The mainstream literature on Turanism defines the term as an essentially expansionist and irredentist movement that aims at unifying all Turkic populations. This article challenges this presupposition, arguing that the Turanist imagination has multiple usages. A considerable number of Turkish nationalist intellectuals of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, in fact, approached it as a modern political concept within the confines of solidarity and sovereignty. They regarded the general idea of nationalism as a universal concept to which everyone could make an equal claim, including non-Turks in the Ottoman Empire. This translates to mean that Turanism is not necessarily territorial expansionism, nor must it go hand in hand with racist/expansionist claims. Neither should it be understood as the hegemony of Turkey's Turks over other Turks. It rather strives for a Turkist internationalism in which Turks negotiate with each other to maximize their sovereign interests. Seen in that light, Turanism is not a mystical idea, and it refers to modern practical/political concepts such as independence, territorial integrity, national sovereignty, and self-determination.

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