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Islam's marriage with_neo_liberalism__state_transformation_in_turkey

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    Islam's marriage with_neo_liberalism__state_transformation_in_turkey Islam's marriage with_neo_liberalism__state_transformation_in_turkey Document Transcript

    • Islams Marriage with Neoliberalism State Transformation in Turkey Yildiz Atasoy
    • Islam’s Marriage with Neoliberalism
    • Islam’s Marriage withNeoliberalismState Transformation in TurkeyYıldız Atasoy
    • © Yıldız Atasoy 2009All rights reserved. No reproduction, copy or transmission of thispublication may be made without written permission.No portion of this publication may be reproduced, copied or transmittedsave with written permission or in accordance with the provisions of theCopyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988, or under the terms of any licencepermitting limited copying issued by the Copyright Licensing Agency,Saffron House, 6-10 Kirby Street, London EC1N 8TS.Any person who does any unauthorized act in relation to this publicationmay be liable to criminal prosecution and civil claims for damages.The author has asserted her right to be identifiedas the author of this work in accordance with the Copyright,Designs and Patents Act 1988.First published 2009 byPALGRAVE MACMILLANPalgrave Macmillan in the UK is an imprint of Macmillan Publishers Limited,registered in England, company number 785998, of Houndmills, Basingstoke,Hampshire RG21 6XS.Palgrave Macmillan in the US is a division of St Martin’s Press LLC,175 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10010.Palgrave Macmillan is the global academic imprint of the above companiesand has companies and representatives throughout the world.Palgrave® and Macmillan® are registered trademarks in the United States,the United Kingdom, Europe and other countries.ISBN-13: 978–0–230–54680–6 hardbackThis book is printed on paper suitable for recycling and made from fullymanaged and sustained forest sources. Logging, pulping and manufacturingprocesses are expected to conform to the environmental regulations of thecountry of origin.A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library.A catalog record for this book is available from the Library of Congress.10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 118 17 16 15 14 13 12 11 10 09Printed and bound in Great Britain byCPI Antony Rowe, Chippenham and Eastbourne
    • For my sister Yasemin
    • The crisis consists precisely in the fact that the old is dying and the newcannot be born; in this interregnum a great variety of morbid symptomsappear. Antonio Gramsci, Selections from the Prison Notebooks
    • ContentsAcknowledgements viii1 Islam’s Marriage with Neoliberalism 12 The Allure of the West 323 Turkish Islam: Unthinking Kemalism? 704 Reconstituting the State: The Islamic Framing of Neoliberalism 1075 Kemalist State Feminism and the Islamic Dress Code 1376 Politics Without Guarantees: The Headscarf Ban 1647 Headscarf Madness: Narratives of Religious Rights 2018 Conclusion 239Notes 253References 256Index 280 vii
    • AcknowledgementsI would like to acknowledge Merlin Press Ltd for giving me permission toreproduce the extensively revised version from the following sections of‘The AKP and neoliberalism,’ ‘The realignment of Turkish capital,’ and‘The class ambiguities of an Islamic orientation’ sections in Chapter 4,which were published in ‘The Islamic Ethic and the Spirit of TurkishCapitalism Today’ in Socialist Register 2008: Global Flashpoints. I would also like to acknowledge International Publishers for givingme permission to reproduce the epigraph. viii
    • 1Islam’s Marriage with NeoliberalismIn 1999 the Helsinki Summit officially positioned Turkey within theEuropean Union (EU) enlargement process. Since then, Turkey has beenundergoing an extraordinary political, economic, and cultural transfor-mation. The Copenhagen Summit of 2002 accelerated this process ofchange when EU leaders decided on the specific date of 17 December2004 to review Turkey’s candidacy. In the light of serious effortsundertaken by successive Turkish governments, EU leaders decided attheir December 2004 Summit to begin accession negotiations withTurkey on 3 October 2005. These negotiations have been underwaysince then. The EU Accession Partnership document adopted in 2000 specifiesthe programme of change for Turkey. It is based on the implementa-tion of the Copenhagen economic and political criteria – which setsmembership requirements as determined by the Copenhagen EuropeanCouncil of 1993. The Copenhagen criteria specifies no fewer than 32policy areas for political reform and 85 areas of economic reform leadingto Turkey’s harmonious integration with the EU (Ugur 2004: 75). Sincethe 1980s Turkey has adopted a number of specific policies to trans-form its economy from a state-dominated and protectionist model toa market-oriented one, mainly through trade liberalization, privatiza-tion, and increasing competitiveness. This has helped Turkey reach theCopenhagen economic objectives. Despite the difficulties in fully imple-menting EU-induced market-oriented reforms (Faucompret and Konings2008: 49–150), the European Council sees the most important obsta-cle to membership in relation to the Copenhagen political criteria. Inparticular, it urges the government to meet the political objectives ofthe Copenhagen criteria and institutionalize a west European model ofdemocracy. 1
    • 2 Islam’s Marriage with Neoliberalism Turkey has made important progress with respect to democratization.In 2000 Turkey’s coalition government was comprised of the centre-left Democratic Leftist Party (DSP), the far-right National Action Party(MHP), and the centrist Motherland Party. On 18 March 2000, thatgovernment announced its commitment to reform in the National Pro-gramme for the Adoption of the Acquis Communautaire (NPAA) and initi-ated policy change towards satisfying EU preconditions for membership.After coming to power in 2002, the ‘pro-Islamic’ Justice and Develop-ment Party (AKP) also declared its commitment to EU membership. Itmoved forcefully to fulfil the Copenhagen criteria as proclaimed in theEU Charter of Fundamental Rights (Negotiating Framework 2005). The success of the AKP in the national elections of November 2002was decisive for parliament, enabling the government to act withresolve in meeting EU membership requirements. The AKP received34.2 per cent of the popular vote and gained 66 per cent of parlia-mentary seats. It established a single party majority rule for the firsttime after more than a decade of fragile coalition governments. It alsoformed the first ever ‘pro-Islamic’ majority government in Turkish his-tory. The notoriously ‘secular’ Republican People’s Party (CHP) received19.4 per cent of the popular vote and 34 per cent of parliamentaryseats, becoming the only opposition party in parliament. Other polit-ical parties failed to pass the 10 per cent threshold for representationin parliament. For Recep Tayyip Erdogan (2002), leader of the AKP, EUmembership is the single most important project for Turkey since theestablishment of the republic in 1923. To fulfil the requirements of thisproject, the AKP adopted the Emergency Action Plan in 2003 and revisedthe NPAA instituted by the previous coalition government (Loewendahl-Ertugal 2005: 38). Under the so-called harmonization laws passed in2002 and 2003, seven major political reform packages were adopted withthe aim of fulfilling the Copenhagen criteria. In order to satisfy the Copenhagen criteria, the AKP has expendedtremendous effort instituting significant legislative changes. The gov-ernment intensified its resolve after the December 2004 Summit of EUleaders. As a result, in the brief period from October 2004 to July 2005,the AKP-majority parliament succeeded in passing 166 laws. The generalassembly convened 125 times, having met for a total of 696 hours andgenerating 33,049 pages of documentation. Parliamentary commissionsworked 1231 hours and recorded 17,200 pages of deliberation (TurkishDaily News 21 July 2005). If one includes the reforms adopted by pre-vious governments since 1999, more than a third of the original textof the 1982 Constitution (prepared under the undemocratic conditions
    • Islam’s Marriage with Neoliberalism 3of the 1980 military coup) was amended (Ozbudun and Yazici 2004).Significant improvements were realized in the protection of fundamen-tal rights and liberties, including freedom of religion and conscience,freedom of expression, and freedom of association (Denli 2007: 97). Turkey’s traditional secularist elite, most notably the military andjudiciary bureaucracy, often views the AKP’s pursuit of EU-orienteddemocratic reforms as an attempt to institutionalize Islamization-by-stealth. The AKP is accused of gradually shifting the emphasis in stateideology from Kemalism to Islamism, an accusation which has deepenedcultural tension within Turkey. This tension has been partly ‘created’by the military and judiciary to justify their frequent interventions inpolitics in the name of strengthening the Kemalist foundation of thestate. Kemalism is the official ideology of the Turkish state, named afterthe founder of the Republic of Turkey, Mustafa Kemal. It represents apath taken by ruling civil–military cadres in their institutionalization ofnational sovereignty through a state-led economic developmentalismand secular nationalism known as laiklik. Kemalism has fundamentallyshaped the direction of relations between rulers and ruled and contin-ues to frame the particular content of political struggles over inclusion,exclusion, domination, and subordination. With the establishment ofthe nation-state, civil–military bureaucratic cadres were elevated to apolitically dominant position from which they could safeguard thatframe (Atasoy 2005: 23–85). Due to the fact that Kemalism formed thestate under the tutelage of bureaucratic cadres, the AKP-led reform pro-gramme directing Turkey towards the EU also presents a challenge tothe power of civil–military bureaucratic cadres. It raises the possibilitythat Kemalism can be revised to permit political renegotiations aroundthe relations between rulers and ruled. The three most contentious areasin these relations consist of the military’s frequent interventions in pol-itics, Muslim women’s wearing of the headscarf, and the Kurdish issue.These three issues are closely connected to a transformation in theKemalist basis of the state which is deeply embedded in the constitution.Transformation in the Kemalist stateAn interesting case in point was the military’s opposition to theelection of Abdullah Gul, the AKP’s candidate for the presidency in2007, simply because his wife wears the turban, a fashionable formof headscarf frequently worn by young Islamic women. General YasarBuyukanit, then chief of general staff, expressed this opposition in ane-mail hastily posted on the General Staff Website. This has become
    • 4 Islam’s Marriage with Neoliberalismknown as the e-memorandum of 27 April 2007. The note advised that‘the fundamental founding principles of the state of the Republic ofTurkey, most importantly the laiklik principle’ must be protected. Laiklikis a form of secular nationalism which refers to the state’s control overreligious institutions and religious practices. It redirects nationalist sen-timents around a singular unifying culture. The result has been anauthoritarian concept of national culture that emphasizes homogeneity,political unity, and solidarity (Koker 1995). The General Staff justified itspolitical intervention by declaring that ‘the Turkish Armed Forces is oneof the parties in laiklik discussions and its absolute defender . . . loyaltyto the Republican regime must be demonstrated through action, noton the surface but in essence’ (Genelkurmay Baskanlıgı 27 April 2007,my translation). The General Staff’s warning received strong supportfrom the CHP and the DSP which organized large rallies in Ankara,Istanbul, and Izmir in April and May of 2007. Banners carried at therallies declared the turban a ‘reactionary flag’ and accused the AKP’spresidential candidate of being a threat to the ‘laik’ republic (Yayla2007). The Constitutional Court exacerbated the election controversyby re-examining the parliamentary by-laws and related constitutionalprovisions, and then questioning whether the number of deputies whoparticipated in parliamentary voting was adequate for the session to belegally valid (Today’s Zaman 28 April 2007). For Ergun Ozbudun (2007),a professor of constitutional law at Bilkent University, the judicialintervention was aimed at disrupting parliamentary procedural process,thereby predisposing parliament to apprehension and doubt in its effortto exercise legislative power. Both the military’s veiled e-coup and the legal manoeuvring by theConstitutional Court served to strengthen accusations of Islamization-by-stealth levelled at the AKP. This in turn reinforced a politics of Islamicresentment against the laik state bureaucracy. The Islamization-by-stealthaccusation was played out in the 22 July 2007 national election andresulted in the AKP securing another five-year term in government. In the July 2007 election the AKP increased its popular vote to46.7 per cent, up from 34.28 per cent in the 2002 election. AbdullahGul became president soon after. The CHP and the DSP, which formeda centre-left coalition, received 20.87 per cent of the vote. The far-rightMHP secured 14.3 per cent of the vote. During the elections the AKPadopted a ‘liberal’ stance, as opposed to the statist, nationalist platformof the centre-left CHP–DSP coalition and the far-right MHP. The posi-tion of the CHP–DSP and the MHP in part reflects their opposition tothe AKP-led liberalization programmes adopted to fulfil EU Copenhagen
    • Islam’s Marriage with Neoliberalism 5criteria. They argue that the AKP has become acquiescent in the face ofEU pressure to adopt specific policies. Central to this argument is theimplication that some EU membership requirements may underminenational sovereignty. The CHP–DSP and MHP have also accused the gov-ernment of not taking a strong stand against the Kurdistan Workers’Party (PKK), the outlawed Kurdish separatist organization. Most impor-tantly, it remains unacceptable for many on the centre-left that the AKPhas an Islam-sensitive perspective on certain policies that outlaw thewearing of the headscarf by university students and state employees, aswell as on policies that impose restrictions on religious education in gen-eral. However, for the MHP, whose nationalism is more closely tied withIslamic sensibilities, the AKP’s Islam-sensitive policy orientation appearsacceptable. Regardless of their differences, both the CHP–DSP and theMHP display a strong commitment to Kemalism and favour an inter-ventionist, strong state. The AKP, on the other hand, supports policiesthat more generally favour limiting the interventionist capacity of thestate through liberal–democratic reforms. While then Chief of General Staff Buyukanit did not dispute thenational election results, or the subsequent parliamentary election ofPresident Gul, he insisted on the need to repeat his warning that theTurkish Armed Forces ‘do not change [their views] from day to day . . . Weare fully behind what we said in April . . .’ (Falk 2007: 14). Given themilitary bureaucracy’s continual justification of its warnings by refer-ence to the notion of an Islamic threat, it is not surprising that this hascaused citizens to greatly resent the military’s portrayal of Islam as aconstant threat to the state. This resentment has been further deepenedby the military bureaucracy assuming guardianship over civilian politics(Saribay 2007). The judicial bureaucracy continues to accuse the AKP of Islamization-by-stealth. Only eight months after the AKP’s election victory in July2007 (with approximately 47 per cent of the vote), the ConstitutionalCourt voted unanimously to hear a case calling for the banning of theAKP, and the barring of the prime minister, president, and 69 other partymembers from active politics. Abdurrahman Yalcinkaya, chief prosecu-tor of the High Court of Appeals, brought the case to court in March2008. In an 162-page document, he accused the AKP government ofaiming to transform a secular country into an Islamic state, indicatingthat ‘this risk has been increasing every day’ (Rainford 2008). In his peti-tion the chief prosecutor claimed that ‘the real aim of the party . . . [is] tobring religion into education and into public institutions – and eventu-ally overturn the secular state’ (Rainford 2008). This case has come to
    • 6 Islam’s Marriage with Neoliberalismbe known as a ‘judicial coup.’ The staunchly secular former presidentAhmet Necdet Sezer, well-known for using his veto power to underminethe government, appointed eight of the 11 court judges. The basis for the legal challenge noted above was parliament’sapproval of a constitutional amendment to lift a ban on wearing theheadscarf in university – a ban strictly enforced on campuses since 1997when the military ousted a democratically elected government by accus-ing them of being Islamist. The parliamentary vote lifting the ban wascarried with 401 in favour and 110 against. It allowed university stu-dents to wear the headscarf if tied under the chin but continued toban more enveloping versions (BBC News 7 February 2008). The self-declared defenders of the laik order, including the military and judicialbureaucracy, view lifting the headscarf ban as only a first step in thegovernment’s attempt to ultimately Islamize the state. The accusation by military and judicial bureaucrats that the AKP isengaged in Islamization-by-stealth is based on a belief that the AKP’sleadership cadre and founding members have maintained an ideologi-cal commitment to the pro-Islamic national view movement. To supportthis claim, the political upbringing of leading AKP members withinthat movement is often mentioned. Included in this group are PrimeMinister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, President Abdullah Gul, and former Par-liamentary Speaker Bulent Arinc. Because of the political background ofthe AKP’s founding members, some critics see the AKP as a reformistextension of the national view manifestation of political Islam (Gungor2002). However, the AKP, as the 6th ‘pro-Islamic’ party established sincethe late 1960s, has distanced itself from the national view ideology offormer pro-Islamic parties. Under the leadership of Necmettin Erbakan for more than 40 years,the national view movement has critiqued western imperialism andTurkey’s adoption of western modernity as the source of its economicproblems, its political–military dependency, and its declining nationalsovereignty. According to national view ideology, structural imbalancesgenerated by western political and military dominance in the operationof the world economy induced powerlessness in the Turkish state andundermined its capacity to produce effective and autonomous socialpolicy. In an attempt to find a remedy, the national view positionedIslam as a social–cultural value in its formulation of a non-western routeto economic development. A rearrangement of the economy and soci-ety required a decoupling from western-dominated structures of powerand a rapprochement with Muslim states. From this perspective, Islamwas seen as the source of a moral ethos of scientific development and
    • Islam’s Marriage with Neoliberalism 7technological achievement. The national view upheld a collective identi-fication with Islam as a source of national culture and regarded Islamicideals and cultural practices as central to spiritual transformation. Italso envisaged a politically strong state able to cultivate Islamic moralprinciples and spirituality in the national consciousness. In short, thenational view aimed to relate an Islamic ethos to the techno-scientificworld, and to re-embed economic activity in social relations governedby Islamic morality (Atasoy 2005: 115–45). Having said this, it mustbe underscored that the national view represented an articulation of thecapitalist economy, technology, culture, and Islam within a state-lednational economic developmentalism. The AKP, on the other hand, does not wish to decouple Turkey fromwestern-dominated structures of power. It seeks EU membership as animportant step in Turkey’s economic and political reconstruction. TheAKP represents a gradual movement away from a state-led developmen-talism in keeping with EU Copenhagen criteria. It defines itself as aconservative democratic political party which stands for the ‘societalcentre’ (Erdogan 2007). Effectively positioned in a social reconstruc-tion project, the ‘societal centre’ symbolizes the political mobilizationof newly rich Anatolian and Istanbul-based capitalists, small produc-ers, and women with concerns over the headscarf ban, as well as Kurdswith ethno-cultural claims. The coalition also includes some membersof the CHP–DSP and Islam-sensitive nationalist MHP disheartened overthe state-centrism of these political parties. Notable examples from theLeft here include former secretary general of the CHP, Ertugrul Gunay,who is currently an elected minister of culture in the AKP government,and DSP founding member Haluk Ozdalga, currently an elected AKPparliamentarian. The AKP is establishing a more inclusive form of poli-tics that incorporates economically, culturally, politically, and regionallydivergent groups into a neoliberal political imaginary – all filteredthrough an EU-inspired process of trans-nationalization. This under-mines the pro-Islamic national view ideology, which still maintains thatwestern cultural norms and practices have a corrupting influence (Ata-soy 2009a: 170). The AKP-led liberalization programme also challengesthe bureaucratic–authoritarian implementation of Kemalist state-centricprinciples. To be sure, there are clear ideological differences in views on thedesired politico–cultural basis for the state. The AKP views the currentexpression of Kemalism as an embodiment of social control throughbureaucratic vigilantism. Grounded in the authoritarian practices ofstate-ruling civil–military bureaucrats, the Kemalist project created an
