Democracy, Islam, and Secularism in Turkey

Democracy, Islam, and Secularism in Turkey

Copyright Date: 2012
Pages: 224
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  • Book Info
    Democracy, Islam, and Secularism in Turkey
    Book Description:

    While Turkey has grown as a world power, promoting the image of a progressive and stable nation, several choices in policy have strained its relationship with the East and the West. Providing historical, social, and religious context for this behavior, the essays in Democracy, Islam, and Secularism in Turkey examine issues relevant to Turkish debates and global concerns, from the state's position on religion to its involvement with the European Union.

    Written by experts in a range of disciplines, the chapters explore the toleration of diversity during the Ottoman Empire's classical period; the erosion of ethno-religious heterogeneity in modern, pre-democratic times; Kemalism and its role in modernization and nation building; the changing political strategies of the military; and the effect of possible EU membership on domestic reforms. The essays also offer a cross-Continental comparison of "multiple secularisms," as well as political parties, considering especially Turkey's Justice and Development Party in relation to Europe's Christian Democratic parties. Contributors tackle critical research questions, such as the legacy of the Ottoman Empire's ethno-religious plurality and the way in which Turkey's assertive secularism can be softened to allow greater space for religious actors. They address the military's "guardian" role in Turkey's secularism, the implications of recent constitutional amendments for democratization, and the consequences and benefits of Islamic activism's presence within a democratic system. No other collection confronts Turkey's contemporary evolution so vividly and thoroughly or offers such expert analysis of its crucial social and political systems.

    Contributors: Karen Barkey (Columbia University) • Ümit Cizre (Istanbul Sehir University) • M. Sükrü Hanioglu (Princeton University) • Stathis N. Kalyvas (Yale University) • Ahmet T. Kuru (San Diego State University) • Joost Lagendijk (Sabanc University) • Ergun Özbudun (Bilkent University) • Alfred Stepan (Columbia University)

    eISBN: 978-0-231-53025-5
    Subjects: Political Science, History, Religion

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-viii)
  3. Introduction
    (pp. 1-11)

    The 1982 Constitution of Turkey was drawn up and passed in the immediate aftermath of the 1980 military coup d’état, under the “guardianship” of the military. Because Turkey is now engaged in the application process for membership in the European Union (EU), many key actors, both in the EU and in Turkey, feel that it is appropriate that a new, more democratic constitution be crafted, but there are also those who fear that the new constitution might lead to the domination in Turkish politics of the currently ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP). A lot is at stake for a...

  4. [ 1 ] Rethinking Ottoman Management of Diversity: What Can We Learn for Modern Turkey?
    (pp. 12-31)

    The conference organized at Columbia University around the themes of politics, religion, democracy, and the constitution in Turkey—as well as this book, which follows these themes more intensely—centered on contemporary Turkey. We might then ask what the point is of including a chapter on the legacy of the Ottoman Empire, a legacy that imbued the early centuries of the empire but was essentially completely discarded in the last hundred years or so of imperial existence. The legacy I refer to is clearly that of interreligious peace and coexistence, the spirit of toleration that enabled the Ottoman state and...

  5. [ 2 ] The Historical Roots of Kemalism
    (pp. 32-60)

    In order to trace the historical roots of Kemalism, one must first conceptualize what it is—a difficult task made more so by the fact that Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the founder of the Turkish Republic, did not actually attempt to produce an ideology. It was his followers who strove to craft a creed called Kemalism (or “Kamalism,” as it was known in the 1930s) based on his main ideas and practices. The intellectuals and statesmen who attempted to produce a Kemalist ideology knew well that this was an exacting undertaking. In fact, two major Kemalisms, a right-wing and a left-wing...

  6. [ 3 ] Turkey Plural Society and Monolithic State
    (pp. 61-94)

    The main argument of this chapter is that although Turkish society is reasonably pluralistic, this is not sufficiently recognized by or reflected in the political structure of the country, paradoxically despite more than sixty years of experience in competitive, multiparty politics. The principal reason for this, it will be argued, is the “founding philosophy” of the Turkish Republic, some features of which are incompatible with the development of a truly pluralistic political system. In the first section, I will try to identify the meanings of the terms “pluralistic democracy” and “plural society.” In the second section, the pluralistic characteristics of...

  7. [ 4 ] Laïcité as an “Ideal Type” and a Continuum: Comparing Turkey, France, and Senegal
    (pp. 95-121)

    On March 13 and 14, 2008, Turkish president Abdullah Gül attended the meeting of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (IOC) in Senegal. Turkey’s membership to the IOC had been a domestically controversial issue because of its secular state structure. It took Turkey fifteen years (1969–1984) to be represented by its president in the IOC. Senegal is also a secular state but did not have a similar concern. Turkey is the only long-standing democracy with a Muslim-majority population in the Middle East, while Senegal is one of the world’s few “electoral overachievers,” in terms of combining low GDP per...

  8. [ 5 ] A New Politics of Engagement: The Turkish Military, Society, and the AKP
    (pp. 122-148)

    The central task of this chapter is to explain the shifting dynamics and emerging features of the relationship between the Turkish military and society, in the context of a bitterly fought contest between secular forces and Islamic political activism. This confrontation has gained in intensity since 1997, when the military-dominated National Security Council (NSC) forced the resignation of a coalition government headed by the predecessor party to the now-ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), thereby making the military institution the most prominent player on the secular side. Today, the military institution is still a leader in this conflict, having forged...

  9. [ 6 ] The Turkish Constitutional Court and Political Crisis
    (pp. 149-165)

    That Turkey has a constitutional problem is admitted by most observers, Turkish and foreign alike. It is paradoxical that Turkey, after more than six decades of multiparty competitive politics, has not been able to fully consolidate its democratic regime, and thus lags behind some of the newer, “third-wave” democracies, such as the three southern European and many eastern European democracies.

    The immediate blame for this failure may be put on the 1982 Constitution, the product of the military regime of 1980 to 1983 (National Security Council [NSC] regime). The military rulers of this period blamed the excessive (in their opinion)...

  10. [ 7 ] Turkey’s Accession to the European Union and the Role of the Justice and Development Party
    (pp. 166-188)

    In December 1999, the European Union (EU) decided to give candidate status to Turkey. In 1987 Turkey had applied to become a member of the EU. It took more than ten years before the EU formally decided to allow the Turkey accession process to begin. Many in Turkey had lost hope that the union they wanted to join would ever give them the green light. In fact, the 1999 decision did not mean that negotiations between the EU and Turkey would start immediately. As had happened before with the countries of central and eastern Europe that wanted to join the...

  11. [ 8 ] The “Turkish Model” in the Matrix of Political Catholicism
    (pp. 189-198)

    For a long time, especially the first two decades after World War II, the Kemalist model, epitomized by the establishment of a secular nation-state in 1923, was hailed as one of the most successful models for modernization.¹ In recent years, this first “Turkish model” has faded away and a new one gradually has taken its place. This “new Turkish model” is based on the combination of moderate Islamism, liberal reforms, and democratic consolidation.²

    In this chapter, I ask two questions. First, what exactly does this new “Turkish model” consist of and what explains its emergence? Second, is it an outcome...

  12. Selected Bibliography
    (pp. 199-204)
  13. Contributors
    (pp. 205-206)
  14. Index
    (pp. 207-216)