The Identity of Turkey: Muslim and Secular

Ayla Göl

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Citations (Scopus)
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This article analyses the rise of political Islam in Turkey in the context of the AKP’s tenure in power with reference to complex social, economic, historical and ideational factors. It aims to answer one of the key questions, which has wider implications for the West and Islamic world: ‘having experienced the bad and good of the West in secularism and democracy’, as claimed by Samuel Huntington’s ‘clash of civilisations’ thesis, is Turkey in transition from a secular to an Islamic state? The article first questions Turkey’s ‘bridge’ or ‘torn-country’ status and then explains the AKP’s ambivalent policies towards religious and identity issues in relation to the increased public visibility of Islam and a ‘performative reflexivity’ of ‘Muslimselves’. It concludes that the real issue at stake is not the assumed clash of secular and Muslim identities but the complex of interdependence between Islam, secularism and democratisation in Turkey.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)795-811
Number of pages17
JournalThird World Quarterly
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2009


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