THE BACKGROUND FOR THE RESURGE OF ISLAMIC SELF-ASSERTION IN TURKEY

This paper was written in 2002 in connection with a research project at the Bosperus University in Istanbul. While some of the observations may be outdated, the subject still has some interest to students of Middle Eastern affairs.

Jorgen Christensen-Ernst

Within the last 25 years the world has witnessed a steady growth in manifestations of Muslim self-assertion. Turkey provides an excellent field for studying the recent Islamic development. Turkey has functioned as a secular republic for nearly eighty years although the large majority of the populace is Muslim. Studying the reasons behind the upsurge of traditional and militant Islam in this country may help countries with large Muslim minorities to understand and deal with the related problems. As said by Professor İlter Turan: “It may be useful to study each country individually to understand how religion and politics are related, and how religion influences political culture and why. Turkey is an interesting case in this context, because, since the founding of the Turkish Republic, a conscious effort has been made to separate the religious and political domains of societal life.”[1]

In this paper I do not intend to explain the political aspect of Islamism, although the context makes it impossible not to touch upon it. All I want to do is to explore the basis for and the various stimulants behind the resurgence of Islamic self-assertion in Turkey, especially since 1980, and thus gain an insight into the situational context while leaving analysis of the vocabulary and discourse to another paper.

The Historical Background

After the establishment of the Turkish Republic in 1923, Mustafa Kemal (later named Atatürk) started a project of reducing the power of traditional Islam in the lives of the Turks. He had the opinion that if religion was allowed to play the same role as before, the country would not be able to modernise.[2] He himself had been referring to Islamic values to mobilise the nation during the war of liberation from 1920 to 1922,[3] but after he came to power he began to have Islamic institutions removed and certain traditional Muslim habits prohibited. In 1924 the Caliphate was abolished and the Ministry of Religious Affairs, the religious schools (medrese) and the religious courts closed. In this way he neutralised the ulema class of scholastic Muslim scholars and jurists who had been monitoring the tradition in Islam. The reaction came immediately. Already next year a rebellion in Eastern Turkey led by a sheikh of the religious Nakşibendi brotherhood had to be suppressed, and shortly after, the lodges of the Sufi brotherhoods were closed and the tombs used for popular worship and the religious brotherhoods themselves were banned.[4]

These steps taken by Atatürk and his men have been interpreted as anti-religious and even atheistic, but evidently it was not religious faith and worship that was the target. In his hand-written notes on the subject “Freedom” (dated 27/1 1930) he wrote under the subheading “Tolerance”: “In the Turkish Republic everybody worships god [sic.] the way he wants. Nothing is done to anybody because of his religious ideas. The Turkish Republic has no official religion. In Turkey there is nobody who tries to impose the religious ideas of anybody on anybody else by force. This will not be tolerated.”[5] One might say that what Atatürk and his associates were after, was a sort of Islamic reformation where faith – brought into harmony with its original sources – was a personal conviction which in no way could be forced upon or direct the state and its subjects.[6] In Atatürk’s opinion it was the scholastic interpretation of Islam and the irrational approach to religion that were to be blamed for the fall of the Ottoman Empire, and in order to break with the past he went even further. In 1926 a secular Civil Law code was adopted. In 1928 the Arabic alphabet was replaced by the Latin alphabet. The year 1932 saw the foundation of Türk Dil Kurumu (The Turkish Language Society). One of the purposes of this institution was to clean out Arabic and Persian words with their connotations from the language of the Turks and replace them with words of Turkish or Western origin and thus sever the mental and emotional ties to the past. In 1937 the state was called “laic” by amendment to the constitution.

After the death of Atatürk in 1938 the reforms were carried on, but already before the party he had founded, the Cumhuriyet Halk partisi (CHP, “the Republican Peoples Party”), lost the election to the liberal Demokrat Partisi (DP, “the Democrat Party”) in 1950 the strong secular stand of the state was relaxed. The new government was more inclined to follow a religious discourse although the tarikats, or religious brotherhoods, were still suppressed. However, during the 1957 elective campaign the party made an alliance with the religious Nurcu movement,[7] but on the 27th of May 1960 the military made a coup and closed the DP. In 1961 a new constitution reaffirmed the secular stand of the Republic. The successor of DP was Adalet Partisi (AP, “the Justice Party”) which also had a relaxed attitude towards religion. In 1970 the Millî Nizam Partisi (MNP, “the National Order Party”) was founded by Mr. Necmettin Erbakan. This party was sponsored by the Nakişbendi tarikat and was closed down by the constitutional court in 1971 after a second military coup. In 1972 it was resurrected with the name Millî Selamet Partisi (MSP, “the National Salvation Party”) which functioned until it was closed down by the military coup on the 12th of September 1980. During this period Islamism had been active, but not overwhelmingly so.

