The Islamists had dreams, writes Levent Gültekin in Diken. Islamism grew as a reaction against a secular republic that anti-democratically excluded pious people from commercial and political networks. When they came to power, the Islamists were going to abolish the discrimination against the pious, and stand for freedom and equality. Yet, the hubris of power made them forget about being democratic. And unfortunately, they lacked a democratic culture in the first place. They replaced it with the worship of the leader. The leader has now purged all of his companions who had their origins in the Islamist ideology. The Islamists’ last hope, to whom they clung, was Ahmet Davutoğlu. Now, the vast majority of the Islamists in media, in the bureaucracy and in the party have been purged. Today, Islamist writers, journalists, intellectuals and politicians are in a state of great shock. It has now dawned on them that there’s no place left to them in the Turkey that they helped bring about.
By Halil Karaveli
May 13, 2016
The dynamics of capitalist development have played a much more central role for Turkey’s journey from secularism to religious conservatism – and before that for the Kemalist break with Islam – than what is generally recognized. During the context of the Cold War, capitalist development and Islamization went hand in hand, as religious conservatism neutralized the challenge of the left and labor. Today, neoliberal globalization provides impetus for Islamization. Raising “pious generations” – who are “traditional,” not rebellious – is essential for sustaining neo-liberalism. An explicitly “religious” constitution, in which reference is made to God, will serve to mask that it is capital that reigns supreme. Ultimately, the survival of secularism requires that the economic order that depends on continued Islamization is called into question.
Soli Özel in Habertürk writes that secularism is a crucial concept in the upcoming discussion about what kind of fundamental principles that are going to shape Turkey’s politics in the future. Recently, people in the governing circles have more frequently started to state that societal arrangements in Turkey should be religiously based. However, the stance in society is different. According to a recent poll, 47 percent of people have a faith, but they are at the same time non-pious. The pious are 40,5 percent. Those who want “Sharia” are 16,6 percent. However, a majority of 76 percent does not want to bring back the khalifat. These numbers don’t mean that the public in Turkey has resolved the identity issue. While 70 percent wants to remain in NATO and 64 percent favors EU membership, 64 percent believes that there is a confrontation between Islamic and Western civilizations.
By M. Kemal Kaya and Halil M. Karaveli (vol. 5, no. 7 of the Turkey Analyst)
The passage of the bill that remolds compulsory education in Turkey erases the legacy of the secularist military intervention fifteen years ago. But although the move of the government of the Justice and Development Party (AKP) ideologically reverses the intervention in 1997, in tactical terms it replicates it. It deploys a similar tactic to check the influence of a power challenger. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has taken on both the secularist constituency and the Gülenist part of the Islamic constituency. It may be that new political alliances, like the ones that were once triggered by the military, besides further strife, are what the future has in store for Turkey.
By Halil M. Karaveli (vol. 3, no. 11 of the Turkey Analyst)
Kemal Kılıcçaroğlu, the new leader of Turkey’s main opposition party CHP, is reaching out to religious conservatism. Yet while he is jettisoning the jargon of secularism, he does not deviate from his party’s traditional nationalism. Thus he is able to offer little new hope of transcending Turkey’s existential Turkish-Kurdish divide.
The Turkey Analyst is a publication of the Central Asia-Caucasus Institute & Silk Road Studies Joint Center, designed to bring authoritative analysis and news on the rapidly developing domestic and foreign policy issues in Turkey. It includes topical analysis, as well as a summary of the Turkish media debate.