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From Radical Secularism to Islamic NationalismThe Historical Evolution of Politico-Religious Relationship in Turkey

In: Sociology of Islam
Author: Yang Chen1,2
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  • 1 Department of History, Shanghai University, Shanghai, China
  • | 2 Center for Turkish Studies, Shanghai University, Shanghai, China, ycwf2008@163.com
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Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s Justice and Development Party (jdp) has continuously won elections and consolidated its power since 2002, while Turkish society has become increasingly conservative at the same time. The official implementation of the presidential system after June 2018 has triggered the world’s concerns and reflections about the future direction of Turkish society: a secular road, an Islamic road, or a new path of balance between religion and secularism. This necessitates an historical analysis of Turkey’s politico-religious relations. The role of Islam in Turkish society can be roughly divided into the following five stages: the suppression of Islam (1923–1950), the release of Islam (1950–), the re-politicization of Islam (1970–), the co-optation of Islam (1980–), and the new development of political Islam (2002–). During the jdp period, a fragile balance between secularism and Islamism had been achieved. But after the July 15th coup in 2016, the jdp adjusted its ideology from radical secularism to Islamic nationalism. The combination of Islamism and nationalism brings more challenges to the solidarity of Turkish society.

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