Modern Women in a Modern State

Public Discourse in Interwar Yugoslavia on the Status of Women in Turkey (1923–1939)

in Aspasia
Anđelko Vlašić Croatian Institute of History

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After the establishment of the Republic of Turkey in 1923, Turkish women gained numerous political, social, and educational rights. Their rapidly improving status was a frequent topic in the public discourse of the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes (SHS)/Yugoslavia during the interwar years. One can find numerous comments in Yugoslav newspapers and journal articles, monographs, diaries, travel accounts, and other texts of the period on the contrast between the status of women in the “traditional,” “conservative,” theocratic Ottoman Empire and the status of women in the “modern,” “liberal,” secular Republic of Turkey. The Yugoslav media compared the status of Turkish women with the position of women’s rights in Yugoslavia. Through the analysis of interwar Yugoslav public discourse on the status of women in contemporary Turkey, this article aims to reveal the Yugoslav public’s perception of women’s issues through the prism of Turkey as Europe’s “Other” and their self-perception.

Contributor Notes

Anđelko Vlašić is a postdoctoral research fellow at the Croatian Institute of History—Branch for the History of Slavonia, Syrmia, and Baranya in Slavonski Brod, Republic of Croatia. He currently collaborates on the project “From Virgin Forests to Ploughlands: History of Anthropization of Forests in Slavonia from the Middle Ages to the Beginning of the Twentieth Century,” which is financed by the Croatian Science Foundation under the project number IP-2014-09-6719. Email:

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The International Yearbook of Central, Eastern, and Southeastern European Women's and Gender History


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