The Early Republican Debates on Peasantism and The Model Villages
Hilal Tuğba Örmeci̇oğlu
Keywords: Rural Modernity, Peasantry Studies, Model Villages, Ideal Republican Village, Early Republican Architecture
The late 19th, early 20th century agendas revealed new governments aiming modernist social transformations in many countries. Although they have common development endeavor in line with industrialization-urbanization trajectory, most of them has rural modernization projects which provide socio-political basis for their perpetuation on their agenda. In young Turkey which is one of them, rural modernization studies had been on the front burner since the very fi rst years of the Republic. Nevertheless after the War of Independence, the modernization of the country, which became one of the priority issues in terms of demographic and economic reasons, had found to have a limited place in the late Ottoman modernization agenda among many urgent reform problems such as education, defense, industry etc. Under these circumstances, the population exchange (1923-1924) emerged by the Lausanne negotiations and covering the exchange of Greek and Turkish people except those living in Western Thrace and Istanbul had made inhabitation of refugees one of the most urgent reconstruction problem of the country. When the state turned the crisis into an opportunity for rethinking rural modernization project, the Republican Village paradigm, which was much more than a model for refugee settlements, had arisen. The aim of this study is to reveal the attitude of the profession (architecture) to Turkish village and to the villagers which was seventy fi ve percent of Turkey's total population in the early years of the Republic, the formation of the built environments designed in accordance with certain preferences and goals, and the attitude of the architect in creation of the new nation under the context of the rural development. In this study, the spatial organization of early Republican peasantism realized under modernity anxieties and the pressure of urgent refugee settlements is examined. Hence, it is also expected to open a debate on urban-rural dilemma of republican modernity project, which is generally known as the urbanization and industrialization reconstruction activities.