Kemalism (or Kemalist Ideology) is based on six principles which were developed by Mustafa Kemal Ataturk during the Turkish national movement. This ideology sought to create a modern, democratic and secular state of Turkey. There are six key principles which make up Kemalism which will be discussed here.
- Republicanism – This fundamental principle establishes that only a republican regime can best represent the wishes of the people. This is an integral part of the politics of Turkey.
- Populism – This principle defines populism as a form of social revolution with respect to its content and goals. The needs of all the population must be accounted for in government. The Kemalist reform brought about important changes in the status of women in Turkey through the adoption of Western codes of law. As part of this movement, women received the right to vote in 1934. It has been acknowledged that the true leaders of Turkey are its peasants and ordinary citizens.
Kemalism was against class distinctions and privileges. It recognizes that no one individual has any more rights than any other citizen.
- Secularism – This important principle addresses the separation of church and state. It requires the absence of religious interference in government affairs and is further documented and enforced in public educational and government subsidized affairs.
The principle does not prohibit any particular type of religion nor does it advocate atheism. Specifically it is not against Islam but against an Islam which opposes modernization and democracy.
The Republic of Turkey maintains neutrality which it comes to religious affairs. It seeks to keep a balance between independence and the wishes of the populace to practice their particular religious beliefs.
- Revolutionalism – The country should replace traditional institutions and concepts with modern institutions and concepts. It advocates the need to do so through revolutionary practices. The core changes must be swift and permanent. It is not acceptable to return to the old way of thinking. This helps to ensure that Turkey would remain a modern society.
- Nationalism – The Kemalist movement advocates strong nationalism. It aims to include every citizen within Turkish borders as a Turk regardless of factors such as ethnic, religious or gender. This philosophy opposes imperialism and aims to promote peace in both domestic and international affairs. Kemalism believes in preserving the independence of the Republic of Turkey and prepare a stable structure for its political development.
It opposes the rule of a dynasty or any particular class over its society. Its nationalist practices also respect the right of independence for all other nations.
- Statism represents an important set of policies which help to guide the development of technology and economics within the country. These principles have been interpreted to mean that the state should regulate the country’s general economic activity and engage in areas in which private enterprise is unwilling to do so if the best of interests of the populace requires it.
The greater good of the population in general is much more important than individual of corporate profit. So if the private sector is not powerful enough to create sufficient jobs, then the state is required to enact initiatives to assist these efforts.