Evren Altinkas | College of Arts

Evren Altinkas

Adjunct Faculty
MCKN 1018


PhD, Comparative History, Dokuz Eylül University, 2011.
MA, History of the Turkish Republic, Dokuz Eylul University, 2005.
MA, Mediterranean Studies, King’s College London, 2000.
BA, International Relations, Dokuz Eylul University, 1998.


Adjunct Professor, Department of History, University of Guelph,   2022-    
Assistant Professor, Department of History, University of Guelph,   2018-2022
Assistant Professor, Department of Political Science and Public Administration, Girne American University, Cyprus,   2014-2015           
Assistant Professor, Department of Political Science and Public Administration, Artvin Coruh University, Artvin, Turkey,   2013-2014
Assistant Professor and Department Chair, Department of Political Science and International Relations, Avrasya University. Director of Avrasya Community College, Trabzon, Turkey,   2012-2013
Research Assistant, Faculty of Business, Department of International Relations, Subdivision of Diplomatic History, Dokuz Eylül University, Izmir, Turkey,   1998-2012

Recent Honors and Awards

MESA Global Academy Scholarship Award for 2021-2022
MESA Global Academy Scholarship Award for 2020-2021
MESA Global Academy Travel Award to attend NYU (Kevorkian Center): Mid-Atlantic Ottomanist Workshop, March 27-29, 2020


The current research project I am working on is a critical overview of the mainstream historiography of the Turkish War of Independence, a critical period that lay the foundation for the establishment of the first modern democratic country in the Middle East. During the last decade of the Ottoman state, the country was ruled by the modernist CUP with its strong nationalist tendencies. Almost all of the young officers in the Ottoman army were affiliated with CUP. After the end of World War I, Istanbul was occupied by British, French, and Italian forces and the Ottoman government became a weak structure governed by the Occupying Forces. Following the occupation, CUP leaders escaped the country, leaving behind a secret organization in Istanbul (Karakol) and organizers of local resistance in Anatolia. Karakol emerged as a secret security and resistance group in 1918 among the members of the dissolved CUP, eventually becoming a secret organization that supported the War of Independence in Anatolia. 

The literature on Mustafa Kemal’s connections with the CUP before, during and after the Turkish War of Independence has a diversified structure. Some important academic works and biographies (by Şükrü Hanioğlu, Andrew Mango, Edward J. Erickson, H.C. Armstrong, Dagobert Von Mikusch) focus on the life of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk and his leading role in the Turkish War of Independence. Another group of works (by Erik Jan Zürcher, Kemal Karpat, Feroz Ahmad, Benjamin Fortna, Ryan Gingeras, Bernard Lewis, Stanford Shaw) focuses on the historical transformation from Ottoman state structure into the modern Republic of Turkey and emphasizes the continuity of the state. Another strand of the literature is based on the memoirs of important figures (Ali Fuat Cebesoy, Rauf Orbay, Halide Edip Adıvar, Kazım Karabekir) who were active participants in the Turkish War of Independence. The present academic literature does not fully cover the networks that connected Mustafa Kemal to the CUP between his arrival in occupied Istanbul (November 1918) and his assignment to Anatolia (May 1919). Moreover, the main arguments in the academic literature focus on his success as a military leader while underestimating the political and inter-personal skills that he deployed to convince the leaders of the Istanbul government, military commanders, and local resistance groups to embrace his objectives. 

The leading figures of the Turkish War of Independence between 1919-1922 (which included Mustafa Kemal) were former members of the CUP, which constituted the most dominant, widespread, and popular organization in the country. The connections they established through this membership should be considered when examining the history of the Turkish War of Independence. Shifting the analytic focus in this way would prioritize examination of a range of materials and political formations that have been less central to the current historiography. These include such sources as the alternative plans prepared by CUP leaders anticipating defeat in World War I, the presence of CUP members in resistance efforts against the Allied occupation, the existence of secret depots in Anatolia which stored weapons and ammunition, and the formation of the Karakol organization in Istanbul and its ties to the Nationwide Resistance Organizations throughout Anatolia (aided by CUP leaders and their followers).

By centering my own research on the role of the CUP, I am able to identify some questions that remain unanswered in the vast literature around the War of Independence and the founding of the republic. For example, there is not an adequate explanation of how Mustafa Kemal gained the trust of the Occupying Forces and Sultan, allowing him to be sent to Anatolia as a military inspector. Did he achieve this by deploying his own trusted network to vouch for him or did he depend on the help of secret organizations in Istanbul and the support of CUP leaders in exile? How did local resistance groups and other military commanders in Anatolia accept Mustafa Kemal as a leader? How did he manage establish this leadership position and eliminate the circles of CUP members around him during the war? And, finally, how did he overcome the resistance of CUP members in the first years following the founding of the Republic of Turkey? 