    • 8 Islam’s Marriage with Neoliberalismimportant cultural hierarchy. It consisted of a privileged few amongan unelected bureaucratic elite and secularly oriented bourgeoisie onthe one side, and a large segment of the general Muslim populationon the other, whom Kemalist bureaucrats have questioned in regard totheir cultural suitability for modernity (Atasoy 2007: 122). The AKP’ssupport of policies directed towards Turkey’s EU membership has onlyexacerbated the long-standing tension between a strong bureaucraticadherence to laik unitary ideology within the Kemalist interventioniststate and a weak commitment to pluralism and divergence in culturalpractices outside state authority. The current surfacing of tension signals a path favoured by the AKPof transferring power through parliamentary negotiation and debate. Inits push for EU membership, the AKP raises the possibility of a mutableKemalist frame which directly confronts the authoritarian bureaucraticbase of the state. The April 2008 ‘judicial coup’ is significant herebecause under the pretence of defending laiklik it masked a power strug-gle over who was to lead state transformation in Turkey. The militaryand judiciary bureaucratic elites who see themselves as defenders ofthe laik Kemalist order have strategically positioned themselves againsta newly empowered group of Muslims who claim to combine theirMuslim beliefs with a commitment to secular principles of the state.The AKP’s challenge is to ensure the bureaucratic acceptability of cer-tain groups who identify with modes of social experience that transcendtraditional Kemalist cultural boundaries of citizenship. Included in thesegroups are newly wealthy Muslim capitalists, women with concerns overthe headscarf ban, and Kurds with ethno-cultural claims. The laik-Islamic antimony tends to correlate with a long continuum ofdifferent positions in regard to Turkey’s modernity project. This turns inlarge part on a rethinking of material structures of solidarity and recog-nition: a transformation wrought through a state-led economic develop-mentalism which articulated economic policy and growth in nationalterms, and a laik notion of nationalism which constructs the ‘nation’as a culturally unified territorial community. Kemalism has been keyin ideologically framing a state-centric national developmentalism andlaiklik as a project of modernity. Defined as a ‘collective mobility project’(Sarfatti-Larson 1977), it has been pursued politically by state-rulingbureaucrats generating a support base for the placement of a segmentof the population on a ‘bourgeoisification trajectory’ (King and Szelenyi2004: 110). This segment has consisted of individuals with urban, highlyeducated, westernized, and secularized backgrounds. Of course, no polit-ical parties have been consistent over time in their commitment to the
    • Islam’s Marriage with Neoliberalism 9bureaucratically pursued embourgeoisement project. Nevertheless, it istrue that the discursive attachment to Kemalism by both centre-left andfar-right political parties is embedded in a dream of national sovereigntyto be realized through state-led economic developmentalism. For the AKP, on the other hand, Kemalism has primarily entailedstrong state authority imposing itself on society as a territorial disci-pline. The AKP has extrapolated the implications of this for a reductionin state interventionist power in the material and cultural dimensionsof social life, thus bringing the AKP into conflict with the defenders ofthe Kemalist state-centrism. Most notably, these defenders are the mili-tary and civilian judiciary bureaucrats, as well as centre-left and far-rightnationalist political parties. The AKP, in contrast, aims to reconfiguresociety through a neoliberal discursive synthesis between a Muslim cul-tural orientation and European standards. It does so through a liberalturn against the nationalist rhetoric of cultural homogeneity, which, ithas been assumed, can be achieved through an ideological adherence tolaiklik. Interestingly, close inspection of the AKP’s official ideological stance,party programme, and political campaign documents reveals that theAKP has never presented an anti-Kemalist, anti-laik position, contraryto what secularist propaganda would suggest. Still, the debate is veryreal because for the AKP the ideological domination of Kemalist state-centrism has strengthened bureaucratic power in the state. This powerhas been associated with an adherence to statist developmentalism inorganizing territorial politics that favours private industrialists but dis-advantages large segments of Anatolian population. In contrast, theAKP’s policies aim to reorganize the Kemalist state and its privilegedpolitical alliance structure by adopting a more liberal–democratic politi-cal stance and a neoliberal market-oriented economic model that mightbe achieved through Turkey’s EU membership. At stake here is the transformation of the Kemalist state. The AKPflourishes in relation to its political renegotiation of the Kemalistpolitical order through an Islamic resignification of cultural issues. Itchallenges the authoritarian fundamentals of the state, but withoutbeing overtly religious and without shattering the laik foundation of themodernity project. Nonetheless, it grafts the Kemalist dream of nationalsovereignty and development onto a trans-nationalized political space.Despite the fact that the AKP upholds dominant Islamic normativestandards, its ideological outlook is based on blending a Muslim cul-tural orientation with Euro-American values. The AKP has declared itscommitment to the promotion in Turkish politics of key norms from
    • 10 Islam’s Marriage with Neoliberalismwestern liberal thought. These include human rights, individual free-doms, political participation, secularism, and liberal democracy (Duran2004a: 134). Clearly differentiated from the national view orientation of formerpro-Islamic political parties, Erdogan’s Islam-sensitive AKP articulates adiscourse of culture that resignifies the ideological orientation of Islamthrough an attachment to liberal democratic principles. Three centralareas of concern are deeply implicated in the AKP’s Islamic resignifica-tion: the military’s frequent interventions in politics, Muslim women’swearing of the headscarf in university, and the Kurdish issue. Each ofthese three contentious areas ties the AKP’s Islamism to norms of liberaldemocracy, personal freedom, and cultural expression. It is these issuesthat tend to frame a shift in state–citizen relations in Turkey, which theAKP implicitly links to interpretive conflicts within the Kemalist trajec-tory of state formation. In this way the AKP is gradually reworking thestate-centric ethos of Kemalism through a ‘neoliberal synthesis’ (van derPijl 2006: 26) between a cultural construction of interpretive meaningsand material conflicts over those meanings within the state. What can-not be overstated, however, is that this reconfiguration of the Kemaliststate is not opposed to secularism. Once again the question is: How does an Islamic cultural constructionof meanings that is specifically tied to Turkey’s EU membership intersectwith neoliberal restructuring of the state and the economy?Islam’s adherence to a neoliberal credoThe AKP frames its ideas and policies relating to the attachment of Islamwith neoliberalism in the context of Turkey’s EU membership. Empha-sis is given to some of Islam’s moral–ethical and cultural dimensions,which are resignified in conjunction with Euro-American normative cat-egories. Prime Minister Erdogan articulates the intersection of Islamicmeanings with neoliberalism as part of a social transformation rootedin ‘. . . the reproduction of our own authentic value systems on the basisof our deeply rooted ideational tradition, along with the universal stan-dards adopted within a conservative political orientation’ (quoted inAkdogan 2004: 13, my translation and emphasis). Although it unsettlesthe national view perspective, Erdogan’s act of resignification locates anIslamic outlook within a binary view that distinguishes between what isauthentic and what is universal. It is in conjunction with the implemen-tation of Copenhagen political criteria and associated power relationsthat Erdogan envisages a reconceptualization of Turkey’s ‘authentic’
    • Islam’s Marriage with Neoliberalism 11value systems, along with the ‘universal’ standards. A closer reading ofErdogan’s statement, however, reveals that ‘authentic’ and ‘universal’have a meaning far more complicated than is at first apparent. In his statement, Erdogan views the principles of liberal democracy,individual freedoms, and human rights as categorical expressions ofuniversal standards in which the reproduction of national cultural val-ues should be anchored. Edward Said (1979), Slavoj Žižek (2001: 152),and Immanuel Wallerstein (2006) would argue that this view representsa mode of knowledge that describes particularities of European localtraditions in universal terms. This comes to mean a ‘distorted repre-sentation’ of universalism. For Žižek (2008: 294), distortion is ‘assertedas the site of universality: universality appears as the distortion of theparticular’ (emphasis original). Consequently, Erdogan’s appeal to theuniversal is not because of its genuineness or distortions, but becauseof its representation of categorical meanings for the cultural construc-tion of interpretive expressions. Globalized as a universal, ‘norm-settingcontext, [and] fostering a particular outlook’ (van der Pijl 2006: 19),European ways thus become intertwined with an Islamic reframing ofinterpretive meanings for a social change model. ‘The translatabilityof European particularities to a norm-setting position is clearly not atrans-historical phenomenon’ (Atasoy 2009a: 171), but a historicallycontested negotiation of standards that prevail in the reconfiguration ofthe state and political economy. Contestation is about the political dom-ination of a mode of knowledge in ‘bracketing off the economy from thesphere of political choice’ (van der Pijl 2006: 29). An Islamic intersectionwith European framing of neoliberal practices gains a meaning withinthis context among the social forces which utilize a distinct neolib-eral imaginary in the social and material relations of reconstituting theKemalist state. Here, the very idea of the reproduction of authenticity seems tohave acquired a broader meaning. It now includes a redefinition of a‘knowledge structure’ (Gill 2000), an ‘ontology,’ which is integral to anunderstanding of state transformation – and through which politicalstruggle over the renegotiation of standards and recognition of societaldifferences take place. In Turkey, this helps to reconstitute a broadercontroversy between ‘laiks’ and ‘Islamists’ – one which has character-ized intellectual debate in Turkey since the nineteenth century (Atasoy2005). Erdogan’s search for an authentic culture presents a counterclaimto the ideological dominance of the Kemalist knowledge structure andits explanation of socio-historical reality. The AKP’s struggle to reconfigure the Kemalist state is taking placewithin the territorial space of the state but is constituted through
    • 12 Islam’s Marriage with Neoliberalismthe incorporation of global processes. Erdogan’s resignification of Mus-lim cultural values and practices through the adoption of Europeanstandards subjects national policy making to a particular kind of nego-tiations that at least partially lifts the ‘national encasements’ (Sassen2007b: 50) of policy agendas made by the Kemalist nationalist elite.To the extent that the political negotiations are contingent at thenational territorial level on material and cultural tensions and con-flicts, a particular restructuring still entails a project of transformationwithin the state through a process of transnationalization, rather than‘the boundary-transcending practices’ of a post-nationalist politics (Beckand Grande 2007: 113–14). However, it is difficult to name the result-ing form of the national state emerging as a historical outcome ofneoliberalism. To be sure, Erdogan’s ‘search for an authentic culture through trans-nationalization’ undermines Kemalist epistemology of state-centrismas a specific historical phenomenon of the 1930s. However, Kemalismis constitutionally safeguarded, and, therefore, maintains its enduringpolitical significance as a frame of reference in ideological and mate-rial conflicts. Grounded in the political dominance of certain groups,namely state bureaucrats and large private industrial capitalists, Kemal-ism remains relevant to the political negotiations. Erdogan’s search for‘authenticity’ and political mobilization of the ‘societal centre’ repre-sent a shift in the primacy of state-centrism in the cultural, imaginative,and material relations of citizens. This also entails an Islamic ‘rework-ing of the idea of civic nationalism’ (Calhoun 2007: 16) away fromstatist laiklik, insofar as the Kemalist knowledge structure in refigur-ing the state still matters. In order to uncover the ‘contingent content’(Wallerstein 2006) of an Islamic state reconstitution project, we musttherefore explore the actual events and processes involved in organiz-ing the ruling relations of emergent forms in the context of Turkey’s EUmembership. This book pushes the question of a rearticulated discourse of socialchange further, in a direction that allows us to address the remakingof Islamic politics in terms of the substantial transformations that aretaking place within states in relation to the neoliberal restructuringof capitalism. If social theory is to contribute to our understand-ing of state transformation, it must give us a systematic account ofboth the opportunities for and constraints on historical possibilitiesof social change. Such possibilities are not fixed but constantly nego-tiated within a specific conjuncture of global political economy. Mycontention is that the material and discursive conditions associated
    • Islam’s Marriage with Neoliberalism 13with both domestic and international power dynamics are expressedin the political reframing of an Islamic project of state transforma-tion. I aim to uncover the ‘contingent content’ of Islamic resignifica-tion against the background of Turkey’s EU membership, the very sitefor the political assertion of universality that naturalizes the neolib-eral market economy in Turkey. This demands an exploration of howdiverse sets of political orientations, normative standards, and culturalpractices are brought together under a disciplinary neoliberal form ofcapitalism. In explaining his assertion of universality as the ‘distortion of theparticular,’ as I have also discussed elsewhere (Atasoy 2009a: 171–2),Žižek (2000: 313) argues that in politics, ‘universality’ is asserted whenan agent posits itself as the direct embodiment of universality againstall others within the global order. The agent of universality consistsnot only of international drivers of market-oriented policy reforms,but of publicly invisible members of the ‘symbolic class’ (Žižek 2000:322). Empirical research on ‘international coercion’ – defined as theexertion of international pressures for policy imitation among coun-tries (Campbell 2004; DiMaggio and Powell 1983; Henisz, Zelner, andGuillen 2005) – focuses on the role of dominant states (Kogut andMacpherson 2003) and multilateral organizations (Rude 2005) in affect-ing policy results. I suggest that it is not only the EU, the United States,the IMF, and the World Bank that exert pressure on policy as agents ofinternational coercion. Members of the symbolic class also play a signifi-cant role, particularly from within. The symbolic class includes religiousgroups, academics, scholars, journalists, and others whose domain ofwork involves the production of a worldview or symbolic universe. Inthe Turkish context, this includes Sufi orders and religious communi-ties such as the Fethullahcilar, Islamic intellectuals, writers, poets, andjournalists. These individuals and groups are actively making history bycreating cultural repertoires and steering ideological frames of action ina specific direction. These entanglements have consequences for Islamic reworking of thestate. Clearly, there are disagreements among members of various groupswithin the symbolic class in terms of the actual content of ideas, theirconstruction, and political direction. Therefore, it is important thatwe uncover how divergent views and political standpoints are broughttogether in the refiguring of an Islamic stance. While there are powerful global pressures on governments to adoptparticular policies, it is wrong to assume that specific policies adoptedunder international pressure produce a coherent outcome at the
    • 14 Islam’s Marriage with Neoliberalismaggregate level. The nationally diverse social conditions in institutionalarrangements and social–cultural settings within the global systemcreate multiple possibilities for policy direction (Block 1986). At issuehere then is not only that governments respond to coercive pressuresbut that they conform to and embody the ontological frames of aneoliberal market economy. This further complicates my fundamen-tal question: How does an Islamic political orientation that is tied toTurkey’s EU membership articulate with neoliberalism? How are we toanswer this? I argue that an exploration of how diverse sets of politicalorientations, normative standards and practices are brought togethershould also take into account how a neoliberal policy framework hasachieved an epistemic value to be emulated. It is easy to see why an Islam-sensitive AKP would be pragmatic inemulating neoliberal policy patterns. While it may have an ideologi-cal desire to reduce state intervention in the economy, the AKP alsotends to adapt to political realities. Given its tendency to conform tothe norms and social structure of the EU, the AKP may strengthen itspolitical status and legitimize its efforts to restructure public politics inTurkey. However, while its policies may be consistent with the norma-tive patterns of the EU, these policies must also have coherence withinthe institutional, social arrangements of the neoliberal global marketeconomy. Thus, an interesting empirical question emerges: In the lightof diverse institutional conditions, national differences, and local par-ticularities, how is normative conformity to the EU model mediated bylocal factors in such a way that both the EU and Islamic standards arereconciled? In other words, in what ways are various intervening factors(such as the headscarf ban and the Kurdish issue) subject to negotiation,reframing, and reinterpretation? An effective, systematic explorationof this question must account for the links between participation inglobal structures of power and the reproduction of moral claims andsymbolic attachments involved in incorporating a given ontologicalstrand. This book builds on theories that conceptualize the political shapingof the capitalist economy as a historically constructed process (Arrighi1994; Block 1977; McMichael 2004; Polanyi 1944; Tilly 1990; van derPijl 1984). Moreover, the present work develops the categories and con-cepts necessary to uncover the discursive interpretive struggles withinthe specific processes of current political and economic restructuring.I also expand on the idea that discursive battles offer analytical lever-age which sheds light on the moral–emotional–cultural reception ofinternational models (Molnar 2005).
    • Islam’s Marriage with Neoliberalism 15The epistemic privilege of globalization anddemocratization discoursesBoth ‘globalization’ and ‘democratization’ discourses constitute sig-nificant aspects of an ontology for the transnational integration ofEuropean political space – through their domestic effects on economic,political, and social change. The dominant policy orientation framingthe EU’s enlargement criteria has been a large-scale restructuring ofmember states’ national economies along a market-driven neoliberalcapitalist economy model and a broader process of state transforma-tion consistent with liberal democratic principles (Keating 2004; Smithand Timmins 2000; Ugur and Canefe 2004; van der Pijl 2006). In thisrespect, the EU acts as an ‘agent of international coercion’ (Henisz,Zelner, and Guillen 2005: 875). When membership is conditional on theadoption and implementation of reforms, its coercion is direct. When itinfluences a shift in domestic coalition politics in favour of a politicalfaction which supports a given policy, the coercion is more indirect.There is also a threat of direct or indirect punishment if reforms are notimplemented. In this case, the threat includes the rejection of mem-bership or a long delay in membership negotiations, or the impositionof further reforms which again may alter domestic coalition politics andpolicy struggles in favour of a specific approach to policy making (Atasoy2009a: 172). The AKP-led policy changes adopted to integrate Turkey into the EUhave grafted the transformation of the Turkish state and culture onto anEU discursive framework. Although accession negotiations have beenunderway since 2005, the EU may never grant Turkey full member-ship status. This conditional status allows the EU to exercise directcoercion on Turkey’s policy making, which significantly affects avail-able political options, high-stakes policy orientations, rival positions,and plausible alternatives. By conditioning the historical moment,membership requirements figure in the normative values and politi-cal objectives of those competing for power to control the direction ofchange. Here, the international coerciveness of the EU is indirect. It runsthrough contentious political positions between the AKP which standsfor neoliberalism and the CHP–DSP and the MHP which continue toformulate a nationalist–statist response. Consequently, creating oppor-tunities for a move away from the Kemalist path, EU policy impositionshave been the greater source of conflict among various political parties,including the bureaucratic cadres. This is especially evident in terms ofthe democratization process in Turkey.
    • 16 Islam’s Marriage with Neoliberalism Neoliberal restructuring of the economy is not a major area of con-flict among political parties. A market-based development model hasbeen embraced since the adoption of the 24 January measures in 1980,and was firmly consolidated after the September 1980 military coup.From that time on, various governments have pursued policies to actu-ally implement neoliberal market capitalism, thus gradually shiftingTurkey’s economic policy orientation from a state-dominated and pro-tectionist model (Atasoy 2005). Moreover, Turkey has been incorporatedinto the European free trade system since 1995. The large, secularly ori- ˙ented business groups organized around Türk Sanayicilari ve Is AdamlarıDerne˘i (TUSIAD), the pro-Islamic business groups represented by Müs- g ˙¸takil Sanayici ve Is Adamları Derne˘i (MUSIAD), and many highly edu- gcated technical professionals are all strong supporters of the marketeconomy model (Atasoy 2003/2004). Virtually all political parties agree on the neoliberal principles ofprivatization of public corporations, foreign direct investment, liberal-ization of trade, and entrepreneurship. These are seen as the keys tolong-term economic growth and wealth creation for everyone, althoughdisagreements exist over the correct state polices to implement them.Still, one should not exaggerate policy differences in regard to theiradherence to ‘the neo-liberal creed’ (Arrighi 2007: 353). According to asurvey conducted by Radikal (28 July 2007), AKP supporters are more‘tolerant’ with respect to foreign ownership of state-owned compa-nies and real estate purchases, but their level of tolerance is not highenough to single them out as staunch supporters of foreign owner-ship. The disapproval rate for all political party supporters remains avery high 63.5 per cent for foreign ownership of state enterprises, and59.2 per cent for foreign real estate purchases. Differences emerge interms of the degree of opposition to foreign ownership. The far-rightMHP has a very high disapproval level of 80.2 per cent and 78 per centagainst foreign ownership of state enterprises and real estate purchasesrespectively. The centre-left CHP’s disapproval also remains at very highlevels, 69.3 per cent and 62.9 per cent respectively (Radikal 28 July2007). Nevertheless, both the far-right MHP and the centre-left CHPwelcome foreign direct investment for Turkey’s economic growth (CHPBulten Icerikleri 2008; CHP Parti Politikalari 2008; MHP OzellestirmeRaporu 2009).1 For both political parties, this should be in tandemwith a slower pace of neoliberal restructuring and, more generally,greater selective privatization of public companies through a ‘dispersedshareholding model’ (Sher 2009: 188) rather than the block sales ofcompanies.
