While invoking the conception of a country, Delany argues the religious expression of the male and female role in reproduction. She argues, “Villagers used to cite the Qur’an in order to legitimate their view. In Sura 2:223 it is stated, [“Women are given to you as fields; Go therein and sow (your seed) as you wish,”)(183). Since the country is predominantly Muslim, it stands to reason that this perception of the female role in reproduction would be widely comprehensible to the general population of Turks. This is corroborated by Delany’s assertion that villagers would use this quote as evidence, which suggests that this belief was common among the general population. Delaney asserts the importance of the beliefs of common people to the formation of a Turkish identity, stating, “[They] encouraged the modernizing, nationalistically inclined intellectuals to turn to the “common people” and to folklore for inspiration. It was in folklore-tales, proverbs, and especially folk poetry, often communicated by traveling minstrels-that the sentiments and values of the Turkish people could be found,”(Delaney 181). Thus by examining the beliefs and culture of the common people, one could attain a knowledge of the Turkish people as a whole. The cultural practices of the common people would be used as a unifying agent as these beliefs would form the bedrock of a national Turkish identity. Thus, when villagers discuss a Koranic belief system of the female role in reproduction, it is likely a good metric for the Turkish belief. Within this religious context, females play a passive role in the creation of new life. Women simply provide the nutrients necessary for it to flourish, which downplays their agency in reproduction, while creating a literal connection between femininity and land. When invoking the imagery of birth when considering the creation of a new nation, the land obtains feminine characteristics.
The role of ones duty to a body can be examined within the context of Hamdy’s discussion of Ali’s struggle with organ transplantation. Ali argued that, “God alone owns everything, including human bodies and their parts. Who are we, then, to give something away that we do not own?”(148, Hamdy). Here both the body and land are things belonging to God. It is immoral to give something away that belongs to God, so the relinquishment of both land and body cannot be justified through this world view. Furthermore, one has an obligation to uphold God’s property. Ali’s doctor argues, “God had given people their bodies as a trust (amana) and that he was therefore responsible to take care of it,”(151, Hamdy). The body never truly belongs to the host, as it is simply on loan from God. Therefore a person is morally obligated, under this school of thought, to maintain the body to the best of their ability because it is God’s property rather than their own. Extending this logic to the Turks, they would have a similar obligation to act in a way which best maintains the female body which functions as the metaphorical mother of Turkey.
Mustafa Kemal appeals to the feminine imagery following the dismantling of the Ottoman Empire. According to Delaney, “[Kemal] made a whirlwind tour of the country and rallied the people to resist the partition and claim the country as their own. The appeal was made to their sense of honor; they must come to the defense of the Motherland that, he claimed, had been prostituted under the capitulations and was about to be mutilated by the partition,”(186). With the land functioning as a female body, the breaking up of the empire is akin to the mutilation of that body. It is therefore their duty to protect their motherland from European control as it would their duty to defend their mother or spouse from the sexual advances of an unwanted man. Therefore this parallel between femininity and land, originating from Muslim doctrine, functions as a powerful rallying tool for males interested in defending their land and creating a new country of their own. The male role in the conception of a new county within this framework is one of agency. Delaney asserts, “The paternal role has been conceptualized as the generative, creative role; the father is the one who bestows life as well as essential identity via the soul; thus he is the means for the divine entering into human society,”(184). Within this particular perception of reproduction, the father is responsible for the creation of a new being. Thus the creation of a new country within this framework is inherently male. Just as the land plays the role of the maternal, the essential identity of the fetus, or national identity of the country, takes on a paternal one.