TR
Disiplinlerarası Çalışmalar Dergisi Journal of Interdisciplinary Studies

A View from Inside the Ottoman-Turkish Army: Soldiers’ Memoirs in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries

This study examines the life narratives (memoirs, autobiographies, journals, letters, etc.) of soldiers in Turkey written in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Although in recent decades there has been a significant increase in the amount of research on the military in Turkey, the field remains understudied. This study attempts to focus on the life narratives of soldiers written by soldiers themselves as a way of highlighting their potential value for understanding the roles and actions of the military. Since life narratives are relatively free vehicles for the expression of personal thoughts, these texts present a more human, direct, and authentic data set than do official or institutional statements. Because of this characteristic, these texts have the capacity to enrich the existing literature on the relations between military, society, and politics in Turkey. This study offers a survey of the relevant literature, followed by some general and qualitative remarks about the subject corpus and an analysis of more than 150 life-narratives written by soldiers at several ranks (from military students to marshals). It also discusses the motivation behind the act of writing, the promises of life-narrative, general themes within such texts, and the general cultural climate of the works in the corpus. Hakan ŞAHİN
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