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Additional info for Building Modern Turkey: State, Space, and Ideology in the Early Republic
20 Ankara’s prospects had improved somewhat toward the end of the century. As part of Ottoman administrative reforms, it had become a provincial capital. The ensuing construction of government offices, the opening of some modern institutions, including new schools, and the improvement of intercity transportation and communications gave it a regional advantage. Most important, the inauguration of rail service in 1893 converted Ankara into an important break-in-bulk point for Central Anatolia. These developments spurred the emergence of a new commercial-administrative area to the west of the Citadel, toward the station, thus breaking open Ankara’s self-contained and rather insular form.
The official Cabinet, I am inclined to believe, carries less weight. . 50 (emphasis added) This kind of highly personalized politics predicated on Atatürk’s persona—as opposed to one that fits within a well-defined constitutional framework—had its own spatiality; in fact, it achieved its effect precisely through judicious and high-profile spatial practices that were just as influential in shaping Turkey’s new capital. Like a theatrical presentation that pans out only if the actors and the audience bond, in Ankara the production—and maintenance—of charismatic authority was contingent as much on the leader’s performance as on the followers’ acknowledgment.
Thus, the Citadel, which had once been a widely shared symbol of hope and freedom, continued to conjure up romanticized memories of the War of Independence for the new elite, but for the locals, it increasingly became the zone of their confinement and invisibility. A T H WA R T E D I D E A L During his brief posting in Turkey, General Charles H. Sherrill, the American ambassador, enthusiastically recognized the direction of Ankara’s future development. ,” he wrote. ”34 Albeit far more modest in scale and ambition than its American counterpart, Ankara’s Government Quarter was similarly structured around a central axis, a pedestrian promenade that would eventually be flanked by the most important institutional buildings of the new state.