The West as a Model? The Comparative Analysis of the Modernisation Experiences of the Russian and Ottoman Empires in Turkish Literature

Hazır Ü.N.


In Turkish literature, one of the subjects studied mainly by Turkish scholars has been the comparison of Ottoman (Turkish) and Russian westernisations / modernisations, since these two rival, neighbouring, continental and multi-ethnic empires considered the West as a model for their modernisations and had some parallelisms in terms of westernisation. On several occasions, both the Turks and Russians attempted to become full-fledged member of the ’club’ of great European countries, Western political system and civilisation for more than two centuries. As a review article, this work offers Russian audiences Turkish (non-Western) perspectives on comparing the Ottoman and Russian westernisations through the analysis of Turkish literature. This article appealed to the publications and opinions of the most outstanding Turkish academics bearing deep knowledge on Turkish westernisation and modernisation. The time of the publications ranges from the 1960 s to today. By way of this article, Russian audiences would be able to learn how Russia and Russian westernisation evaluated by Turkish academics; and what Turkish academics understand from the West and westernisation. Furthermore, Turkish literature enables Russian audiences to better understand contemporary issues in the relations of Turkey and Russia with the West as well as to analyse Turkish-Russo relations more properly since the fact of the West and westernisation affected the bilateral relations of these two countries. Besides, this article demonstrates to Russian audiences the gap in Turkish literature regarding the comparison of Turkish and Russian westernisations. This article argues that Turkish scholars consider Russian westernisation more successful than Ottoman westernisation and underline huge differences alongside similarities within their modernisations / westernisations.


Westernisation; Modernisation; the West; Russia;, the Ottoman Empire; Turkey.

DOI: 10.31249/rsm/2021.03.02

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