This changed when the military stepped down and the country returned to democracy with the new constitution in 1982. Some still supported the successor of AP, as did people from the Nurcu movement. Others from this movement supported the new Anavatan Partisi (ANAP, “the Motherland Party”) or the heir of MSP, the Refah Partisi (RP, “the Welfare Parti”) which was founded in 1983. The first party to win an election after the coup was ANAP whose founder Mr. Turgut Özal became the prime minister. Later, during the election in 1995 RP managed to get 22 percent of the votes and Mr. Erbakan became prime minister, partly because of his religious programme.

During the 20 years since the return to democracy after the coup in 1980, Islam has become increasingly visible in the public sphere in Turkey.[8] This visibility is not just a question of personal choice in ways of dressing as for example in the head-covering of women. Like DP and its successor AP, their successor has been supported by people from the religious Nurcu movement while others from this group have supported ANAP.[9] Mr. Necmettin Erbakan who has now been the driving force behind several parties with Islamic views, was in the beginning supported by the İskender Paşa group of the Nakşibendi group. Later this tarikat’ group fell out with Mr. Erbakan and started to support another political party.[10] The late president of the Turkish Republic and founder of ANAP, Mr. Turgut Özal, is said to have been a member of the Nakşibendi tarikat.[11] To be regarded as a Turk one must have an Islamic background.[12] “To be Islamic has become as important as to be Turkish.”[13] To convert to another religion is frowned upon. In Sivas a mob of Sunni Muslims set a hotel on fire where a group of intellectuals held a conference with the excuse that they were heretics. Many were killed in the flames. Scores of people have been assassinated by militant Islamic groups as the Hizbullah.[14] The Refah Partisi with its religious programme managed to get 22 percent of the votes at the election in 1995.[15] (In 1998 RP was banned by court, and Mr. Erbakan was suspended from politics.) As late as in 2001 the chief of police in the province of Diyarbakır was killed together with five policemen by the Hizbullah.

Reasons behind the Islamic development

Several reasons may be given for the religious “revival” which came off with a slow start in the fifties but has gained momentum especially within the last twenty years, and the explanation is without any doubt to be found in a combination of these.

Social reasons

Since the middle of the 20th century there has been a development of industrial capitalism in Turkey. As a result many have left the villages and migrated to the big cities. The development of capitalism resulted in loss of income and status to a large group with a traditional Islamic background who came to blame the West and westernised institutions in Turkey for their problems. They felt that the changed situation in the country and the increase of dishonesty and loose conduct was brought about by Western decadence. Their reaction against the West came to be a reaction in favour of Islam and in favour political parties who promised a return to lost traditional values.[16] This has not just been interpreted as ‘the underprivileged finding comfort in religion.’ Religion has also provided them with an identity and with a network of social relations.[17]

Influence from other Muslim countries

The Muslims in Turkey may be divided into three groups: the modern, the traditional and the radical Muslims. It is especially with the radical group one finds a direct influence from outside the country. These circles have often referred to and quoted from men like Abul Ala al-Mawdudi, Ali Shariati and Sayyid Qutb.[18] Groups as Hizbullah and Menzil have been proven to have had very close links to Iran.[19]   Dr. Yalçın Akdoğan draws attention to the activity of translating foreign Muslim authors into Turkish, especially since 1980.[20] These translations appeared in articles that were read, not by radical Islamists only, but also by people with a traditional Muslim background.

