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Living up to the father: The national identity prescriptions of remembering Ataturk; his homes, his grave, his temple

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Mustafa Kemal Ataturk's commemoration in Turkey often reminds Western observers of a personality cult. Looking at national identity-narratives emerging from the stage-management of his homes and final resting place, this article argues that 'Ataturk' has become shorthand for Turkish national identity and his commemoration represents, as a result, much more than a personality cult. Moreover, I show that although the sites in question provide the state with an excellent tool for national socialisation, they also reflect shared national assumptions and cherished symbols. Commemoration entails a sense of safety and protection, but also a warning against straying from Ataturk's path and legacy that have, after all, stood the test of time.
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Keywords: Ataturk; Mustafa Kemal; Turkey; commemoration; national identity; nationalism; spatial narratives

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2008-12-01

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