Political Islam in Turkey

Political Islam in Turkey

Political Islam in Turkey

The Republic of Turkey, as it was founded by Mustafà Kemal in the 1920s, has an institutional structure based on rigorous secularism. Atatürk has implemented a series of reforms with the aim of westernizing the country, freeing it as much as possible from religious influence in public life. With this in mind, it placed religious institutions under state control, replaced the Arabic characters of the alphabet with Latin ones and imposed Western customs and habits. In Turkish political life, especially from the military and nationalist milieu, direct heir of the Kemalist ideology, Islam is traditionally seen as a potential source of threat to internal stability and, for this reason, state institutions have always tried to to oust him from the political landscape, although the society still identified itself strongly with the values ​​of the Muslim religion. With the path of reforms and openings to civil society, inaugurated at the turn of the eighties and nineties by the former prime minister Turgut Özal, movements linked to political Islam have also entered public life in Turkey. In December 1995, the leader of the political movement linked to Islamic principles, Necmettin Erbakan, won the majority in the general elections and his Welfare Party (Refah Partisi,RP) became the first openly Islamic-inspired movement to lead a Turkish government. The PR, which was a conservative party, had not shown any inclinations towards Islamic radicalism, yet the army felt empowered to press for the government to resign. In 1997, therefore, following what would have been called a ‘post-modern coup’, Erbakan was forced to leave power under the threat of military intervention and the RP was dissolved. In 2001 some politicians formerly close to Erbakan, including the current President of the Republic Abdullah Gül and Prime Minister Erdoğan, former mayor of Istanbul, gave birth to a new political formation, the Akp, which has set itself the goal of collecting the legacy and renewing the ideology of Erbakan. The Akp, although openly linked to the values ​​of the Islamic religion, he was able to combine these ideals with the new international context, taking a pro-European stance, favoring a free market economy and contrasting secular nationalism, typical of Kemalism, with a nationalism capable of reconciling belonging to the Turkish nation and Muslim principles. The peculiarity of this ‘Turkish Islam’ consists precisely in the coexistence of different souls within the AKP, which was able to gather around itself the consent of a large part of the Turkish population and to carry on the democratization process, resisting to pressure from military circles. Once the influence of the military has been obscured, however, the Akp he was accused of having veered towards an authoritarian drift, also characterized by ‘Islamist’ veins aimed at bringing religion back to the center of Turkish public life. For Turkey political system, please check carswers.com.

The struggle for Kurdish independence

The Kurds are the largest ethnic group in the world without a state, with over 30 million people spread across Syria, Iraq, Iran and Turkey. In particular, almost 15 million Kurds live in Turkey, making up the largest ethnic minority in the country. For the most part Sunni Muslims, Kurds have their own language and boast a millennial culture. Under the Ottoman Empire, the Kurdish nation enjoyed a certain autonomy for centuries. The Treaty of Sèvres, which put an end to the war between the Empire and the Entente, provided for the creation of an independent Kurdish state. The subsequent Treaty of Lausanne of 1923, signed with the new Turkish republican government, omitted any reference to the Kurds who were divided among the newborn Middle Eastern states.pkk, began the armed struggle in 1984 following its banning as a political party. The Ankara government has repeatedly carried out violent repression and overall it is estimated that the Turkish-Kurdish conflict has caused more than 40,000 victims. In recent years the Kurdish question has undergone an evolution following the geopolitical upheavals of the area: with the fall of Saddam Hussein in 2003, the Iraqi Kurds have seen a certain degree of autonomy recognized in the northern region of the country, while on the Turkish side Prime Minister Erdoğan started negotiations with Kurdish representatives for the first time in 2011. However, the Syrian crisis has changed the cards once again: despite the Syrian Kurds siding against Assad and subsequently against the Islamic State (both hated by Ankara), Turkey did not welcome the de facto creation of a new Kurdish autonomy zone in Syria. For this reason, the Turkish army did not intervene during the siege by the Islamic militias of the Kurdish border town of Kobane, despite pressure from Western countries, including the United States. The subsequent Turkish intervention in Syria against the Islamic State was accompanied by a resumption of operations against the Kurds, for fear of an excessive strengthening of the latter on the Turkish side. The turbulent situation in the area and the delicate position of the Kurdish community straddling four different states make it extremely difficult to reach a peaceful solution to the Kurdish question.

Political Islam in Turkey