Islam used against communism

After the coup on the 12th of September 1980 the people in charge tried to revive what they called “manevî değerler” (moral values) as a bulwark against the communistic world view.[21] In his speeches the new president of the Republic, Kenan Evren often referred to Islam and to traditional values. Religious lessons in school were made compulsory, even for children with a non-Muslim background, and this has been claimed to have contributed to the fast development of Islamism during the following years.[22]

It should be mentioned that also Atatürk used Islam to mobilise the people around his cause, but he evidently had a very clear notion about what he intended to do next to keep the country on the secular rail.[23] The development since 1980 may indicate that this was not the case then.

Political reasons

In a democracy voters are important. Consequently persons and parties who want to come to power have – at least to some extent – to promise to give people what they want. In 1946 green light had been given for a multiparty system in Turkey. Until then the reforms of the Kemalists had especially affected the cities, while people in the countryside had continued in their old ways. As the religious evidently were going to give their votes to the Demokrat Partisi (DP), some in the Cumhuriyet Halk Partisi (CHP), which had been the only party in power, thought that it was time to make concessions to religion. They lost the election to DP, but also this party started a religious discourse when their government faced economic problems in the late fifties. Since 1970 Turkey has had a party with an Islamic programme that has been closed down several times and re-emerged with another name. In 1995 it managed to get 22 percent of the votes. The popularity of a party stating that it is in favour of strengthening religion further easily tempts other parties to do the same. Yalçın Akdoğan observes: ”After the 12th of September a merciless fight started between the three parties ANAP, DYP [Doğru Yol Partisi][24] and RP to carry off the votes of these [mentioned] tarikats and religious groups.”[25]

But something else was at work. After the turbulent years in the late 1970s the people behind the coup in 1980 sought ways to calm the political sentiments of the country. On the period after the coup Binnaz Toprak and Faruk Birtek from the Bosphorus University observe: “Both the legislation and the political discourse of the post-1980 period revolved around the key concepts of national unity, ideological uniformity, and political stability. These aims were to be achieved by a process of depolitization, coupled with a concerted effort to socialize the new generation within the framework of the neo-republican ethos. The idea of the Islamic umma, a community of believers who are united by the same faith, seems to have set the model for a new sense of community which can consolidate social unity and solidarity and thereby eliminate the conflicts of opposing ideologies.”[26]

When speaking of the political reasons behind the resurgence of Islamism in Turkey we have to discuss a phenomenon based on clientelism called kadrolaşma in Turkish. This institution works the following way: When a person comes into power, he tries to get as many of his people as possible into a position of responsibility under him. When a political party comes into power, it is a normal procedure that it tries to replace civil servants with its own people. This can be done either by pensioning the old crew or by assigning them to positions where they have no influence. This may naturally have huge consequences for the future and development of a country. When RP was in power in the middle of the nineties, this party is said to have instituted a ‘wholesale change of personnel in the bureaucracy’, even trying to replace judges and prosecutors.[27] In 1998 it was closed down by the Constitutional Court and was replaced by Fazilet Partisi (FP),[28] and when this was closed the Saadet Partisi (SP, the Prosperity Party) followed.

Ideological reasons

The Kemalists wanted ethics based on nationalism, and although nationalism has been widely accepted on the expense of the ümmet [or umma] idea, this has not been enough to “provide a social ethos that appealed to the heart”.[29] This resulted in a mental bifurcation of society: The Westernisers, mostly concentrated in the bigger cities, who looked ahead optimistically expecting a future in a modern secular society where religion would have the same functions and influence as in Protestant Western countries, and the traditionalists whose world view and ethics were based on their historical background and who were mainly concentrated in the countryside. In this section of the population Islam remained unreformed. When these people moved into the big cities due to changes in the economic situation in the country, they took with them their traditional ways, their ethics and to some extent their ümmet oriented world view.

This found together with an ideology based on the concept of Turkish-Islamic synthesis that had been developed in the 1970. This ideology where the religious aspect was highlighted “saw the uniqueness of Turkish culture in its synthesis of sunni Islam and the historical heritage of Turcic peoples: a synthesis of family, the mosque, and the barracks.” At the same time and for the reasons mentioned above, a “hidden Islamic discourse” in the state ideology should serve to unify the society.[30] In this way the radical secularism of the republicans was to some extent abandoned. Consequently the state itself became the planner of the religious life of the population with the ümmet-idea as the foundation.