    • Islam’s Marriage with Neoliberalism 17 A more general area of controversy in Turkey’s tangled political ter-rain involves the actions of the AKP government in generating culturalmeanings to frame EU-oriented changes around an ‘individual rightsand freedoms’ discourse. These new meanings are now leading to thetransformation of the Kemalist state. Pertinent questions that followfrom this include: What are the normative and institutional opportuni-ties and constraints faced in making policy within these larger materialand discursive conditions of change? How is EU membership linked tothese rival definitions of national culture and state building? As Turkeycharts its course for European transnational integration, what kind ofstate and cultural politics may develop? And how will Islamic sensibili-ties remain influential in the reshaping of power dynamics? What formsof moral–political life will be configured for individual citizens? Andhow will individuals be enabled to engage in this new cultural ethos? This book, then, explores the links between policies related to Turkey’sEU membership and the production of moral claims, discursive orienta-tions, and symbolic attachments. These links are contingently centredon the organization of a neoliberal market-based political economy. Weknow from reading Karl Polanyi’s (1944) The Great Transformation thatliberal knowledge about human nature, and ideas about land, labour,and money as commodities played a crucial role in the constitutionof nineteenth-century market society around the ‘self-regulating mar-ket’ principle. Through the 1980s, 1990s, and beyond, neoliberal ideasarticulated around ‘globalization’ and ‘democratization’ discourses havebeen immensely powerful in the recreation of what Polanyi calls amarket society on a global basis. In terms of EU-integration policies,neoliberal ideas constitute the discursive framework for the transna-tional integration of European political space. National policy debatesare positioned within this context. However, it is not an easy task toexplain how an Islamic orientation plays a culturally constitutive role –acting as a cultural engine of change around the neoliberal discur-sive mode of argument. This book helps explain how an Islamic socialchange programme is being attached to the EU’s neoliberal discursiveframework.Globalization discourseAt present there is no consensual understanding in regard to a singlereferent for studying globalization (Rossi 2007). Nonetheless, much soci-ological theorizing centres ‘globalization’ around the neoliberal princi-ples and policy ideas adopted to restructure capitalism and restore an
    • 18 Islam’s Marriage with Neoliberalismopen world market economy. This is mainly carried out through the lib-eralization of domestic economies and trade, the privatization of variousforms of public property, services, and policy making, entrepreneurship,and new managerial arrangements (Atasoy 2009b: 7). Globalization isa complex political process involving the restructuring of capital andclasses, the reorganization of states and political alliances, and thereconfiguration of societies and social life. There is no doubt that liberalization and privatization policiesadopted since the 1980s have altered prevailing ways of exercising powerin many countries, although they have not taken hold to the samedegree in different countries (Henisz, Zelner, and Guillen 2005: 873).State institutions and practices have been transformed and reconfiguredin the process. Beatrice Hibou (2004) defines this as ‘privatization ofthe state.’ This process concerns not only the gradual withdrawal of thestate from welfare provisions and the privatization of public economicenterprises and services, but the privatization of various state practicesin policy, norm, and law-making. It underpins an elaborate process oftransforming state institutions and practices to facilitate the exerciseof power in the direction of what Colin Leys (2007) has called ‘totalcapitalism.’ For Hibou (2004: 1–45), state transformation does not nec-essarily mean loss of control by the holders of state power in favourof private actors gaining autonomy, because the range of forms of stateintervention and political regulation has in fact been widened. What isinvolved here is the recombining of forms of the public and the private,which Yves Chevrier (2004) coins the refiguring of ‘historical paths ofthe political.’ Somers and Block (2005: 260–1) have used the term ‘market funda-mentalism’ to describe the neoliberal restructuring of capitalism, dueto the ‘religious-like certitude [on the part of] those who believe in themoral superiority of organizing all dimensions of social life accordingto market principles.’ This is not merely a shift in emphasis, althoughthe precise ways in which the neoliberal reconfiguring of the economy,state forms, and society is occurring remain unclear. Much uncertaintyarises from the mutation in the very notions of what is private andwhat is public, as well as the location of the social and the politicalas a condition of human activities. Of course, these are not new ques-tions. Hannah Arendt (1958: 22–78) demonstrated that these ideas havenever been self-evident and static. What is significant for the purposesof this book is the need to underscore the fact that the state is beingreconfigured as the very notion of private and public is being altered. Under the specific conditions of Turkey, changes in the Kemaliststate are transforming the old modalities of public space organized
    • Islam’s Marriage with Neoliberalism 19for state-dominated ways of life, including religion. Private space haslong been crafted for the home, family, and faith. The reconfiguring ofthe Kemalist state is not the unmitigated outcome of various Islamicgroups working towards the ‘retreat of the state’ (Strange 1996). But itdoes relate to the question of the production of ideas and meaningsbeyond the framework of the state. As Chevrier (2004: 253) observes ina different context, the orientation of social action and the production of meaning pass from the state and state-dominated social and normative patterns to the social – a social . . . [produced as] a multiple entry process . . . In this process the possessor of the most official mark of collective recogni- tion – the state – no longer has a privileged position . . . the state is losing the monopoly of institutionalization of the social.This is a complex phenomenon which signifies the mutation of thestate-based trajectory of what Ulrick Beck (2000) calls the ‘first moder-nity.’ And it is occurring through interaction with the historicaltrajectory of ‘globalization.’ For Beck (2000), the first modernity represents an institutional def-inition of the social as nationally divided territorial space. Kemalistsocial engineering certainly belongs to the discursive framing of the firstmodernity, as a historically specific trajectory of territorial containment.The mutation of the Kemalist state modality involves reconfiguring thesocial and political relations of emergent forms. Here, Islamic discourseseems to have incorporated global dynamics into the reshaping of thecurrent trajectory of the state through its marriage with neoliberalism.A relevant question follows from this: How is EU membership linkedto the reconfiguring of the state through an Islamic reshaping of powerdynamics? Neoliberalism reconfigures the social and political around a belief inthe ontological primacy of market economic frames of reference as away of acting within the economy and the state. This belief in themarket is embedded in a knowledge culture which Margaret Somers(1995a) calls a ‘conceptual network.’ It combines assumptions aboutthe creation of a ‘market society’ around a self-regulating market prin-ciple. The logic in the creation of a market society is rooted in thediffusion of certain normative assumptions such as liberalism, the min-imum state, and privatization of public enterprises and the economy.Polanyi (1944) has argued that these normative assumptions sustainthe idea of a self-regulating market imagined as a unified and coherent
    • 20 Islam’s Marriage with Neoliberalismeconomy operating through autonomous price-setting mechanisms ofcommodity exchange. The epistemological foundation of neoliberal policy-making lies in atheory of separation between the private sphere of the market economyand the public sphere of the administrative state (Somers 1995b). Themarket economy is the private, anti-political, de-politicized, naturalizedside of the dichotomous formulation of what is private and what is pub-lic (Somers 1995a: 114; 1999: 123). The private sphere is assumed toexist with its own laws of the economy and imperatives of profit maxi-mization which ‘when untouched by political intervention [,] will tendtoward equilibrium and order’ (Somers and Block 2005: 271). This iswhat Ellen Meiksins Wood (1995: 235) defines as the enclosure of theeconomic sphere from the political. However, for Polanyi, the emergence of the ‘liberal’ market economybefore the turn of the twentieth century was not a result of the free-dom of the economic sphere from government intervention. Polanyi(1944: 1–29) has described such a belief in the idea of a self-regulatingmarket economy as a stark utopia. He is referring here to the desire ofeconomic liberalism to realize a self-regulating market through the fic-titious commodities of land, labour, and money. Self-regulation impliesthat all production is for sale; accordingly, there are markets for labour,land, and money. But labour, land, and money are not commodities.They are not produced for sale on the market. ‘[L]abour and land are noother than the human beings themselves of which every society consistsand the natural surroundings in which it exists . . . [and] actual money,finally, is merely a token of purchasing power which, as a rule, is notproduced at all . . .’ (Polanyi 1944: 71–2). But the fiction of their being soproduced became the organizing principle in society (Polanyi 1944: 75).With the help of this fiction, the state and its policies create the condi-tions and make the arrangements to construct the self-regulating marketto which human society becomes subordinate. What gives the marketeconomy an appearance of disembeddedness, naturalness, and coher-ence is the continuous and sustained political effort to constitute marketcapitalism around the fiction of self-regulation. After all, it took over70 years of active, deliberate state involvement to transform Britaininto something approximating a laissez-faire market society. This wasrevealed in the nineteenth-century demolition of the social protectivemechanisms of the mercantilist regime in English Poor Law history –a change consistent with the interests of the then rising industrial andfinancial bourgeoisie (cf. Somers and Block 2005). By extension, behindthe current neoliberal façade of economic liberalization, privatization,
    • Islam’s Marriage with Neoliberalism 21and minimum state intervention is the reconfiguration of the state as anew political modality that entails constant negotiations between dom-inant actors and the redrawing of boundaries between the public andprivate. The eighteenth-century concept of economic rationality produceda trans-historical meaning for the uniformity of human nature andis the link converting the self-regulating market fiction to a domi-nant perspective and policy idea. The discourse of the self-regulatingmarket of classical economics was contingent upon earlier interpreta-tions of the independence and freedom of rational individuals fromsocietal constraints. Thinkers like John Locke developed an understand-ing of society as an aggregate of free actors making rational choices.These discursive traditions provided a conceptual bridge between thenineteenth-century theory of self-regulating markets and contempo-rary theorizing of ‘globalization’ (Alexander 1988: 85). For nineteenth-century economic liberals, the idea of economics was equated with themaximization of production and consumption in a world of scarcity.It was argued that the market promotes greater efficiency, and, there-fore, was most likely to contribute to the general welfare of the greatestnumber of individuals (Gill 2000: 50–1). As argued by Somers and Block (2005), Lockean liberalism is the com-mon cultural legacy for the idea of self-regulating markets free frompolitical interference. This knowledge culture ‘embeds markets in astory about how they are self-regulating natural entities’ (Somers andBlock 2005: 281) and provides a discursive frame for the conversionof nineteenth-century economic liberalism into twenty-first-centuryneoliberal restructuring of the global political economy. Building conti-nuities with this knowledge structure, present-day neoliberal norms andmeanings sustain a vision of a market society by ‘privatizing the state.’ Neoliberalism’s marriage with particular national trajectories gener-ates context-bound spheres of the imaginaire for the social and thepolitical. The implication here is that the concepts of liberalization andprivatization blend with different historical and cultural contexts inshaping ‘the imagined economies of globalization’ (Cameron and Palan2004). This transforms the sphere of the political by rearticulating normsand actions to be recognized as having a general socio-cultural publicvalue. In connection with privatization and liberalization, the politicalreworks the relations between public power . . . and the nexus of actions, discourses, norms and symbols . . . related to the organization of the community as a
    • 22 Islam’s Marriage with Neoliberalism legitimate social entity: a legitimacy whose ultimate claims to exis- tence do not lie in the powers that be, not in religious or moral claims, but in those very relations [that redefine the social]. (Chevrier 2004: 242)The distinguishing feature of neoliberal restructuring is the de-linkingof the political from the sphere of the social, which has occurred sincethe eighteenth-century enlightenment project of modernity – the firstmodernity in Beck’s definition. This means that a fundamental reformu-lation of the state is taking place along a mutation of political categories.Neoliberalism becomes more of a discourse on the primacy of marketforces in redefining the place of the public sphere, and, hence, in reshap-ing societies. This entails more than what is implied by concepts suchas ‘the retreat of the state’ (Strange 1996), ‘competition state’ (Cerny2000), or ‘reduction in the regulatory role of the state’ (Brady, Beckfield,and Seeleib-Kaiser 2005). The ‘privatization of the state’ does not denotea withering of the state, but fundamentally new ways of reconfiguringthe social by redefining the space of the political. As the dominant policy perspective across the global economy (Fissand Hirsch 2005), neoliberalism provides a frame for a set of ideasand norms about the interpretation and construction of the marketeconomy and the transformation of the state. Nevertheless, this pro-cess of giving meaning is subject to political struggles that promote orchallenge interpretations of existing social arrangements. The Islamicattachment to neoliberalism as a global policy idea is thus an empiricalquestion of inquiry. Specifically, we must ask how an Islamic orienta-tion to the global market economy is framed? What are the dominantviews? What are the points of tension? What is the role of IMF- andWorld Bank-imposed conditionality agreements and EU-induced reformprogrammes in bringing about these policy objectives? This book drawsattention to the need for closer scrutiny of the interplay between gen-eral discursive structures and national interpretive processes in shapingpolicy outcomes that redefine the boundaries between the private andthe public and reformulate the state.Democratization discourse‘Democratization discourse’ articulates an argument for transformingpower relations within states through a normative orientation towardsliberal democracy. For the implementation of liberal transformative pol-itics, it singles out criteria that prevail in the relations of governing and
    • Islam’s Marriage with Neoliberalism 23political participation in most of western Europe and North America(Macpherson 1977). These criteria consist of the principles of liberty,the rule of law, respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms(including freedom of expression, freedom of religion, women’s rights,and trade union rights), respect for and protection of minorities againstintrusion by the state, as well as the stability of institutions guaranteeingthe overall process of democracy (Negotiating Framework 2005). These principles consist of a shift in citizen–state relations towardsgreater citizen participation, equalization of participation, enhancingcitizens’ control over governing, and extending citizen protection fromarbitrary action by government (Tilly 2004: 23). Although they neitherconstitute sufficient conditions for democracy nor aggregate into anidealized model of the democratization process (Tilly 2004: 39), thesemechanisms nonetheless indicate a process of change for reconfiguringpower relations within the state. Democratization underlies a political process of reworking the formof the state through struggles for a more limited state (Wood 1995:225–37). This may enhance citizenship rights within states, but it alsoexpresses the classic antimony of state versus market in the defini-tion of democracy. This essentially redefines democracy by reducingit to liberalism (Wood 1995: 234), reflecting a Lockean emphasis onthe emancipation of market forces from the confines of the state as itsdefining characteristic. Locke’s arbitrary separation of the private eco-nomic sphere of the market from the public realm of the state allowedliberalism, on its most elementary level, to be understood in terms of‘removing the state’s hand from the market, and . . . keeping the statefrom impinging upon decision making in the social arena’ (Waller-stein 1995: 98). For liberalism, the more important criterion is alwaysto uphold the individual as possessor of ‘inalienable rights’ rather thanto significantly affect power dynamics and inequalities within society.This is the viewpoint which unites liberalism and capitalism, defined asliberal democracy. What is more, the neoliberal redrawing of the boundaries betweenprivate and public realms is now manifested in the current context ofinequalities stemming from a complex combination of ‘accumulationby dispossession’ (Harvey 2003) and various forms of privatization thatare generated beyond the confines of the state-territorial logic of soci-ety. This casts further doubt on the possibility of democracy in terms ofcriteria framing the process of governing and political participation. Although it is a highly ‘contested’ concept (Connolly 1993), democ-racy has been ‘globalized’ as a singular ‘normative ideal’ (Diamond 2000;
    • 24 Islam’s Marriage with NeoliberalismNash 2000: 216). Francis Fukuyama’s (1992) The End of History and theLast Man explains the normative ascendancy of ‘liberal democracy’ inglobal politics in relation to the collapse of communism in the late1980s and 1990s and the rise of a market-driven economic model. Samuel Huntington shares this view that normatively associatesdemocracy with the capitalist market economy. Huntington (1991) hasexpressed his ideas on ‘democratization in the late twentieth century’ inhis book The Third Wave. For him, the world history of democratizationconsists of three waves, each with its own distinctive characteristics ofgrowth, consolidation, and reversal. The nineteenth-century experiencein western Europe and the United States constituted the first wave, fol-lowed by a second wave from the 1950s to the early 1960s that occurredin parts of Latin America, Asia, the Middle East, and Africa. The thirdwave occurred in southern Europe in the 1970s and Latin America inthe 1980s, with the expectation by Huntington that former Soviet Bloccountries would follow in the 1990s (Atasoy 2009a: 173). Huntington connects the third wave to a variety of factors which invarying combinations can promote democracy. They are: (1) marketeconomic growth which raises living standards and levels of educa-tion, and also increases urbanization, civic expectations, and the abilityto express them; (2) the deepening legitimacy problems of authoritar-ian governments; (3) changes in the Catholic Church which make itmore likely to oppose authoritarian regimes; (4) external forces (suchas non-governmental organizations (NGO), the EU, and the UnitedStates) promoting human rights and democracy; and (5) the generalsnowballing effect that produces normative emulation. Thus, Hunting-ton’s treatment of democracy as waves focuses on patterns of economicdevelopment and political culture that might be conducive or inimi-cal to a stable practice of democracy. He describes each wave in termsof a transition from non-democratic to democratic political systems,a consolidation of democracies, and then an ebbing or reversal whichproduces de-democratization through crisis and breakdown. Huntington conceptualized the Cold War state system as dividedbetween democratic and non-democratic states. While capitalist stateswere described as democratic, socialist states were undemocratic. Forhim, the end of the Cold War and the collapse of the Soviet military bloccreated the material conditions for the worldwide diffusion of democ-racy. For Huntington (1997: 6), the ‘great achievement of the “thirdwave” has been to ensure the universality of democracy in western civ-ilization and [to] promote its manifestations in other civilizations.’ Itsfuture lies in the transformation of electoral democracies into liberal
    • Islam’s Marriage with Neoliberalism 25democracies. This is premised on the political commitment of the elitesof non-western civilization to the liberal democratic values of the west(Huntington 1997). Huntington sees Latin America as the natural start-ing place for the transformation process because Latin American cultureresembles western culture, albeit loosely (Huntington 1996: 46). Next inline are the orthodox countries of eastern Europe. According to Hunt-ington, an international association of organizations and movementsdedicated to expanding democracy on a global basis and enhancing itsperformance within countries should act as a vigilant lobby group. Huntington published The Clash of Civilizations in 1996, five yearsafter the publication of The Third Wave. Even though he does notmake the connection, The Clash of Civilizations portrays the reversalof democracy’s third wave in the late twentieth century. For all thepower of the normative idea of democracy as well as intense interna-tional pressure, the Clash of Civilizations shows that Huntington is wellaware that democracy has not been embraced everywhere in the entireworld. Reasons can be found, he suggests, in the remoteness of non-western cultures from western ways and the degree of western culturalinfluence on non-western societies. Huntington asserts that Muslimcountries and parts of East Asia may not experience democracy becauseof the democracy-inhibiting cultural characteristics of Islam and Con-fucianism. Islam constitutes an antithesis to the universalist standingof western democracy and is mobilized by actors who wish to challengewestern cultural structures and ideas through the instigation of religiousconflicts in civilizational terms. For Huntington, democracy appears to be a fixed set of rules, proce-dures, patterns, and normative standards which can be characterized asan ideal type. It is a product of western civilization embedded in theideas of individual liberty, the rule of law, human rights, and culturalfreedom that began in western Europe a millennium ago. And the ‘thirdway’ contemplates a universal grounding for the adoption and legitima-tion of the cultural scheme of liberal democracy globally. As such, it doesnot have room for the incorporation of contestations, conflicts, gaps, orcrises into the process of recreating democracies – phenomena whichvary from region to region, period to period, and culture to culture(Markoff 1996: xvi). Charles Tilly (2004) has shown that by and largethe process of democratization is actually the outcome of rebellions,confrontations, revolutions, and retaliations intertwined across severalcenturies within the European context. Tilly suggests that liberal democ-racy does not reside in general laws but has emerged contingently frompolitical struggles within European national histories (Tilly 2004: 8–9).
