A Critical Examination of Education Reforms Implemented in the Early Years of the Turkish Republic

Kaya Yilmaz


A wide variety of fundamental reforms in different spheres of Turkey's institutions were swiftly implemented in a top-down manner in the early years of the Turkish Republic. This paper critically examines educational reforms and policies with an emphasis on the language reform. Since an analysis of socio-cultural and socio-political context is fundamental to understanding education reforms, the article examines those reforms and policies within the larger social, cultural, and political context within which reforms were carried out. In order to evaluate reforms from a broader perspective, the article scrutinizes the assumptions, beliefs, ideologies, and goals of those politicians or reformers who implemented reforms. The focus will be on the critical examination of the reformers' claim that all reforms were aimed at creating a democratic republic and society and benefited the whole public by taking into account the common good and will of the people. To what extent were the reforms implemented in Turkey consistent with this claim and the principles of democracy? That is question this article aims to answer.


Education reform; Language reform; Turkish Republic; Ataturk

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