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The Neoliberal Landscape and the Rise of Islamist Capital in Turkey

Neşecan Balkan
Erol Balkan
Ahmet Öncü
Series: Dislocations
Copyright Date: 2015
Edition: 1
Published by: Berghahn Books
Pages: 314
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  • Book Info
    The Neoliberal Landscape and the Rise of Islamist Capital in Turkey
    Book Description:

    Islamist capital accumulation has split the Turkish bourgeoisie and polarized Turkish society into secular and religious social groupings, giving rise to conflicts between the state and political Islam. By providing a long-term historical perspective on Turkey's economy and its relationship to Islamism, this volume explores how Islamism as a political ideology has been utilized by the conservative bourgeoisie in Turkey, and elsewhere, to establish hegemony over labor. The contributors analyze the relationship between neoliberalism and the political fortunes of the Islamist Justice and Development Party (AKP), and examine the similarities and differences amongst new factions in the secular and Islamic middle class that have benefited economically, socially, and culturally during the AKP's reign. The articles also investigate the impact of the Gulen Movement and the role of the media in shaping the contours of intra-class struggle within contemporary Turkish political and social life.

    eISBN: 978-1-78238-639-1
    Subjects: Political Science, Economics

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Tables
    (pp. ix-x)
  4. Abbreviations
    (pp. xi-xiv)
  5. Preface
    (pp. xv-xvi)
    The Editors
  6. Introduction
    (pp. 1-12)
    Neşecan Balkan, Erol Balkan and Ahmet Öncü

    Over the past ten years, Turkey has been held up by the global media as an exemplary country for successfully reconciling Islam with democracy and a market economy. In reports published by both private banks and international financial institutions like the International Monetary Fund (IMF), World Bank, and World Trade Organization (WTO), the Adalet ve Kalkýnma Partisi (Justice and Development Party, AKP) was praised for its economic miracles and political victories. Peter Boyles, chief executive of global private banking at HSBC, recently characterized Turkey as the new rising star of the world economy, adding that its startling economic success is...

  7. Chapter 1 Islamism: A Comparative-Historical Overview
    (pp. 13-40)
    Burak Gürel

    Islamism has been one of the most hotly debated political ideologies of the world for more than three decades. A series of significant political developments have kept Islamism in the headlines during the 1980s and 1990s, such as the Iranian Revolution (1979), the war between the Soviet Union and the Afghan mujahideen (1979–89), the emergence of Hezbollah in Lebanon (1982) and Hamas in Palestine (1987), the Algerian Civil War (1992–97), and the Taliban’s takeover in Afghanistan (1996). Younger generations’ first encounter with Islamism was the suicide attacks in the United States on 11 September 2001 and the subsequent...

  8. Chapter 2 Class, State, and Religion in Turkey
    (pp. 41-88)
    Sungur Savran

    Writing a chapter-length article that spans decades of history about a political movement currently in power in the very midst of a popular rebellion creates serious difficulties for the author. The enterprise is bound to be riddled with pitfalls of all kinds. It is true that at the time of writing, the popular revolt of June–July 2013, internationally known, somewhat misleadingly, as the Gezi Park protests, has subsided. But, given the international and domestic circumstances that fired the flames of the rebellion in the first place, it is highly probable that there will be a recrudescence of the movement...

  9. Chapter 3 The Deep Fracture in the Big Bourgeoisie of Turkey
    (pp. 89-116)
    Kurtar Tanyilmaz

    In 2010, one of the leading newspapers in the United States, theWall Street Journal, published a story about the political conditions in Turkey and the arrests that had taken place in the country that year. Defining Turkey as a “Muslim country on Europe’s periphery,” the article characterized the struggle between secularists and the Islamistleaning government as a “bloodless civil war” and urged the two sides to reach a peaceful compromise, claiming that “the police, gendarme and even the intelligence services are fighting amongst each other” (quoted in Yildrimkaya, 2010). In the same year, seventy companies representing two different fractions...

