'Religious' and 'Laik' Actors and the Question of Democracy in Turkey
APSA 2011 Annual Meeting Paper
The rise of Justice and Development Party (AKP) has been taken by many scholars as an example of a religious actor furthering democratization. Such a conclusion rests on an insufficient attention to concrete policies, their politics and context, and overemphasizes the differences between religious and laik actors in Turkey. In particular, the rampant presentation of the post 1980-coup Islamist activism as a major contribution to civil society 1) misunderstands the nature of power in the socialization mechanisms deployed by religious communities on the youth, 2) misses the state support some “supposedly” grass roots religious movements received, and 3) ignores the embezzlement cases involving religious persuasion. The article closes with an examination of the religion policy of AKP through an analysis of parliamentary discussions, daily politics and high court decisions to show that AKP is pursuing anti-democratic religion policies which are of Kemalist heritage in general and of the 1980 military coup heritage in particular.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 36
Keywords: Turkey, Justice and Development Party, Political Islam, Secularism, Laiklik, Democracy, Military
Date posted: August 1, 2011 ; Last revised: August 12, 2011