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    Kemalism, also called Ataturkism, is a nationalist, moderately authoritarian, secular and initially culturally progressive ideology that occupies a moderate and right position in the authoritarian left quadrant, and is the ideology of Ataturk.png Mustafa Kemal Atatürk. However, although Atatürk wanted an interpretation of Kemalism in his own time, he did not write a doctrine for this ideology. Liberal Kemalism or Revisionist Kemalism of the modern-day Turkey is a capitalist, secular, culturally variable, and moderately democratic ideology.

    One day, in a dialogue with Atatürk, Yakup Kadri Karaosmanoğlu said:

    My Pasha, this is a revolution party in all respects. The Revolution party, on the other hand, cannot walk without relying on an ideology or a doctrine.

    Ataturk.png Atatürk replied:

    If we write doctrine, we freeze and stay where we are.

    In other words, Atatürk believed that the doctrines were fixed and lagged behind the times. For this reason, Atatürk created a body of ideas, but organized it with certain practical principles. He did not write detailed doctrinal texts. But he also allowed it to be written. For this reason, there were many variants of Kemalism (even when Atatürk was alive). Later, these principles were added to the 1924 Constitution as the main principles of the state. Kemalism has had a strong cult of personality in Turkey since its foundation.

    The six arrows of Kemalism represent Republicanismpix.png Republicanism, Pop.png Populism, Nation.png Nationalism, Laicism.png Laicism (exclusion of ecclesiastical control and influence), Statist.png Statism and Reform.png Reformism.


    Kemalism is the ideology of Ataturk.png Mustafa Kemal Atatürk and the founding ideology of the Republic of Turkey. The ideology was designed to help modernize Turkey and separate it from its Ottoman predecessor, these reforms include democracy, secularism, state support of the sciences and free education.

    The early roots of the ideology began during the early 19th-century Tanzimant reforms in the late years of the Ottoman Empire when the Empire was trying to stop its collapse, of course this merely delayed the inevitable. After the Young Ottoman movement ditched Ottoman Nationalism (Ottoman.png Ottomanism) to stop the rising ethnic nationalism within the Empire in favour of Turkish nationalism becoming the Young Turks (no, not the American news tabloid) which sought to establish many things the Young Ottomans wanted established like a democracy however unlike the Young Ottomans, the Young Turks were in favour of secularism. The Young Turks inspired Atatürk greatly with their advocacy of democracy, Turkish nationalism and secularism among other things. However, Ataturk was against their extreme ethnonationalism and ultranationalism, and condemned the Armenian genocide. After the collapse of the Ottoman Empire and the subsequent establishment of the Republic of Turkey in 1923, Atatürk implemented these ideas as well as bringing about more economically left reforms to the nation which the nation had never experienced before.


    Kemalism is defined by having six principles, which are notably represented in its symbol with the six arrows.

    Republicanismpix.png Republicanism

    Republicanism or in Turkish "cumhuriyetçilik" is the belief that civic power within society should be held within Dem.png democratically elected representatives, instead of passed down through the generations like in a Monarch.png monarchy of the Ottoman Empire. Though it also banned earlier opposition parties because of "saving the secular state"

    The Kemalist republic is a unitary state favoring centralization.

    Nation.png Nationalism

    Nationalism or in Turkish "Milliyetçilik" in the Kemalist context refers to the belief in a single Turkish nation unified under a Jacobin.png Rousseauian social contract. This form of Nationalism is very much Civnat.png Civic, believing that to be Turkish one must "Protect and promote the moral, spiritual, cultural and humanistic values of the Turkish Nation.". Kemalist Nationalism also favors a form of Souverainism, rejecting Imp.png imperialism and foreign conquest, although it views the nation as inseparable not allowing for secessionism. Ataturk's nationalism also favors a policy called 'Turkification', which assimilates other ethnicities of Turkey to the Turkish culture, and this policy is Cultural Nationalism.png Cultural Nationalist.

