Item description for Ismet Inonu: Turkish Democrat and Statesman (Social, Economic and Political Studies of the Middle East and Asia) by M. Heper...
A study of a Turkish statesman which can be read as an introduction into Turkish politics, this political biography presents Ismet Inonu as a highly motivated, self-reflecting and self-conscious political leader.
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Reviews - What do customers think about Ismet Inonu: Turkish Democrat and Statesman (Social, Economic and Political Studies of the Middle East and Asia)?
The Critical Limit Attitude and Historicity Mar 13, 2003
This is a bad review. And this is a good book. It is so to the extent that one accepts this contingent 'good' and 'bad' as a criteria at all. The reader will find this book satisfying certain criteria, that is a historical analysis of a particular figure in Turkish political life.
Yet however, the reader, if is critical, and if does not accept the unnoticed value judgements within a text and the power relation between the author-text-reader, even if not mentioned, will celebrate the realization to say that this is a classical text that has a modernist attitude, marginalizing 'differences', searching for the center that holds, a 'cartesian' anxiety to bring history to the present by claims to hold the universal sovereign truth, hence the undergoing power relation within the text.
Out of the 'matrix' will this review sound, to the reader who is not familiar with Roland Barthes, Jacques Derrida, Michel Foucault. I recommend this book as a case study for those who are familiar with such philosophers and hope other readers to go in the opposite direction.
I was a student of Metin Heper during my initial graduate studies and I will suggest a 'richer' argument of my review of another person, who I am currently a student of.
See Richard Ashley, "Living on BorderLines: Man, Poststructuralism and War" in James Der Derian, Michael Shapiro eds. "International/Intertextual Relations".
Ismet Inönü: The Making of a Turkish Statesman. Aug 6, 2001
Atatürk (1880-1938) is one of the most renowned individuals of his time, and rightly so, for he founded the modern state of Turkey and created one of the very few ideologies not just to endure the century but to have considerable successes to its credit. Turks celebrate his accomplishments to his day, with his face of the money and on portraits throughout the country. His legacy is especially powerful in the military officer corps; according to one account, "It would not be an exaggeration to say that cadet-officers hardly spend an hour without mentioning his name." Even in English, many volumes of biography celebrate his life.
But what of his No. 2, Ismet Inönü (1884-1973)? Inönü served Atatürk as the chief of staff who helped win his most decisive battles (against the Greeks), as diplomat in his most important treaty (Lausanne, 1923), as prime minister during his entire presidency (1924-38), and then as his successor as president (1938-50), later to return again to power as prime minister (1961-65). In a first-class biography, Heper (a professor at Bilkent University in Istanbul) performs the important service of recalling this key figure's life from the wrongful obscurity into which it has fallen. Heper finds there is much to admire in his biographee, calling him a pragmatist, an optimist, and a "statesman par excellence." He particularly praises the intelligent and realistic way Inönü guided the country from Atatürk's benevolent despotism to a multi-party democracy whose first election he lost and thereupon gracefully went into the opposition; indeed, Inönü went so far as to call his defeat his "greatest victory"). Heper quotes one assessment that Turkey has undergone three revolutions this century, a national one led by Atatürk, a democratic one led by Inönü, and an economic one led by Turgut Özal; he then adds that Inönü's role was larger than this implies, having had a direct hand in the first and having helped to pave the way for the third. He deserves this excellent biography.
Middle East Quarterly, December 1999
Awfully Disappointing Feb 2, 2001
Unfortunately, this turned out to be a wasted opportunity to describe and analyze the actions of a critical leader of Turkey. Ismet's genius was in temporing Ataturk during the transformation of Turkey, but also guiding Turkey through WWII and the creation of multiparty politics. Too bad none of those actions were even described in this work. Apparently this author proceeds from the premise that words are more important that actions. In an age of euphomism, the critical reader will see that all sorts of actions can be sheilded or "spun" with just the right speech. Whether that occurred with Ismet is not regarded. Too bad. We will have to wait for someone else to take up the challenge.