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This research analyzes progressive revolutionary thought and politics in Turkey in relation to comparable movements in Egypt and Iran from 1930 to 1960. In this context, progressive intellectualism is a socially and nationally oriented paradigm that strives for a secular and egalitarian democracy, and this study examines how these subjects have been at the vanguard of revolutionism in these countries, albeit in complex and sometimes highly problematic ways. My research is located at the intersection of intellectual history, political theory, and Middle Eastern studies. It further engages in studies of modernization, gender and sexuality, social movements, ethnicity and race, development, and securitization. Extant studies of Turkey’s political streams have made important contributions to Turkish intellectual history. However, most exhibit critical flaws: they employ a rise and fall paradigm, focus on narrow interpretations of ideologies, analyze male intellectuals exclusively, and remain within national borders. In contrast, this study tracks changes and continuities in Turkey’s revolutionary ideologies, strategies, and narratives in relation to its regional context to understand the influence of regional political-economic structures and institutions on various ideological formations. It takes progressive revolutionary political expressions as a holistic yet also heterogenous tradition of political thought. It analyzes domestic and regional interpretations of two global ideologies that had dominantly represented revolutionism (namely national-liberation and socialism) through a sexually, geographically, and generationally diverse group of intellectuals. This study draws from Antonio Gramsci’s theories on consensual hegemony, organic crises, intellectuals, and Caesarism; Pierre Bourdieu’s theories on the state and social status distinctions; and Şerif Mardin’s Center-Periphery paradigm. Political thought and experiences of Middle Eastern progressives pose challenges for these theoretical paradigms for their overreliance on static models on institutions, as in the case of Gramsci, and social blocs, as in the cases of Bourdieu and Mardin. The key research question asks: how did interactions and confrontations between revolutionary intellectuals and state actors influence the trajectories of Turkish republican revolution and other nationalist revolutions in the Middle East? Accordingly, my research is built around a two-pillar mixed methods approach. The first is qualitative, analyzing ten Turkish intellectuals. This includes three women and seven men. Five describe themselves as national-liberation revolutionaries, while the other five describe themselves as socialist revolutionaries. The second methodological feature is comparative and explores Iranian and Egyptian counterparts. The research is based on the varied nature of their intellectual production, which includes scholarly works, memoirs, autobiographies, letters, journal and newspaper articles, interviews, speeches, court defenses, and literary works such as novels, short stories, poems, and plays. This dissertation argues that state elites’ securitization of progressivism since the 1930s was linked to the undoing of Turkish republican project in the 1950s as this process saw the incorporation of fascist and Islamist intellectuals and movements into the state apparatus. Moreover, regardless of political distinctions within the revolutionary camp, which in Turkey had generally been between Kemalist national-liberation and Leninist socialism, the fates of all progressive streams remained interdependent. When one tradition failed, it discredited the other. The research further shows how hegemonic processes in the twentieth-century Middle East had functioned in three interrelated areas: 1) hegemony as regime legitimacy; 2) hegemony as controlling the codes of dominant political culture; and 3) hegemony as determining the limits of legitimate politics, in other words, establishing the boundaries between “politics as usual” and “politics of securitization.”

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