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Religiosity, support for Seriat and evaluations of secularist public policies in Turkey

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... It is assumed that the Kemalist RPP represents the secularist block, while the JDP represents the anti-secularist block. Due to this historical background, some scholars suggest there is a divide between secular and Islamist (Çarkoğlu, 2004;Mardin, 1991;Sakallıoğlu, 1996). This divide has been furthered since the 2002 elections, as the JDP and RPP have been comprise the majority of the voting block. ...
... Many authors (e.g. Arat, 2005;Çarkoğlu, 2004) have contributed to this debate by drawing an outline of the popular bases of support for the secular principles in the civil code as opposed to shariah rule such as in education policy. In her book on the role of Islamist women in Turkey, Arat (2005) provides an insight into the discourse and self-conceptualizations of female political activists of the Refah Party. ...
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This article presents a macro-national perspective of gender equality in employment in two Muslim majority Countries, Turkey and Pakistan. The article examines and compares the institutional implications of secularism and Islamic shariah for gender equality in employment in the two countries. Drawing on case studies of a selection of influential public and private sector organizations engaged in promoting and implementing gender equality in Turkey and Pakistan, the article argues that secularism and shariah as dominant ideologies present poor agendas for gender equality. Indeed, secularism and shariah hijack gender equality discourses paying only partial lip service to genuine demands for equality. The article argues that there is a need to rescue gender equality from the clasp of ideology and bring in genuine processes of equal opportunity and social justice in the workplace.
Chapter
The presence of Islam in Europe is accompanied by contradictory dynamics. While on the one hand institutions are gradually accommodating Muslim demands and vice versa, on the other hand tendencies of Islamist and anti-Muslim radicalisation are reinforcing each other. In addition to analyses of institutionalisation processes that entail modes of a new normality, this volume offers contributions on political Islam, anti-Muslim policies as well as on social negotiations on conflict and integration. Finally, scholarly and literary reflections are examined with regard to their normative underpinnings. The volume brings together contributions from sociologists, Islamic scholars and literary scholars. With contributions by Asligüel Aysel, Sana Chavoshian, Aletta Diefenbach, Lena Dreier, Johannes Ebner, Özkan Ezli, Anja Frank, Lisa Harms, Jörg Hüttermann, Sarah Kaboğan, Ines Michalowski, Olaf Müller, Cemal Öztürk, Gert Pickel, Detlef Pollack, Anna Felicitas Scholz, Reinhard Schulze, Mustafa Şen, Levent Tezcan and Monika Wohlrab-Sahr.
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Nonwestern secularization has the reputation of an elitist project, but poetry milieus in 20th-century Turkey experienced secularization in a relatively inclusive manner. Using comparative-historical, network, and statistical methods, this article compares poetry milieus to novelistic milieus, whose secularization closely resembles the Turkish/Islamic stereotype. This exercise identifies a previously unnoticed role that interaction dynamics play in shaping secularization patterns. As such, western-nonwestern difference as regards secularization is neither fiction nor fate: it involves structures of interaction that may appear anywhere. These findings suggest a more Simmelian direction for future scholarship, broadly affirming the ascendant culturalist orientation in the sociology of religion while revising some of its particular claims. They also call for a civic republican turn: while tempering past scholarship’s vilification of the state, they suggest that a vibrant civil society is the more vital component of relatively inclusive secularization.
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[You can download the introduction and, the summary and conclusions sections here; and pass it to any interested friend] [This book is a shortened and simplified version of my PhD thesis, completed in the autumn of 2005, University of Bradford] (https://www.savaskitap.com/Cengiz-Dinc_ar_3223) This study focuses on the Welfare Party elite’s conceptualisation of modernity during the party’s last 4-5 years before its closure in 1998. Since the party was the most important Islamist organisation in Turkey, it was at an important point of interaction between Islamism and modernity. The study tries to determine the significance of the WP discourse on key modernisation issues by answering such questions as how the WP elite conceptualised modernity; how this conceptualisation was formulated, constructed and what was modernity’s relationship with the West in their view. It argues that, the WP elite had a distinct (Islamist) understanding of modernity which, despite its differences in its approach to some basic issues (e.g. secularism) overall remained within modernity by sharing most of its major characteristics. The WP elite, similar to many other Islamist movements, advocated a more Islamic (less secular and less Westernising) route to modernity; and they could not be considered as anti-modernists. The study contributes towards a better understanding of the critical role that a version of Islamism plays in Turkey’s politics and process of modernisation and provides insights about the impact of Western modernity on the sizeable Islamist section. The study employs important concepts such as secularisation, nationalism, the modern state, economic development (science, technology, industrialisation), capitalism and democracy as important components of modernity. An analysis of the views of the WP elite with regard to these concepts and processes serves to better understanding the Islamist stance towards the particular path of modernisation in Turkey, modernity in general, and also the West.
