Industrialisation as Progress

Father Time

In the New Year’s special issue of Vatan (Homeland) newspaper, a Santa Claus-like, Father Time figure (zaman, meaning time) rips off the year 1933 from the calendar to reveal the exciting prospects of the coming year. In the front, a steam train bearing the crescent and the star, the two figures of the Turkish flag, rides forward in heavy steam cloud, invoking a sense of speed and power. In the background lies a huge factory complex with nine tall smokestacks piercing the sky. The image announces the arrival of the long-awaited future in the young Republic, which had just celebrated its tenth anniversary.

La Turquie Kemaliste

Riding on the rising tide of economic nationalism after the Great Depression, the Turkish state adapted an ambitious program for state-led industrialization and, in 1934, became the first country to implement an economic plan outside the Soviet Union. State-led industrialisation embodied the young state’s strategy for leaping over centuries of backwardness and kick-starting the Turkish economy along the highway of rapid industrialization. It was in this framework that the large factory came to be linked with the larger Kemalist project of nation-building and modernization.

Industrialisation as Progress