From the early Attaturk years, Turkish radio broadcasting was seen as a great hope for sealing the national identity of the new Turkish Republic. Since the inaugural broadcast in 1927 the national elite designed radio broadcasting to represent the 'voice of a nation'. Here Meltem Ahiska reveals how radio broadcasting actually showed Turkey's uncertainty over its position in relation to Europe. While the national elite wanted to build their own Turkish identity, at the same time they desired recognition from Europe that Turkey was now a Westernized modern country. Ahiska shows how these tensions played out over the radio in the conflicting depictions and discrepancies between the national elite and 'the people', 'cosmopolitan' Istanbul and 'national' Ankara and men and women (especially in Radio drama). Through radio broadcasting we can see how Occidentalism dictated the Turkish Republic's early history and shaped how modern Turkey saw itself.
Meltem Ahuska is Associate Professor of Sociology at Bodazici University. She is the author of The Magical Door of Radio: Occidentalism and Political Subjectivity (Radyonun Sihirli Kapusu: Garbiyatculuk ve Politik A-znellik) and the co-author of 'The Indivisible Unity of the Nation': Fragmenting Nationalism(s) in the Democratisation Process ('Milletin Bolunmez Butunludu': Demokratikleflme Surecinde Parcalayan Milliyetcilik(ler)). She has contributed to 'Waiting for the Barbarians: A Tribute to Edward Said' with a chapter entitled 'Orientalism/Occidentalism: The Impasse of Modernity'. Her articles, essays and poems have appeared in various publications including Defter, Toplum ve Bilim, New Perspectives on Turkey, and The South Atlantic Quarterly. She has published a book of poems and co-curated exhibitions, the most recent being 'The Person You Have Called Cannot Be Reached at the Moment: Representations of Lifestyles in Turkey, 1980-2005'.