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This article discusses the paradoxical relationship of Kemalist state power and traditional Muslim theologians at the beginning of the Turkish Republic. By analyzing the history of a now-commonly accepted argument for change with the Shari‘a, this article proposes that the anxious relationship between state Kemalism and Muslim modernist theologians helped to lay the foundations of mainstream Muslim praxis in modern Turkey. I argue that the supposed conflict between “religious” and “secular(ist)” ideas in Turkey may be better described as a debate over the definition of secularity itself. A concept of the secular is implied in both Kemalist political secularism and Islamic modernism, and these two interact in ways that contribute to each other’s formation. This article will also bring contemporary theorizing on the nature of the “secular” to bear on this question in order to open up new possibilities for the study of Islam in contemporary Turkey.
Chapter
In the preceding chapters of this book we analyzed the conditions, factors, and sources that helped to breed conservatism in Turkey’s society and polity. In this and the following chapter we are going to focus on the consequences of conservatism on Turkish politics.
Chapter
In the preceding chapter we defined Turkish conservatism as a movement that combines several strands of thought that span liberal economics, traditionalism, sociocultural parochialism, primordialism, xenophobia, and religious activism. This shows that conservatism in the Turkish context hosts several irreconcilable strands. On the one hand, there is a considerable amount of skepticism toward modernization and secularization of the Turkish culture, and on the other, there is a demand for economic change, development, and improved welfare of the downtrodden. What seems to be demanded is a form of economic change that brings about improved standards of welfare without necessarily changing the traditional sociocultural values of Turkey’s rapidly fading agricultural society. What makes these ideas even more irreconcilable is that while some strands are well-supported, others lack almost any conviction among the masses. We will illustrate below that while the Turkish public seems comfortably traditionalist, primordial, and parochial in many aspects of social life, and increasingly religious over the years, there appears little mass conviction on the merits of liberal economic policies. When talking about xenophobia in the Turkish context, we need to be cautious in distinguishing between racial and ethnic xenophobia and fear of the outside world in a social setting that is quite closed to experiences with the outside world and foreigners despite rising tourism and foreign trade. Equally important to note at this juncture are other attitudinal traits that complement the above-depicted picture of Turkish conservatism. We emphasize the authoritarian and dogmatic mind-set that leaves one with the impression that the masses suffer from severe doses of low self-esteem.
Chapter
There is little doubt that conservatism in Turkey is on the rise. Among many other facets of Turkish society that have been under rapid mutation, the nature and dynamics of rising conservatism attract the most attention domestically as well as internationally. Instead of focusing on this proper conceptual framework, much of the debate within and outside of the country focuses on just one peculiar facet of Turkish conservatism: political Islam. Clearly, Islamism is not only the ideological source of newly rising political elite within the ranks of the AKP, but it is also a source of controversy and conflict in Turkish society. However, as our preceding analyses suggest, there are many other facets to conservatism in the Turkish context and developments and each and every one of these facets has been underway for decades and are not a recent social inflammation that could potentially endanger the peaceful democratic progression of Turkish society.
