Influence of Pluralism and Electoral Participation on the Transformation of Turkish Islamism
Fatih University - Faculty of Economics and Administrative Sciences
December 1, 2008
Journal of Economic and Social Research, Vol. 10, No. 2, pp. 43-65, 2008
Similar to other Islamists, Turkish Islamists have also used intolerant and exclusivist rhetoric. They have used religion in a heavy-handed manner as the dominating parameter of their political ideology and have confined religious concepts and values to a certain group, nationalizing, modernizing, secularizing and politicizing them. Turkish Islamists have also envisaged taking over the state and using it to socially engineer a top-down Islamist transformation in society through state centralism. Political science literature argues that via electoral participation, radical, extremist and even anti-systemic parties may moderate their agendas in order to benefit from opportunities created by a pluralist democracy. This paper argues that the opportunities provided by the pluralist tradition and the democratic experience of Turkey from Ottoman times to present have helped Turkish Islamists to transform their ideology into post-Islamism. Thanks to this pluralist experience Turkish Islamists have not only participated in elections, competed for median voters, and even democratically come to power but have also discursively and physically interacted with various Muslim groups, intellectuals, scholars, businessmen, communities and so on, in a pluralist setting. As a result, Turkish Islamists have been able to modify their ideology in tune with pluralist and democratic ideals.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 23
Keywords: Political Islam, Post-Islamism, Political Participation, Democratic Pluralism, Muslim Politics, Turkey, Justice and Development Party
JEL Classification: D71, D79Accepted Paper Series
Date posted: March 5, 2011
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