My work challenges the mainstream literature on the history of the Turkish War of Independence and the transformation of Ottoman State into the new republic in seeking to address these questions. I examine how Mustafa Kemal, who started as a low-ranking member of the CUP disliked by its leaders, was able to successfully use the connections, relations, and infrastructure of the CUP to organize the Turkish War of Independence and eventually take control of the CUP. He achieved this, I argue, by convincing the CUP leaders and members that he would serve as a “custodian” for them. In other words, he assured the erstwhile leadership that once the War of Independence was won, he would implement the policies of the CUP and secure the return of the CUP leadership. Thus, the independence war planning undertaken by CUP leaders towards the end of the First World War was seized upon and implemented by Mustafa Kemal, who then blocked CUP leaders from returning to the country once the war was won. By building upon the CUP’s infrastructure while excluding its leadership, Kemal went on to eliminate the organization’s own support networks partly by disempowering them and partly by subsuming them into his own “circle of trust,” thereby simultaneously benefiting from and subverting the infrastructure established by the CUP between the years 1913-1918.  I believe my work will help scholars and students of modern Turkish history understand the dynamic relations between Mustafa Kemal and the CUP and shed new light on how Kemal eventually took control of CUP networks. My work also provides an original perspective on the connections between the political and bureaucratic organization of the late Ottoman state and the foundations of the early Republic, offering a novel take on the “successor and predecessor” relationship.


Peer-Reviewed Journal Articles

  • Transformation from the Ottoman State to the Modern Republic of Turkey: Renewal Party and Karakol” (Review of Middle East Studies, Volume 55, Issue 1, June 2021, pp. 146-157, https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/review-of-middle-east-studies/ar...
  • Islam and Modernity: The Case of Turkey and the Welfare Party” (QScience Connect, 2014:14, http://dx.doi.org/10.5339/2014.14)
  • History and Economy: Legitimizers of the Dominant Class” (Turkish Studies, Volume 8, Issue 11, Fall 2013)
  • Intellectuals in the Early Republican Era: Elites of the Founding Ideology” (CTAD, Year 7, Issue 14, Fall 2011) 
  • Two Cases of Democracy Experience in the Early Years of Turkish Republic: Progressive Republican Party and Free Republican Party” (Academic View Journal, Issue 29, March-April 2012)  (Journal cited in Google Scholar, ASOS Index)
  • The Uniqueness of Ottoman Modernization: Intellectuals” ( International Journal of History Studies, Volume 3, Issue 3, November 2011) (Journal cited in EBSCO Host)
  • The New Populist Right in USA: Tea Party Movement” (Journal of Istanbul Trade University Social Sciences Institute, Vol. 10, No. 19, 2011, pp. 36-49) 
  • The Iran-Iraq War and Its Effects on Turkey” (International Politics and Law Journal, October 2005, Vol.1, No.4, pp. 137-144) (Journal cited in Sociological Abstracts, PAIS International, Worldwide Political Science Abstracts)

 Shorter Articles

  • Ukrainian academics face exile, harassment and censorship in ongoing war”, co-authored with S. Karly Kehoe, in The Conversation, March 2022
  • "The Karakol Organization and the Turkish War of Independence, 1919-1922", in The Intelligencer: Journal of US Intelligence Studies, Volume 26, Number 3, Summer/Fall 2021
  • From Gezi to Bogazici: It is Not Only About the Trees”, in Afterlives of Gezi: Jadaliyya Roundtable, June 2021  (https://www.jadaliyya.com/Details/42977

Book Reviews

  • Turkey: A Past Against History, by Christine M. Philliou”. (New Trends in Social and Liberal Sciences, Vol. 6, Issue 1, Spring 2021, pp. 82-84) (Journal cited in Index Copernicus)
  • Eternal Dawn: Turkey in the Age of Atatürk, by Ryan Gingeras”. (New Trends in Social and Liberal Sciences, Vol. 6, Issue 2, Fall 2021, pp. 20-22) (Journal cited in Index Copernicus)
  • Europe Before the Mirror: The Re-Commentation of Europe”. (Journal of International Relations, Vol. 5, No. 17, Spring 2008, pp. 191-196.) (Journal cited in SSCI) 

Book Chapters

  • Relations Between Iran and USA” (Iran: Between East and West, ed.  Baris Adibelli, Bilim Gonul Publishing, December 2012, pp. 171-179.)
  • Cyprus, Turkey and International Law” (Turkish Foreign Policy and International Law, ed. Cenap Çakmak, Seçkin Publishing, August 2012, pp. 47-65.)
  • US-Syrian Relations: A Historical Background”  (Arab Spring and Syria, ed. Baris Adibelli, IQ Publishing, March 2012, pp. 137-151. (Turkish)



The College is pleased to welcome Dr. Evren Altinkas from Turkey. Dr. Altinkas graduated from the International Relations Department of Dokuz Eylül University. He received postgraduate degrees from King’s College London in 2000 and Dokuz Eylül University in 2003 where he studied on the issue of Cyprus. He obtained his doctoral degree from Dokuz Eylül University in 2011 based on his dissertation comparing the development of the concept of intellectuals in Europe and in Turkey. Dr. Artinkas comes to Guelph via the Scholar at Risk program.