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Even though the Turkish state is grounded on secularist principles, the shari'a debate is hardly absent from contemporary politics, and it has been the main point of contention between the secularists and Islamic forces. In March 2008, the chief prosecutor of the Republic of Turkey, Abdurrahman Yalcinkaya, petitioned the Constitutional Court to ban the governing Adalet ve Kalkinma Partisi (AKP, Justice and Development Party) and bar seventy politicians, including Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and President Abdullah Gul, from politics, on the grounds that the AKP was covertly seeking to impose shari'a by dismantling the secular reform of Mustafa Kemal. In order to support the court case and defend secularism, a number of public demonstrations were organized by several civil NGOs. The most popular slogan of the Republican demonstrations was "no shari'a, no coup-democratic Turkey." On July 30, 2008, the court announced its decision not to ban the AKP. Yet it ruled that the party engaged in anti-secular activities (such as some speeches by the party's leadership, and lifting the restrictions on university students' wearing the headscarf ) and decided to cut by half the party's funding from the treasury. The court defined shari'a as an alternative religio-political system seeking to replace the secular democratic structure of Turkey. Turkey is an interesting case study of a secular system in a predominantly Muslim society, revealing the ongoing development of the relations between religion and morality, on one hand, and Islamic politics and democracy, on the other, within the Muslim world. The Republic of Turkey, implementing the most rigorous secular project in the Muslim world, used all means available either to exclude Islamic norms from the public sphere or to ethicalize them by treating them as voluntary moral principles and stressing their general, universally applicable, nature (Hefner 2000). These moral principles include trust, honesty, self-discipline, charity, justice, solidarity, and peace. According to Sabri Ulgener, a prominent Turkish sociologist, religion in Turkey provides the most effective and flexible shared core values of social unity (Ulgener 2006). The remaining symbols, vocabulary, and tacit assumptions of shari'a offer social integration and a map for action. Religiously informed values provide a shared language in which diverse groups articulate their own visions of Islam and of diverse lifestyles. One could treat Islam as the social grammar of Turkish society; it facilitates public conversation and debate and empowers different groups to form their own political arguments concerning the public good. Conversation, and thus political negotiation, depends on the continued use of familiar terms, yet in Turkey shari'a politics have modified the meanings those terms carry. In this essay I argue that the meanings of Islam and Islamic law embraced by a significant proportion of the present Turkish population resist the traditional, imposed, constraining features of earlier Muslim society and instead embrace the discursive democratic solidarity of modern Muslim identity. The moral realism at the core of shari'a discourse persists from older into modern Turkey, but many modern Turks no longer find certain cultural accretions, which produce morally arbitrary intolerance, acceptable. Some recognize that certain practices are historically encased, and do not belong to the modern period. Thus radical punishments and archaic legal forms and institutions (which are largely centuries-old solutions to problems that have now been solved in other ways) need not survive in order that Islam survive. The core of Islamic belief can survive without these and other accretions, and modern Turks are proving this by maintaining their identity as Muslims while rejecting a formalistically literal interpretation of shari'a. Where they invoke shari'a or related vocabularies, these are simply emblematic of the core of their belief. This core is bonding, not binding, and militates against the false dichotomy of "sacred" and "secular." Religious expression and practice are mutable and have been changed to stretch secularism around the structure of bonding, democratic core belief. In a society where democracy is fully internalized, religious networks and arguments remain the most effective inner motivating force to shape the rhythm of daily life, and new understandings of Islam are also a product of this life. Despite theories of secularization, which predict the decline of religion, economic development and the deepening of democracy in Turkey have transformed Islam and brought it into public and political spaces. Old and new social actors are struggling over the meanings of Islamic norms and practices and are constantly competing to reconfigure Islam in new forms to meet emerging challenges. Charles Taylor argues that "modern developments destabilize early forms of religion and . . . religion has to be recomposed, reformed" (Taylor 2008). In the case of Turkey, one sees these new configurations of Islam being formulated by the believers themselves. Islam in Turkey is undergoing major transformations as a result of the expansion of politicaleconomic spaces and the public sphere (Gole and Ammann 2006). Islamic activism in Turkey stresses ethicalized Islam instead of Islamic law enforced by the state. Many conscious Muslims believe that ethicalized Islam is more effective in shaping interpersonal relations than state-imposed Islamic law. In this chapter, then, I argue that the contemporary understandings of Islam in Turkey are largely free from shari'a discourses as a result of certain socio-historical transformations and the existence of a powerful anti-shari'a legacy. Indeed, the meaning and role of shari'a also vary among the four main groupings active within what we can call the Islamic sector. Each grouping has its own mode of understanding Islam and shari'a. These four configurations are the state-centric "enlightened" Islam of the Directorate of Religious Affairs (DRA); "societal Islam," as formulated and defended by Alevi and Sunni Nurcu groups; "political Islam," the movement whose primary aim is to mobilize voters and win control of the government; and the radical yet very effective Islam as an ideology of resistance to the nation-building secular project of Mustafa Kemal. Before explaining Turkey's overall departure from formalist understandings of shari'a, I submit here a few definitions upon which my conceptions of Turkish history, sociology, theology, and legal tradition rely. First, the departures from shari'a witnessed in Turkey suggest the country's embrace of an "ethicalized" understanding of Islam. This is to suggest not that