Chapter

Turkey Faces West

Halide Edib Advar

in Modernist Islam, 1840-1940

Published in print September 2002 | ISBN: 9780195154672
Published online November 2007 |
 Turkey Faces West

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Halide Edib Ad1var (Turkey, 18821964) gained worldwide renown as one of the first female writers and activists of the contemporary Islamic world. She received a traditional primary education, then enrolled as one of the first Muslim pupils at the American College for Girls, a missionary school in Istanbul. During high school and afterward, she translated numerous European novels and was deeply impressed by literary naturalism. Following the Constitutional Revolution of 1908, she began writing newspaper articles promoting Social Darwinism, positivism, and Turkism. Following World War I, Halide Edib participated in the founding of the Wilson Principles Society in Istanbul, but she turned to nationalism after the Greek occupation of Izmir in 1919. In fiery public speeches, she maintained that European bias against Islam had played an important role in the heavyhanded punishment and occupation of the Ottoman Empire. She joined the nationalist campaign in Anatolia and served at the front as a journalist with the rank of corporal (later sergeant). Yet her subsequent opposition to nationalist leader Mustafa Kemal (Atatrk, 18811938) caused her to leave Turkey in 1924, returning only in 1939. During this period she lectured and wrote prolifically in English. In her most important religious statement, a series of lectures delivered in Indiaexcerpted in this selectionHalide Edib argued that separation of religion and state would rejuvenate Turkey and Islam. In 1940, she became professor and chair of the English Literature Department at Istanbul University; she also represented Izmir in the Turkish parliament between 1950 and 1954.1

Chapter.  3218 words. 

Subjects: Society and Culture ; Islam

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