Kemalist Revolution at 100: A Blueprint for the Developing World
What is the contextual relevance of the concepts and agenda set forth by Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, often referred to as the "living revolutionary leader"? How does the praxis of the Kemalist Revolution continue to inform our understanding of progressive change in the developing world? In this issue, we delve into a thought-provoking inquiry to initiate a comprehensive dialogue surrounding the implications of the Kemalist legacy in addressing the pressing challenges confronted by developing nations.
What strategies can developing nations formulate to foster progressive change? Valuable lessons can be drawn from the experience of pioneering countries in Asia, Africa, and South America that play a pivotal role in shaping a new global order. In particular, the ensuing perspectives provide an indispensable comprehension of the matter: "Nurturing autonomy while confronting the hegemonic policies of imperialist states, refraining from intervening in the internal affairs of sovereign states, embarking on distinctive paths of development tailored to the unique demands of each nation, mutually assessing the strengths of national entities to bolster cooperation founded on equality and mutual benefit, ultimately fostering wellbeing and harmony on both domestic and global scales." These ideals also serve as a poignant reminder that we are currently living in an era of imperialism and revolutions for national liberation.
After enduring the loss of millions of lives in two partitioning wars driven by imperialist motives, humanity is now facing the challenge of averting further instances of imperial aggression on a global scale. Within this context, there is a strong and compelling need to establish a new world order characterized by peace and harmony. This imperative has taken on a heightened significance for the nation-states of the developing world.
It is widely recognized that the ascent of neoliberalism in the 1980s, followed by the establishment of a globalist imperialist order from the early 1990s onwards, has perpetuated a neocolonialist approach toward developing countries. However, in the present day, the emergence of multipolarity is precipitating the erosion of the foundations supporting both neoliberalism and the globalist imperialist order. This evolving landscape offers developing nations an environment conducive to safeguarding their national sovereignty and integrity, while also fostering sustainable development. Nevertheless, the response of imperialist globalization to the rise of multipolarity introduces the risk of escalating conflicts on a global scale. To avert this danger, nation-states must chart a course grounded in their endogenous capabilities and collaborative efforts with like-minded nations facing similar circumstances.
Amidst these complex circumstances, despite occasional setbacks at specific junctures, the historical course of the Kemalist Revolution under Atatürk's leadership, accompanied by its Six Arrows Programme and significant accomplishments, emerges as a potential blueprint for developing nations. The enigma behind the triumph of Türkiye's revolution a century ago, in conjunction with the achievements observed in present-day China, sheds light on the contemporary imperatives of developing societies. Both the Kemalist and Chinese revolutions, characterized by unique historical trajectories, socio-economic levels, and stages of nation-building, underscore the importance of fostering an economy driven by state-guided mixed policies and establishing a system deeply rooted in the shared welfare of the people.
As the 20th century was dawning, it was the Kemalist Revolution that paved the way for the formation of a nation-state from the remnants of the fragmented Ottoman Empire, which had been subjected to the ravages of imperialist powers. Atatürk's revolutionary agenda, encapsulated by the Six Arrows - Republicanism, Nationalism, Populism, Statism, Laicism, and Revolutionism - embodies the principles born from the very praxis of revolutionary transformation. The foundation of a unified framework encompassing economics, domestic and foreign policy, security, and culture, vital for developing nations, finds its roots in the Kemalist revolutionary model. This model, the first national liberation revolution in the oppressed world, evolved over time to meet the evolving needs of both the state and society.