  10. Chapter 4 The Islamist Big Bourgeoisie in Turkey
    (pp. 117-141)
    Özgür Öztürk

    The Islamist bourgeoisie is an important social class section and a transformative force in present-day Turkey. There are many indicators that point to the growing influence of Islamic capital in the last decade—the era of conservative-neoliberal Adalet ve Kalkinma Partisi (Justice and Development Party, AKP) rule. For example, the number of MÜSİAD and TUSKON members in the five hundred largest industrial enterprises of Turkey list is increasing.¹ When MÜSİAD was established in 1990, it had only eight members among the five hundred; this figure increased to twenty-three in 2007 and thirty-one in 2009. The list included more than seventy...

  11. Chapter 5 Islamic Capital
    (pp. 142-165)
    Evren Hoşgör

    The emergence of a specific business group in Turkey, Islamic capital (also known as “green” capital or the Anatolian Tigers), has been an interesting topic for many researchers. Some explain their rise in terms of individual efforts or “entrepreneurial spirit” (Özdemir 2004).¹ Others either rely strongly on the religious/conservative discourse of such businessmen (Koyuncu 2002; Özdemir 2006), or concentrate on their specific consumption patterns and lifestyle as the main indicator of class formation (Sandikçi and Ger 2001; Demir et al. 2004). Moreover, since contradictions among different business groups (capital fractions) are generally reduced to distributional conflicts, the rivalry between the...

  12. Chapter 6 Reproduction of the Islamic Middle Class in Turkey
    (pp. 166-200)
    Erol Balkan and Ahmet Öncü

    In a well-known passage inThe Communist Manifesto, Marx and Engels claim that the bourgeoisie “creates a world after its own image.” Inspired by this observation, we argue that in its struggle to attain hegemony, the rising Islamic bourgeoisie in Turkey is attempting to fashion a “world in its own image,” and we present some of the results of a comprehensive survey with selected middle-class families of both the “laic” and “Islamic” communities in Istanbul. The Islamic and laic bourgeoisies are two separate capitalist classes that emerged in two different social sectors during the twentieth-century evolution of modern Turkey. The...

  13. Chapter 7 The Question of AKP Hegemony: Consent without Consensus
    (pp. 201-234)
    Evren Hoşgör

    The political balance of forces in Turkey since the 2002 elections did not allow another political party to counterbalance the hegemonic project initiated under the leadership of the Adalet ve Kalkinma Partisi (Justice and Development Party, AKP). The hegemonic crisis of the 1990s indeed not only broke the representational ties between center-right parties and dominant classes, but also detached masses from their traditional parties and ideologies.¹ Despite broad media support, the social-liberal synthesis of Cumhuriyet Halk Partisi (Republican People’s Party, CHP) could not established itself as a national-popular program under the hegemonic leadership of large capital groups. Conversely, the AKP’s...

  14. Chapter 8 Globalization, Islamic Activism, and Passive Revolution in Turkey The Case of Fethullah Gülen
    (pp. 235-271)
    Joshua D. Hendrick

    On 27 April 2007, the Türk Silahlý Kuvvetleri (Turkish Armed Forces, TSK) intervened in Turkey’s presidential nomination procedure by publicly expressing fear that a candidate nominated by the governing “Islamist roots” Adalet ve Kalkýnma Partisi (Justice and Development Party, AKP) would threaten Turkish secularism. At midnight the TSK started a political crisis by issuing an electronic memorandum that stated the following:

    It must not be forgotten that the Turkish Armed Forces do take sides in this debate and are the sure and certain defenders of secularism. Moreover, the Turkish Armed Forces … will make their position and stance perfectly clear...

  15. Chapter 9 The Laic-Islamist Schism in the Turkish Dominant Class and the Media
    (pp. 272-286)
    Anita Oğurlu and Ahmet Öncü

    The current version of this chapter—apart from some minor additions—was written in late 2012, that is, almost one year before the Gezi Park Revolt. Thus, we had taken pen to paper prior to the 17 December 2013 corruption scandal that recently shook Turkey. These events not only undermined the political legitimacy of the Adalet ve Kalkýnma Partisi (Justice and Development Party, AKP) government, but also revealed visibly how the media has been rendered subservient to the interests of the rising Islamist bourgeoisie through illegal means and maneuvers. As a result, some of our provisional arguments regarding such possibilities...

  16. Notes on Contributors
    (pp. 287-289)
  17. Index
    (pp. 290-298)