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Glen: The Ambiguous Politics of Market Islam in Turkey and the World

Joshua D. Hendrick
Copyright Date: 2013
Published by: NYU Press
Pages: 292
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  • Book Info
    Book Description:

    The "Hizmet" ("Service") Movement of Fethullah Gulen is Turkey's most influential Islamic identity community. Widely praised throughout the early 2000s as a mild and moderate variation on Islamic political identity, the Gulen Movement has long been a topic of both adulation and conspiracy in Turkey, and has become more controversial as it spreads across the world. In Gulen, Joshua D. Hendrick suggests that when analyzed in accordance with its political and economic impact, the Gulen Movement, despite both praise and criticism, should be given credit for playing a significant role in Turkey's rise to global prominence. Drawing on 14 months of ethnographic fieldwork in Turkey and the U.S., Hendrick examines the Gulen Movement's role in Turkey's recent rise, as well as its strategic relationship with Turkey's Justice and Development Party-led government. He argues that the movement's growth and impact both inside and outside Turkey position both its leader and its followers as indicative of a "post political" turn in twenty-first century Islamic political identity in general, and as illustrative of Turkey's political, economic, and cultural transformation in particular.Joshua D. Hendrickis Assistant Professor of Sociology and Global Studies at Loyola University Maryland in Baltimore.

    eISBN: 978-0-8147-6047-5
    Subjects: Anthropology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. ix-xii)
  4. Note on Turkish Transliteration
    (pp. xiii-xiv)
  5. List of Abbreviations
    (pp. xv-xvi)
  6. Introduction: The World’s Most Influential Public Intellectual
    (pp. 1-10)

    In a 2005 poll administered to determine “the world’s most influential public intellectual,” the U.S. political magazineForeign Policy (FP), together with its British affiliate,Prospect, published an unranked list of one hundred people whom their editors believed to be the most impactful opinion makers, political leaders, policy advisers, activists, and scholars in the world. Included on the 2005 list were two Turkish citizens, the best-selling fiction writer Orhan Pamuk, and the longtime World Bank and United Nations economist and former Turkish parliamentarian Kemal Dervış. After twenty thousand votes were cast, Pamuk finished fifty-fourth, Dervış sixty-seventh. Self-critiqued as unscientific, the...

  7. 1 Approaching Muslim Politics in Turkey
    (pp. 11-34)

    This book focuses on a particular case of Muslim politics in late modern Turkey, a diverse Muslim majority country that is distinguished as much by its conservative Anatolian culture as it is by its history with secular state authoritarianism. For the purposes of this analysis,Muslim politicsrefers to the employment of categories historically associated with the faith and culture of Islam by social actors who express aspirations for political and economic reform or revolution (Eickelman and Piscatori 1996, 4).

    In Sunni Islam, modern Muslim politics emerged under the auspices of the Salafiyya,¹ an ideologically fervent but organizationally undeveloped social...

  8. 2 The Political Economy of Muslim Politics in Turkey
    (pp. 35-55)

    When assessing the GM’s transnational mobilization, the unique context of twentieth-century Turkey cannot be understated. Like in many other countries, in Turkey the institutions of mid-twentieth century development suppressed the social forces of Islam in favor of particularly rigid understandings of progress and modernization. Alienated by these processes, many Muslims viewed their faith in Islam as “a channel through which persons who had failed to become integrated into the secular system [began] . . . their own project of boundary expansion, and search for freedom” (Mardin 1989, 83–84). In this way, the GM’s emergence in Turkey can be seen...

  9. 3 An Ambiguous Leader
    (pp. 56-88)

    In the study of modern organizations, “strategic ambiguity” is often cited as an effective means to allow for the expression of internally divergent group interests, and to persuade outsiders that stated objectives correspond with observable outcomes. Contradicting common beliefs, the theory of strategic ambiguity suggests that organizations—be they for-profit, not-for-profit, or public—mobilize to achieve a variety of goals that may complement or contradict one another (Davenport and Leitch 2005; Eisenberg 1984; Jarzabkowski, Sillince, and Shaw 2009; Aragonés and Neeman 2000). In organizational logic, clarity of voice, for instance, might be an assumed expectation but it is not an...