    • 26 Islam’s Marriage with NeoliberalismThis challenges ‘democratization discourse’ which assumes a single pathto democracy and generates meaning over its replicability across diversesocial settings in the world (Atasoy 2009a: 174). There is no doubt that democratization and globalization discourseshave achieved an ‘epistemic privilege’ (Somers and Block 2005: 265)status in fuelling social transformation in Turkey today. Reforms under-taken by the AKP government to speed up the process of Turkey’s EUmembership have, to a large extent, focused on the transformationof Kemalist knowledge culture. That culture had embedded a particu-lar path of modernization in Turkey since the early 1930s – a cultureof secularism, militarism, statism, and authoritarianism (Keyder 1997;Navaro-Yashin 2002). Globalization and democratization discoursesnow constitute the backbone of the EU-induced reform programmespelled out in the Copenhagen criteria. They may ultimately triumphover Kemalism and reaffirm Turkey’s path on a neoliberal trajectory ofsocial change in its marriage with Islam. Yet, ideas can only achievea dominant position if they make sense for the lived experience andcultural values of specific social groups (Mahmood 2005). The task,then, is to bring forward the interpretive struggles, competing ideas,public narratives, and explanatory systems that frame Islam’s marriagewith neoliberalism through its engagement with globalized discursivestructures. The ‘sociology of ideas’ perspective (Camic 1987; Camic and Gross2001) is helpful in making a connection between ideas and neoliberalrestructuring. Rooted in a recent formulation in social theory whichassumes that social science is distinctly evaluative in nature (Alexan-der 1988: 80), the sociology of ideas perspective questions assumptionsmade in the ‘sociology of knowledge’ (Mannheim 1929/1986) aboutmaterial self-interest based on social-class or market position as a deter-minant of policy. Rather than conceptualizing ideas in functional termsas mediating structural social-class positions, this perspective takesideas, public narratives, and explanatory systems that cognitively embedpolicy outcomes as central to a distinct field of inquiry (Campbell 1998;DiMaggio 1994; Fiss and Hirsch 2005; Somers and Block 2005). How apro-Islamic orientation blends with neoliberalism is an empirical ques-tion that demands close scrutiny of interpretive processes in terms ofthe actual embodiments of neoliberal discursive frames. But this inquiryshould be made without construing a disparate account of the partic-ular at the expense of complex world-historical processes. To be sure,the specific social processes and socio-cultural/intellectual or symbolicsettings need to be uncovered to understand how they affect the very
    • Islam’s Marriage with Neoliberalism 27connection between the ethical and the political in the imaginary ofa social change trajectory. This type of inquiry involves a highly con-tentious process as various groups struggle for the power to interpretreality, reshape culture, and position themselves in history (Tilly 2004).From this perspective, current political conflicts and discursive tensionsin Turkey can be charted as a ‘framing contest’ over the direction of asocial change programme (Gamson and Modigliani 1989, cited in Fissand Hirsch 2005: 30). These conflicts are being played out over Turkey’sintegration into the EU and within the world-historical dynamics ofneoliberal restructuring. In this book, I intend to connect the structural and discursive factorsthat help us better understand how a neoliberal market economy modeland liberal principles of democracy are embraced in the reshaping ofIslamic political agendas that transform the state. This is an empiricalinvestigation into highly contested terrain. It requires us to place a spe-cific Islamic imaginary within the process of neoliberal restructuring as aparticular manifestation of a general process that ‘reinvents capitalism’(Bayart 1994) on a global basis. Still, this process refigures an Islamicpolitico–social imaginary through an epistemology that continues toreproduce a history of ‘European universalism’ and serve as the basisfor a rhetoric of power (Wallerstein 2006).Organization of the bookThe book consists of eight chapters. Each is organized to further ourunderstanding of the historically variable articulation of Islam in Turkeyin relation to the exercise of state power. For this purpose, the bookalso provides an overview of the political and economic changes of theTurkish state, from the late Ottoman period to the present era. By expos-ing the powerful forces confronting the state, a framework is developedfor interpreting the dynamics of Islam within contemporary Turkey.Also illuminated are the historical forms of capital fractions and politicalinterests, including the patterns of elite formation, and their incorpora-tion into the state. Finally, each chapter provides empirical evidencefor the articulation of Islam, not only by the political elite, includingthe military, but also by Muslims confronting changes in their day-to-day activities. We see how Islam becomes a critical, epistemic resourcefor the state and for Muslims themselves in reconfiguring specific socialrelations and frames of reference. An empirical foundation for the book is provided through an anal-ysis of data collected from published documents and interviews. The
    • 28 Islam’s Marriage with Neoliberalismfirst type of data is drawn from official statistics, pro-Islamic newspa-pers, periodicals, research reports, and the literary writings of membersof the Muslim symbolic class, including public intellectuals. The textualanalysis of these documents facilitates the drawing of a general pictureof dominant Islamic views around three highly contentious issues – themilitary’s frequent interventions in politics, Muslim women’s wearingof the headscarf, and the Kurdish issue. I weave these distinct areasinto individual chapters of the book where appropriate, but particularattention has been given to the repositioning of Islamic capitalists inthe economy and Muslim women’s wearing of the headscarf. The sec-ond type of data consists of interviews with 40 women and men inAnkara, Turkey. This set of data allows us to demonstrate how Islamicideas are reconfigured in particular around what is arguably one ofthe single most important issues in Turkish politics today – the wear-ing of the headscarf by Muslim women. Presentation of this data isessential in order to show how these issues are used to frame thenuanced ways in which EU membership requirements are approachedand met. Muslim women’s wearing of the headscarf is an aspect of freedom ofreligion. The key aspect of freedom of religion is the expectation that thestate in a secular context refrains from establishing or promoting a par-ticular religion (Denli 2007: 94). The state is also expected to permit thesearch for the religious and the spiritual conditions of experience, as oneoption among many other possibilities of lived experience (Taylor 2007).Of course, differences in and the appropriateness of religious beliefs andexperiences must not be a consideration. There are numerous examplesof the state’s violation of the equal enjoyment of freedom of religionin Turkey. These include: the headscarf ban; difficulties faced by non-Sunni Alevi-Bektasi Muslims and non-Muslim minorities in relation toreligious education and religious publications (R. Cakir and Bozan 2005;Oran 2004, 2007a; Yannas 2007); the exclusive promotion of Sunni-Hanefi Islam by the state through the Directorate of Religious Affairs(R. Cakir and Bozan 2005; Tarhanli 1993); and the closing down ofImam-Hatip junior high schools through Law No. 4306 (R. Cakir, Bozan,and Talu 2004; Gunay 2001: 7–9). The same law has also restrictedKoran course attendance to children who have graduated from gradeeight in secular schools. The law was modified in 1999 to permit chil-dren to attend Koran courses after grade five or after they reach anequivalent age (usually 12 years old). These issues add considerable com-plexity to the unfolding relations of state, society, and religion in Turkey.The present work does not discuss the freedom of religion in general,
    • Islam’s Marriage with Neoliberalism 29but incorporates the headscarf ban within a broader discussion of theKemalist state and its mutation. Relations between the Turkish state and the Kurdish people havealso been problematic for many years. Since the 1980s these relationshave become increasingly violent. Although this conflictual relation-ship predates the republic, the state’s denial of the existence of Kurdsas a culturally and linguistically distinct category of people, and itstreatment of the Kurdish struggle as a national security concern havebeen contentious issues throughout much of the history of the Kemaliststate (R. Cakir 2004; Kirisci and Winrow 2002; Kurban and Yolacan2008; Olson 1996; Yegen 1999). Despite its significance for state trans-formation and the pressures applied by the EU, there is still enormousresistance to the Kurdish movement based on the idea of the indivisibleterritorial unity of the state and the unitary conception of the Turkishnation. This book does not include an extensive discussion of theKurdish movement but incorporates various pertinent aspects of thesubject into a broader discussion of Kemalist state ideology.OutlineChapter 1 offers a broad theoretical discussion of Islam’s ‘marriage’with the epistemically privileged discursive frames of neoliberalism.Chapter 2, ‘The Allure of the West,’ traces the historically groundedinterpretive tensions between Kemalist and Islamic ideational stancesfrom the late Ottoman Empire onward. This is done by unpacking theintertwined stories of liberalism, market capitalism, and laiklik deployedas a pedagogical technique of cultural management and citizenship con-trol. The chapter also examines the dominant role of state bureaucratsin the power plays and application of a bureaucratic/statist version ofEuropean universality. Chapter 3, ‘Turkish Islam: Unthinking Kemalism?,’ focuses on themutation in the Kemalist modernity project under neoliberalism. Statebureaucrats continue to exert direct and indirect influence and ideologi-cal control over the social conditions and political dynamics of neoliber-alism. A bureaucratic/statist notion of ‘Turkish Islam’ is anchored to themoral disciplining of Kemalism in refiguring the ethos of sovereigntyunder neoliberal processes of capital accumulation. The chapter arguesthat there is a real possibility of social fascism emerging in the directionof a militarized form of politico–ethical framing of rule. Chapter 4, ‘Reconstituting the State: The Islamic Framing of Neoliber-alism,’ explains the political resignification of moral values and ethical
    • 30 Islam’s Marriage with Neoliberalismstandards by Islamic groups in the development of an ethos of Mus-lim engagement with the market economy. The methodology employedhere demonstrates the significance of an epistemological assumptionthat incorporates ideas and institutional processes into a contextualizedunderstanding of state transformation. The Islamic framing of neoliber-alism embodies a dual character: its embeddedness in the epistemicallyprivileged status of both the European ideational programme and theIslamic narrative of ‘righteous’ individuals and the good society. Thispoints to an interesting dialectic that helps us rethink the multidi-mensionality of interpretive conflicts being waged in Turkey over theshaping of a public ethos of state sovereignty beyond the Kemalist stateand its claims to a territorialized culture. Chapter 5, ‘Kemalist State Feminism and the Islamic Dress Code,’examines the construction of the cultural–political status of women’sIslamic clothing practices from the late Ottoman Empire onward. Inte-gral to the nation-state formation processes of the 1930s, educated,urban women from the large cities of Ankara and Istanbul rose to posi-tions of privilege within the Kemalist cultural hierarchy. These women,known as Ataturkcu, though silenced within the bureaucratically artic-ulated state feminism, were seen as crucial in the realization of a laik‘cultural turn’ to ‘modernity.’ In contrast, women from the Anatolianhinterland who followed an Islamic dress code were seen as culturallyill-suited for that modernity. This chapter shows that it is within thedebates over the ethical–political meaning of women’s Islamic cloth-ing that an epistemically uncertain concept of Kemalist modernitywas framed in which Islamic normative practices are gradually beingdisplaced in the public sphere. Chapter 6, ‘Politics Without Guarantees: The Headscarf Ban,’ focuseson the possibility of Islamic ‘transformative resistance’ directed againstKemalist state practices surrounding the headscarf ban since the 1980s.Islamic ‘transformative resistance’ includes the political and pedagogi-cal shaping of a general Islamic normative position in refiguring futures.Although without guarantees in producing a coherent transformationaloutcome outside of the state nationalist position of Turkish Islam, it isclear that Islamic groups have situated their interpretive judgment ina social imagery of individual human rights and freedoms discourse.Some Islamic groups articulate their concern within the discourse of lib-eral democracy and by reference to the Universal Declaration of HumanRights (UDHR) and EU standards. Others are committed to the notionof ethical–moral universalism and the institution of a more ‘compre-hensive democracy’ understood as a way of human life. This represents
    • Islam’s Marriage with Neoliberalism 31an Islamic search for refiguring an ontological base of existence beyondthe moral authority imposed by the state. Although difficult and uncer-tain, this search may help foster a more democratic future with acommitment to global solidarity movements. Chapter 7, ‘Headscarf Madness: Narratives of Religious Rights,’ exam-ines the existential resentment of women who wear the headscarfagainst Kemalist state practices. The chapter illustrates how larger polit-ical projects and personal life experiences interact in the making ofan Islamic standpoint. By incorporating different views of women andmen on the headscarf controversy in Turkey, the chapter considers howthe experiences of the headscarf ban have become part of a processof redefining a political–cultural–emotional terrain. A discussion of theCanadian debate on the founding of the Islamic Institute of Civil Jus-tice and the Canadian Supreme Court’s decision regarding the religiousdivorce of an Orthodox Jewish woman helps to further illustrate thearguments made by my respondents on the headscarf issue. Their argu-ments turn around the question of how to think about civil matters witha religious dimension in such a way that the notion of democracy can begrounded as a way of life in social conditions of ‘trust,’ ‘trustworthiness,’and ‘respect.’ Chapter 8, ‘Conclusion,’ weaves the various summary strands in eachchapter together into a general account of the possibility of transfor-mation in the Kemalist state and its practices of sovereignty underneoliberal conditions of economic and political restructuring.
    • 2The Allure of the WestKemalism, which has been accepted as official state ideology since the1930s, represents a watershed moment in Turkish history. Althoughit fostered a radical displacement of Islamic and Ottoman sourcesof nationhood from the state structure, Kemalism did not entail aseparation between state and religion. Rather, it embodied a specificreconfiguration of the state which allowed it to act with key agency incontrolling the production and dissemination of religious knowledge.Religion was to be kept under state control by civil–military bureaucratswho would then inflict the state with a cultural homogeneity achievedthrough laiklik. Kemalism personified an understanding of society through laiklik, butit required a shift from a society grounded in faith in the omnipo-tence of God to one comprising an aggregate of ‘free-willed’ individualsmaking rational choices. These individuals were expected to rely on sci-entific reason rather than faith as a means of knowing. This shift inthe concept of society expresses the ideological dominance of liberalismfound in eighteenth- and nineteenth-century European social thought(Hawthorn 1976). European liberalism also provided early twentieth-century Kemalism with a cultural schema to reconfigure society throughwesternization. Kemalist bureaucrats have also cast a shadow over reli-giously oriented individuals in regard to their cultural suitability forwestern modernity. This has fragmented society between those who sub-scribe to Kemalist laiklik and those who advance religious claims anddiscourses of state making and national culture formation. The Kemalistattempt to reproduce European modernity by fragmenting society con-tinues to frame public life in Turkey, although it has been subject tosignificant modification. 32
    • The Allure of the West 33 The Kemalist vision of emulating the political, cultural, economic,and intellectual character of European societies was predicated on‘hiding God’ in the privacy of the home. The moral stance behindthis Hidden God (Goldmann 1976) also involved removing God fromthe public sphere of politics and the state. However, the Kemalist idealof a liberal society has not proven entirely persuasive. The institu-tions of Kemalism were not completely successful in expanding theliberal principle of equal rights for everyone in society in all aspectsof material and cultural relations. Behind the pretence of ‘emancipat-ing’ citizens from the omnipotence of God in society, Kemalism maskedthe particularistic interests of a specific class and the domination of abureaucratic elite. Further, it predisposed individuals and groups to amoral rethinking of social justice, as well as a rethinking of them as vic-tims of Kemalism – which in turn opened them up to what Mike Davis(2001: 20), in a different context, calls ‘unequally endowed groups.’ Thismoral rethinking of Kemalist ‘injustice’ coincided with the possibility ofchange in Kemalist patterns. And it is emerging from within a heteroge-neous collection of public narratives and explanatory systems rootedin cultural values, images, rituals and normative standards that con-tinue to affect the lifestyle choices and customary practices of manyMuslims. The recent surfacing of political movements around Islamic referencesis seen by Kemalists as a threat to the integrity of the Turkish stateand modern–secular ways of life. However, I believe that Kemalist laikshave got it wrong. Rather than being a regressive force moving Turkeytowards a theocratic state, Islamic politics aims to rework the think-ing and ethos fostered by Kemalism. It entails a change in the Kemaliststate to be sure, but without being either against ‘secularism’ or overtlyreligious in public life. Key questions arise from this conceptually critical Islamic moral andpolitical rethinking: what kind of Islamic politics is emerging? Whatdoes it hope to achieve? Does it aim to cultivate a ‘public ethos ofengagement,’ to evoke Connolly (1999: 5), between European andIslamic moral sensibilities and normative patterns? Or, does it consti-tute an illiberal movement? And how does it interact with conceptionsof secular modernity and the rule of state in Turkey? In overcoming seemingly antithetical formulations, I imagine theremay be more to accomplish than simply reproduce ideologies that assertthe moral superiority of secular modernity and view Islam as a potentialimpediment to that morality. A re-examination of Turkish state forma-tion provides a basis for rethinking the intricacy of the discursive links
    • 34 Islam’s Marriage with Neoliberalismwithin which the political elite, bureaucratic cadres, and Islamic groupsactively deliberate over the meaning of secularism, modernity, andwesternization. I propose a dialectical approach that construes the dis-cursive relations between Kemalism and Islam as mutually constitutivein providing meaning structures to state formation. In order to make sense of Muslim responsiveness to the contestabilityof Kemalist principles, we first need to uncover the historical process ofestablishing a national modernity project as imagined within the Kemal-ist path. The cultural implications of such a project are bound up withgreat uncertainty.Liberal clothing: One size fits allThe European conception of liberalism adopted by Ottomans during thesecond half of the nineteenth century constitutes the historical back-ground for Kemalist modernity and the Islamic critiquing of its culturalauthority. According to Cemil Meric (1974/2005), a Turkish national-ist essayist, Kemalist modernity is a historical continuation of Ottomanliberalism. Meric defines Ottoman liberalism as the blind emulation of space-specific practices from European societies, but without knowing muchabout the specific histories of these practices or without critically eval-uating their applicability. It is this history of applying what is notnecessarily applicable that, in Islamic thinking, constitutes the rootsof the Kemalist intellectual tragedy. For Meric, Kemalist modernizationrids Ottoman reality of its symbolic modes of expression in the ‘custom-ary consciousness’ of individuals without seriously considering what toreplace it with. He further contends that Europe provides a ready-madecivilization for everyone, everywhere, like ready-to-wear clothing thatdoes not require trying on (Meric 1974/2005: 54–5). Meric’s image ofthe resulting alienation is a powerful one: ‘Life resembles a poisonouspit, blind, and dirty. I am suffocated, but don’t have the strength toescape’ (Meric 1974/2005: 47, my translation). Orhan Pamuk (2006), although not an Islamist, offers an equallycompelling description of the effects of European culture on Turkishsociety. He uses the term huzun to convey the sorrow and melan-choly it produces. This theme of not knowing what ‘westernization’would usher in, only that it would rid social life of religiously rooteddemands (O. Pamuk 2006: 9–17), is an oft-repeated intellectual critiqueof Kemalist modernity understood as westernization.
    • The Allure of the West 35 What has often been called ‘modernity’ in abstract terms actu-ally refers to the historical connection between liberalism and marketrationality derived from nineteenth-century Europe (Polanyi 1944). ForWallerstein (1995), liberalism is the worldview of free-market capital-ism, a belief in continual, unending progress. He notes that ‘in orderfor history to follow its natural course, it was necessary to engage inconscious, continual, intelligent reformism . . .’ (Wallerstein 1995: 76).Liberal reformists believed that progress could not be achieved withouta political programme to liberate ‘the people’ from false idols of the pastand the traditional order rooted in the social relations of feudalism andthe church. Progress in this context refers to an irreversible movementfrom the endless cultural diversity of particularities of human societiesto a world unified into rational arrangements (Shanin 1997: 65). Liberal-ism encompasses a substantive view that promotes the incorporation ofpolitically and culturally enabled, rational, and free-willed individualsinto a well-functioning free-market economy. The Ottoman ruling elite had their own reasons for adopting liberal-ism which had nothing to do with the material and cultural tensions insociety that led to liberalism in Europe. Ottoman liberalism was pursuedas an ideological tool to manage the historical experience of the crum-bling Ottoman Empire (Atasoy 1997). In order to prevent the break-upof the empire, the Ottoman elite wanted to restructure the state throughthe creation of a homogeneous public space that was multi-linguisticand multi-religious. Because liberalism defined the people as the sum ofall individuals holding equal rights, and elevated them as ‘the historicsubject of modernity’ to the status of sovereign (Wallerstein 1995: 78),liberalism was seen as a viable solution. The Ottoman elite believed thatliberalism could provide the ‘cement’ to bind members of various reli-gious, linguistic, and cultural communities to the state as equal citizens,thus levelling out deeply rooted cultural differences. Once seen as a universally valid condition of modernity (Wallerstein2006), it is often forgotten that liberalism was born in the context ofthe seventeenth-century struggle for religious freedom in Europe (Cox2006: 11–34). It is a European phenomenon initially nurtured by sectar-ian Christians who sought individual freedom from Church dogma toworship Christ and achieve personal salvation. It was also embraced bypolitical theorists who were attempting to formulate alternative waysof thinking of the individual against the backdrop of the rise of mod-ern science. Of course, for these theorists, among them Thomas Hobbes,a religious conception of individual liberty was an illusion in relation
    • 36 Islam’s Marriage with Neoliberalismto the question of how to organize individuals within the frameworkof the state. For Hobbes (1651/1968), the role of the state was not topreserve individual liberty but to severely limit it within the confinesof society. In other words, constructing ‘civil society’ was a matter ofsocial order and part of state-building activity, as imagined in the intel-lectual history of western Europe. Insofar as ‘modernity’ rests on suchan imaginary, according to Cox (2006: 57), ‘it tends to reject liberalismand supports in its stead monolithic “rational” government control.’It seems that the Ottoman reforming elite also understood liberalismas a way of organizing individuals within the framework of the state,congruent with the then European illiberal thinking found, albeit invery different ways, in Plato’s Republic, Hobbes’s Leviathan, and even inRousseau’s Social Contract. The Ottoman adoption of liberalism was contingent upon a desireto reconfigure the relationship between state territoriality and gover-nance. For Ottoman reformers, the fundamental question was how toprevent nationalist conflicts and secessionist movements among theempire’s multi-religious, multi-linguistic communities. It was thoughtthat a liberal concept of citizenship would make it easier to organizethese diverse groups within the state as loyal subjects. It was also ameans to re-establish the political authority of the state over deep cul-tural differences, inequalities, and local–communal power arrangementsby keeping state-subjects in line. The desire to save the empire from col-lapse gave the Ottomans a perspective on liberalism that distinguishedbetween individual freedom, with an egalitarian promise implicit in thecreation of a national society, and the desire to strengthen state powervis-à-vis these individuals. In short, liberalism became an ideology toinstitute state power over individual freedoms and community-basedgroup solidarities. As Ottoman liberals sought to achieve ‘national unity’ in the OttomanEmpire by strengthening the central authority of the state, liberalismbecame a cultural scheme for delineating a ‘public sphere.’ Individualsunified around the state were to be dissociated from their religious com-munity affiliations, which, in political terms, came to mean suppressingheterodox elements in society, levelling out cultural differences, andinstituting the primacy of the state (Atasoy 1997). Strengthening the central authority of the state coincided with a moveaway from the legacy of cultural pluralism founded in the millet sys-tem. This shift was later firmly established in the Kemalist state-makingproject, although the ideological relevance of the Ottoman millet systemcontinues to persist in demands for a more culturally inclusive state.
    • The Allure of the West 37The Ottoman territorial logic of rule: The millet systemBy the seventeenth century, the Ottoman Empire had incorporated vastterritories in the Balkans, central Europe, the eastern Mediterranean, theMiddle East, and North Africa into its political and economic system.With a centralist government and a command economy, the empirecontained a large number of economically, culturally, linguistically, andreligiously distinct communities, including regions, provinces, tribalunits, and the millets. The millet system managed these differenceswithin an administrative and economic system under central govern-ment regulation. This effectively integrated various communities withinOttoman trading networks and productive arrangements. There were two main millets: one for Muslims and another for non-Muslims. Regardless of their ethno-cultural and linguistic differences,Muslims constituted a single millet. Non-Muslims were divided intoseparate millets according to their religious affiliation: Greek-Orthodox,Jewish, and Armenian. Millets were not territorially defined but madeup of both urban and rural populations from distant regions. The mem-bers of different millets lived in separate quarters of their cities, towns,and villages under the leadership of their own religious leader. Imams,priests, and rabbis represented their respective millets before the govern-ment (Inalcik 1973: 150–1), exercising power locally in the name of theOttoman government. The millets were internally autonomous and self-administering com-munities. On the condition of obedience and payment of a harac(tribute), which formed an important portion of Ottoman-state revenue,members were allowed to freely exercise their religion and live accordingto their own customs (Inalcik 1973: 7). They operated their own edu-cational institutions, levied their own internal taxes, and maintainedcontrol over their community’s legal regime in most matters of civillaw, including marriage, family law, inheritance, and inter-communityaffairs (Keyder 2006: 116, 119). Although they enjoyed autonomy inregard to intra-community concerns, the members of non-Muslim mil-lets were denied opportunity of access to ruling positions in the centralbureaucracy unless they converted to Islam. They were also not allowedto serve in the military and had to pay an exemption tax. Nevertheless,the millet system allowed communities considerable internal autonomyand political representation of cultural, ethnic, and religious differencesindependent of the imperial high culture of the sultan and ruling cadres. Ottoman-state law was valid for the entire population. It consisted ofseriat (Islamic religious law) and the sultan’s kanun (law based on the
    • 38 Islam’s Marriage with Neoliberalismsultan’s decree or ferman, which was not necessarily based on religiousprinciples). State law operated in matters such as security, property, andtaxes. The co-existence of community-based order and state-based civicorder ensured the adherence of Muslim, Jewish, and Christian commu-nities to the central government despite the fact that Islam (Sunni Islam)was the official religion of the state. However, there were no institutionalarrangements for enforcing Islam on a non-religious ruler. Orf-i sultani orsultanic laws, which were widely used in matters of material production,distribution, and consumption, as well as tax-collection (Inalcik 1985),were also useful for ensuring the state’s responsiveness to the needs andcomplaints of the general population. The central government had toprotect producers and respond to them as a source of state–tax revenue. Under this system, the community-centred practices of millets werereflected in kadi justice (Keyder 2006: 119). A judge or kadi renderedjudgements in terms of his assessment of the ethical standards andcultural practices of the community. Millets were therefore subject to dif-ferent community-based laws rather than one unifying territorial law.All community laws were based on kadi justice. State laws connectedcommunities to the state’s extractive power, land system, and militaryorganization. The millet system worked through a hierarchic division between thestate-ruling elite and civilian subject populations, with subjects andthe land they held belonging to the sultan. State power was consoli-dated with an almost independent existence from the local cultures ofruled populations. There was no difference among the masses betweenMuslims and non-Muslims. Regardless of religious affiliation, peasants,merchants, and craftsmen who constituted the productive classes ofthe empire enjoyed the same rights and responsibilities in their workpositions. As the sultan’s subjects they all paid taxes, while membersof the ruling class (men of religion, civilian and military bureaucrats,and their dependents) who were not engaged in productive activitywere exempted from paying taxes. This division between the ruling eliteand masses secured the sultan’s absolute sovereignty over vast Ottomanterritories, but without taking away the substantive autonomy of com-munities. The moral logic of reciprocity defined the character of therelationship between the central state-authority and subject peoples.The state provided subjects with a system of justice and protection whilesubjects gave the state their obedience and taxes. Serif Mardin (1962:97–108) defines this as the ‘circle of justice’ principle. It allowed milletsto enjoy their customary practices and considerable autonomy free fromexcessive state intervention.
