On Niyazi Berkes and His Works

Niyazi Berkes is one of the leading members of the first generation social scientists in the Republican Turkey. It is not hard to see that he devoted himself to the Kemalist principles and ideals, and we can trace this commitment in his every work, especially in Türkiye'de Çağdaşlaşma, 200 Yıldır Neden Bocalıyoruz?, Türkiye İktisat Tarihi etc. which are extremely famous in the literature of Turkish sociology. According to Berkes, Kemalist social modernization project, which was inaugurated by Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, departed from its straight and narrow path during İsmet İnönü's presidency between 1939-1950. Berkes perceived this deviation as one of the main reasons for his and some of his colleagues' removal from the Faculty of Language, History and Geography, University of Ankara, where he was a lecturer in the late 1940s. He also argued that this declination has increasingly grown when Democrat Party came into power. Henceforth, Berkes tried to analyze and explain what the real meaning of the Kemalist social modernization process is. When he went abroad in order to carry on his academic carrier, he did not give up his interest in Turkey's domestic affairs. To participate in Turkey's social, cultural and political agenda while he was at McGill University in Canada, he published several articles in Yön journal, which was published by Kemalist leftists. In this paper, the author analyzes Berkes' personal biography, intellectual agenda and ideological perspectives in parallel with social, political and cultural developments of Turkey.


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