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The Study of Secularism and Religion in the Constitution and Contemporary Politics of Turkey: The Rise of Interdisciplinarity and the Decline of Methodology?

13 Pages Posted: 16 Mar 2013  

Russell Powell

Seattle University School of Law

Date Written: 2010

Abstract

Using the experience of Islamist parties in Turkey as a comparative example, this article explores whether political parties with deeply held religious ideologies can integrate themselves into liberal democracies, paying particular attention to the nature and role of legal secularism (the mechanism states use to insulate themselves from religious influence). This is an extension of the query whether the rise of illiberal political groups eventually leads to the end of liberal society. These queries engage the assumption that illiberal religious ideology is incapable of tolerating dissent or pluralism. I examine Turkish constitutional secularism as well as the “Islamist” Justice and Development Party (“AKP”) and its electoral victories in 2002 and 2007 in order to explain the AKP’s ability to shift away from dogmatic ideology to conservative, yet democratic, positions.

Keywords: Law, Islam, Turkey, Democracy, Constitution, Secularism, Freedom of Religion, Liberalism, Islamist, Methodology, Postmodern

JEL Classification: K00, K10, K33, K39, N40, N45

Suggested Citation

Powell, Russell, The Study of Secularism and Religion in the Constitution and Contemporary Politics of Turkey: The Rise of Interdisciplinarity and the Decline of Methodology? (2010). University of St. Thomas Law Journal, Vol. 7, (2010); Seattle University School of Law Research Paper. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2234112

Russell Powell (Contact Author)

Seattle University School of Law ( email )

901 12th Avenue, Sullivan Hall
P.O. Box 222000
Seattle, WA n/a 98122-1090
United States

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