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

Abstract

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

Yilmaz, Ihsan, Religious Freedom, the Muslim Identity and the Secularist Social-Engineering Project in Turkey (2014). Quaderni Di Diritto E Politica Ecclesiastica, No. 1, April 2014 . Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2677920

Ihsan Yilmaz (Contact Author)

Deakin University ( email )

75 Pigdons Road
Victoria, Victoria 3216
Australia

HOME PAGE: http://www.deakin.edu.au/about-deakin/people/ihsan-yilmaz

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