    • The Allure of the West 39 The concept of ‘territorialism’ is also vital to an understanding of theOttoman mode of rule. In territorialism, the conquest of new lands isessential for the production and extraction of resources necessary to sus-tain the state’s war-making capacity. This contrasts with the ‘capitalistlogic of rule’ which considers territorial acquisitions a means and aby-product of the accumulation of capital (Arrighi 1994: 33). The ter-ritorialist logic of rule comes close to what Charles Tilly (1990) definesas a ‘coercion-intensive’ path of state formation in eastern Europe. Tilly(1990) examines state formation as historically specific to the relationof organized coercion to capital. He argues that states are shaped by thedesire to wage and prepare for war, which stimulates their need to seekresources. Differences in the social–historical context of places explainvariations in historical trajectories of state formation, which reflectsstate bargaining and organization practices related to resource extrac-tion. Western European states such as England which balanced privatecapital accumulation with state coercion achieved a mix that was suit-able for the creation of the nation-state. Eastern European states suchas Russia never developed the urban capitalist classes which have cometo insist on civil rights, but continued to finance military expendituresthrough an uncommercialized economy. Tilly’s model of the eastern European coercion-intensive path of stateformation appears applicable to the Ottoman case. Ottoman rulers oftenconcentrated coercion at the centre, while secondary means of coercionwere distributed on the frontiers among loyal wielders of force throughthe territory they sought to control. Ottoman territories were in con-stant flux depending on the military capacity of the state to conquernew lands. Following military conquest, occupied areas became tribute-paying territories while their non-Muslim inhabitants became protectedsubjects of the state (Inalcik 1973: 14). The Ottoman coercion-intensive path of state-making workedthrough the cooperation and co-opting of local power holders withouttransforming their power bases. It worked well until the seventeenthcentury as neither millets nor any segment of the economy was allowedto be politically and economically dominant. Although the sultan’skanuns accommodated religious, cultural, and linguistic/ethnic hetero-doxy in the empire, and millets enjoyed substantive autonomy over theircommunity affairs, an appropriate public sphere where civilian groupscould actively engage in state-level politics was absent. The central paradox of the Ottoman state-formation trajectory wasthat the territorial logic of rule persisted while the capitalist logicthat shaped state-formation patterns in western Europe had begun to
    • 40 Islam’s Marriage with Neoliberalismreorganize the world political–economic space (Arrighi 1994; McMichael2004: 2–14). Under the growing impact of the industrial, financial andmilitary power of European states (Inalcik 1973: 121–39), Ottomanrulers felt the damaging effects of capitalist logic from the mid-sixteenthcentury onwards. However, they could not establish a right balancebetween coercion and capital while responding to shifting world-historical conditions. The antimony between the territorial and capital-ist logics of rule then resulted in the gradual dissolution of the linkagebetween the land-tenure system and the military organization vital toOttoman classical arrangements.1 The Anglo-Ottoman Commercial Convention of 1838 represents thecoalescence of the two logics in extending European influence over theOttoman Empire. The convention was a free-trade agreement whichremoved state monopoly control over the economy and minimizedimport and export taxes (Issawi 1980: 74–5). The complexities of thisconvention and its implementation are beyond this book’s scope. It isimportant to note, however, that the opening of agricultural exports haddevastating, multifaceted consequences for Ottoman society. It led tothe expansion of cash-crop production, increased competition over landuse, undermined traditional forms of land tenure relations, introduceda new regime of private land ownership, and intensified the conversionof waste and state lands into plantation-like farms by landed gentry(Quataert 2000; S. Pamuk 1987). The combined effect of these devel-opments was that the territorial logic behind the Ottoman path of stateformation which sustained the millet system was broken down. The statelost control over its land and revenues, and the linkage between theland-allocation system and military organization disintegrated. More-over, the state lost its protectionist capacity over the population, and thetraditional ‘circle of justice’ principle was broken. With the Land Code of1858 Ottoman rulers officially accepted the private ownership of land, aright which in 1867 was also extended to the citizens of European states(Lewis 1968: 89–97). Changes in land-tenure relations and export production in agri-culture did not impose negative effects on all religious and ethniccommunities of the empire in the same way; some communities ben-efited while others were disadvantaged. Opening the empire to freetrade with Europe intensified the economic and cultural differencesamong the empire’s populations. The resulting social unrest was evidentin relations between the overwhelmingly Muslim population of tax-paying peasants, who held military obligations, and their tax-exemptnon-Muslim counterparts, who were not obligated to perform military
    • The Allure of the West 41service (Inalcık 1969, 1987). While Muslim craftsmen were transformedinto unskilled labour and Muslim peasants toiled on the land, non-Muslim merchants and agriculturalists became dominant in cash-cropproduction, assuming privileged intermediary positions in trade rela-tionships with Europe (Issawi 1980, 1982). Those who benefited fromthe new opportunities provided by the market economy settled in newlydesigned European-style urban districts, acquired new tastes in materialculture and adopted consumption habits based on imported Europeanfood and household goods. These changes figured in the emergence of a different meaning ofcultural pluralism from that which had prevailed in the millet systemfor many centuries. As the state-ruling elite was unable to institute anew basis for loyalty and social solidarity, the segmented social spaceof the classical millet system and its social arrangements began to bea liability, leading to social tension and polarization. State rulers lostcontrol over local, regional power holders. The weakening imperialstructure ‘reinforced prospects for autonomy and claims to indepen-dence,’ grounded on specific ‘national’ loyalties and distinct ‘ethnic’affiliations (Sassen 1999: 82). This was especially true among non-Muslim cultural categories in the Balkan regions of the empire. Greeknationalism, for example, had already developed to the extent thatGreek merchants became divorced from the Ottoman economy andincorporated with European business interests (Kedourie 1970). Withinthe Muslim millet, Arabs were also searching for a nationhood of theirown (Gocek 2002; Hudson 1977). In addition, there were Kurdishuprisings beginning as early as 1806 (Oran 2002: 873). These werelargely tribal and religiously inspired mobilizations against the cen-tralized Ottoman administrative system of state-revenue extractionafter the Tanzimat (Kirisci and Winrow 2002; Oran 2002). Althoughthese Kurdish uprisings had not yet been connected historically toa notion of Kurdish nationalism, during the early twentieth centurythe Kurds gradually entered the process of constructing a distinctsense of peoplehood utilizing the Kurdish language as a distinguish-ing category (Bozarslan 2003; Caglayan 2007; McDowall 2004: 87–112;Yegen 1999). Ottoman rulers sought to implement a programme of social change inan effort to counter the growing independence of local power holders,tribal leaders, and provincial ayans (local notables). It was hoped thatsuch a programme would also prevent nationalist movements amongvarious communities and millets, and help secure a position in the con-cert of Europe. This culminated in the constitution of 1876, which was a
    • 42 Islam’s Marriage with Neoliberalism‘state modernization’ programme imposed from above. The constitutionaimed to reverse what Zolberg (1983) refers to as ‘integration crises’arising from the fact that ‘ethnicity’ had become a marker of nationalaffiliation and state loyalty. It attempted to institute direct rule andgreater state penetration into local, communal arrangements of sociallife in order to keep a grip on resources through taxation. This meant thetransformation of the state into a rational–bureaucratic entity (Findley1980) via the creation of a single legal ‘Ottoman national space.’ Sub-jects were then to be tied to the state as citizens without communalmediation. Caglar Keyder (2006: 117) defines this as the ‘transformationof a differentiated and layered political order into homogeneous spaceconstitutionalism.’ As a result, the 1876 Constitution effectively endedthe millet system, along with the substantive autonomy of communitiesin their dealings with the state. The refiguring of the political order entered into a redefinition of soci-ety through the revising of principles other than the cultural pluralityof the millet system. Society was now to be defined as an aggregateof individualized masses, regardless of cultural affiliations and attach-ments, and despite growing social tension and inequality in society. Thisgenerated two distinct yet intertwined imaginaries of nationalism thatcontinue to influence Turkish politics today: secular nationalism andIslamic notions of nationhood.The fine balance of liberalism: Cultural freedoms andprimacy of the stateThe key conceptual component of European liberalism was the creationof ‘the people’ – a view of individuals as being wholly eligible for theexercise of rights and in whom sovereignty is vested. This view achieveddominant cultural status in European politics between 1848 and 1914 inthe context of the great ideological struggles following the French Rev-olution of 1789 (Wallerstein 1995). After 1848, the liberal, egalitarianthought of the French Revolution gave way to the normalization of aparticular political project of liberal modernity in western Europe. Thedevelopment of a unitary, centralized, and rational–bureaucratic admin-istrative state (Weber 1918/1946) converged with the ‘nightwatchman’doctrine of state sovereignty, thereby elevating liberalism to a positionof cultural dominance in the relationship between the governing andthe governed. This development was predicated on the creation of a newnormative order, and a comprehensive rethinking of the ways in whichwe understand the rationality, autonomy, and freedom of individuals
    • The Allure of the West 43acting within the politically administered space of a market economy(Somers and Block 2005). The concept of biopolitics, which Foucault (2008) refers to as agovernment technology, is applicable here. It assigns individuals tostates (Kaplan and Torpey 2001) and governs the lives of individu-als and groups within states who are deemed capable of improvementas citizens. This, according to Patel and McMichael (2004), mobilizesindividuals under the sovereign control of the state to act in waysfavourable to market capitalism. From this perspective, both liberal andauthoritarian regimes deploy biopolitical means to administer the rela-tionship between government and notions of social life (Dean 2001;Gilroy 2004). In the Ottoman Empire, liberalism was articulated as a political projectof citizenship in the cultural management of Ottoman subjects by thestate. The story of how liberalism was implemented is also the storyof how cultural schemes were deployed as pedagogical techniques tofacilitate the expansion of a market principle in the empire.The Tanzimat era (1839–76)The Tanzimat (charter of regulations) refers to series of reforms promul-gated under the reigns of Sultan Abdulmecit and Sultan Abdulaziz. Itinitiated a process directed towards instituting unified citizenship in therelationship between the governing and the governed. Reformers hopedto replicate a western European method of governing, expecting thatwhat had worked in the British case – which Tilly (1990) described asa ‘capital-coercive’ trajectory – should also work in the Ottoman case.Tilly (1990), of course, describes the emergence of the British trajectorywithin a thousand-year history of Europe. Tanzimat reformers saw theBritish path as universally applicable and believed that it could be imple-mented in the Ottoman Empire through a reform movement initiatedfrom above. This involved a transformation of the Ottoman territoriallogic of rule from one which relied on local and regional power holdersto one which required the elimination of local power structures to cre-ate a centralized administrative system of state-revenue extraction andbudgeting. Direct, centralized rule had its locus in the creation of citizenshipand individual rights. The most novel aspect of Tanzimat reforms wasits recalculation of social criteria for membership in the state – equal-ity before the law among all Ottomans. With the 1856 reform decree,the equality principle was extended to areas of educational opportunity,
    • 44 Islam’s Marriage with Neoliberalismappointments to government posts, the administration of justice, andmatters pertaining to taxation and the military (Davison 1993: 64; Yapp1987: 111). Theoretically, this would mean the dissolution of the clas-sical Ottoman millet system. Combining the anti-defamation clause ofthe 1856 decree, which banned the unequal, discriminatory treatmentof any group on the basis of religion, language or ethnicity, with thenationality law of 1869, the Tanzimat programme attempted to insti-tute a secular concept of unified citizenship. It aimed to establish adirect link between the state and the people, eventually levelling outcultural–religious differences among citizen-subjects. The 1876 Con-stitution defined all subjects of the state as Osmanli (Ottoman), who‘are equal before the law without distinction as to religion’ (Davison1993: 64). The constitutionally guaranteed Osmanlicilik (Ottomanism)legally invalidated the older forms of political legitimacy and intensi-fied a process that opened all administrative ranks to non-Muslims. Thisprocess, which was already underway after the 1856 decree, changedthe cultural–religious composition of the state bureaucracy (Keyder2006: 120). Without a doubt, nineteenth-century balance of power politics helpedEuropean normative standards infiltrate into the Ottoman moral fram-ing of governance. This is what I call a geopolitical form of cultureproduction. To be sure, the Ottoman ruling elite was deliberating upona range of geopolitical and military possibilities to save the empire fromdisintegration. They saw the reforms as ‘enabling’ governing-vehicles tocreate a unified state to be deployed in the political–military struggles ofthe time. It was based on instituting formal equality between Muslimsand non-Muslims. However, Christian subjects did not find the principleof equality desirable as it meant the abolition of all community priv-ileges and exemptions (such as serving in the military). It also meantequal taxation, which would have required them to pay considerablyhigher taxes for the first time (Inalcik 1973). The outcome of a geo-political form of culture production couldnot have been predicted beforehand, of course. The irony of Tanzimatreforms is that while it was intended to save the empire by strength-ening central state authority, it actually triggered an increase in upris-ings and national independence movements. Many of the traditionalOttoman regulations which granted substantive autonomy to milletsalso increased the possibility of foreign states demanding greater protec-tion for non-Muslims, to the extent of even wanting to be recognized asprotectors of Ottoman Christian subjects. The 1869 nationality law wasin fact designed to combat foreign states’ interference in Ottoman affairsin the name of protecting Ottoman non-Muslims (Davison 1993: 68).
    • The Allure of the West 45 The reforms failed to unify the religiously, linguistically, and cultur-ally diverse peoples of the empire. More profoundly, what actually failedwas the idea of embedding state membership within a culturally unifiedconception of the Osmanli nation, disconnected from communal, reli-gious affiliations. Nevertheless, in terms of their effects on social life, theTanzimat reforms grafted an Ottoman social change programme ontothe adoption of European-style patterns.European universalismThe process of Avrupalilasma (Europeanization) of social life intensi-fied after Sultan Mahmut’s death in 1839. Four Tanzimat-era sadrazams(prime ministers) in particular, Mustafa Resid, Ali, Fuat, and MithadPashas, were quite knowledgeable on European political ideas and prac-tices, demonstrating a strong taste for European social customs. It wasthey who officially opened the door to batililasma (westernization). Inproducing a model of social change, these Tanzimat men idealized theEnlightenment idea of progress as the source of European primacy in thefields of science and technology. The Europeanization process reachedits zenith under the government of the Sadrazam Mustafa Resid Pasha(1800–58). Mustafa Resid Pasha lived in Paris in 1834 and 1835, and inLondon from 1836 to 1837, and again in 1838 as an ambassador of theOttoman state. During his stay in Paris he developed a strong taste forFrench theatre, art, and literature. While in London he established closeties with British Foreign Minister Palmerston and Ambassador StratfordCanning. After returning to Istanbul as a foreign minister in the SultanMahmut II government, one of his first undertakings was to sign theAnglo-Ottoman Commercial Convention of 1838, which structurallyadjusted the Ottoman economy to the requirements of the free-traderegime (Atasoy 2005: 32–6). Mustafa Resid Pasha has sometimes been called the ‘greatest primeminister’ (Oztuna 1978: 38–9). He is also referred to as the Koca (Great)Mustafa Resid Pasha. For poet Sinasi, he was ‘the prophet of civiliza-tion’ (Dogan 1979: 18). Mustafa Resid Pasha believed the Ottoman statecould be ‘civilized’ by catching-up with European social standards. Hedescribed the European lifestyle as the basis for an Ottoman ‘culturalpedagogy of the people and the execution of a social order’ (terbiye-i nasve icray-i nizamat) (Cegin 2006: 98). For the pasha, this was a project ofmodern-subject creation essential for the state to produce and reproducea culturally unified social space. An issue of considerable importance arises here which allows us tobetter evaluate the importance of the Tanzimat in fragmenting social
    • 46 Islam’s Marriage with Neoliberalismspace while aiming to unify it – a fragmentation which continues topersist in Turkish politics. Tanzimat reformers idealized European civi-lization as universal (Gungor 1999: 16–23) in order to provide a cultural,normative perspective on modernity. Nevertheless, their reference touniversalism was more contextual than absolutist. They juxtaposedEuropean universalism understood as ‘civilization’ and the particular-ities of Ottoman–Muslim culture. Between these there were multiplepossibilities for various versions of synthesis. Although they never defined what they meant by ‘civilization’ and‘culture,’ they often drew a distinction between the two terms. Thismarks the dualistic thinking of the Tanzimat. For them, Islam wasthe backbone of Ottoman–Muslim cultural practices and normativestandards, yet Ottoman Muslims should have belonged to Europeancivilization. This signals the beginning of a series of experiments inOttoman–Turkish history with a social-change model of moderniza-tion based on European universalism. Mustafa Resid Pasha, ‘the prophetof civilization,’ articulated a political project of inevitability and anurgency for the rebirth of Ottomans into European ways. Interest-ingly, the Tanzimat’s Europeanization project also introduced a paradoxinto political choice making, rooted in the alienation and culturallyexclusionary practices of modernity. What Gramsci (1928/1971: 235, 245–6, 257–64) described in relationto the role of the state holds true for what the Tanzimat men thoughtabout the state as well: It has to be ‘ethical.’ For Gramsci (1928/1971:258), an ethical state ‘raise(s) the great mass of population to a particularcultural and moral level’ which corresponds to the requirements of theeconomy. The state is ethical because it educates the people to be loyalmembers who display civic virtue and morality. Similarly, the adjustment of the Ottoman economy to the require-ments of the nineteenth-century market economy coincided with ped-agogical reforms undertaken by the bureaucratic elite to create culturalopenness to European ways. For the men of Tanzimat, the westernizationproject did not mean a wholesale replacement of the former system witha European model, however. In fact, they wanted to blend what was con-ceived as an Ottoman–Islamic culture with what was seen as Europeancivilization. Nonetheless, they found it extremely difficult to embracea solid position that would allow them to blend both; and ended upwalking ‘the thin line of modernity’ (Pandolfo 2000). The culture of progress, science, and technology – understood tobe uniquely western European – was used to justify the adoption ofa secular system of pedagogy for educating subjects entering state
    • The Allure of the West 47management positions. Prior to the Tanzimat era, the general educa-tion of Ottoman Muslims consisted mostly of religious training in Koranschools and medreses. It was financed through vakifs (charitable endow-ments) and run by the lower ulema (Singer 2002). With the foundingof advanced primary level public schools (Rusdiyye) in 1839 Muslimsbegan to receive a mixed education in religious and practical sub-jects. Non-Muslims attending western-style schools within their milletswere already receiving a mixed education in the modern sciences andthe religious culture of their particular denomination. With the 1856reforms which secularized the content of education, non-Muslims werealso admitted to Ottoman civil and military schools in preparation forpositions in the state bureaucracy (Atasoy 2005: 28). Secularization was of a particular kind, however. It instituted amixed curriculum of studies in Islamic religion and modern sciencesfor Muslim students, while acknowledging the right of every religiouscommunity to establish its own schools (Somel 2001: 49). This marksthe beginning of an Ottoman brand of secular education, combin-ing scientific–technical knowledge with religious moral values (Atasoy2005: 27–32). Reformers saw such an educational programme as essen-tial for the growth of a competitive Ottoman power-base with thecapacity to fend off foreign political and cultural interference. Neweducational opportunities were also created to open the way for a uni-fied Ottoman state bureaucracy made up of Muslims and non-Muslimsaround the Osmanlilik concept. The Galatasaray Lise, for example, wasestablished in 1867 to prepare both Muslim and non-Muslim studentsfor bureaucratic posts. In addition to introducing economic reforms, building hundreds ofsecularly oriented schools and hospitals, and constructing highways,telegraph lines and railroads, the men of Tanzimat saw a change inOttoman social life as a prerequisite for transforming the empire intoa modernizing milieu. Bureaucrats, whose number reached over half amillion by the end of the century, and many sultans were fascinated byall things European – including their plays and music, theatre, clothing(especially French), architecture, palaces, furniture, household utensils,china sets, and so forth. This shift in lifestyle was further promoted byan increase in consumer-goods imports from Europe, financed largelythrough greater foreign borrowing. The Dolmabahce Palace (which translates as ‘filled up’ garden palace)is a dramatic example of the extravagant European taste of Sultan Abdul-mecit (1839–61).2 The estimated cost of building this opulent palacewas 5 million gold pieces (A Historical Guide to Istanbul 1996: 131).
