and reconstruction, to the political conditions of the present" (The Location 3). For that reason, Kunye reveals the most extreme example of these contra characters and the most contrarian dialogues which reflect Necip Fazil's anti-western thinking. The characters representing 'the men-women of the people' are introduced as conservatives' who reject European men-women and who harshly criticize the physical appearances (of their clothes and their being bawdy) of these westerners.
Such staging refers to the last periods of Ottoman and early periods of Turkey: a state 'in between' two contradictory cultures which induce cultural hybridity. This entrapment is the result of a newfangled secular Republic witnessing the growth of the West, and an Islamic-based Empire yearning for the East. It is the very answer the law student Kunye in struggled to find by asking: "What do you mean? On the face of any kind of the progress of the West, shall we remain Oriental with our turban, our robes, our baggy trousers, and our black ignorance?" ("Ne demek istiyorsun? Yani garbin her turlu ilerleyisi karsisinda, sarigimiz, cubbemiz, salvarimiz ve simsiyah cehlimizle sarkli mi kalalim?" [Kisakurek, Kunye ). On the other hand, the characters described as 'men-women of the people' have some ironic ascriptions to the European characters. For instance, "the sultan would not pass here by horse-drawn carriage; he would pass by a European-invented car walking prickly. This car would be dragged by a couple of devils invisible to the eye" ("Hunkar atli arabayla gecmiyecekmis de, kendi kendisine yuruyen frenk icadi bir arabayla gececekmis. Bu arabayi goze gorunmez bir cift doru seytan cekiyormus" ). Necip Fazil's occidental approach has something to do with his anti-Western attitudes. Again, in Kunye, some cultural orientations are humiliated and ridiculed: "THE FIRST YOUNG AND SWELL WOMAN: Leave that empty-headed French boy! His hand kissing is getting on my nerves! THE SECOND YOUNG AND SWELL WOMAN: What about your English boy? Has he removed his booted feet from the dining table?" ("BIRINCI GENC VE SIK KADIN: Birak su sulu Fransizi! El opusu o kadar sinirime dokunuyor ki! IKINCI GENC VE SIK KADIN: Ya senin Ingilizin? Cizmeli ayaklarini yemek masasindan indirdigi var mi?" ).
These discrepancies all bring more than two identities on Necip Fazil's stage: a culturally conservative group of Ottoman-bound ladies and gentlemen, a culturally liberal group of western-bound ladies and gentlemen, and a culturally hybrid group of Turkey-bound ladies and gentlemen. Thus Necip Fazil introduces various implications of 'in-between' phenomenon through Kunye. Serif Mardin emphasizes the impression of 'in-between,' taking Necip Fazil's stand in the center, by asserting that "although Necip Fazil could fit himself into the frame of the new devlet, he was thrown off balance by the secular republic's abrogation of what a modified Gramscian scheme would call the cultural organism underlying Ottoman state practice--that is, not only the educational and cultural institutions but also the deeper cultural process" ("Rethinking Modernity" 74).
Problems about social and cultural identity, thus, are rooted in the idea of multifaceted reformulations of Islam, Ottoman past, and hence, contrast the tributes to western-modern employments. Kunye, therefore, typifies a propagandist play by which Necip Fazil illustrates the divergence of Islamic and Ottoman identity, epitomizing cultural hybridity. This is the core idea which Necip Fazil framed within Buyuk Dogu (Great East), in which "the process of ideologization of Islam was carried out in opposition' to the Kemalist project of Westernization" (Yavuz, Islamic Political Identity 116). However, through the characterization of Gazanfer, Necip Fazil, generates a prototype of 'idealist' public man who is designated assets of nationalist and Kemalist vision. This is the central Fazilian perception to represent a paradox which brings face to face Islamic-Ottoman past and secular-Kemalist-Turkic present. This is just what Serif Mardin puts forward by saying that, "it is true that Necip Fazil ... represents only one type of Turkish reaction to the Jacobian secularism of the Turkish Republic (est. 1923)" (Religion, Society 245). The same awareness is figuratively addressed by Elisabeth Ozdalga: "In order to reach his dispossessed or culturally homeless audiences, Necip Fazil implicated himself with strong allusions to religion ("Reflections on" 57).
