By Zeynep Kezer
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Additional info for Building Modern Turkey: State, Space, and Ideology in the Early Republic
PA R T I FORGING A NEW IDENTITY CHAPTER 1 POLITICAL CAPITAL I n a laudatory article that appeared in the government-issued multilingual propaganda publication La Turquie Kamaliste, an American journalist who visited Turkey’s new capital in the late 1930s observed: Ankara is a city built by the people of a living generation—by Atatürk and his followers. They wanted and they have a capital, an absolutely new city which would symbolize the breakaway from the old and which would demonstrate to themselves and to their visitors what can be done in a hitherto backward Turkey.
Thus, the Citadel, which had once been a widely shared symbol of hope and freedom, continued to conjure up romanticized memories of the War of Independence for the new elite, but for the locals, it increasingly became the zone of their confinement and invisibility. A T H WA R T E D I D E A L During his brief posting in Turkey, General Charles H. Sherrill, the American ambassador, enthusiastically recognized the direction of Ankara’s future development. ,” he wrote. ”34 Albeit far more modest in scale and ambition than its American counterpart, Ankara’s Government Quarter was similarly structured around a central axis, a pedestrian promenade that would eventually be flanked by the most important institutional buildings of the new state.
TH E OFFICER S’ CLU B, WHICH IN L ATER YE AR S WILL EXPAN D TO BOTH SIDES OF TH E PARK, OVERLOOK S TH E G REEN SPACE. COU RTESY OF B U RÇ AK E VREN. trians alike. Canonica’s design did not afford a comparable participatory dimension that involved passersby. Rather, it presented Atatürk’s bronze likeness as its single focal point, a celebration that downplayed in its iconography the popular sacrifice that had made victory possible. 40 Furthermore, the construction of an Officers’ Club on the east side of the boulevard, overlooking one of the twin parks, militarized the space, forsaking Lörcher’s initial vision of creating a cultural hub that would serve as an outdoor civic enclave at the center of the city.