The political economy of the transition to capitalism in the Ottoman empire and Turkey: Towards a new interpretation

Eren Duzgun

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceedingBook Chapterpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


This chapter takes issue with the common view that the Ottoman Empire and Turkey transitioned to capitalism during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Drawing on Political Marxism, I argue that there was no transition to capitalism in Turkey until the 1950s, that is, the late Ottoman Empire (1839–1918) and early Turkish Republic (1923–1945) followed a non-capitalist (and non-socialist) path to modernity. Furthermore, while the process of capitalist development began in the 1950s, the newly emerging agrarian/industrial classes and institutions remained either unwilling or unable to expand and deepen capitalist social relations. However, in the period after the 1950s, another group of capitalists, excluded from state-based rents and organized in the Islamic “National View Movement” (NVM), began to rise in the political scene, advocating a purely capitalist development strategy. Contesting the conventional interpretations of NVM, I show that the movement, albeit unsuccessful electorally from the 1970s to the 1990s, provided the blueprint for a novel capitalist modernity, which would be taken up by Erdogan’s Justice and Development Party in the new millennium.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationMarx, Engels, and Marxisms
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
Number of pages26
Publication statusPublished - 2019
Externally publishedYes

Publication series

NameMarx, Engels, and Marxisms
ISSN (Print)2524-7123
ISSN (Electronic)2524-7131

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • History
  • Philosophy


Dive into the research topics of 'The political economy of the transition to capitalism in the Ottoman empire and Turkey: Towards a new interpretation'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this