  10. 4 Community
    (pp. 89-122)

    The GM’s reliance on social, financial, service, and ideational networks constitutes connectivity in a complicated system of partial, fragmentary, ambiguous relationships. Relying on maximum efficiency through the “flexible production” of these networks, the GM cultivates collective identity through extensive social ties, shared practice, and communal loyalty on the one hand; and through market competition on the other. The result is a graduated network of affiliation anchored on a hierarchically organized core community (cemaat), an expansive loose network of devoted friends (arkadaşlar), and a third level of broadly defined “sympathizers” (yandaşlar). A fourth, more removed level of connectivity exists in the...

  11. 5 Education
    (pp. 123-143)

    Although constituting a growing faith community in the 1970s, the GM’s institutional mobilization could not have expanded were it not for deeply penetrating transformations that ensued in the aftermath of the 1980–1983 junta. As noted previously, Turkey’s turn toward liberalization and market competition in this period was a necessary precondition for the GM’s shift from a modestly sized faith community to a transnationally active and powerful advocacy community. Indeed, during this period, the state’s monopoly over the hearts and minds of Turkey’s youth eroded, and new actors emerged to compete for youth attention. The GM excelled in this competition...

  12. 6 Değirmenin suyu nereden geliyor? (Where does the water for the mill come from?)
    (pp. 144-173)

    Economic communities based on trust networks such as those observed in the GM are widespread in Turkey, and are not atypical of Muslim culture in general. Often these communities organize under the cultural leadership of a spiritual mentor, which provides producers, merchants, and exporters with valuable social connections as they struggle to compete with Turkey’s traditional family-based and vertically integrated holding companies (Buğra 1994; Öniş and Turem 2001; Özbüdün and Keymen 2002; Özcan and Çokgezcen 2003, 2006). In their analysis of this phenomenon, Özcan and Çokgezcen (2006, 147) stress the significance of cultural authority as follows:

    The spread of Islamic...

  13. 7 Manufacturing Consent
    (pp. 174-205)

    In September 2008, a new round of turbulence began in Turkish public discourse, this time pitting Turkey’s largest media mogul, Aydin Doğan, against the ruling AKP government, and specifically against Prime Minster Erdoğan.¹ The row began after Doğan-owned newspapers and television stations published and aired a series of reports focusing on fraud, embezzlement, and money-laundering charges filed in Germany against a Turkish-owned charity, Deniz Feneri Vakfı (Light House Foundation, est. 2001). The director of Deniz-Feneri, Mehmet Güham, together with his assistant Mehmet Taskan and the foundation’s accountant Firdevsi Ermiş, stood accused of funneling charity revenue collected from Turkish Muslims in...

  14. 8 Strategic Ambiguity and Its Discontents (i.e., the Gülen Movement in the United States)
    (pp. 206-232)

    Schools, interfaith institutions, media institutions, trade organizations, and businesses associated with the GM in Turkey are connected in a complicated network whose actors share overlapping social and economic ties, and whose leaders share a deep and passionate devotion for “Hocaefendi” Fethullah Gülen.¹ As detailed in previous chapters, connectivity in the GM network is characterized by an ambiguous system of strong and weak social ties and client–patron relationships that extend throughout the world economy. After nearly two decades of relatively uninterrupted domestic and international expansion, however, in the late 1990s the GM fell victim to a state-led backlash against religious...

  15. Conclusion: The Marketization of Muslim Politics in Turkey
    (pp. 233-242)

    The development policies associated with Kemalist republicanism, institutional laicism, and limited democratization produced a unique sociopolitical context in late twentieth-century Turkey. During the formative years of the Republic, industrialization was administered unevenly between east and west, city and country; and at the same time, faith and youth were politicized and a particularly rigid form of secular nationalism sought to dominate Anatolia’s collective consciousness. In addition to the social and political cleavages that positioned the country’s Kurdish and Alevi populations against an ethnically defined Turkish state in two distinct battles for minority rights and recognition, Islam became a cultural point of...

  16. Notes
    (pp. 243-256)
  17. Bibliography
    (pp. 257-270)
  18. Index
    (pp. 271-275)
  19. About the Author
    (pp. 276-276)