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Turkey since World War II


Admission requirements

Admission to the MA Arabic, Persian and Turkish Languages and Cultures or to the Research Master Area Studies: Asia and the Middle East, Specialisation Middle Eastern Studies. Proficient reading skills in modern Turkish (level B2 European Common Framework). Students who are interested in taking this course, but who are not admitted to one of the mentioned master programmes and/or are not sure whether they meet the language requirement are requested to contact the convenor, Prof.dr. E.J. Zürcher


The course offers an overview of the most important political, social and economic developments in Turkey since World War II. It will consist of twelve sessions, each of which will be devoted to a specific topic. Although the basic approach is thematic, the topics have also been arranged in roughly chronological order. Each session will start off with a 45 minute lecture by Prof. Dr. E.J. Zürcher, in which the historical context of the topic will be sketched. After a coffee break, the session will then continue with the study of a key primary text from the era. With few exceptions these texts are in Turkish and students will be asked both to translate and analyze the texts. A complete set of the texts will be made available before the start of the course.

Course objectives


This course is scheduled on Fridays, 10-13 hs.

Mode of instruction

Lecture, translation and discussion.

Assessment method

The final grade of this course will be composed of the following elements:

  • Participation in group discussions (20%)

  • Presentation of a paper on a special topic in class (30%)

  • 3000-word essay (term paper) (50%)
    Students who earn a mark lower than 6 owing to insufficient participation, including the presentation of papers, will have to sit a written examination on the subjects discussed during the course. The result will contribute 50% to the final mark.

Attendance: Students are allowed to miss a maximum of two classes, provided they have a valid reason. Students, who miss more than two classes, are required to resit the course.


Texts will be made available through Blackboard

Reading list

Students will be required to read chapters 12-15 of Erik-Jan Zürcher, Turkey. A modern history. New edition (London: I.B. Tauris, 2005) as a preparation for the course.

In addition primary texts in Turkish and secondary texts in English will be made available on the following topics:

    1. The transition to multi-party democracy
    1. The state of the Turkish economy after World War II
    1. Turkey’s integration with the West
    1. The Cyprus conflict
    1. The army in politics (1960-1997)
    1. Political radicalism in the Sixties and Seventies
    1. Labour migration in Turkey and to Europe.
    1. The rise of political Islam
    1. Turgut Ozal’s economic revolution
    1. The Kurdish question
    1. The AKP phenomenon
    1. Turkey’s new Middle East policy


Through uSis

Exchange and Study Abroad students, please see the Study in Leiden website for information on how to apply

Contact information

Prof.dr. E.J. Zürcher