Education

With the closing of the madrasas in 1924 all education came to be in the hands of the government. Still the secular way of teaching was rather old-fashioned consisting in making the children memorise and without any ambition of teaching them how to analyse. In spite of a lot of efforts and good intentions on the part of politicians, civil servants and teachers, the results were as weak as the basis.

But it is not only the system that has fallen short when it comes to supporting or improving the level of education in Turkey. Some villagers do not send their children to school, and it is especially the girls who are kept at home. The newspaper Radikal (28.01 2002, page 5) reported that in the town of Niğde alone 1,800 families had been fined for not sending their children to school.

The other side of the coin is the religious education: The imam-hatip schools. These schools should supply traditional religious education to men who were going to serve in the mosques. The curriculum was traditionally Islamic and thus a continuation of the madrasa tradition from the Ottoman period. The number of these schools rose from 7 in 1952 to 464 in 1997, and they have been claimed to strengthen the influence of the orthodox and make the problem of polarisation in the modern society worse.[31]   These schools, that especially have been popular among parents of with a rural or lower-middle-class background who want their children to learn the traditional values, have served a purpose beyond the original intention. The graduates from the imam-hatip schools are far too numerous to find work in the mosques of Turkey. Besides, many of the students are girls who from the very start are barred from working as imam. Many of these graduates have found jobs as civil servants in governmental institutions. This, combined with the institution of kadrolaşma described above, has prompted concern in secular circles.[32] By the year 1999 it was recommended that at least the middle-school part of these schools be closed.[33]

The imam-hatip schools have added impetus to another interesting phenomenon in Turkey: The many Islamic periodicals. Many graduates from these schools have started producing and writing for radical Islamic journals, which again are read by students and by parents of prospective students and thus snowballing the effect.[34]

Another way of Islamic education in Turkey has been provided is by the private Koran Courses.   As seen from the National Security Council Recommendations of the 28th of February 1997, these courses are regarded as a potential danger for the secular republic and are monitored closely.[35]

The tarikats and other Islamic movements[36]

The tarikats or religious brotherhoods, many of them of Sufi orientation, were banned in 1925 and have been illegal ever since. However, the growing permissiveness of the state has made them surface again. Not all of them are equally strong, and not all of them are regarded as equally dangerous. It is mainly the Nakşibendi groups[37] that give reason for concern, partly because they functions well without the lodges and rituals used by other tarikats, and therefore thrive very well under cover. There has been some disagreement on the extent to which these groups have political ambitions. Some find that the groups are harmless, only interested keeping Islam within orthodoxy. Others agree with Şerif Mardin who observes that “the Nakşibendi case leads us to think of Islam as the primary, ideological anchor, the matrix for thinking and action which has the basic ideological role to play, and of Muslim political activism, as well as diffuse democratization, as something generated in the interstices of the faith.”[38] It was one of the Nakşibendi groups who helped Mr. Necmettin Erbakan to found the religiously oriented Millî Nizam Partisi (MNP) in 1970[1],[39] and it has also supported the Anavatan Partisi (ANAP).

There are more tarikats in Turkey than the Nakşibendi tarikat, but they are not thought to be as strong. Only the Nurcu movement, whose eponym is Said Nursi (1873 – 1960) from Bitlis in Turkey, seems to be equally powerful. This group is not considered a traditional tarikat but can be described as a movement which tries to unite Western technical and scientific advancements with traditional Islamic values. The members are not bound to any sheikh the same way as in the tarikats based on Sufism, but rather to the Nur Risaleleri, the writings of Said Nursi.[40] Also this group has given evidence of political involvement. The Nurcu movement has generally supported DP and its successors AP and DYP, although some from the group have preferred ANAP.[41] In a letter Said Nursi himself has written: “We find ourselves under obligation to keep the Democrats in power for the sake of the benefits to the Koran.”[42]

Globalisation and post-modernism[43]

