Religious Freedom, the Muslim Identity and the Secularist Social-Engineering Project in Turkey
Quaderni Di Diritto E Politica Ecclesiastica, No. 1, April 2014
8 Pages Posted: 28 Oct 2015
Date Written: 2014
In Turkey, the hegemonic Kemalist power élite, the torchbearers of a civilizing mission, have imagined and attempted to socially engineer a secular homogenous Turkish nation. Due to the existence of the Kurds, who comprise around 20 per cent of the population, and millions of non-Turkish Muslim migrants from the former Ottoman territories, this project could not be strictly based on race. Thus, the Kemalist state has also tried to assimilate the Kurds and non-Turkish Muslims into a so-called inclusive Turkish manifest socio-political identity, which was based only on ethnic Turks’ culture, the Kurdish culture particularly being almost completely disregarded in moulding this new identity. This included banning and even criminalizing the speaking of Kurdish in the public spaces. However, not only the Kurds, who suffered the most, but also others, such as practising Muslims, Islamists, leftists, liberals, Kurdish nationalists, Kurdish Islamists and Alevis and so on, have either with their mere existence or actively challenged this mono-cultural Kemalist nation-building project.
Keywords: Turkish Politics, Secularism, Nationalism, Islam
JEL Classification: Z00
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation