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In 1946, the Turkish government devalued the lira for the first time in the history of the Republic, in a move that is often described as US-encouraged and liberalizing. In "Turkey's Rushed Liberalization," Onur İşçi and I argue that diplomatic alignment with the US did not dictate the Recep Peker cabinet's policies. We begin with the Second World War and show that, by 1944, Turkey had already been drawn into an Anglo-American international order. We then suggest that devaluation be understood as a response (as a Europe-oriented policy with specific, short-term goals) and conclude that 1946 was less a radical liberalizing pivot than an attempt to address the difficult legacy of wartime neutrality.

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The Soviet statesman Aleksei Kosygin visited Turkey in 1975 for the inaugural firing of a massive Soviet-built steelworks, and he laid out an ideologically charged vision of development: “unlike the Americans with their Coca-Cola factories, we contribute to industrialization.” In "Smokestacks and Pipelines," Onur İşçi and I argue that shared anxiety about under-development relative to the West has driven economic cooperation between Moscow and Ankara for a century. It situates Russian-Turkish commitments to development in a familiar Cold War context, and it also explains why the politics of development have outlived the Cold War.


In 1975, the mayor of Ankara asked the Soviet government to help him build a public transportation system and affordable housing in the Turkish capital. In "A Turkish Mayor Goes to Moscow," Aydın Khajei, Deniz Kaptan, and I use Vedat Dalokay's appeal as a window into international development politics during a transformative decade. We argue that, whereas Dalokay's aspirations emerged from a Turkish intellectual climate that was being reshaped by dependency theory and disillusionment in the possibilities for growth within boundaries defined by the political borders of nation-states, Soviet economists and bureaucrats remained wedded to the idea of development defined in terms of the territorial economy. 


Turkish newspapers celebrated Ankara--The Heart of Turkey as a landmark in the cinema of the Republic. And yet the film, which offers rare documentary footage of the Turkish capital in the 1930s, has notable Soviet elements, including some which might be described as Orientalist. In "Soviet Orientalism across Borders," I argue that the Soviet artists and intellectuals engaged in the project were acutely aware of the difficulty of making a film that would strike a foreign audience as their own. The images they employed were only partly successful, but in their commitment to the documentary as a genre, they found an idea that appealed to Turkish intellectuals similarly interested in historicizing the Turkish Republic and countering what they held to be the ahistorical fantasies of Western Orientalism.

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