Exploring The Commonalities of The Mediterranean Region

The Debates of Mediterranean-ness in Turkish and Italian Identity Formation (1860-1960)

Mediterranean identity has been a by-product of the cultural/civilizational synthesis produced by the peoples surrounding the sea and it has been an important element of local, national or regional identity construction. This article compares and contrasts Turkish and Italian perceptions of the Mediterranean as a geo-political and geo-cultural space between the 1860s and 1960s. In Italy, Mediterranean-ness evolved from a modern/nationalist to an ultra-nationalist/expansionist identity element and later became less visible, since it had been precluded by the European-ness starting from the 1960s onwards. On the other hand, in Turkey, tough with a lesser emphasis, the discussions on Mediterranean-ness evolved from a neo-classical/neo-Hellenic literary movement (Nev-Yunanîlik – Neo-Hellenism) to a humanist/leftist mode of thinking on Mediterranean civilization (Mavi Anadolu Hareketi – Blue Anatolia Movement) and Mediterraneanism remained as a minor intellectual movement instead of a socially and widely recognized identity element. The article aims to analyze the socio- cultural, political and international factors leading to these different perceptions of the Mediterranean. In doing that, it attempts to examine Mediterranean identity debates to search for common and diverging points in terms of identity construction.

Doç. Dr. M. Serdar Palabıyık
DOI: 10.53478/TUBA.2019.008