It has been held that religion will decline as a result of economic development and Islam has been viewed as an ideology of protest as small traders and artisans lose income and status due to globalisation. It seems though that some in these groups thrive quite well in this new situation due to their small industries and to subcontracting. Still they complain because of lack of support from the government that has been more inclined to support larger companies.[44] Before the 1980s the state intervened mainly by means of its bureaucracy, but this has changed. “In the 1980s, the locus of decision-making shifted from the traditional bureaucratic elites to the political elites,” and now “[t]here was a constant and particularistic state invention, despite the rhetoric of ‘free interprise,’ ‘market liberalism,’ and so on.” At the same time the country has witnessed a series of corruption scandals. All this has made it easy for the Refah Partisi with its promises of an “adil düzen” (a just system) in “an egalitarian petit-bourgeois society composed of individual entrepreneurs” to attract people from this segment. Also immigrants from the countryside who have been unable to find work after moving to the cities have been attracted by the message of political Islam, partly due to its populist propaganda.[45]

Apart from this there are the influences of postmodernist tendencies.   Modernism has been described as a “Western project,” forward looking, progressive, scientific, rational, universal, and with no room for religion. Postmodernism is anti-authoritarian and sceptical. It does not accept the “grand narratives,” theories which claim to provide universal explanations and trade on the authority this gives them.

In several Muslim countries scepticism about modernism has developed since the 1960s, often because of disappointment over the outcome. This coincides with the development of radical Islam in countries as Egypt and Syria, and with the organisation of political Islam in Turkey. Until then Kemalism had been the “grand narrative,” with its goal of making Turkey a modern country at all costs.

During the last thirty years Turkey by means of television has been bombarded with Western values, Western lifestyle and Western opinion. To the extent people already have accepted the discourse of modernism, this has been a reinforcement of their ideals, but to the extent people have kept their traditional values, the grand narrative of Western modernism is met with scepticism and is rejected. One may then ask why the “grand narrative” of Islam is not met with the same scepticism.

Conclusion

There is an interesting aspect to the development of Islam in the Turkish Republic: The real resurgence of Islamic self-assertion did not happen immediately after the return to a multiparty system and democracy around 1950. One should have expected an eruption of Islamic ethos and discourse as soon as the pressure was relaxed. But this especially happened after the return to democracy in the 1980s. To examine why, I suggest that two aspects of the situation be taken into consideration: The basis, or breeding ground, for the development, and the stimulants.

  1. The basis: The carriers of the ideology of Kemalism were mainly concentrated in the towns. Although efforts were made to reach people in the villages, the influence was not strong enough to change the world view, ethos and values there. One of the reasons was that this task was too overwhelming for the educational system. Since 1932 Türk Dil Kurumu has been working to change Arabic words in the Turkish vocabulary into Turkish words. For some time Turkish was even used when calling to prayer from the mosques. In spite of that, many Arabic words relating to religion were kept and even used in the by the administration of the secular republic. As a result especially people in the countryside kept to their tradition which they regarded as Islamic. When people from this group later moved into the big cities due the changes in the economic situation, they were confronted with the modern ethos and discourse that were the natural consequence of Kemalism’s idea of a modern society, and they reacted against it. Some of the immigrants landed in the lowest social stratum of society losing both income and status. Others managed to become self-employed and run their businesses according to traditional values. Both groups were for different reasons ready to support a party that was promising a just system based on traditional values. This historically meant support to a party with an Islamic programme. This again would give this party a change to develop its influence in governmental institutions by means of kadrolaşma and thus prepare an Islamist breeding ground in the country. This was facilitated by the ideology of Turkish-Islamic synthesis which had been present since the 1970s.
  2. The stimulants: After the coup in 1980 the traditional values (manevî değerler) were promoted as a weapon against communism. As the traditional values had not changed a lot since Ottoman times, these meant Islamic values. These have been promoted partly by the importance given to religious education in popular schools, in the imam-hatip schools and in the private Koran-courses, partly by the more relaxed attitude towards the tarikats. At the same time radical Islam celebrated its successes in neighbouring countries, and many articles of foreign radical Islamists were translated into Turkish. In the West the scepticism of the grand narratives started to let itself be heard. To people with a traditional Muslim background in Turkey the grand narrative was Kemalism. It is true that it was mainly university students and intellectuals who were aware of postmodernist scepticism, but they in turn as new Muslim intellectuals made this way of approach available to others. This was done by means of the numerous Islamic periodicals and magazines that started to be published by radicals and by traditionalists in the 1980s. Many of the articles in these magazines were written by graduates from the imam-hatip schools. Other graduates from these schools found their way into the educational system and governmental institutions where they functioned as stimulants of Islamic ethos and discourse.