    Pop.png Populism

    Populism or in Turkish "Halkçılık" is the belief that political power and sovereignty within society should be held by the Turkish people instead of a nobility.

    However, the concept of "people" here is not in a left-wing or right-wing "populist" sense. It is ideologized by "solidarist Corptism.png corporatism" (or corporate solidarism) originating from the Third French Republic. Kemalist intellectuals significantly influenced by Émile Durkheim. Kemalism, against the class struggle and supports the cooperation of the professions. However, there were no corporations established in Kemalist Turkey. The Republican Peoples Party program is theoretically divided "people" into professions. The aim here is to create a united nation that does not discriminate "class, race, religion and gender".

    Because of this similarity, the Republican People's Party was invited by the Radical Republican Party to the International Understanding of Radical Parties and Similar Democratic Parties (Entente Internationale des Partis Radicaux et des Partis Démocratiques Similaires) in 1926.

    Şükrü Kaya, one of Atatürk's ministers, stated the following in an official newspaper:

    Friends; There are various kinds of organizations called populism on earth. Joint work of leftist ideas in recent timesand called the popular fronts, a number of political we meet the institutions. Our notion of populism has nothing to do with them. The truth of this word is to the party in the first days of the was taken as the name. The populism recipe, which was made in the language of the Great Chef (Mustafa Kemal Atatürk), found its perfection in the party program. This qualification protects dormitory is from pretenses of privilige and class fights. It has great importance protecting.

    Şükrü Kaya, Minister of Interior of Turkey. 13 February 1937

    In the 1931 Republican People's Party (CHP) Program, it was written as follows:

    It is one of our main principles to accept the people of the Republic of Turkey as a community that is not made up of separate classes, but as a community that is dedicated to various employees in terms of division of labor for individual and social life.

    A) Small farmers,

    B) Small industrialist and shopkeepers,

    C) Workers

    D) Self-employed person,

    E) Industrialists, large land and business owners, and merchants.

    They are the main working groups that constitute the Turkish community. The work of each of them is essential for the life and happiness of the other and the general community. The purpose of our party with this principle is to ensure social order and solidarity instead of class struggle and to establish harmony in interests in a way that does not distort each other. Benefits are proportional to ability and degree of work.

    The aim is "to build a cohesive mass without privileges, without classes."

    However, a compromise between workers and bosses is stipulated. For this reason, good rights have been provided to the workers and job security to the bosses. Thus, the class struggle was wanted to be prevented. However, Kemalism is not fascism. It does not have a fascist corporatist understanding. His understanding is a solidarist corporatist.

    Strikes and lockouts are prohibited. The aim is to create a unified nation. Workers and bosses are required to be "civic nationalists".

    In the program of the Republican People's Party of 1931, it is stated as follows:

    We will take into account the rights and interests of nationalist Turkish workers. Establishing harmony between labor and capital, and imposing appropriate provisions with a labor law, are among important jobs.

    Within the scope of this principle (Kemalist populism), "Spring Day" was celebrated as a national holiday instead of May 1, Labor Day since 1935. May 1 is a holiday. However, instead of a holiday representing the working class, it was declared a national holiday.

    Statist.png Statism

    Statism or in Turkish "devletçilik" is the belief that the state should actively intervene within the economy and society to solve issues, this principle aligns Kemalist economic policy as leaning towards favouring a large welfare state Welf.png.

    In the 1935 CHP Party Program, statism was explained as follows:

    While keeping private work and activity as a basis, it is one of our important principles to actually concern the state in the affairs required by the general and high interests of the nation, especially in the economic field, in order to bring the nation to prosperity and the country's development in as little time as possible. The interest of the state in economic affairs is to encourage private entrepreneurs and to regulate and control what is done, as well as actually constructing.

    The economic side of the principle was expressed by Atatürk as "dirigisme" and "state socialism". It is a pragmatic principle. Because economic understandings change over time.

