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Turkish Myth and Muslim SymbolThe Battle of Manzikert$
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Carole Hillenbrand

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780748625727

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: September 2012

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9780748625727.001.0001

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The heritage of Manzikert: the myth of national identity

The heritage of Manzikert: the myth of national identity

(p.196) Chapter 7 The heritage of Manzikert: the myth of national identity
Turkish Myth and Muslim Symbol

Carole Hillenbrand

Edinburgh University Press

This chapter shows the versatility of the Manzikert myth and how this eleventh-century battle serves as a key symbol in the formation of the Turkish Republic almost a millennium later. Atatürk's views on history and those of early twentieth- century Turkish scholars, such as Kafesoglu, Kaymaz and Köymen, are examined. Manzikert is shown to fit into Schöpflin's taxonomy of myths. The way in which Manzikert evokes analogies between the Greek-Turkish conflicts of the early twentieth century is also discussed. The chapter ends with an account of the anniversary celebrations of Manzikert in 1971, including the erection of a statue of Alp Arslan near the battle site, the issue of commemorative stamps, coins and medals, and a poem written for the occasion. It is argued that the memory of Manzikert, given this degree of state support, will continue to resonate for a long time to come in the hearts and minds of the Turks.

Keywords:   Myth, Atatürk, Nationalism, Dumlupinar, Turkish Republic, Schöpflin, Greek, Scholars

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