Gökalp, Ziya

Gökalp, Ziya


(pseudonym of Mehmed Ziya). Born 1876 in Diyarbakir; died Oct. 25, 1924, in Istanbul. Turkish sociologist, writer, and public figure.

In 1896, Gökalp entered the highest veterinary school in Istanbul. In 1899 he was arrested for his participation in the Young Turk movement and banished to Diyarbarkir. After the Young Turk Revolution of 1908, Gökalp headed the local section of the Union and Progress Party, and in 1909, after moving to Salonika, he became a member of its central committee. From 1912 he worked at the University of Istanbul, and at the same time he contributed to the nationalistic club Turkish Hearth, as well as to several magazines. During the occupation of Istanbul by the Entente powers in 1920, Gökalp and other Young Turks were sent to Malta. He returned from exile in 1921, and in 1923 he was elected a deputy to the Great National Assembly of Turkey.

In his philosophical and sociological works, narrative poems, poems, and articles, Gökalp reflected the evolution of Young Turk bourgeois nationalism. Having criticized the despotism of Sultan Abdul-Hamid II, he adopted the reactionary ideology of pan-Turkism, trying to show the necessity of uniting all Turkic peoples and even all Finno-Ugric groups under the aegis of Turkey in a unified state of Turan. Nevertheless, some progressive ideas can be found in his works—the call for a struggle for Turkish independence, for renewal of the national culture, and even the idea of state regulation of the economy. In the last years of his life Gökalp moved toward support of Kemal Atatürk and associated himself with the position of Turkish positive nationalism—Kemalism.


Gasanova, E. Iu. Ideologiia burzhuaznogo natsionalizma v Turtsii v period mladoturok (1908-1914 gg.). Baku, 1966.
Rossi, E. “Ziya Gök Alp.” Encyclopedia des Islam, vol. 4. Leiden-Leipzig, 1934.
Berkes, N. “Gökalp Ziya.” Encyclopédie de l’Islam, vol. 2. Leyde-Paris, 1965. (Includes a list of Gökalp’s works and works about him.)