    In the opening speech of Atatürk's CHP 4th Congress (May 9, 1935) , he said:

    Friends you see that; We are dealing with establishing a brand new guided economy (dirigisme, dirigiste) order. Our party's economic understanding; It will show that our program in this direction is the best program that will meet the needs of the country and make it develop in a short time. There is no doubt that with your new advice and directives you will facilitate our re-advancement and promotion measures.

    On 1 November 1937, Atatürk said:

    Markets are not intervened unless there is a definite obligation; however, no market is idle either.

    Laicism.png Laicism

    Laicism, also called secularism and in Turkish "Laiklik" is the belief that religion should be separated from all forms of public life. What separates Kemalist laicism from how secularism is practiced in most western countries is the focus on not only separating the church (or rather mosque) from the state, but also from society in general, seeking to make religion a personal affair. This principle aligns Kemalist social policy as being culturally rather left-wing.

    Reform.png Reformism

    Reformism, also called Revolutionism and in Turkish "inkılâpçılık" is the belief that the Turkish Society and the Kemalist philosophy should seek to actively reinvent and modernize to fit with the modern times and not to cling on the oppressive institutions of the past. At the same time, this principle is directly related to progressivism Progress.png. This principle aligns also aligns Kemalist social policy as being culturally rather centre-left.


    LibKemSmall.png Liberal Kemalism Lib.png

    The Free Republican Party (sometimes referred to as the Liberal Republican Party; in Turkish: Serbest Cumhuriyet Fırkası) was a political party founded by Fethi Okyar upon President Kemal Atatürk's request in the early years of the Turkish Republic.

    Mustafa Kemal Atatürk requested that Okyar create it as an opposition party to confront the ruling Republican People's Party with the aim of establishing the tradition of multi-party democracy in Turkey.

    In addition, this party defended the Liberal Kemalist thought in line with Atatürk's wishes.

    However, the party was quickly embraced by the conservatives who saw it as an opportunity to reverse the reforms of Atatürk, particularly regarding secularism, and was personally dissolved in November 1930 by Okyar who himself was an ardent supporter of the reforms.

    Most modern-day Turkish parties do not follow Ataturk's originally ideology, but instead follows this revisionary version of Kemalism that generally supports free-market economics and liberal democracy by combining Kemalism with liberalism.

    SocKemal.png Socialist Kemalism Leftnat.png

    In line with Atatürk's request and permission, the communists on trial in 1927, published a new magazine. The name of the magazine was "Kadro". Atatürk also made a statement to this magazine. Şevket Süreyya Aydemir is the founder of this ideology. However, the publishers of the magazine made a socialist-Kemalist discourse, not being a Marxist due to their ideological orientation. Ultimately, the magazine's lead author was appointed ambassador. For this reason, Kadro magazine dissolved itself. In short, they were "socialist-Kemalist".

    Those who publish the magazine are called "Kadroists (Kadrocular)."

    Kaypakkaya.png İbrahim Kaypakkaya heavily critiqued Socialist Kemalism and said that the socialist movement was always opposed to Kemal's bourgeois ways and that he oppressed ethnic minorities. He referred to Socialist Kemalists as "Shafak Revisionists" in his works.

    LibleftKem.png Social Democratic Kemalism / Centre-Left Kemalism

    The Republican People's Party declared that it was the "Left of Center" (Turkish: Ortanın Solu) since 1965. After this year, Kemalism and social democracy were commemorated together in Turkey. Before 1965, there was no social democracy in the Republican People's Party. Bülent Ecevit and İsmet İnönü are the founders of this ideology.

    On July 29, 1965, just before the 1965 general elections, Chairman İsmet İnönü spoke for the first time that the CHP's line was "left of center" during an interview with journalist Abdi İpekçi:

    The CHP is a statist party by nature, and as such, of course, it has a left-of-centre understanding.

    Bülent Ecevit, on the other hand, said:

    The main factor that separates the center-left from the extreme left, communism, is that it is democratic.

    Left of Center (p. 91)

    Ecevit later founded the Democratic Left Party. Here he continued to defend his view with names such as "democratic left".

