By Gerald MacLean
An crucial resource for college students of up to date Turkish tradition and society, Gerald MacLean’s soaking up account of this enigmatic person is obtainable to a large circle of readers and throws gentle on vital episodes of Turkey’s fresh history.
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Extra info for Abdullah Gul and the Making of the New Turkey
3 Two generations back, Hayrullah Efendi’s father had moved his growing family to a traditional two-storey house built around a courtyard garden on Birlik Sokak, ‘Union Street’, in an adjacent neighbourhood. Here Abdullah Gül was born and spent his early years surrounded by grandparents, uncles, visiting aunts and cousins. Times were tough; this was the 1950s and central Anatolia remained scarred from decades of supplying men and provisions to wars being fought far away. Prices were high and essentials were most often in short supply.
Journalists were quick to follow the scent of this intruder from outside the traditional political classes. They researched, debated and disputed Gül’s ancestry in ways that recall scrutiny of Barack Obama’s credentials as a US citizen. Along with class and even racial issues in the headlines, it is hardly surprising that Hayrünnisa’s headscarf would attract the spotlight for closing the circle of gender and religion: how, the horrified secular middle-class women of Turkey demanded, could the secular republic even consider having a presidential wife wearing a headscarf inside the hallowed halls of Atatürk’s presidential palace at Çankaya?
They declared that sovereignty belongs to the nation, and that the Grand National Assembly held executive and administrative power over the Turkish state under signature of a president elected by the Assembly. 5 From this moment on, Mustafa Kemal’s nationalist revolution continued to take shape heroically, confronting frantic opposition from the sultan in Constantinople, and disbelief on the part of interested foreign governments who were still contesting who would get which former Ottoman ports.