The research is not just academic, but personal. Members of Dreyer’s family are part of that story, having been sent from Greece to Turkey in 1923 as part of a population stabilization and homogenization effort negotiated along religious lines by Greece and Turkey. Her mother’s side of her family still lives in Turkey.
In response to being defined as outsiders by some forms of Turkish nationalism, while facing discrimination and accusations of disloyalty, some leaders of the Jewish community – such as Avram Galanti, a Jewish educator, linguist, historian and politician – espoused their own form of Turkish nationalism, one that could accommodate Jews. However, Turkish Jews are not monolithic and had various opinions on this subject.
“Galanti is representative of this turbulent time as one of many who tried to get in on the ground floor of national construction to create a space for their community early on, but he does not represent the entirety of the Turkish Jewish experience,” Dreyer said. “He serves as an interesting case study to examine the phenomena of assimilation, Jewish-Muslim relations, how Jews perceived themselves within Turkey, nationalism and how antisemitism and general anti-non-Muslim sentiment affected Jews.”
Dreyer noted that while other scholars have not ignored Galanti and his writing, few have explored all his works.