    Conservat.png Conservative Kemalism / Centre-right Kemalism ConKemal.png

    It can be assumed that the Democrat Party, which came to power in 1950, established this ideology. Celal Bayar and Adnan Menderes (Self-proclaimed, debatably) are the founders of this ideology. During this period, relations with America and NATO are at a high level. Anti-communism was more radical than the Atatürk era. Turhan Feyzioğlu, who later opposed the concept of "left of centre", left the Republican People's Party and founded the Republican Reliance Party on the principles of right-Kemalism.

    In some forms of conservatism, change is advocated slowly. To give an example, the Republican Reliance Party writes in its program:

    We are reformers, not destructive. We are supporters of reform.

    Republican Reliance Party Program, 1967, p. 30

    A good modern-day example of centre-right Kemalism is the iYi Good Party that advocates a liberal democratic form of national-conservative Kemalism.

    Fash.png Fascist Kemalism Fashkemal.png

    With the influence of the rising Fascism in the world in the 1930's (although not certain), Recep Peker argued that the Republican People's Party should go to a Fascism type organization. Paramilitary units affiliated with the party demanded applications such as strong party anthems and fascist council. However, Peker rejected Fascism Fash.png and Corptism.png Corporatism in his speeches, but it is known that he had a kind of Fascist-Kemalist mentality. His ideas were rejected by Atatürk.

    Soc-h.png National Democratic Revolution SocKemal.png

    The aim of this ideology is to liquidate feudalism and other reactionary elements by first realizing the goals of Kemalism in Turkey. Then, as the continuation of Kemalism, he says that socialism will come. The "Patriotic Party" represents this idea in Turkey.

    Racenat.png Racist Kemalism / Far-right Kemalism

    Mehmet Saffet (Arın) Engin, in an article in Ülkü magazine, after stating that a nationalist society attaches importance to solidarity, listed elements such as history, language, ideals and unity of interest as elements of solidarity. He shows a racist tendency by referring to the superiority of the Turkish race, by considering the blood factor among the unifying factors, and by including the concept of race rather than nation in some of his views.

    Saffet Engin, who described Atatürk as the Great Genius and hailed him as the creator of the Turkish race at the beginning of his book in which he analyzed the Kemalist revolution, states in another chapter of a book he wrote that there was very little racial mixing in Anatolia. He claims that only 5.5% of dolichocephalic elements are encountered in anthropological researches in Anatolia and that a clean race type is dominant. Although he states that the concept of nation is not limited to race, Saffet Engin, who believes that racial superiority is a fact, argues that the dominant race also gives the nation its character. Approaching the subject from this perspective, Saffet Engin also claims that it has been scientifically proven that the Turkish character cannot be compared with any other nation. As can be seen, Saffet Engin, who does not exclude the concept of race in the definition of nation, speaks easily of racial superiority. Although this is not an approach that dominates both his own works and the general idea of ​​the period, the presence of these racist elements in his various writings differentiates Saffet Engin's stance. However, racism was rejected in the 1935 CHP Party Programme. In other words, if he had conveyed these ideas to Atatürk, he would have been rejected.

    ML.png Marxist-Leninist Kemalism / Far-left Kemalism

    Deniz Gezmiş stated that he was a Marxist-socialist and Kemalist, as a political activist.

    The first person to talk about this issue was his close friend Uluç Gürkan. Uluç Gürkan, in an interview with Işık Kansu from Cumhuriyet newspaper, said the following:

    Deniz used to describe himself as a "Marxist-Kemalist". He used to say, You are a left Kemalist.

    Cumhuriyet Newspaper, 8 November 1998, p. 8.

    Oral Çalışlar, in an article about the communist movements he was involved in, said:

    We prefer to say "Mustafa Kemal" and our ideal photograph is the one that is the heart of the National Struggle. We call our militant youth struggle the "Second National Independence War".

