Prof. Dr. Kemal Karpat receives the TGNA Honour Award for 2009

Prof. Dr. Kemal Karpat
Prof. Dr. Kemal Karpat

Prof. Dr Kemal Karpat was the latest recipient of the Turkish Grand National Assembly (TGNA) Honour Award which is given to individuals who have attained international fame and contributed to the recognition of Turkey.

Prof. Dr Kemal Karpat is a Turkish historian and professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He is of Crimean Tatar origin and was born in Medgidia, Romania.

He received his LLB from the University of Istanbul, his MA from the University of Washington and his PhD from New York University.

The first TGNA Honour Award was given to Dr Gazi Yasargil in 2005, the second to Prof. Dr Ihasan Dogramaci on May 30, 2007, and the third one to Prof. Dr Halil Inalcik on July 30, 2008.

Others who were nominated for this year’s award included Orhan Pamuk, Prof. Dr Ilber Ortayli, Pianist Fazil Say, Secretary-General of the Islamic Conference Prof. Dr Ekmelleddin Ihasanoglu and Prof Dr Turkan Saylan.

Prof. Kemal Karpat established the Ottoman History Department at the University of Wisconsin at the University’s invitation. He is 83 years old and has written over 16 books and 130 articles.

I first met Prof. Karpat in 1973 when he was one of the guest speakers at the Federation of Turkish American Associations (1). Others who also made presentations to the members of the seven component associations included Prof. Dr Oktay Sinanoglu and Prof Dr Reha Oguz Turkkan, who is busy writing a book on his 25 years in America.

All of these professors who are also prolific writers have produced many books over the years, too many to list here.  Selected publications by Prof. Dr Kemal Karpat is given below.

One of the earlier recipients of the TGNA Honour Award, Prof. Dr Halil Inalcik is in the news now with his claim that many things that we have been taught about the Ottoman Empire are wrong. He has just published the first volume of his book on Turks and claims that the Ottoman Empire was not founded in 1299 and in Sogut.

Prof. Halil Inalcik is a world-renown historian who has donated 10,000 books from his personal library to Bilkent University in Ankara. This and other revelations by Dr Halil Inalcik and some of Dr Kemal Karpat’s comments will surely be debated for many years.
Selected publications of Prof. Dr Kemal Karpat:

  • The Politicization of Islam (Oxford University Press, 2001)
  • The Ottoman Past and Today’s Turkey (Brill, 2000)
  • Political and Social Thought in the Contemporary Middle East (Praeger, 1968)
  • Turkey’s Politics: The Transition to a Multi-Parti System (Princeton University Press, 1959)
  • Political Modernization in Japan and Turkey (Princeton University Press, 1964)
  • An Inquiry into the Social Foundations of Nationalism in the Ottoman State (Princeton UP, 1973)
  • Social Change and Politics in Turkey (Brill Leiden, 1973)
  • Turkey’s Foreign Policy in Transition (Leiden, 1975)

Yuksel Oktay
30 June 2009