This development was very disquieting both to the Kemalists and to others who felt that this situation combined with a strong Islamic party might be damaging to the democracy and to human rights. The political aspect of this development was stopped in 1997 when the RP was closed. New parties with an Islamic tilt have appeared, but their front is divided.

But one thing has hardly changed, namely what David Shankland calls “the intensity and sheer determination of the Islamic movement.”[46] At the same time, as Şerif Mardin says: “It is doubtful, however, whether either the generals or the Turkish secular intelligentsia have a precise understanding of the admittedly diffuse and protoplasmic social forces which shape Turkish religion.”[47] It is hard to predict the effect these two elements brought together are going to have on the future of Turkey.

[1][39] Shankland (1999), page 68; Ruşen Çakır “Ne Şeriat Ne Demokrasi – Refah Partisini Anlamak” (Istanbul: Metis Yayınları 1994), pages 19 – 21; see also the speech Nakşibendi sheikh Professor M. Esad Coşan gave when his group fell out with Necmettin Erbakan, quoted in Çakır (1990), pages 48 – 54

[1] Turan, Ilter “Religion and Political Culture in Turkey” in Richard Tapper (ed.) “Islam in Modern Turkey” (London: I.B. Tauris & Co Ltd. 1991), page 32.

[2] Javaid Saeed, “Islam and Modernization” (Westport, US: Praeger Publishers 1994), page 196.

[3] Doğu Perinçek, ed. “Atatürk – Din ve Laiklik Üzerine” (Istanbul: Kaynak Yayınlar 1997), pages 23-26.

[4] Davıd Shankland, Islam and society in Turkey (Eothen Press, 1999), page 19.

[5] Quoted from Perinçek (1997), page 215.

[6] Faruk Birtek and Binnaz Toprak“The Conflictual Agendas of Neo-liberal Reconstruction and the Rise of Islamic Politics in Turkey: The Hazards of Rewriting Modernity” Praxis International, (Oxford: Blackwell Publishers, July 1993, Vol 13 No 2) page 195.

[7] The founder of the movement shall have said: “We feel under obligation to keep the Democrats in power due to the interests of the Koran.” – A. Yücekök, 100 Soruda Türkiye’de Din ve Siyaset (Gerçek Yayınevi, 1971), page 96-.

[8] For a more detailed discussion of the “re-Islamization” and the role of the army, see Ben Lombardi “Turkey: The Return of the Reluctant Generals?” Political Science Quarterly, 112, no. 2, (Summer 1997), pages 191-215.

[9] Ruşen Çakır, “Ayet ve Slogan – Türkiye’de İslami Oluşumlar” (Istanbul: Metis Yayınlar 1990), pages 97, 98.

[10] Çakır (1990), pages 44 – 54.

[11] Shankland (1999), page 40.

[12] Tapper (1991), page 38.

[13] Shankland (1999), page 25.

[14] Shankland (1999), page 116-118.

[15] This does not mean that 22 percent of the electorate favoured an Islamic turn in Turkish politics. Many may have voted for RP in protest against the other political parties in spite of the religious programme of RP. Still this meant a stimulus to the Islamic ethos in the country.

[16] Yücekök, 100 Soruda Türkiye’de Din ve Siyaset (Gerçek Yayınevi, 1971), pages 74 – 78.pages 74 – 78.

[17] Yalçın Akdoğan, “Siyasal İslam – Refah Partisi’nin Anatomisi” (Istanbul: Şehir Yayınları 2000), page 148.

[18] This especially applies to the circle around the periodical Girişim. See Çakır (1990), page 144 and Ayşe Güneş-Ayata, “Pluralism versus Authoritarianism: Political Ideas in Two Islamic Publications” in Tapper (1991), pages 258 – 262.

[19] Ruşen Çakır, “Derin Hizbullah – İslamcı Şiddetin Geleceği” (Istanbul: Metis Yayınlar 2001), pages 28, 32, 162.

[20] Akdoğan (2000) pages 152, 153.

[21] Shankland (1999), pages 9, 43; Akdoğan (2000), pages 170 –179.