    The education we received and the preferences of our families led us to raise us with Kemalist ideology. This is what Kemalism teaches us: “People are reactionary. The military-civil intellectual group is progressive. It is necessary to intervene with authoritarian methods from above so that they can dedicate this backward society to themselves. The one-party rule is very useful in this regard.”

    Of course, we were also embracing the rising "socialism" in the world... One day, Deniz Gezmiş and I left the Turkish National Youth Organization building in Tünel. At the beginning of the street, we stopped in front of Foto Sureyya, where Ataturk's photographs were exhibited in its window. Deniz said, "We are Kemalists." Then I, "aren't we Socialists?" said. I did not find it strange that Deniz said We are both socialists and Kemalists.

    In other words, Deniz Gezmiş called himself "both Kemalist and socialist" in another place.

    In addition, Deniz Gezmiş, while being tried in court, said that "if there are people in this country who really support Mustafa Kemal, it is us."

    However, this conceptualization is highly controversial among communists, and some argue that Deniz Gezmiş was simply a communist.

    Although it is known that Kemalism has such an interpretation, Atatürk was against communism.

    How to Draw

    Flag of Kemalism

    Kemalism's design is based of the "Six Arrows" symbol, which represents the six principles of the ideology. The symbol is used by the Government of Turkey and the Republican People's Party of Turkey.

    1. Draw a ball with eyes.
    2. Fill it with red.
    3. Draw 6 white arrows coming from the bottom left corner.

    And you're done!

    Color Name HEX RGB
    Red #E30A17 227, 10, 23
    White #FFFFFF 255, 255, 255



    • FDRismF.png New Dealism - My based American national progressive counterpart.
    • Civnat.png Civic Nationalism - Together against ethnats and racenats.
    • Cultural Nationalism.png Cultural Nationalism - Turkification goes brrrrr.
    • 3princ.png Tridemism 3princ-col.png - My fellow modernist eastern brother. We both fought against monarchism and imperialism, and created a modern constitutional republic. Also Hu Hanmin is based
    • Socauth.png Social Authoritarianism - A benevolent dictatorship and welfare are both great, but I am slightly concerned about your connections with the unions. The modern day me is strongly affiliated with the Turkish unions, though.
    • Corptism.png Corporatism - It's nice to maintain social justice and be against class conflict. I also classified my people according to their professions. But corporations and trade unions are not good. The modern day me supports both.
    • Laicism.png Laicism - Religion and state MUST be separate!
    • Republicanismpix.png Republicanism - Long live the republic!
    • Reform.png Reformism - I shall transform Turkey towards a modern state.
    • Welf.png Welfarism - You are a great tool to unite my nation!
    • Progress.png Progressivism - YES DUDE NOW WE F*CKING RECUCKTIONARISM Reactcross.png!
    • Radlib.png Radicalism - I "Turkified" you a little bit.
    • Libfem.png Liberal Feminism - More female drone pilots? BASED![1]
    • Pragmat.png Pragmatism - No to dogmatic and idealistic doctrines or theories! I am always willing to compromise and cooperate across party and ideological lines as long as it's practical and good for the Turkish nation.
    • Necon.png Neoconservatism - Our relations became great after Stalin.png Joseph Stalin acted aggressively against me and I eventually supported NATO. Also thanks for helping me to get rid of Kaypakkaya.png this commie. Did you really have to overthrow Shah though?