For that reason, Necip Fazil mirrors a portrayal of politicization of Islamic and nationalistic identity in Gazanfer's characterization. This, paradoxically discloses an identity contrasting the core meaning underlying his name. (In the Online Dictionary of Turkish Language Society, 'Gazanfer' means "a brave, courageous, and strong man.') ("Turk askeri, destanlar kaynagi "Buyuk Dogu"nun mumessilidir" ) (<http://www.tdk.gov.tr/index.php?option=com_bts_&arama=kelime&guid=TDK.GTS.57 0b7754267251.04937558>). He is a man who is torn between new and old, entrapped between the dichotomies of cultural hybridity. In order to strengthen this point of view, as a result, Necip Fazil chooses Istanbul as a setting to give the impression of a spiritual linkage that represents the clashes of 'in-between'. Gazanfer's statement, "in this great fire, I see the spirit of Istanbul which turned into spunk. Its entire being, except the mosques, the tombs, and the tombstones, wants to declare what a great delusion it is" ("Ben bu yanginda Istanbul'un kav haline gelmis ruhunu goruyorum. Camilerinden, turbelerinden, mezar taslarindan baska butun varligi, ne buyuk bir vehim oldugunu ilan etmek istiyor" [Kisakurek, Kunye ). He indirectly touches on the disparity between the condition in which Istanbul is found: a city torn between the clashes of Ottoman-Islamism-traditionalism, and Turkey-secularism-modernism. Thus, Necip Fazil presents a polemical play that discards westernization of Islamic possessions and Islamic way of life.
The emergence of the Republic of Turkey in Anatolia is generally rumored to be the inescapable and probable outcome of the downfall of an expansive conglomerate empire and of the bordering nation-states in the adjoining regions of the degenerated Ottoman state. However, this ex post facto may be attuned to the late Ottoman period; the major base to viewing the period as it really was is represented in the works of the literary forerunners. In particular, authors of the transferring period distort fundamental historical manners by towing them out of their historical milieu and enlisting them in an artificial sequence of events forming a basis for the au fait new state. Thus, the cultural hybridity appears on the stage.
Because of Ottoman Empire's collapse and shrink, and because of the fact that Tanzimat Epoch, First Constitutional Era, and Second Constitutional Era all leaded up to the formation of an inherent superior-liberal-secular civilization, many reformists, including some intellectuals, journalists, academicians, and authors called out to an urgent new-fangled country, a Republic which would embrace a brand-new identity. Against all the proclamations of western-bound authors and reformers, Kisakurek tackled with Occidentalism and he, with propagandist uniqueness, refused western modernism. Thus, his theatre revealed one of the most significant samples of 'cultural hybridity' in Turkey, and his characters emphasized the 'entrapments of double identity' reflecting Bhabha's 'in-between' phenomenon. This hybridity was the result of such ideological philosophies as Ottomanism, Turkism, Islamism, Modernism or/and westernism that formulated the emergence of the Republican Turkey.
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Author's profile: Onder Cakirtas teaches English Literature at Bingol University. His interests in scholarship include modern British drama, modern Turkish drama, comparative drama and political Drama. Cakirtas's book publications include Politics and Drama: Change, Challenge and Transition in Bernard Shaw and Orhan Asena (2016) and Ideological Messaging and the Role of Political Literature (2017). E-mail:email@example.com
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|Title Annotation:||Ahmet Necip Fazil Kisakurek|
|Publication:||CLCWeb: Comparative Literature and Culture|
|Article Type:||Critical essay|
|Date:||Mar 1, 2017|
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