Does Secularism Face a Serious Threat in Turkey?
- Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa and the Middle East
- Duke University Press
- Volume 29, Number 3, 2009
- pp. 413-422
- Additional Information
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Since 2002, the year the Justice and Development Party (JDP) formed a majority government in Turkey, the bulk of secularists in that country have felt that Turkey would soon drift toward a state based on Islam. The secularists in question are of the opinion that the JDP government has been engaged in dissimulation (takiyye) and that, in the first opportune moment, would attempt to Islamize the state. In a related manner, the secularists think that there has been a gradual increase in the number of turbaned women and that the latter would exercise a moral pressure on uncovered women and oblige them to sport turbans. Thus it is presumed that the bulk of the people in Turkey long for a state based on Islam. This article takes up the question of whether indeed a great majority of the people in Turkey are inclined toward a state based on Islam, for they oppose the secular republic, they have little or no tolerance toward the secularists, and they insist that everybody in that country should practice and live Islam as they themselves do. The article draws on findings from reliable nationwide surveys conducted in Turkey since 1999.