The center-periphery theory, which analyzes the post-19th century modernization process of Turkey, has two main distinguishing features. The first is that the historical process in question is explained using the concepts of “contradiction” and “conflict.” This attitude allows us to see the center-periphery theory in a dialectical method approach. The explanation of Turkish modernization through a dialectical method approach is an original attempt. However, the Mardin’s dialectic is not a Marxist but a Hegelian dialectic. He discusses the contradictions between the low classes and the high bureaucracy in Turkey in terms of culture and tradition. When the social change process in Turkey is evaluated in terms of the center-periphery theory, the cultural-traditional values of the periphery established superiority over the secular politics of the center and made it regress. Although Mardin, in his own theory, makes mention of the triumph of the periphery over the center, this does not necessarily mean that the periphery, which is composed of large segments of the society, establish an economic and class power over the center. Although the low classes made the bureaucracy accept the tradition, they still remained as the low classes. This situation necessitates the center-periphery theory to be discussed through a comparison with Marxist dialectic. The purpose of this study is to discuss the center-periphery theory through a Marxist critique.
Keywords: Turkish modernization, Turkish sociologists, Historical Materialism, Social Change, Culture