A cultural agent against the forces of culture: Hasan-Âli Yücel

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Hasan-Âli Yücel (1897–1961) was one of the most prominent politicians of the Republican era in Turkey. He served as a member of the Turkish Grand National Assembly for fifteen years (1935–1950), eight of which he spent as the Minister of Education. Yücel’s term of office as Minister of Education (1938–1946) was one of the most revolutionary periods in the early republican era otherwise marked by a series of radical reforms covering the alphabet, dress, unification of education, and women’s voting rights in the late 1920s and early 1930s. Yücel embarked on a number of projects across various fields of culture, including the setting up of the Translation Bureau which would produce 1,247 translations from mainly Western and Eastern classics until 1966 and the launching of the influential translation journal Tercüme. He set up the revolutionary and controversial Village Institutes, which were primary and secondary schools set up in the rural areas with a unique curriculum. He oversaw the establishment of various institutions of higher education. He organized various artistic and cultural exhibitions. He took the initiative to publish several encyclopedias and dictionaries. Hasan-Âli Yücel was also a writer of both literary and scholarly works, so he was not only interested in providing patronage and guidance to cultural affairs but was also active in literary and cultural production.


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