Islamist Third Worldism in Turkey: Erbakan's National Outlook (Milli Gorus) Movement

20 Pages Posted: 16 Aug 2018

Date Written: January 20, 2018


In the Republican Era, the Kemalists have consciously disfavor of Turkish Islam by creating alternative narratives and institutions. The Republican narratives always disfavor tarikats, sufi orders which may potentially be close to the people. Instead, the Kemalists have developed alternative narrative which prioritize state Islam and alternative institution which is the Directorate of Religious AffairsThe members or potential members of sufi orders have embraced the state Islam of which could provide more security and protection within the society. The Khalidi branch of the Nakhsbandi has been the most politically engaged of the brotherhoods, whose debut in national politics was led by Sheikh Mehmed Zahid Kotku (1897-1980) who preached that it was the duty of observant Muslims to take an active interest in national affairs. The first prominent Islamist party in Republican Turkey, the National Order Party (Milli Nizam Partisi, MNP) (1970-71), and the National Salvation Party (Millî Selamet Partisi, MSP) (1972-81) were established through his promotion and support and he had supervised their activities. Erbakan’s Islamist movement is known as Milli Görüş (National View or Outlook) that embraced a set of aspiring yet ambiguous references to the Ottoman past, and directed criticism against “cosmopolitanism” as opposed to the “national.” Here, nationalism, a primary motto of the secular Turkish Republic, promoted as religio-nationalism by Erbakan’s parties, was not an obstacle but a shared feeling of pride — first “Ottoman” then “Turkish” — that had been building since Abdülhamid II. Erbakan’s intellectual sources and industrial connections to the Anatolian middle-sized conservative capitalists brought about an interesting amalgam of traditional Sunni-based Islamic culture and Sufi worldview embedded within a developmentalist discourse.

Keywords: Political Islam, Turkish Islamism, Third Worldism, Erbakan

JEL Classification: Z10, Z12

Suggested Citation

Yilmaz, Ihsan, Islamist Third Worldism in Turkey: Erbakan's National Outlook (Milli Gorus) Movement (January 20, 2018). Available at SSRN: or

Ihsan Yilmaz (Contact Author)

Deakin University ( email )

75 Pigdons Road
Victoria, Victoria 3216


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