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Intellectual roots of ‘Turkish Islam’ and approaches to the ‘Turkish model’
Journal of Muslim Minority Affairs
  • Etga Ugur, University of Washington Tacoma
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Document Type
This paper examines the notions of ‘Turkish model’ and ‘Turkish Islam’ which have caught significant interest among the political circles in Turkey and the West but which failed to receive adequate attention from the academia. This paper argues that there are three main outlooks that conceptualize and idealize the Turkish model vis‐à‐vis its relation to Islam: nationalist, orientalist, and liberal. These perspectives depart from a set of assumptions and practical objectives in order to make their proposal appealing. After examining their premises, it is evident that the intellectual roots of Turkish Islam do not receive adequate attention in these three models. Thus, it would be more accurate to name the Turkish model as the ‘Kemalist model’ of modernization since the historical evolution and intellectual roots of Turkish Islam remain undervalued. The paper concludes that rather than presenting modern Turkey as a role model to the Greater Middle East or the Muslim world, a more comprehensive and nuanced analysis of social, historical and intellectual roots of Turkish Muslimness is necessary. This attitude can make the discussion on Turkish model well founded and better suited for the ongoing debates regarding the future of the Muslim world in terms of its economic, political and social transformation.
pre-print, post-print
Citation Information
Etga Ugur. "Intellectual roots of ‘Turkish Islam’ and approaches to the ‘Turkish model’" Journal of Muslim Minority Affairs Vol. 24 Iss. 2 (2004) p. 327 - 345
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