    • Patcon.png Paternalistic Conservatism - Good economics and nationalism, bad social policies.
    • Islamofeminism.png Islamic Feminism - Women's rights are very important, but what do you mean you actually want to wear a veil voluntarily ?!
    • Orthlen.png Leninism - Thanks for helping me in the Turkish war of independence. Although Communism isn't great.
    • Panc.png Pancasila - He is pretty close to me and 3princ.pngTridemism. But I don't like how religious he is. I like how you love my ideas and admires me, though.
    • Pahlavi.png Pahlavism - A great friend of mine who learned my secularism and modernization, though monarchism is uncool.
    • Jacobin.png Jacobinism - You taught me secularism and reformism, but calm down a bit. I like republicanism, reason, and revolution, but not guillotine for religious people and state atheism.
    • Zio.png Zionism - The Turkish Republic supports the right to self-determination of the Jewish people! That being said, do you really need constant wars to expand your territories?
    • WelfChauvin.png Welfare Chauvinism - I like your economic policies, but Ultranat.png Ultranationalism is stupid. Civnat.png Civic Nationalism is the best type of Nationalism!
    • Venizelos.png Venizelism - I know you're annoyed about the whole Izmir incident, but we're cool now, right?
    • Metaxi.png Metaxism - Right?
    • Leftnat.png Left-Wing Nationalism - We can fight together against imperialism! I shut down the magazine Kadro, I hope you don't mind it
    • Socdem.png Social Democracy - You might be better off if you aren’t so liberal politically and didn't support the unions and take the "labour" side of the labor-capital conflict... I like unions in modern day Turkey just to mess with him Ottoman.png and to regain control of the country, though.
    • Islamic Democracy.png Islamic Democracy - ......have you realized how much a tool you are?
    • Fem.png Feminism - "The most important duty of Turkish women is to raise generations capable of protecting and defending the Turk with their mentality, strength and determination. The most precious duty of women is maternity. Considering that the place where the first education is given is the mother's lap, the importance of this duty is well understood. Our nation is trying to become a strong nation. One of the needs of today is to help our women rise in every aspect. Therefore, our women will also become scholars and scientists, and they will pass all the degrees of education that men pass. Then women will help each other by walking with men in social life."
    • Lib.png Liberalism - Dude, please shut up and keep up with me! It was a failed attempt in 1930.
    • Evren.png Evrenism - I absolutely supports the separation of the military and the government. Even though many of my fellow supporters are Stratocrats who couped democratically-elected governments.
    • PanTurk.png Pan-Turkism - I can't give up on Turks, but I continue to humiliate you in Nutuk. Maybe I'm waiting for the dissolution of the Soviet Union... [Note 1]
    • Thar.png Anti-Authoritarianism - The state is epic actually. But my LibKemSmall.png modern counterpart flirts with you, for some reasons.
    • Ittihad.png İttihadism - Thanks for your inspirations on me about secularism, modernization, and feminism. But cool down with your radical ethnonationalism, pan-Turkism, and pan-Islamism for god’s sake!


    Further Information




    Online Communities



    1. Although Atatürk openly opposed Pan-Turkism in his Nutuk in 1927, he said otherwise in 1933. In fact, he never declared himself as a Pan-Turkist. And Atatürk shut down the Pan-Turkist associations in the 1930s. However, the following words he said in 1933 clearly reveal his own thinking:

      Today the Soviet Union is our friend, our neighbor, our ally. We need this friendship. But no one can predict what will happen soon. Just like the Ottoman Empire, just like Austria-Hungary, they can be broken into pieces. The nations that they hold tightly in their hands today, can escape from their hands. World may get a new balance. That's when Turkey should know what to do. Under the administration of this friend of ours, we have brothers with the same language, same belief and same essence. We must be prepared to protect and watch over them. Being ready is not just being silent and waiting for that day. We need to be prepared. How do nations be prepared for this? By keeping spiritual bridges intact. The language is a bridge, history is a bridge, faith is a bridge. We must go back to our roots and we all have to unify in our history which is divided by events. We cannot wait for them to approach us. We need to approach them.


    1. [1] - The linked photo is of Sabiha Gökçen (as seen on the left), a Turkish pilot recognized as the first female combat pilot in history. She was an adopted child of Atatürk.

      In this particular photo she is holding a bomb shortly before the so-called Dersim massacre against the Alevi Kurdish separatist insurgency against the progressive revolutionary Kemalist government of Turkey. Some claims that thousands of Kurds were killed by Turkish forces in this counter-insurgency suppression. Whether this is a massacre is subjected to debates.
    2. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Turkish_Straits_crisis


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