    • 48 Islam’s Marriage with NeoliberalismAn Istanbul banker commented on this huge expense by saying: ‘It ismonstrous that the finances of a great empire should be ruined by thefantastic desires of a fool, who, already having fifty palaces, wants toconstruct fifty more’ (Blaisdell 1929: 30). The building of DolmabahcePalace was a turning point: Topkapi Palace, which served the sultanssince the fifteenth century, would not be used again as the residenceof the Ottoman sultans and the centre of government. Sultan Abdulaziz(1861–76), who enjoyed similar extravagant tastes, continued the palacebuilding trend of the era. Ciragan Palace was built with loans acquiredfrom Europe and from local banks charging 12 per cent interest (IstanbulGuide n.d.: 92). The Baroque-style Beylerbeyi Palace, built in 1865, wasalso financed by high-interest foreign and domestic loans. It is not diffi-cult to appreciate how the fancy for European-style palaces and luxurybuildings contributed greatly to an ever-increasing Ottoman foreigndebt. And in the process, life in Ottoman cities began to change. Daily life in certain districts of Istanbul, for example, came to resemblethat of European capital cities. The consumption of imported luxu-ries became a cultural symbol of Europeanization. Many hotels, suchas the Buyuk Londra Oteli (The Grand London Hotel) and the PeraPalace (1894), were constructed to accommodate visiting foreign mer-chants and travellers. Beyoglu, a district in Istanbul, became the hubof a flourishing western lifestyle for both Muslim and non-MuslimOttomans. The area was filled with European-style cafes and patisseriesserving imported European colonial coffees and teas, and clothing,furniture and hardware stores selling European manufactured goods.With tall stone houses replacing traditional wooden Ottoman architec-ture, Beyoglu became a miniature Europe in a largely Muslim Istanbul(A Historical Guide to Istanbul 1996: 28–33). Without delving into a detailed history of reforms, it is importantto underscore that the Tanzimat initiated a genuine conflict of cul-ture production that continues to frame politics in present-day Turkey.The failure of Tanzimat reforms to establish direct rule over diversecultural communities generated ambivalence towards the emulationof European ways. A small group of intellectuals in the 1860s whocalled themselves the Yeni Osmanlilar (Young Ottomans) opposed thesecularism of the Tanzimat. Among them were Sinasi (1826–71), AliSuavi (1839–78), and Namik Kemal (1840–88). Although their opposi-tion to Tanzimat reforms has sometimes been defined as a reversionto Islamism, this is not the case. Their opposition was not born inthe mosques and they remained the men of Tanzimat. However, theywanted to reform the Ottoman state and situate it on the path of a
    • The Allure of the West 49European-style modernity by integrating a Muslim worldview into adistinctly Ottoman–Muslim culture.The blending of Islam and western modernityCemil Meric and Necip Fazil Kisakurek are two important contemporaryTurkish nationalist essayists who have written extensively on the intel-lectual history of Turkey. Both have described the legacy of Ottomanreforms as a cultural tragedy in Turkey. Their critique helps us to betterunderstand the Young Ottomans’ ideological significance in the Islamicreconfiguring of a cultural perspective in the present era of Turkishhistory. Cemil Meric (1916–87) offers his description of Turkish intellectualhistory in Bu Ulke (This Country). First published in 1974, the 26th edi-tion of Bu Ulke was printed in 2005. The book continues to influencean Islamic critique of secularism in Turkey today. According to Meric,Young Ottomans were opposed to what he called the ‘wardrobe Euro-peanism’ of Tanzimat intellectuals. Tanzimat intellectuals, he argued,were unaware of what Europeanism was about, and wanted to disasso-ciate the state from a 600-year-old cultural heritage. Theirs was an effortto import ‘ready to wear’ clothing from the European ‘wardrobe’ in anobvious attempt to copy the material features of European life. In his Umrandan Uygarliga (From Flourishing to Civilization) (1996)Meric defines the Tanzimat as ‘a corridor opening to the abyss of degen-eration,’ and the men of Tanzimat as ‘heedless intelligentsia who setsail for the land of infidelity while amusing themselves with the sirens’song’ (quoted in Cegin 2006: 98, my translation). For Meric (1974/2005:112, 176–8), the tragedy was hidden in the annihilation of the sacredand the sanctified – which was Islam, the culture of the masses – by anunmindful group of men favouring European decadence. The Tanzimatelite had a ‘detached perspective,’ to use a phrase from Karl Mannheim(1975: 253, quoted in King and Szelenyi 2004: 43), when they actedto copy European normative patterns. It gave rise to the developmentof ‘inauthenticity’ in the production of a Turkish trajectory of socialchange. According to Meric (1974/2005), this is the source of a culturaltragedy that has been inflicted upon Turkish intellectuals for the last200 years. Necip Fazil Kisakurek (1905–83), another Muslim and Turkish nation-alist intellectual, shares this sentiment: ‘Tanzimat was merely an era ofrestructuring through the emulation of western ways, as understood bysimplistic and shallow political puppets . . .’ (Kisakurek 1968/1976: 69,
    • 50 Islam’s Marriage with Neoliberalismmy translation). Kisakurek regards Tanzimat intellectuals as ‘Ucuzcular[cheap salesmen]. Quarter intellectuals who have lost the East but couldnot find the West’ (Tasyurek 2001: 2, my translation). These ‘half-baked bogus intellectuals pushing for an uncontrolled and unsupervisedprocess of imitating the rival world have corrupted Islam, and this mur-derous era first began with Tanzimat’ (Kisakurek 1968/1976: 139, mytranslation). For Kisakurek (1968/1976: 138), ‘it is not that Tanzimat[reorganization] of the Ottoman system should not have taken place atall, but that it should have been undertaken under the influence of, andwithin the context of, Islam as a much deeper and more comprehen-sive social change movement’ (my translation). Cemil Meric’s and NecipFazil Kisakurek’s critique of Tanzimat reforms mirrors much of what theYoung Ottoman intellectuals and Young Turks were opposed to. The Young Ottomans argued that the failure of the Tanzimat hadnothing to do with the adoption of a project of modernity, but wasrather a deviation from it. Under diplomatic/military pressure exertedby the great powers and with the threat of separatist movements, theOttoman ruling elite gave ‘special’ concessions to Christians, therebydeviating from a liberal project of equality. The Young Ottomansbelieved that a liberal mode of governance could still be achieved inthe empire if the connections between the state and citizenship wererecast through a filter of Islamic legitimation. The Young Ottomans hoped to restore state authority through con-stitutional rule and create Ottoman unity based on Osmanlilik. Theconcepts of liberty, equality, and motherland were to provide the basisfor equal cooperation by peoples of all religions in an effort to savethe empire from collapse. The Young Ottomans wanted to create anOttoman nation through a synthesis of European political institutionsand an Islamic understanding of good government (Mardin 1962).According to Namik Kemal, an Ottoman rebirth did not mean a totalrejection of Ottoman–Muslim culture but rather a marriage between‘East’ and ‘West’ – a marriage ‘between the virginal idea of progress fromthe West and the mindfulness and virtuousness of the East’ (batinin‘bikr-I fikri’ ile dogunun ‘akl-I piranesini’ birlestirme) (quoted in Meric1974/2005: 139, my translation). For Meric, Namik Kemal’s approachwas still nothing short of cultural plagiarism from Tanzimat reformerswho were infatuated with the west (my emphasis). The Young Ottomans had no theory of resistance and political opposi-tion, which brings them close to the illiberal European thinking revealedin the writing of Hobbes. The theory of human nature that all individ-uals are motivated to pursue self-interest was used to justify Hobbes’s
    • The Allure of the West 51theory of government. Hobbes was clearly not making an empiricalclaim but simply asserting that human action is by definition selfish (Cox2006: 90). In the absence of a central authority which can create order,selfish individuals will act aggressively towards each other and producesocial anarchy. For John Stuart Mill, this was the paradox of liberty (Spitz1975): Some individual freedoms have to be surrendered in order forsociety to function in an orderly manner. A theory of human nature,then, justifies the sovereign power of the state as absolute over indi-viduals. The Young Ottomans attempted to link an Islamic theory ofresponsible, good governance to a European theory of the sovereignpower of the state as absolute over social space. They believed theycould solve Mills’s paradox of liberty in this way. Having learned fromEuropean thinkers such as Mills and Rousseau, it seems that the YoungOttomans were trying to join the idea of individual liberty with the pur-suit of the common good, which they understood the Islamic idea ofcommon ethical bonds to be. An Islamic ethical stance was then to beplayed out somehow through constitutional rule, in order to limit thesultan’s absolute power. However, the Young Ottomans did not showhow this was to be accomplished. At first glance, the Young Ottomans might appear to be influenced byJohn Locke’s theory of government because of their emphasis on the roleof Islamic morality in limiting state power. For Locke, the centralizationof power in the state had to be mediated and constrained, a view whichoffers some insight into constitutional governments (Ashcraft 1986).Locke maintained that the creation of a ‘private sphere’ of the econ-omy separate from the public sphere of the state, comprised of relativelyautonomous individuals, institutions, and associations, was central tothe protection of individual liberties and a stable political order. YoungOttomans, however, provided neither a theory of opposition nor a cleardistinction between the state and the individual. There was no discrep-ancy in their thinking between the belief that the King’s power comesfrom God and the theory that it arose through a contract with the peo-ple (Mardin 1962: 401). They simply believed that Islam could resolvethe tension in liberalism that emerged from a dualism between the prin-ciple of individual freedoms and the idea of social cohesion implicit inthe sovereignty of the state. Their adherence to an Islamic conceptionof responsible government was utopian. The Young Ottomans clearly erred on the side of social cohesionand sovereignty of the state rather than individual liberties and rep-resentation. Despite their moralistic stand and ethical sensibilities, theyfailed to produce a theory of government that reconciled the pursuit of
    • 52 Islam’s Marriage with Neoliberalismindividual freedoms and the common good. For Meric, this shortcom-ing reflects the cultural drama of the Ottoman intellectuals in general.Meric writes: There was nothing left from the eternal code of conduct, nor a capacity to develop a new one. There was no way to return to the old; bridges were already set-up to build the new. To live required renewing the old. But, where were we to start and how were we to proceed? The era was filled with a feverish search . . . sometimes worn- out, sometimes full of hope. For the first time, the ulema lost its prominence in idea production, and a group of intellectuals emerged with new proposals. The Young Ottomans were the most famous representatives of this perplexed lot. (Quoted in Sahin 2006: 170, my translation)I believe this perplexity is rooted in a limited understanding of moral-ity. Similar to the thinking of Tanzimat reformers, Young Ottomans alsopraised European ideas of progress. They were enchanted with the cul-ture of science and technology and its contribution to material advancesin Europe. Nonetheless, they believed in the importance of cultivatingan Islamic ethical sensibility as a means of organizing Muslim unity,despite the multiplicity of religious/cultural groups in the empire. TheYoung Ottomans supported a programme of education which wouldmerge Islamic religious principles with modern science and technol-ogy (Atasoy 2005: Chapter 2). They hoped that an Islamic educationwould help fend off the idea of European superiority over Ottomansocio-cultural arrangements, and they believed that the Koran was afundamental source of social cohesion offering the greatest guaranteeof individual freedoms. Sultan Abdulhamit (1878–1908) also placed great emphasis onMuslim–Ottoman unity, contending that it could be created throughthe overt deployment of pedagogical techniques for ‘reconstructing’ theMuslim individual. Abdulhamit’s educational programme merged theprominence of moral elements in the Islamic religion with knowledgeof modern science and technology (Atasoy 2005: 29–30). This does notrepresent a departure from the Tanzimat path but actually builds on it,with the intention of producing a truly Muslim–Ottoman programme ofsocial change. However, Ottoman reformers had no idea of how to blenda European culture of science and technology with Muslim ethics. The realization of Ottomanism proved to be a challenging task, giventhat Christians and some non-Turkish Muslims, especially from the
    • The Allure of the West 53Arab provinces of the empire, were not interested in the concept ofOsmanli unity. It was within the context of recognizing the futility ofOsmanlilik that a group of intellectuals known as the Young Turks devel-oped an ideology of Turkish nationalism – one which relied on a secular,Turkish-ethnic understanding of morality. The Young Turks are the intel-lectual, spiritual forerunners of the Kemalist state. Their embrace ofTurkish nationalism reflects their continuing ideological adherence tothe Tanzimat notion of the state as a unitary agent of social change.Blending Turkism, Islam, and western modernityThe Young Turks (1908–18) were politically organized within the Com-mittee of Union and Progress (CUP). They came to power with the1908 Revolution which forced Sultan Abdulhamit to reinstate the con-stitution and reopen parliament. For 30 years beginning in 1878,Abdulhamit had ignored the constitutional regime. Although the YoungTurks were initially loyal to the Muslim–Ottoman unity idea (Ahmad1993: 39), they gradually developed the competing concept of Turkishnationalism (Behar 1992: 60–85; Berkes 1959; Turkone 1991) after aseries of military defeats in the Balkans and other territorial losses. Theyalso realized that Turkish-speaking people existed within the OttomanEmpire and that they could establish a Turkish state. This presenteda break from the earlier Osmanli concept developed by the men ofTanzimat and the Young Ottomans who had either refused the writ-ing of a ‘national’ history or never defined it as a Turkish history (Heyd1950: 104–15; Yinanc 1969). After 1912 the CUP abandoned Osmanli patriotism and began todevelop an ideology of Turkish nationalism. During the Young Turk erathere were many attempts to write a history of the Turks for the purposeof creating a nationalist mythology. Hungarian anthropologist Vamberyand Ottoman writer Mustafa Celaleddin Pasha (of Polish origin) madesuch attempts. Interested mostly in the origin of the Turks before Islam,both these writers claimed that the Turks, on the basis of their pre-sumed racial characteristics, were part of a larger racial category of Turanwhich comprised Fins, Hungarians, and the Turks of Central Asia andthe Caucasus (Behar 1992: 64–5). Vambery and Celaleddin Pasha sim-ply assert that language and racial origin are the basis for a claim tonationhood. The Young Turks wanted to create a Turkish nation outof culturally, linguistically different groups by reference to their imag-ined unity of ethnic/racial/linguistic origins. And a Muslim religiousorientation was to support this unity.
    • 54 Islam’s Marriage with Neoliberalism One of the Young Turk intellectuals, and a sociologist, Ziya Gokalp(1876–1924) is often considered the father of Turkish nationalism. Hiswritings reveal a link between the pedagogic Islamism of the YoungOttomans and the Turkish–Islamic formulation of the 1980s throughthe Kemalist concept of laiklik. Gokalp’s writings on the creation of ‘amodern Muslim Turkish nation’ have clearly influenced the nationalist–Islamic ideological orientations of Meric and Kisakurek, as well asthe Fethullahcilar movement in the current era of Turkish history.Gokalp’s Turk–Islam formulation found its contemporary expressionin the Turkish–Islamic synthesis ideology of the far-right MHP in the1970s. The generals of the 1980 military coup instituted the Turkish–Islamic synthesis in the state structure. Ideological connections andpolitical practices suggest that laik Kemalism and Islamic orientationsare much closer than is often assumed – but are buried beneath theKemalist ambivalence towards the role of Islam in state formation. Gokalp, who was from the inner circle of the CUP, contributedsignificantly to the project of Turkculuk (Turkism) as a viable ideol-ogy for building social cohesion in the remaining territories of theOttoman state. As a sociologist who translated Emile Durkheim’s workinto Turkish, Gokalp’s most important concern was how to achievesocial cohesion. Gokalp developed his ideas on Turklesmek, Islamlas-mak, and Muasirlasmak (Turkification, Islamization, and moderniza-tion) in articles originally published in Turk Yurdu (Turkish Homeland)magazine.3 These articles were later reprinted in a book published bythe Ministry of Culture in 1976. In these writings, Gokalp (1976a)conceptualized Turklesmek (Turkification) as the generation of a feel-ing of national belonging and attachment to an idea of nationality.Islamlasmak (Islamization) refers to a sense of belonging to a transna-tional community of Muslim nations (ummah). It is a matter of beingpart of a civilization defined in terms of religion, the boundaries ofwhich are defined by the divine book (Gokalp 1976b: 9–11). Muasirlas-mak (modernization) refers to a national capacity to generate economicdevelopment and technological growth through the adoption of Euro-pean scientific knowledge and techniques (Gokalp 1976b: 11). Gokalp(1976b: 12) sees these goals as complementary to the ultimate goal ofcreating a muassir Islam Turklugu (modern Islamic Turkism). Gokalp’s muassir Islam Turklugu replaced Osmanlilik. Gokalp under-stood the ‘nation’ to be a distinct cultural category of individuals unifiedby common language and religion (Berkes 1959: 72–4, 284–5). However,he rejected attempts to define the nation by an exclusive reference toIslam because it included Muslims of other ethnic–linguistic categoriessuch as Arabs. Gokalp’s goal was to Turkify the religion of Islam by
    • The Allure of the West 55making it an element of national culture: ‘Our national ideal will be toreach Turkishness’ in every aspect of culture including religion (quotedin Berkes 1959: 103). Gokalp was against the Tanzimat concept of Osmanlilik. For him, itwas a big ‘lie’; no other millets of the Ottoman Empire believed in it.They thought of Osmanli as inseparable from its Turkish roots. OnlyTurks believed in the possibility of an Osmanli nation. Seeing them-selves as a mass of atomized persons, Turks had no conception of anationality in their own social consciousness, only ties to kin, fam-ily, and village (Gokalp 1976b: 43–52). For Gokalp, the creation of anational consciousness required a new Turkist pedagogy cultivated by acorresponding pedagogy of Islamization. Before Tanzimat, Gokalp (1976b: 58) argued, children of Turkishfamilies were educated in Islamic sciences and morality; the Tanzimatintroduced western social values and modern technical sciences. Unableto blend the two, the men of Tanzimat created a polarized cultural orien-tation between the Islamic and the modern/western. In the end, Gokalpfeared that children were becoming confused about the distinct culturalsphere of these orientations. They no longer realized that they heldmoral values, normative standards, and an ethical universalism belong-ing to the worldview of Islam, while also being profoundly influencedby the scientific knowledge and technology of another worldview origi-nating in the west. Owing to this confusion, the Tanzimat programme ofmodernization transgressed the Islamic moral sphere and offended Mus-lims (Gokalp 1976b: 58–60). The children of Muslim Turks were nevertaught Turkish cultural values, ‘. . . the goal of Turkculer (Turkish nation-alists) should have been the cultivation of a modern Islamic Turkism’(Gokalp 1976b: 53). For Gokalp, the Turkification movement on whichclaims to national state formation were made required Islamizationwhereas the multi-religious cultural content of Osmanlilik did not (Turk-dogan 1978: 133). Therefore, Gokalp urgently called for Islamlasmak(Islamization) in order to culturally unify atomized persons of Turkishorigin and to generate a morally informed national consciousness. Gokalp (1976b: 42) wrote: ‘[W]e Turks must work to create a cul-tural synthesis of Turk-Islam although we must also be equipped withuniversal values of rationality and modern sciences.’ He (1976b: 28)added: ‘[A] modern Turk-Islam civilization can only be generated ifwe blend the natural sciences, philosophy, rationality, and method-ology of our times with our national and religious traditions’ (mytranslations). His yearning was for a yeni hayat (new life) to be estab-lished from this blend – one that refuses both a trans-historical Islamicstand and the wholesale emulation of western standards (Gokalp
    • 56 Islam’s Marriage with Neoliberalism1976b: 20–8). Gokalp’s Turk–Islam resembles Namik Kemal’s desire fora fusion between the ‘east’ and the ‘west,’ expressed as a synthesisbetween western rationality and ‘progress,’ and eastern mindfulness andvirtue (batinin ‘bikr-I fikri’ ile dogunun ‘akl-I piranesini’ birlestirme) (Meric1974/2005: 139). The difference here is that Gokalp saw Turkism, includ-ing a Turkified notion of Islam, as the prime mover of a social changeprogramme, rather than Namik Kemal’s Ottomanism which integrates aMuslim worldview. There are meaningful continuities in the ideological orientations ofthe Young Ottomans (for example, Sinasi and Namik Kemal), the YoungTurks (Ziya Gokalp), and, as I will examine in later chapters, more recentnationalist–Islamic orientations (Necip Fazil Kisakurek, the MHP, andUlkuculer as well as the Fethullahcilar movement). The blending of ideason nationalism, Islam, and western modernity is also expressed in differ-ent ways and at different times through Kemalist state practices of socialcohesion.Unease with Islamic referents: KemalismWhile Gokalp never developed an ideology of Turkculuk and modern-ization that eliminates Islamic referents, the future adaptation of histhought by the founders of the Turkish Republic represents a clear breakfrom previous Ottoman projects of Muslim unity. Yet, Kemalism is neverat ease with what it has tried to replace and how. This unease is wellexpressed by the Turkish novelist Orhan Pamuk in his description of thedeep melancholy or huzun felt by many in Turkey: Great as the desire to westernize and modernize may have been, the more desperate wish was probably to be rid of all the bitter memo- ries of the fallen empire, rather as a spurned lover throws away his lost beloved’s cloths, possessions, and photographs. But as nothing, western or local, came to fill the void, the great drive to western- ize amounted mostly to the erasure of the past; the effect on culture was reductive and stunting, leading families like mine, otherwise glad of republican progress, to furnish their houses like museums. That which I would later know as pervasive melancholy and mystery, I felt in childhood as boredom and gloom, a deadening tedium. (O. Pamuk 2006: 29)Interestingly, what Orhan Pamuk describes in Istanbul (2006) as a sourceof constant huzun has also been a source of great emotional pain for
    • The Allure of the West 57many intellectuals on the pro-Islamic side. For them, Kemalist western-ization caused a tragic break in the connection between self and society,reducing society to a collection of atomized individuals with no past(Meric 1974/2005: 37, 98). For example, in Cile (Suffering) Necip FazilKisakurek (1979: 14–16) writes: I moved around for months, shattered and perplexed, My soul is a cauldron and my intellect a ladle, Within ear-shot of the village of lunatics, Each and every idea is a pair of handcuffs within me. Time and time again the scorpion stung my soul, I moved from season to season in that way. I realized neither in fire nor in the gouging of flesh Is there a greater torture than the suffering of the mind. Dictionary, give a name to describe me; A name that everybody will recognize! My old clothes hold my hand; Mirrors tell me who I am. (quoted in Atasoy 2005: 77, my translation)This may be more profound than what Pamuk (2006: 101) describesas the ‘heartache’ or huzun felt by those living in Istanbul among thegreat monuments of the past. Kisakurek’s description is of a deep culturalalienation and moral derangement. In Ahsap Konak (wooden mansion),Kisakurek expresses his feelings further through the image of the konakwhere he spent his childhood during the final years of the OttomanEmpire. It symbolizes the communal feeling of moral disintegrationshared by millions under the influence of the westernization process.Kisakurek writes: Every floor of this three story Ahsap Konak is a different world: Top floor: my grandmother crying while holding prayer beats Middle floor: my mother dancing with her lovers Downstairs: My sister screaming at the tom-tom beats. Like the maggoty cheese that I cut through from the middle, Please come and see it through its floors, here, my home! What kind of a pathetic tree that is, surrounding my entire vision. Its roots are honesty, its branches are imitation, its fruits are prostitution. (quoted in Atasoy 2005: 78, my translation)
    • 58 Islam’s Marriage with NeoliberalismThe Ahsap Konak represents the fragmented social space and cognitiveemptiness in the minds of individuals. For Kisakurek, the westernizingelite from the Tanzimat onwards, including the Kemalist elite – whomhe calls ‘spurious heroes’ – is responsible for this deplorable outcome.Wholesale westernizationThe Republic of Turkey was founded in 1923 with Mustafa Kemal electedas its first president. He held the office for 15 years from 1923 until hisdeath in 1938. The establishment of a new state ended a near century-long Ottoman journey of trial and error reforms. It marked the begin-ning of a new journey of political and cultural reforms designed to reor-ganize the state and reconfigure society, culture, and, indeed, humanlife itself. The specific elements included republicanism, nationalism,laiklik, populism, statism (devletcilik), and revolutionism/reformism. Thethird congress of the ruling Republican People’s Party, convened in1931, accepted these principles as the official state ideology – Kemalism.Kemalism is also known as Ataturkism or Ataturkculuk. Its principlesbecame the unchangeable, founding principles of the Turkish Repub-lic and were incorporated into the constitution on 5 February 1937.They turned into the ‘six arrows’ of Mustafa Kemal’s Republican Peo-ple’s Party (RPP), and became the party’s emblem. The six arrows wereimplemented during the single-party era (1930–45) (Kadioglu 2005a) yetcontinue to frame the ideological orientation of the RPP at present. Kemalism settled – temporarily at least – one persistent question inthe long-Ottoman debate on the role of westernization and Islam inmodernization projects. The Kemalist cadres firmly believed that mod-ernization was ‘a universal necessity’ (Patel and McMichael 2004: 235).It required state-management of the social change process in orderto catch up with the level of capitalist economic development andtechnological advances in western Europe. Representing modernity inuniversalistic terms, Kemalists believed that scientific knowledge, formalrationality, technology, technique, and western culture were constituentelements of a unified whole. To realize successful development in thecapitalist economy and in industrial technologies a wholesale adoptionof western ways was needed. It is important to note that the Kemalist understanding of moder-nity departs from the Ottoman understanding. Ottoman reformers,including the men of Tanzimat, thought of western modernity as ‘con-textualized universalism’ but not as ‘absolutized universalism’ (Beck2000: 83). The main concern of many Tanzimat, Young Ottoman, and
