A renown multidisciplinary scholar, philosopher and statesman from Kazan, Sadri Maksudi Arsal has left his mark in history with his valuable contributions to Atatürk's reforms and with his pioneering work in law, linguistics and history in the period 1925 to 1935.
Sadri Maksudi has an exceptional life story: he served as a parliamentarian in three different countries and represented these countries in foreign diplomatic missions. During his student years at the Faculty of Law of Sorbonne University in Paris (1902-1906), he also followed lectures at the École des Hautes Études Sociales'ın and Collège de France. This academic background had a significant impact on his intellectual formation.
From 1906 onward he took an active role in the struggle to defend the rights of Kazan Turks within the Russian Empire. When Tsarist Russia adopted a constitutional regime following the establishment of the Duma, he was elected to the II. and III. Dumas to represent all Moslems in Russia. He represented the Russian Duma as a member of the delegations to Berlin and London. Following the 1917 revolution, he was active in the formation of "The Inner Russia and Siberia Muslims National-Cultural Autonomous Administration" which would later be referred to as the "Idil Ural State". He was elected Chairman to the Assembly of this administration and defended its rights at the 1919 Paris Peace Conference.
In 1923 he settled in Paris and lectured at the Institute of Slavonic Studies of the Sorbonne University. In 1925 he moved to Ankara upon Ataturk's invitation and founded the department of the History of the Turkish Law initiating the study of pre-Islamic Turkish Legal System. Professor Emeritus Sadri Maksudi, also taught Philosophy of Law, General History of Law and History of Turkish Law for long years at the University of Istanbul.
Sadri Maksudi adopted the family name of Arsal in 1934. He served as a deputy at the Turkish Grand National Assembly for three terms: during the one party period from Şebinkarahisar (1931-1935) and Giresun (1935-1939). In 1950 he was re-elected from the Democrat Party from Ankara. During his five year term he took active part in the meetings of the European Council as a member of the Turkish delegation.
This website aims: to give a full survey of Sadri Maksudi Arsal's intelectual legacy by presenting a large collection of his works as well as articles and books written on him. Although a significant number of books and hundreds of articles have been written on Sadri Maksudi Arsal, to this day the coverage of research on his experiences and accomplishments remains inadequate. We are hoping that this archive will draw the attention of academic circles and encourage and inspire further research. In this respect, we have prioritized the digital access of Sadri Maksudi Arsal's work to all those interested, from all countries and all academic disciplines.
Coverage: Sadri Maksudi Arsal has left a massive archive. You will find a number of unpublished photographs, unknown works and interesting documents in this website. Every one of his writings that could be reached was included. Even his articles published in Türk Yurdu in 1911 are presented in today's Turkish to facilitate the reading of younger generations.
Sadri Maksudi is better known for his masterpiece books. Yet the speeches he made at different phases of his life cover fundamentally important information on his aspirations, thus better reflect his yearnings. We were able to include only a fraction of these speeches here. In addition to his speeches, his articles in daily papers not only enlighten us over the period's problems, but provide a guideline to today's current topics such as democracy and ideology.
Author: This website has been designed by Sadri Maksudi Arsal's granddaughter Gülnur Üçok. It was constructed collectively with the active contribution of a large group of participants to the project.
What they said about Sadri Maksudi
Prof. Halil İnalcık
It is a truly human virtue to remember and commemorate. Yet, there are events that merit more than a commemoration, it is our national duty to commemorate them. Such commemorations are occasions to express a nation's commitment to its eternal aspirations and reflect the dynamism of national conscience. The commemoration of those who have served our national life and culture, attest to the maturity and strength of our national pride.
Two years on his death, while summarizing his latest book, I reflect not only on his teaching virtues but also on Prof. Emeritus Sadri Maksudi’s important significance in the Turkish world. Sadri Maksudi passed away to eternity two years ago on the twenty first of February. He was not only a teacher lecturing justice and law to thousands of young men from the podium of the Faculty of Law. He was not only a Turkish intellectual who studied the thinking of mankind's great scholars from their own writings and analyzed them under a Turkish approach. He was one of the major contributors to the establishment of the cultural foundations of modern Turkey in his role as a close associate of Atatürk during the reform period.
The source and guide of Sadri Maksudi's activities was his ardent faith in the Turkish nation and its future. Sadri Maksudi fully comprehended and felt the importance of the role of the Turkish nation in history and civilization, he was a national warrior who dedicated his life struggling to dignify it.
Vatan, March 2, 1958
Prof. Dr. Nadir Devlet
“Sadri Maksudi is the most important figure in the 20th century history of the Tatar people. Until recently his ideas and actions have remained exemplary.”
Nadir Devlet, "Stateman and Thinker Sadri Maksudi Arsal, on the 50th anniversary of his death, 13 May 2007"
Prof. Dr. Reha Poroy
Institutions certainly have their own unique and ongoing personality. On the other hand, institutions are born and live only thanks to some people. To commemorate these people, to imagine the resonation of their voices under the dome of the institution, is not only a tribute, it is a necessity in the evaluation and further progress of the institution. That is the best description of what Ord. Prof. Sadri Maksudi Arsal meant to our Faculty of Law. (Opening speech of the commemoration meeting held at Istanbul University Faculty of Law. Journal of Turkish Culture, Year V, Issue 53, March 1967)
Sadri Maksudi, one of the foremost Turko-Tatar intellectuals of the twentieth century, was born in the small Kazan Tatar village of Tashsu, about 30 kilometers north of City of Kazan, the capital of Tatarstan. His unusual and distinguished career included serving in the parliaments of Czarist Russia in St. Petersbourg (in the Duma od 1907 to 1912), in the first Kazan Tatar National Assembly of parliament (Milli Mejlis) in Ufa in 1917, and in the Turkish Republic's Parliament in Ankara (1931-1939 and 1950-1954). Maksudi was the brain behind the formation of the National Cultural Autonomy of the Turko-Tatars (of Muslims of Inner Russia and Siberia or Rusya ve Sibirya Müslümanlarının Milli Medeni Muhtariyeti).
(Kazan and Moscow,Kase Press, Hudson New Hampshire, 2003)