formal constructions of shari'a are lacking in ethical content, but that shari'a and ethics represent particular and general kinds of morality, respectively. To the extent that shari'a is derived from the Qur'an and Arabic custom, it represents a fraction of humans' collective normative experience-a significant fraction, but a fraction nonetheless; whereas the term "ethics" more naturally represents a broader category containing all such fractions. Whether the prescriptions of shari'a are more righteous than those of other systems is not in question here. Rather, what matters is the particular, authoritative character more typical of the first, and the general, consensual character more typical of the latter. In order to better understand the contested nature of shari'a and the gradual efflorescence of ethical Islam in Turkey, this chapter seeks to answer the following four questions. First, what does shari'a mean in the Turkish context? Why have significant numbers of Turks developed a new conceptual framework to discuss ethical, not legal, aspects of Islam? Second, what are the sociointellectual origins of the diverse and even conflicting meanings of shari'a? Third, what accounts for these diverse understandings of the role of Islam in the public and private spheres? Finally, who has authority to speak on matters of shari'a? In order to answer these questions, I will start with a discussion of recent surveys on understandings of shari'a, and will seek to understand public discourse on shari'a through a focus group I formed during field research in 2008. In the second section, I will provide socio-historical background by laying out historical and political parameters within which Islamic actors and movements debate shari'a. In this section, after introducing the dual nature of the Ottoman legal system and bureaucracy, I will summarize how the decline of the state led to two diametrically different solutions: a more public and political understanding of shari'a and a secularized state system. This section of the chapter will also examine 1) the secular reforms of the Tanzimat period (1839- 78), and the ulama's reaction to them; 2) Mustafa Kemal's Jacobin secularization, intended to cleanse Islam from public spaces; and 3) the socio-political impact of recent neo-liberal economic policies (1980-present). The last part of the chapter will examine the four Islamic perspectives on shari'a. As a result of the socio-historical parameters of Turkey, there is a growing emphasis on bonding (identity-based and moral) rather than binding (legal and mandatory) aspects of Islam. In Turkey, the majority of the population tend to define those Islamic practices and rules that are enforced by the power of the state as shari'a and do not support such enforcement.
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This paper argues that the Turkish Constitutional Court acts within a set of limitations which significantly affect its final judgments. The court's major consideration and motivation in its deliberations over political cases has primarily been to guard the regime and order, as defined and outlined by a fairly prostate interpretation. To study the Court's involvement in political cases, this study examines two types of cases, which will help identify the parameters restricting the Court's ability to proceed with its expected role. In party closure cases, the Court has considered the probable threat posed by the political party under review; accordingly, its rulings have mostly been in line with the prosecutor's indictment. The same also applies to cases concerning the headscarf ban, a sensitive issue that could be seen as a fault line in Turkey's social and political life.
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The rising electoral fortunes of the Welfare Party (Refah Partisi (RP)), a party that differentiates itself sharply from the 'orthodox' parties of the right or left of the political spectrum by campaigning explicitly on an Islamist platform, constitutes the most obvious or visible sign of Islamic resurgence in the Turkish context.' The turning-point in the evolution of RP into a major political movement came with the municipal govemment elections of March 1994 during which the party managed to capture the mayorships of the two key metropolitan areas of Istanbul and Ankara. This victory dramatically altered the previous image of the party in the public mind, namely as a marginal and parochial political force on the extreme right with a strong regional orientation. RP's rise to the status of a nationwide political movement, as opposed to a party confined mainly to its inner Anatolian roots, was consolidated further by the general elections of December 1995. The Welfare Party managed to increase its share of the national vote from 7.2% in 1987 to 21.4% in 1995 and it emerged as the leading political party in the country, although its share of the vote was not sufficient to grant it a mandate to form a government on an outright basis. Following a series of unsuccessful attempts to form a durable coalition government on the part of the established right of centre parties, the 'Motherland Party' (ANAP) and the 'True Path Party' (DYP) during the early months of 1996, a new coalition government was established between RP and DYP, in which RP emerged as the dominant partner. This development clearly constitutes a landmark in a country which is unique in the Muslim world in terms of the strength of its secularist traditions and its explicit pro-Western orientation. The emergence of RP as a major political force undoubtedly represents a paradoxical phenomenon for observers of the Turkish scene, a phenomenon which many interpret as a fundamental constitutional challenge to the secular foundations of the Republic, raising deep questions concerning the compatibility of a strong Islamic party with the process of consolidating liberal democracy. Before embarking on an analysis of why RP has emerged as a major political force so recently in the context of the 1990s, two important qualifications ought to be made at the outset. The first is that the presence of an Islamic political party on the electoral scene in Turkey is not a novel phenomenon. In fact, the origins of the present day RP can be traced back to the 'National Order Party'
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The recent rise of political Islam in Turkey is examined in terms of a complex interplay between four major processes: the policies of the parties on the center right toward religion; state-sponsored religious activities and the consolidation of establishment Islam; the impact of Sufi tarikats and communities; and the growing organizational strength, ideological appeal, and electoral base of the Islamist Welfare Party (WP).
