Turkish Historiography in Syria

The Syrian historiographical tradition of writing about Turkey, in its Imperial manifestation and subsequent Republican configuration, has a long and continuing genealogy, beginning with Syria’s incorporation into the Empire at the time of the great Sultan Selim and continuing up to the present day. Though the process of writing was more or less continuous, the tempo tended to change, usually gathering speed at significant moments of rupture or dramatic change as, for instance, at the moment of incorporation into the Empire, the introduction of reform within it, the inauguration of parliamentary rule and, ultimately, the establishment of a Republican regime. The analysis and portrayal of this rich and varied historiography is divided into three principal segments; the first one relating to the early years of the Syrian vilayets under Ottoman control, the second to Syrian historical production during what is known as the Print Revolution, and, finally, the development of what is described as the Syrian successor state. The body of historical literature produced in Syria pertaining to Turkey as an Empire and a Republic allows insights into the local workings of the Ottoman Empire at its periphery, into the nature of the socio-cultural and political contacts between imperial center and distant provinces as well as the vagaries of changing political relations between two republican successor states as all were perceived from the local vantage points of Damascus and Aleppo.


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