[22] “Islamic culture and religious discourse became a part of the culture of the centre. At first sight this was a new phenomenon. … After the 12th of September important opportunities were provided for the tarikat and the religious groups in Turkey. It was desired that the integrity of the nation be ensured within a Islamic framework. Making the religious education in school obligatory, and policies similar to that, enhanced the power and prestige of such groups.” – Akdoğan (2000), page 179.

It is interesting to notice that CIA during the same period tried to fight communism in Afghanistan by supporting the Islamic development in the country and the “jihad” of people like Bin Laden. (Kenneth L. Woodward “A Peaceful Faith, A Fanatic Few,” Newsweek, September 24, 2001, page 78, and Evan Thomas “The road to September 11,” Newsweek, October 1, 2001, page 47.)

[23] See Nutuk, quoted in Perinçek (1997), pages 96, 111.

[24] This has been translated the “True Path Party.” Personally I disagree with this translation, as the Turkish equivalent of this would rather have been “Hakkikî Yol Partisi”. There seem to be connotations to the Koranic “the straight path” in Sura 1;6. Translation of Marmaduke Pickthall, (1930; 1999 edition, Istanbul: Çağrı Yayınları 1999) I would have preferred this rendering, or ”the right path.”

[25] Akdoğan (2000), page 179.

[26] Birtek (1993) page 195.

[27] Shankland (1999), pages 51, 52, 106.

[28] The “Virtue Party”. The Turkish word translated with ‘virtue’ has the connotations of honesty, philanthropy, heroism, wisdom and humility. The Turkish word for virtue with sexual connotations is not fazilet, but iffet.

[29] Yücekök (1971), pages 8 –20; Piscatori (1983), pages 155, 156; Lâle Yalçın-Heckmann, “Ethnic Islam and Nationalism Among the Kurds in Turkey” in Tapper (1991), page 113.

[30] Birtek (1993) page 196.

[31] Saeed (1994), pages 183, 199; Shankland (1999), pages 26 – 28.

[32] David Shankland (1999, page 70) observes that tarikats and other Islamic groups support students who later serve the interest of this group when they find employment within the framework of the state.

[33] Shankland (1999), page 112.

[34] For a detailed discussion on the imam-hatip schools, see Bahattin Akşit: “Islamic Education in Turkey: Medrese Reform in Late Ottoman Times and the Imam-Hatip Schools in the Republic” in Tapper (1991), pages 145 – 170.

[35] Quoted in Shankman (1999), pages 204 – 208.

[36] For a detailed discussion on the role of the tarikats in politics and their effect on upward social mobility, see Birtek (1993) pages 198 – 201.

[37] For a detailed discussion, see Şerif Mardin: “The Nakşibendi Order in Turkish History” in Tapper (1991) pages 121 – 142 and Çakır (1990), pages 9 – 65.

[38] Tapper (1991), page 139.

[39] Shankland (1999), page 68; Ruşen Çakır “Ne Şeriat Ne Demokrasi – Refah Partisini Anlamak” (Istanbul: Metis Yayınları 1994), pages 19 – 21; see also the speech Nakşibendi sheikh Professor M. Esad Coşan gave when his group fell out with Necmettin Erbakan, quoted in Çakır (1990), pages 48 – 54.

[40] Çakır (1990), page 84.

[41] Çakır (1990), page 92.

[42] Yücekök (1971), page 96; see also Shankland (1999), page 70 where it is claimed that Said Nursi “urged [the prime minister from DP] Menderes to declare an Islamic Republic before it was too late.”

[43] For a detailed discussion of political Islam in Turkey and globalisation, see Haldun Gülalp,”Globalization and Political Islam: The Social Basis of Turkey’s Welfare Party” in Journal of Middle East Studies 33 (2001), pages 433 – 488. For a detailed discussion of postmodernism, see Stuart Sim (ed.) The Routledge Companion to Postmodernism, (London: Routledge 2001).

[44] Gülalp (2001), pages 435 – 438.

[45] Gülalp (2001), pages 438 – 445.

[46] Shankland (1999), page 122.

[47] Piscatori (1983), page 146.

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About Antiochene

Writer, living in Antioch on the Orontes (Antakya, Turkey).
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