Toplum ve Siyaset (Religion, Society and Politics in Turkey), in Turkish
  • Ali Çarkoğlu
  • Binnaz Ali
  • Toprak
  • Din
See Ali Çarkoğlu, Ali and Binnaz Toprak, Türkiye'de Din, Toplum ve Siyaset (Religion, Society and Politics in Turkey), in Turkish (İstanbul: Turkish Economic and Social Studies Foundation (TESEV) Publications, 2000);
Modernization Policies and Islamist Politics in Turkey Rethinking Modernity and National Identity in Turkey
  • Gülalp
Gülalp, 'Modernization Policies and Islamist Politics in Turkey', in Sibel Bozdoğan and Reşat Kasaba (eds.), Rethinking Modernity and National Identity in Turkey (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1997), pp.52–63;
Religion and Secularism in Turkey Atatürk: Founder of a Modern State
  • Șerif Mardin
Șerif Mardin, 'Religion and Secularism in Turkey', in Ali Kazancıgil and Ergun Özbudun (eds.), Atatürk: Founder of a Modern State (London: C.
Religion and Social Change in Modern Turkey: The Case of Bediüzzaman Said Nursi
  • Mardin
Mardin, Religion and Social Change in Modern Turkey: The Case of Bediüzzaman Said Nursi (Albany: State University of New York Press, 1989);
Islam and Politics in Modern Turkey: The Case of the National Salvation Party The Islamic Impulse
  • Ergun Özbudun
Ergun Özbudun, 'Islam and Politics in Modern Turkey: The Case of the National Salvation Party', in Barbara Freyer Stowasser (ed.), The Islamic Impulse (Washington DC: Center for Contemporary Arab Studies, 1987), pp.142–156;
Politicization of Islamic Re-traditionalism: Some Preliminary Notes
  • Sabri
  • Sayarı
Sabri Sayarı, 'Politicization of Islamic Re-traditionalism: Some Preliminary Notes', in Metin Heper and Raphael Israeli (eds.), Islam and Politics in the Middle East (London: Palgrave Macmillan, 1984), pp.119–28;
The State, Politics and Religion in Turkey State, Democracy and the Military: Turkey in the 1980s
  • Toprak
Toprak, 'The State, Politics and Religion in Turkey', in Metin Heper and Ahmet Evin (eds.), State, Democracy and the Military: Turkey in the 1980s (New York: Walter de Gruyter, 1988), pp.119–35;
Religion and Political Culture in Turkey Islam in Modern Turkey: Religion, Politics and Literature in a Secular State
  • Turan
  • İlter
Turan, İlter, 'Religion and Political Culture in Turkey', in Richard Tapper (ed.), Islam in Modern Turkey: Religion, Politics and Literature in a Secular State (London: I.B. Tauris, 1991), pp.31–55;
The Development of Secularism in Turkey; Șerif MardinReligion and Secularism in Turkey'; Feroz Ahmad, The Making of Modern Turkey
  • See Niyazi
See Niyazi Berkes, The Development of Secularism in Turkey; Șerif Mardin, 'Religion and Secularism in Turkey'; Feroz Ahmad, The Making of Modern Turkey.
Turkish Politics and the Military (London: Routledge, 1994), pp.237–8. See also Feroz Ahmad, The Making of Modern Turkey
  • See M William
  • Hale
See William M. Hale, Turkish Politics and the Military (London: Routledge, 1994), pp.237–8. See also Feroz Ahmad, The Making of Modern Turkey, p.180.
Identities and Trends of Party Constituencies in Turkey), in Turkish (Ankara: Cem Ofset Matbaacılık San. A.Ş., 1996), p.196; TÜSES Foundation, Türkiye'de Siyasi Partilerin Seçmenleri ve Toplum Düzeni (Party Constituencies and Social Order in Turkey)
  • See
  • Foundation
See TÜSES Foundation, Türkiye'de Siyasi Partilerin Seçmenlerinin Nitelikleri, Kimlikleri ve Eğilimleri (Characteristics, Identities and Trends of Party Constituencies in Turkey), in Turkish (Ankara: Cem Ofset Matbaacılık San. A.Ş., 1996), p.196; TÜSES Foundation, Türkiye'de Siyasi Partilerin Seçmenleri ve Toplum Düzeni (Party Constituencies and Social Order in Turkey) (Ankara: Boyut Matbaacilik A.Ş., 1999), p.182) 20. TÜSES Foundation, Türkiye'de Siyasi Partilerin Seçmenleri ve Toplum Düzeni, pp.68–9.
Support rate among DYP supporters/Support rate among the whole sample respondents)=1.12) and for MHP we have (Support rate among MHP supporters
  • For
For DYP we have (Support rate among DYP supporters/Support rate among the whole sample respondents)=1.12) and for MHP we have (Support rate among MHP supporters/Support rate among the whole sample respondents)=1.38).