    • The Allure of the West 59Young Turk intellectuals was with blending western modernity andIslam, both understood in universalistic terms but also as distinct. Forthem, western and Islamic ways were examples of ‘inclusive distinctions’(Beck 2000: 82), referring to ‘a combination of universalism and contex-tualism.’ What is interesting here is that this reflects Gokalp’s (1976b:12–13) approach to civilization as well, which he defined as ‘new’ and‘genuine.’ Gokalp does not see this new civilization in the European customsand moral practices of everyday life, but in its technological and scien-tific developments. It is this ‘new’ form of techno-scientific civilizationthat Gokalp accepts as ‘universalist universalism,’ to which both westernand Muslim nations, including the ‘Turkish’ nation, belong. Gokalp’sgoal was to contextualize this techno-scientific universalism in relationto Turkish national culture, including the religion of Islam. This is adeparture from the westernization project of the Kemalist state-makingelite who understood the western model as both trans-historically uni-versalistic and a totalizing normative feature of modernity. Kemalistmodernity embraced the adoption of western techno-scientific andsocio-normative patterns as a unified totality. In contrast, Gokalp(1976b) argued that a nation which turned its back on its culture couldonly produce a rootless, ahistorical imitation of a western lifestyle andmoral values. Gokalp believed this was a call for disaster. In practice, Kemalist cadres pursued the emulation of western moder-nity as a method of citizen control. The Kemalist social engineeringprogramme was designed to ensure the suitability of subject-citizensfor the cultural requirements of western modernity. This included thedeployment of state biopolitical power to manage the political–culturaltensions associated with the transition of persons from their formersubject status within the Ottoman Empire to a new citizenship statustying them directly to the state. Cultural differences were levelled outand the substantive autonomy enjoyed by various cultural communi-ties during the Ottoman Empire was eliminated. Kemalist biopoliticsinvolved the generation of a territorially defined conception of a uni-fied culture mobilized to reconstruct national modernity via disciplinarytechnologies of state control. Kemalism insisted that individual selfhood and social standing wereto develop in relation to the state. It linked a territorial understandingof state–citizen relations (Kadioglu 1999: 64) to a Turkified notion of thenation (Kadioglu 2005a: 108). This is conveyed in a slogan attributed toMustafa Kemal: Ne Mutlu Turkum Diyene (Great Happiness to Those WhoSay I am Turkish) repeated every morning by school children before
    • 60 Islam’s Marriage with Neoliberalismstarting their lessons. Such slogans reflect a discursive orientation thatequates the people, citizens, and the nation, with the state – and canbe deployed in subduing interest- and culture-based politics. A sloganby Ziya Gokalp hak yok vazife vardir (there are no rights but duties) alsoillustrates this point. The Kemalist national modernity concept is a manifestation of whatBeck (2000) has described as the ‘first modernity,’ which representsthe Westphalian system of situating sovereignty within national juris-dictions. Kemalism is an ideological referent for the state’s territorialsovereignty. It expresses the agency of the state in organizing sociallife within its territorial boundaries. For Rosenberg (1994: 129–31),the sovereignty principle makes the unthinkable of the previous erathinkable: rule over the relations of citizenship and territorially unifiedjurisdiction under the state. This helps redefine state power to be ‘moreabsolute in its “purely political” prerogatives than other historical formsof rule’ (Rosenberg 1994: 131). Similarly, Kemalism provided the ideo-logical underpinning for what Beck (2000: 9, italics original) calls ‘theterritorial orthodoxy of the political and the social, posed in absolute insti-tutional categories.’ It entails the reconstitution of the state politicalsphere so as to be external to society and makes the state a key unitaryagency in reorganizing forms of social power. The principle of state sovereignty seen as a condition for situat-ing Turkey on the road to modernity integrated a ‘universal’ narrative(attributed to western European achievements) and a particular configu-ration of social classes, political alliances, and cultural relations into themaking of a national society. It melded a world project of modernity andthe particularities of Turkey’s circumstances within a social-change tra-jectory by reconfiguring and transforming these particularities. MustafaKemal (Ataturk 1924/1954: 66) believed that a nation on the path ofmodernization should be united around the normative perspective ofwestern modernity which is predicated on instrumental rational think-ing, and scientific and technological development. The basic premiseof the project is nationalism which defines the boundaries of the state,society, and culture as co-extensive. Culture, as a result, becomes essen-tially territorial (A.D. Smith 1983). It attaches an imaginary of cultural‘homogeneity’ to the reproduction of western modernity within a spacecontrolled by the state. It was in this context that the caliphate was abolished in 1924, fol-lowing the elimination of the sultanate in 1922. The Seriat courts andoffice of the Seyhul-Islam (the highest religious official in the OttomanEmpire) were also shut down, and a Directorate of Religious Affairs
    • The Allure of the West 61was established in 1924 under the office of the prime minister. Reli-gious schools and institutes were closed as education became unifiedunder the Ministry of Education. Co-education for girls and boys wasalso introduced. All of these changes were ratified in the 1924 Consti-tution. The constitution also defined Turkish as the official language.Kurdish was officially prohibited, including its use in schools (McDowall2004: 191–2). In 1925, religious brotherhoods were disbanded and theirmescids (small mosques), convents, and sacred tombs closed. Religioustitles such as sheikh and dervish were abolished. The Turk Medeni Kanunu(Turkish Civil Law) was adopted in 1926, translated verbatim from SwissCivil law, replacing the Islamic Seriat. In 1928 the constitutional clausewhich proclaimed Islam the state religion was repealed. These reforms transformed the state structure and redirected socialchange onto a secular trajectory. They were also designed to change thesymbolic framework of social and cultural life in Turkey (Bozdogan andKasaba 1997). Attempts were made to penetrate the lifestyle and dailycustoms of the population in the hope of eventually displacing Islamfrom the public sphere and relocating it to the privacy of the home andfamily. Issues related to choice of clothing, where and how to live, whatto eat, and what kind of music to listen to were all subject to Kemaliststate scrutiny, which saw the adoption of European standards as essen-tial to ‘becoming civilized’ (Colak 2005: 245). The reforms entailed achange in the habits of everyday life such that all identification with theformer Ottoman Empire, especially religious identification, was elimi-nated. This was the case in spite of the fact that Islam did not frame allaspects of Ottoman daily life (Faroqhi 2000). In 1925 the sapka kanunu (hat reform law) outlawed the wearing ofcaps and fezzes by men because these were considered symbols of reli-gious obscurantism. Men were expected to wear a western-style sapka(hat) to display their suitability for a modern way of life. Women werealso discouraged from wearing the carsaf (a burka-like outer garmentformerly worn by some Muslim women in the Ottoman Empire) andthe facial veil, both defined as uncivilized forms of dress. ‘The wivesof public employees were expected to be unveiled and dress like Euro-peans. Also, it was obligatory for all women employed as state officialsand all schoolgirls to dress in a “modern” way’ (Colak 2005: 246).However, there was no legislative requirement for women to adopt aEuropean dress code. Women who dressed in an ‘Islamic’ way weresimply excluded from public representation. Reforms continued, with the Gregorian solar calendar replacing theMuslim lunar calendar in 1926. Then in 1928 the Latin alphabet was
    • 62 Islam’s Marriage with Neoliberalismadopted and the script changed from Arabic to Latin. Attempts werealso made to ‘cleanse’ the Turkish language of Arabic and Persian words. The educational system was thoroughly restructured along strictlysecular lines. The Faculty of Theology, which had previously beenresponsible for higher education in religion, was abolished in 1933, andan Institute of Islamic Research was established within the body of theFaculty of Arts at Istanbul University. Higher religious education wasthus replaced by scientific research on religion. In addition, after 1930the ezan (the Islamic call to prayer) and the Koran were changed fromArabic into Latin-scripted Turkish. The legal code was actually changedto permit three-month jail sentences for those caught reading the Koranin Arabic (Tarhanli 1993: 20). In 1935 the weekly holiday was shiftedfrom Friday to Sunday, and in 1937 laiklik became a constitutionalrequirement enforceable by law. Secularism in Turkey is referred to as laiklik, a word drawn from theFrench laicisme. It does not correspond to a separation between the stateand religion. It is one of the core elements in the Kemalist state-buildingproject, undertaken to regulate religious institutions, education, andnormative standards by the state. Therefore, I use the term Kemalistlaiklik to refer to an ideology of state control over and regulation ofreligion. The establishment of the Directorate of Religious Affairs was cru-cial for the Kemalist elite to achieve greater state control over religion(Tarhanli 1993). It was a government-funded and controlled organi-zation, responsible for the production and dissemination of religiousknowledge. All mosques were placed under its control, and all reli-gious personnel, imams (prayer leaders) and hatips (preachers), becameemployees of the state – members of the secular bureaucracy. TheDirectorate of Religious Affairs became an important governmentaltechnology deployed in the creation of a state-controlled ‘official’ Islamdirected towards achieving uniformity around Turkish nationalism. Kemalist laiklik was not about a separation between the state andreligion per se; it constituted a ‘biopolitical mode of governing’ (Ong2006: 6) centred on self-engineering for modernity. By keeping Islamunder state regulation Kemalism aimed to ‘enlighten’ and cleanse Islamof ‘traditional,’ ‘obscurantist’ elements which it found contrary to a‘civilized’ way of life. This reflects a paradox in Kemalism. Gokalpsaw Islam as both national (cultural) and transnational (civilizational).Under the influence of Gokalp, Kemalism saw the religion of Islamas instrumental in achieving social solidarity among citizens aroundthe state. However, the Kemalist elite was not interested in Gokalp’s
    • The Allure of the West 63(1976b: 9–11) view of Islam as the source of a distinct civilization.Rather, they wanted to generate a state-defined religion of Islam, giv-ing it the mission of inculcating patriotism and emphasizing one’sobligation to the maintenance of the sovereign state. Divorcing Islamfrom its ‘expression of the universal’ (Ramadan 2004: 11), the Kemal-ist elite wished to promote a form of religiosity specifically tied toTurkish nationalism in state formation. The differences in and theappropriateness of various Muslim cultural practices were believed tohave consequences for state formation, thereby restricting the promo-tion of Muslim religiosity to a form of Sunni Islam regulated by the state.The Directorate of Religious Affairs was therefore a significant mech-anism connecting the state and citizenship, not in terms of a juridicalrelationship but as a matter of cultivating civic responsibility and loyaltytowards the self-government of individuals (cf. R. Cakir and Bozan 2005;Tarhanli 1993). During the late 1920s and 1930s state-employed reli-gious personnel wrote completely new versions of religious textbooks.The directorate commissioned these books with the intention of pro-moting the idea that good citizenship was both a virtue and a religiouslysanctioned moral duty (Dumont 1987: 3). In short, the state bureau-cratic cadres of the Directorate of Religious Affairs played a pivotal rolein managing laiklik deployed as a biopolitical technology of individualself-government and culture formation. Kemalist reforms were dedicated to the constitution of a ‘nationalculture,’ conceptualized as particular relations of control between thestate, the civil–military bureaucracy, and tropes such as nation, home-land, ‘enlightened’ religion, and the economy. Kemalists believed thatan ‘unenlightened’ Islam was incongruent with modernity. This wenthand-in-hand with a cultural aversion to instrumental, rational think-ing and techno-scientific culture. Nevertheless, the precise meaning ofwhat Kemalism actually was has never been clearly defined (M. Arsel2005: 19). It remains an indeterminate, abstract idea for the state,although an extremely powerful idea legitimating the structural positionof a laik bureaucracy. The judicial and military bureaucracy, includingpublic prosecutors and gendarmes, became key agents in sustaining thereforms. Consequences for those who did not conform were severe. Under the ideological influence of Gokalp, Kemalism integratedTurkish nationalism with a form of Muslim religiosity through theDirectorate of Religious Affairs. Nevertheless, Kurds were already show-ing signs that the nationalist ‘mixing’ of the peoples within the Turkishstate was based on the Kemalist misreading of the Turkish nation asan expression of a pre-existing unity of Muslim categories. Clearly,
    • 64 Islam’s Marriage with NeoliberalismKemalism was a partial account of national cohesion that distortedthe complexity of linguistic, cultural reality, and was hampering theachievement of a more inclusive peoplehood construct by favouringstate-level uniformity through the laiklik principle. Although an emergent Kurdish nationalism had previously existedamong a small group of educated Young Kurds (Jwaideh 1999), it beganto grow significantly after 1914. Many factors were involved, includinglarge-scale conflicts with and the massacre of Armenians. Fierce nation-alist claims to independence during the time of the First World War hadhelped redefine Kurdish existence in the Ottoman state in terms of eth-nicity (Bozarslan 2002: 841; Kirisci and Winrow 2002; McDowall 2004:87–112). With ethnicity emerging as a marker of Kurdish existence after1914, Kurdish insurrections entered a new phase, gradually combiningthe tribal and religious insurrections of the earlier era into a more politi-cized Kurdish nationalist stance (Bozarslan 2002, 2007; Yegen 1999). Theend of the Turkish War of Independence (1919–22) and the LausannePeace Treaty of 1923, which for the most part finalized Turkey’s presentterritorial borders (Atasoy 2005: 37), created an entirely new situationfor the shaping of Kurdish nationalism around ethnicity. The Turkishdelegation in the Lausanne negotiations was successful in securing the‘non-Muslim’ religious status of people as the only distinguishing markfor their recognition as a minority group in the treaty (Oran 2004:50–1). Contrary to commonly held assumptions (Akyol 2006: 73–4;Meray 1973), the treaty did not recognize religion or culture and lan-guage as markers of minority group identification for legal and politicalpurposes in Turkey. As a result, while Christian Greeks, Orthodox Arme-nians, and Jews were minorities, various other Muslim, cultural–ethniccategories, including Kurds, Circassians, Lazes, Arabs, Georgians andother Turkic groups, as well as non-Sunni Alevi-Bektasi Muslims, whichdid not fit into the minority definition designed by the treaty, wereexcluded from minority status (Andrews 2002; Oran 2004). The Kurds,whose numbers are currently estimated to be between 12 and 15 million,constitute the largest category of people living in eastern and south-eastern Anatolia today. Nonetheless, they remain unrecognized as aminority. The complexities of these issues are well beyond the scope of thisbook. However, it is important to note that the Lausanne Peace Treatyhelped construct what Balibar (1991: 96) calls a ‘fictive ethnicity’ of Mus-lim people in Turkey – assumed to be religiously unified as a culturalexpression of social cohesion. As a result, by reference to the LausanneTreaty negotiated within the specific geopolitics of state-building
    • The Allure of the West 65processes in the aftermath of the First World War and Turkey’s Warof Independence, Muslim categories were expected to be loyal to theTurkish state. This expectation laid the foundation for the repressionof Kurds accused of creating a ‘separatist’ Kurdish-ethnic minority inlater years. Their non-minority status was also used to justify ‘a policyof forced assimilation and destruction of the Kurdish culture’ (Gurbey1996: 21). Turkish, defined as the official language by the 1924 constitu-tion, also became the exclusive language of education except for somenon-Muslim groups (O’Neil 2007: 75). As a result, Kurds were deniedaccess to education in Kurdish. All reference to Kurdistan was excisedfrom official materials (McDowell 2004: 191). The Turkish governmentalso began to replace Kurdish place names with Turkish ones (McDowall2004: 191; O’Neil 2007: 75). The Settlement Law of 1934 (Law No. 2510)represents another case of a government attempt to assimilate Kurds(Gunter 1997: 6). Although the law was not restricted to Kurds alone(Kirisci and Winrow 2002: 104), the great majority of people who wereforced to migrate from the eastern provinces of Anatolia were Kurds.During the implementation of the law a total of 25,831 Kurds from5074 households in the east were forced to resettle in western Anatolia(I. Tekeli 1990: 64). In addition to an emerging Kurdish nationalism around languagerights, Kemalist reforms in general and laiklik in particular underminedthe religious basis of the ‘fictive ethnicity’ of Muslims, thereby chang-ing the ideological condition of Kurdish loyalty to the state (Atasoy2005: 44–7; Yuksel 1993). Said Nursi (1876–1960) was a Kurdish reli-gious intellectual and originator of the Nurcu community movementwho continues to influence various currents of Islamic thought through-out Turkey (Mardin 1989). He saw Islam as the source of loyalty of allMuslims to the national state of Turkey, regardless of cultural differ-ences (Atasoy 2005: 45–6). Within the context of Islamic unity, eachcultural community would be able to maintain its own language, cus-toms and culture. For Said Nursi, Kemalism was making a big mistakeby favouring linguistic and territorial unity without including religionin the nationhood construct. There were 18 uprisings that took place between 1924 and 1938, 16 ofwhich were predominantly Kurdish (Kirisci and Winrow 2002: 105). SaidNursi did not support these uprisings. The combined effect of variousKurdish uprisings in 1925, 1927–30, and 1937–38 (Bozarslan 2007: 42–3;Kurubas 2004; Mumcu 1991; Yegen 1999: 134–49) was that linguisticallyseparate and religiously motivated Kurds were gradually being juxta-posed within the Turkish state. The Sheikh Said Revolt of 1925, arguably
    • 66 Islam’s Marriage with Neoliberalismthe most important of the Kurdish uprisings of the time, helped tofurther integrate an emerging Kurdish ethnicity into an Islamic orienta-tion (Kutlay 2005; van Bruinessen 1992a, 1992b; Yuksel 1993). This gaverise to a unique combination of ethnic Islam and linguistic nationalismamong Kurds in Turkey (Yalcin-Heckmann 1991). The Sheikh Said Revolt has had long-standing consequences for thesolidification of the exclusionary practices of the Kemalist state. It forcedstate-level cultural unity and initiated the suppression of Kurdish cul-tural existence during the ‘decades of silence’ (Watts 2007: 53). Theperiod was marked by the brutal repression of the 1937–38 Dersim upris-ing and the rebirth of the Kurdish nationalist movement during thelate 1960s. The suppression of the revolt was followed by the state-led reconstruction programme of the Turkish nation, including forcedassimilation of the Kurds (cf. Heper 2007; McDowall 2004: 209–10;O’Neil 2007: 76). The Sheikh Said Revolt of 1925, led by a Kurdish–Naqshbandi Sheikhin response to the abolition of the caliphate, was used to justify thedeployment of state coercion for the purpose of eliminating oppositionpolitical parties (van Bruinessen 1992a, 1992b). This was the beginningof a militant laiklik, lasting until the 1947 Seventh Party Congress ofthe ruling RPP. At that time the party amended its official meaning toinclude a clause on respect for religion and religious expression as amatter of personal conscience (Jaschke 1972: 85–6, 98, 100). After the1925 revolt, laiklik was implemented through special courts known asIndependence Tribunals authorized by the Law for the Maintenanceof Order. During the first two years of its operation the IndependenceTribunals sentenced over 500 people to death. The law was in effectfrom 3 March 1925 to 4 March 1929. During this period, the Progres-sive Republican Party (1924–25) was banned from politics because ofa belief that its support for the protection of individual rights andfreedoms, including freedom of expression, was giving rise to Islamicopposition against state reforms, thereby threatening the security of thestate (Tunaya 1952: 585, 611–18). After the Progressive Republican Partywas banned a single-party regime was established which lasted until theend of the Second World War. With the exception of a short period in1930 when the Republican Free Party was founded by a friend of MustafaKemal (with close collaboration from government officials includingPrime Minister Ismet Inonu), a militant single-party rule framed theimplementation of Kemalist ideology. The Free Party was envisioned asa subordinate ancestor, a ‘loyal opposition’ party (Giritlioglu 1965: 75).It dissolved itself in a few months when it became clear that genuine
    • The Allure of the West 67opposition was not possible against the political authority of MustafaKemal (Lewis 1968: 281). During the single-party period it became evident that the Kemaliststance in relation to Mill’s paradox of liberalism was in favour of the pri-macy of state power over all other liberties. Minister of Internal AffairsSukru Kaya expressed this well when he said that ‘[W]e cannot sacrificestate authority just for the sake of liberty’ (Giritlioglu 1965: 79). MustafaKemal’s own Republican People’s Party (RPP) thus remained the onlyparty permitted to operate in politics, working diligently to consolidatean authoritarian, repressive, and militaristic laik culture (Atasoy 2005:48–50). This was clearly stated in a 1937 parliamentary speech by SukruKaya: ‘Our aim is to make sure that religion will not be part of materiallife and worldly affairs’ (Tarhanli 1993: 19). Laik culture was state con-trolled, while non-state-sanctioned thinking and cultural practices wereviewed as a potential cause for religiously inspired opposition againstthe state. Single-party rule sought to precisely define the public politicalspace in terms of what is culturally acceptable and what is unaccept-able to the state modernity project. In the process, political space wasrefigured in a manner that was inimical to the expression of culturalpluralisms. The Turkish Historical Society (1931) and the Turkish LinguisticSociety (1932) were established to remove Ottoman–Muslim cultural ref-erents from the national memory. They advocated the ‘Turkish HistoryThesis’ and the ‘Sun-Language Theory’ (Gologlu 1974), which held aspecific ethno-racial definition of the cultural, geographical, and histor-ical ‘purity’ of Turks (A. Yildiz 2001). A secular project of linguistic andterritorial integration was supposed to break with the Islamic–Ottomanpast and the plurality of Muslim cultural expression. Similar to the ideaof the Turan developed by the Young Turks, the Turkish history thesiswas presented at the First Turkish History Congress in 1932. It claimedthat the Turks belonged to a ‘race’ of people who emerged in CentralAsia and then established great civilizations in Anatolia, the Aegean, andMesopotamia (Behar 1992). The Hittites and Sumerians were also seen asTurkish forebearers (Seton-Watson 1977: 259). The sun-language theory,presented at the Second Turkish History Congress in 1937, argued thatin the old shamanistic religion of Turks before the acceptance of Islam,the sun symbolized the power of nature against the power of God. Fromthis point of view, the evolution of Turkish culture has followed a pathbased on a secular interpretation of nature rather than on Islam (Besikci1991: 131–69; Gunaltay and Tankut 1938). According to these theories,Islam was portrayed as an ethnic religion of Arabs associated with the
    • 68 Islam’s Marriage with NeoliberalismArabic language and traditions (Lewis 1988). It was intended to showthat ancient Turkish culture before the Turks adopted Islam was congru-ent with western modernity. The role of the state, then, was to eliminateforeign traditions of Islam from the Turkish way of life, and place theTurkish people back on their ‘natural’ trajectory. The task of the Kemalists was not easy, especially given the fact thatmore than 90 per cent of the people living in Turkey during the 1920swere Muslims (Jaschke 1972: 20). This included ethnically and linguisti-cally diverse Muslim cultural categories (Kilic Ali 1955). For these people,local ties based on kinship, village, or religion were often more impor-tant than a general Turkish national-state identification (Lewis 1968:Chapter 10). Therefore, in order to contribute to the state-led creationof modern subjects, Halkevleri (Public Houses) and Koy Enstituleri (Vil-lage Institutes) were opened in 1932. These government institutionsfunctioned as state-propaganda machines to spread republican prin-ciples among the general population (cf. Kadioglu 2005a: 112). Theywere founded to inculcate Turkish nationalism and the laiklik principleagainst the persistence of Islamic customary practices in the Anato-lian hinterland. The education of the general population in the Turkishlanguage, literature, and history, as well as in Turkish arts and theatrewas intended to ‘ensure national unity in culture, ideals and thought’(Cavdar 1983: 881). By 1940 there were 4521 halkevleri throughoutTurkey (Cavdar 1983: 882). Although their effectiveness in transformingsociety is difficult to measure, the halkevleri were nevertheless importantgovernment vehicles for spreading modernity and transforming society(Yegen 1999: 180–8). Similarly, koy enstituleri were supposed to eliminatethe cultural and religious backwardness of Turkish villages by enlighten-ing their inhabitants on the virtues of modernity (Gungor 1999: 59–60;Tonguc 1970). The halkevleri and koy enstituleri, as well as the Turkish History Society and Turkish Linguistic Society, aimed at creating a Turkish citizen prior to the emergence of an indi- vidualist ethic in Turkey. Hence they were instrumental in forming a notion of citizenship that emphasized obligations instead of rights. (Kadioglu 2005a: 112)It is difficult to conclude that these innovative governmental tech-nologies succeeded in creating an unambiguous sense of history andcitizenship complete with a universalizing memory of modernity. It isfair to suggest, however, that Kemalist prescriptions created ‘normative
    • The Allure of the West 69conflicts’ between the cultural beliefs and everyday practices of Muslimsin society, and the oppressive practices of the bureaucratic elite. Onceemptied of its symbolic content, the end result was a society whichappeared as ‘a seamless and structureless whole’ (Mardin 1984: 117),comprising a collection of atomized individuals linked directly to thestate through mass political citizenship.
