Reviews

This article is one of the first to probe the question of Eurasianist ideology in Turkey.   The author contends that in Turkey Eurasianism constitutes the fourth largest current on the ideological spectrum alongside Pan-Turkism, Pan-Slavism and Westernism.  He defines Eurasianism in its Turkish version as a culturalist vision founded on the idea of cooperation between Russia and Turkey, two countries of semi-colonial structure with identities born in confrontation with the West.  He accurately demonstrates the fact that Eurasianism posits itself as a response to Westernism, and, therefore, that it replicates the idealistic and universalistic features of the idea of Europe.  The article, leaving aside other Turkish authors interested in the idea of Eurasia, is entirely devoted to the writings of Attila Ilhan (1925-2005).  For many decades, Ilhan wrote consistently on the topic of Turkish-Russian alliance, including during the Cold War period.  His books popularised the idea that a Turkish-Russian alliance was preordained by geopolitics and promoted “Eurasianist” heroes such as Ismail Gasprinskii, Sultan Galiev and Mulla Nur Vahidov.  For Ilhan, Turkey’s modern history was divided into four periods: the late period of Ottomanism, criticised on account of being too westernising; the golden age of Kemalism; the counter-revolution which extends from 1938 to 1990; and finally, Eurasianism’s “second coming” in the wake of the demise of the Soviet Union.  As the author argues, if the Eurasianist message has found an enlarging audience within Turkish society (which is not demonstrated in the article), it is not on account of its postulate of rapprochement with Russia, but because of growing disappointment with the European Union.  Although the article is limited to Ilhan and sets out from the principle that this Turkish Eurasianism is necessarily pro-Russian, one can only be glad finally to have an analysis of local texts and hope that more works on Turkish Eurasianism will follow to enable comparisons with the Russian version.

Marlène Laruelle, Woodrow Wilson Centre, Washington, DC
CER: I-2.1-113