    • 3Turkish Islam: UnthinkingKemalism?The Turkish state has experienced several periods of restructuring sinceits founding in 1923. The military coup of September 1980 was instru-mental in instituting a social change programme that moved Turkeybeyond the paradigm of the ‘first modernity.’ The precise meaning ofthis shift is difficult to determine, but what is readily discernable isthat the Kemalist trajectory has been refashioned under the neoliberalrestructuring of the Turkish economy. The military coup signals thetransformation of the Kemalist form of state-developmentalist moder-nity to a new form established along neoliberal lines. This chapterexamines the Kemalist construction of the first modernity in Turkey,followed by an extensive analysis of ‘social fascism’ in the context of aTurkish–Islamic remaking of the state.Engagement with techno-scientific universalismKemalism arose within a specific international conjuncture of histor-ical circumstances during the 1930s and 1940s. During that period,fascism emerged as a solution to the devastation in Europe causedby the Great Depression of 1929 (Polanyi 1944), and Kemalism tooka specific trajectory of state formation within that general context.Peter Gourevitch (1986) notes that the national policies of each coun-try differ in terms of the relationship between the general trends ofthe era and particular national trajectories. There is no doubt thatKemalism incorporated certain elements of fascism, the full meaning ofwhich has been well-analyzed elsewhere (Adamson 1980; Mann 2004;Paxton 1998; Renton 1999). Two of the chief characteristics of fascismare strictly controlled and state-sanctioned national culture formationthrough pseudo-corporatism, and a demonstration of loyalty to the 70
    • Turkish Islam: Unthinking Kemalism? 71unified nation-state by rooting out political dissidents and class con-flicts through military authoritarianism (Patel and McMichael 2004:233). Although fascism was historically specific to Germany, Italy, andarguably Japan, certain policy-orientations of Nazi Germany and FascistItaly influenced Kemalist cultural policies. While Nazi Germany pro-vided a major ideological influence (Kocak 1986), the anti-worker stanceof Fascist Italy proved useful as an example of labour repression and low-cost employment. The Turkish government’s 1936 labour law was basedon the Italian labour law of 1935 (Yetkin 1983: 102), which denied work-ers the right to form unions and strike. With the 1938 association law,working-class demands were replaced by a cultural requirement to live‘harmoniously’ within society (Atasoy 2005: 57). This law denied theexistence of classes and the right to establish class-based organizations. As a time-specific ‘class project’ of the 1930s, Kemalism embraceda techno-scientific universalism which Gokalp saw as the only genuine,uncontested, and absolutist form of universalism. ‘Since modernity wassaid to be by definition the incarnation of the true universal values, ofuniversalism, modernity was not merely a moral good but a historicalnecessity’ (Wallerstein 2006: 33). And so was the Kemalist attitude. Theyeven created a need for it, by building a national economy in whichMuslim–Turkish commercial and industrial classes would be dominantin order to ensure the economic independence of the state. Non-Muslims represented economically dominant classes in bothcommercial and manufacturing activities in the Ottoman Empire(Gocek 1996). As the non-Muslim population, including members ofthe commercial classes, declined drastically after the mid-1920s (Keyder1981: 23), military–civil bureaucratic cadres emerged as an agent ofindustrial development. Claiming to represent ‘national interests’ as awhole, they elevated themselves to a ‘vanguard’ role, shaping indus-trial capitalism from above. There is no doubt that after the war theyfilled a vacuum created by the departure of non-Muslim commercialgroups in the economy. Although pursued as a ‘collective mobilityproject’ (Sarfatti-Larson 1977), the bureaucratic vanguard assigned asubordinate position to small farmers and labour. Through the gov-ernment’s discriminatory price, wage and taxation policies (Bianchi1984; Boratav 1982; Hershlag 1968: 109; Keyder 1987: 104–5; S. Pamuk1991; Toprak 1982), small farmers, in addition to industrial labour, wereincorporated into the generation of surplus capital for industrializationprojects. Small farmers who produced for immediate family consump-tion were responsible for approximately 90 per cent of agriculturalactivity (I. Tekeli and Ilkin 1977: 37–8). They were to be transformed
    • 72 Islam’s Marriage with Neoliberalismfrom producing for their families to producing for external markets – aprocess that deepened commercialization and the market integration ofagriculture along with the peasant way of life. In addition to managing the class relations of modernity, bureau-cratic cadres were also assuming ‘class power’ in the economy forthemselves (King and Szelenyi 2004: xvii). In the absence of a strong pri-vate commercial bourgeoisie, political power belonged to bureaucrats,whose self-proclaimed goal was to catch up with the European level ofeconomic development. This entailed making industrialization synony-mous with nationalism in a way that allowed state bureaucrats to secureeconomic power. In the process, they acquired the capacity to determinethe political outcome of important questions relating to the access anddistribution of resources. The building of a private Turkish industrial bourgeoisie (Hershlag1968: 90–1; Kazgan 1999: 66; Toprak 1982) was tied to devletcilik(statism), which became one of the founding principles of Kemalism.During the 15 long years of a single party regime, devletcilik strength-ened the ability of bureaucrats to consolidate political and economicpower in the state. By the end of the 1930s more than half of industrialenterprises were state owned (Mardin 1980: 39). However, it was onlyafter the 1960s that large private industrialists began to exploit signif-icant opportunities under the protection of state bureaucrats and in away that discriminated against smaller capital interests. Within the frame of Turkey’s national modernity project, devletciliksustained an alliance between the possessors of power (bureaucrats) anda segment of the possessors of knowledge of modernity (secularly ori-ented intellectuals) in their bid to reproduce European techno-scientificuniversalism. Devletcilik, however, was not a well-defined concept. CelalBayar, finance minister and director of the Business Bank at the time,claimed that devletcilik was only a temporary strategy to bolster privateenterprise. And for the intellectuals writing in Kadro magazine, devlet-cilik did allow bureaucrats to carry out an industrialization programmebut one that did not give rise to private capital interests in the econ-omy. What they had in mind was a kind of socialist economy in whichbureaucratic cadres would act as a vanguard class. For Sukru Saracoglu,prime minister from 1942 to 1946, devletcilik was an ‘advanced form ofsocialism’ that would institute an industrial economy under the unitaryagency of state-ruling bureaucrats (Karpat 1959: 70). The coalition between bureaucratic cadres and a secularized segmentof intellectuals is important for understanding the ideological basis ofthe Kemalist state and its social engineering of national culture around
    • Turkish Islam: Unthinking Kemalism? 73the denial of conflicting class interests. One intellectual writing for Kadromagazine proclaimed: ‘There is no mechanism invented to prevent classstruggle in countries where private enterprise is dominant in the econ-omy. Devletcilik is an [essential] strategy [if] Turkey [is] to industrializeand prosper without becoming entangled in class struggles’ (quoted inAtasoy 2005: 57–8). And the possessors of the new social order were to bestate bureaucrats and secular intellectuals. To borrow from Mannheim(1972: 143), they were the ‘[watchmen] in a pitch-black night,’ agentsand planners of a social change programme. Some of the ideas behind the coalition of Turkish bureaucrats andintellectuals committed to the creation of a national economy beara close resemblance to Hegel’s theory of civil servants as a universalclass, to Saint Simon’s emphasis on the role of science and scientists,and to August Comte’s notion of social engineering. Writing on thepremise of an epistemological divide between the political state andthe market economy (civil society), Hegel thought that an unregulatedfree market economy would give rise to the clash of class interests andthe domination of particularistic classes. For Hegel, ‘[T]he governmen-tal laissez-faire leads inevitably to concentration of productive capital inthe hands of a few, while the many, demoralized by division of labourand cycles of unemployment, are depressed to the status of an unpro-ductive rabble’ (Weiss 1974: 254). For Hegel, this negates the FrenchRevolution’s promise of liberty, equality, and fraternity. The solution tosuch class-based conflicts would be found in a ‘universalized longing forpolitical solutions’ (Weiss 1974: 254). Hegel thought that the rationallyconstituted state embodies universalism, expressing the universal willand interests of the community – a consensus hominum – of the peopleruled by a communal spirit (Weiss 1974: 256, 258). This is a reificationof the state as the actuality of an ethical idea. State bureaucrats werethought of as universal agents of an orderly society above the particular-istic classes who ‘distinguish and discover what is universally recognizedand valid . . . [and] have clung to what is substantially right, namely tothe commands of the ethical order and the state’ (Weiss 1974: 256). InHegel’s view, in order to carry out their universal historic task civil ser-vants must be enlightened and embody the values, moral principles,and standards of universalism. Hegelian thinking has persisted in our own times through the ‘mod-ern myth’ (Gray 2003: 4) that scientific knowledge and its technologicalapplication engender a universal morality which enables humanity totake charge of its destiny. Saint Simon and August Comte also viewedscience as the ultimate source of human emancipation. In contrast to
    • 74 Islam’s Marriage with NeoliberalismHegel, however, their view was rooted in ‘an anti-statist bias [from]French intellectual tradition’ (King and Szelenyi 2004: 6). All of theseideas were well represented in the writings of Ziya Gokalp. Gokalp-inspired Kemalism was built on a Hegelian intellectual legacywhich viewed the state as an ethical concept. It also borrowed theconviction from Saint Simon that the emergent social order was tobe an industrial society organized in conformity with the techno-scientific foundation of modernity under the leadership of scientists andindustrialists. August Comte was crucial in linking the techno-scientificorientation of Simon to the reordering of society through social engi-neering. However, Kemalist social engineering did not take the state‘above the particularistic classes.’ It simply strengthened the role of statebureaucrats in negotiating the power plays of modernity. Together, the Hegelian ethical state, Simon’s techno-scientific think-ing and Comte’s social order presented a vision to the Kemalistelite of civil–military bureaucrats and intellectuals. It was a visionof state-controlled industrial development and the reproduction ofEuropean techno-scientific universality. The Kemalist elite applied thisvision through the concept of devletcilik, expressed in a mutually rein-forcing assemblage of state power and bureaucratic control directedtowards the creation of an industrial society. And within this society,secularly oriented, large private industrialists would emerge dominant.In the process, however, state-ruling bureaucrats would also emerge asthe possessors of political and economic power, equipped with the nec-essary financial capital as well as a cultural capital embodying the valuesand principles of European universalism. During the long single party era bureaucratic cadres institutionalizeda development project by managing a system of class relations in away that supported the growth of large private capital. And, the reifiedstate emerged as the locus for reordering society through a profoundbelief in the power of social engineering. This included the creationof a private industrial bourgeoisie and the repression of labour andsmall producers through the application of a bureaucratic/statist version oftechno-scientific modernity. Fascism and Stalinism were extreme Europeanexpressions of this (Gray 2003). Kemalism was distinct from fascism,which was historically rooted in an industrial, market capitalist societythat ‘refused to function’ under the conditions of the Great Depression(Polanyi 1944: 239). It was also different from what King and Szelenyi(2004) described as bureaucratic power and technocratic rule mobilizedunder state socialism – which involves managing the class relations of anindustrial economy. The Turkish case was about instituting an industrial
    • Turkish Islam: Unthinking Kemalism? 75economy at the time of the Great Depression when the global free-trade system was collapsing. Kemalism did not constitute a protectiveresponse to the institutions and destructive effects of a laissez-faire econ-omy. Rather, it placed Turkey on a trajectory where the state was themain agent responsible for the creation of an industrial economy inwhich private industrial interests would be dominant. A bureaucratic version of modernity has defined state–society relationsin Turkey since the 1930s, albeit in different forms during differenthistorical periods of the Turkish state. In Polanyian terms, Turkey’smodernity project involved the instituting of a ‘market-integrated soci-ety’ (King and Szelenyi 2004: 193) in which state bureaucrats occupieda dominant structural position in the economy. These bureaucrats con-tinued to be dominant in establishing a neoliberal programme of socialchange after the 1980 military coup as well. As will be made evident inthis chapter, a clear understanding of the ongoing role of state bureau-crats is necessary to appreciate the points of tension that surfaced fromthe neoliberal realignment of social classes, the reconfiguring of powerrelations, and the shift in social–cultural dynamics. As the dominantpower players in Turkey’s neoliberal social reconstruction, bureaucraticcadres have exerted both direct and indirect political influence. By insti-tuting a ‘guardianship regime’ (Mahcupyan 4 December 2008), they alsoideologically control the social, political conditions of mutation in theKemalist modernity project. Since the 1980 military coup a mutation in the Kemalist configura-tion of social life has certainly occurred. This includes a passage fromthe ‘first modernity’ of state developmentalism to the current neoliberalreconfiguration and power plays of the economy. With the neoliberalrealignment of social classes, the association between the power of statebureaucrats and big private capitalists – legitimated through the social–moral disciplining technologies of Kemalist secular nationalism – isbound to snap. And, yet, Kemalism is still a major legitimating symbolwhich continues to be deployed bureaucratically against any oppositionmovement.Bureaucratic social reconstruction: NeoliberalismEven the possibility of Turkey’s adoption of a neoliberal economic modelwas historically grounded in the bureaucratic exercise of political powerto overrule the development of any alternative social change modelto Kemalism. Without doubt, the coercive effect of international lend-ing by the IMF and the World Bank on the government’s economic
    • 76 Islam’s Marriage with Neoliberalismpolicy has been evident in Turkey’s adoption of a neoliberal economicmodel. Beginning in 1978, the IMF-imposed debt rescheduling pro-gramme and the World Bank-imposed structural adjustment programmeaccelerated the government’s move towards market-oriented policies.The 24 January Measures of 1980 adopted before the military coupalso reflect the government’s responsiveness to the policy preferencesof the IMF and the World Bank. The measures were actually imposed bythe IMF and the World Bank as ‘conditionality terms’ on Turkey’s loanagreement. The imposition of the ‘conditionality terms’ signalled anideological shift towards market-oriented reforms in the 1980s. Turkeyis not a special case in this regard. Many countries have institution-alized neoliberal policies in the world since the 1970s, although theyhave been implemented in various ways with significant differencesin their effects on particular countries (Atasoy 2009b; Henisz, Zelner,and Guillen 2005). My point in regard to Turkey is that the neolib-eral refashioning of a development model was as much a politicallyand bureaucratically manoeuvred act designed to reorganize Turkey’spolitical power structure as it was an act intended to transform itseconomy. The bureaucratic drive to change the domestic dynamics of politicalstruggles favoured the coercive effects of the IMF–World Bank condi-tionality terms on policy shifts. By pushing forward the implementationof neoliberal market-oriented economic policies, military-coup leadersin Turkey initiated a social reconstruction project. Most importantly,however, they have not necessarily accepted markets as the integra-tive mechanism in the neoliberal reconstruction of society. Rather, theyhave attempted to keep the domestic balance of power within thepolitical frame of Kemalism which has been constitutionally defined asimmutable. Echoing Comte’s concept of social engineering, this wouldsituate neoliberalism within a moral disciplining model designed toensure the cultural appropriateness of citizens’ behaviour vis-à-vis theKemalist state. This chapter uncovers the complex process throughwhich a current reconfiguration of the power plays of neoliberalism isarising from within a militaristic social–moral disciplining of Kemalism.However, this is occurring with an altered understanding of cultureproduction and Islam’s position in the state which may challenge thetrajectory of the old Kemalist state.Social fascism: Moral discipline and militarismAfter the coup, the military regime (1980–3) played a crucial role inthe implementation of neoliberal policy measures. It was the military
    • Turkish Islam: Unthinking Kemalism? 77bureaucracy’s desire to reassert state power in society and reproduce thedominance of the knowledge culture of Kemalism as the true way torefigure public space. The reassertion of state power allowed a particularreconfiguration of social forces to redefine a clear developmental ten-dency along neoliberal lines. Subsequent civilian governments startingwith the Motherland Party (MP), which came to power in 1983, followeda strong, interventionist state trajectory achieved under the military’stutelage (Heper 1990; Ilkin 1991; Oncu and Gokce 1991). Since the early 1980s, neoliberalism has been accompanied by uncer-tainty in the power relations between forces of capital, citizens, andcivil–military relations. As a time-specific project for reconstituting theeconomy, the state, and society, neoliberalism has been subject to con-flicting interpretations, tactical alliances, and civilian–military politicalstruggles. In Polanyian terms, there is a real possibility of social fas-cism emerging from instituting a ‘market-integrated society’ under theseuncertain circumstances. I borrow the term ‘social fascism’ from ArturoEscobar (2004). He situates it within the processes of a neoliberal globalcapitalism which, as an economic–military–ideological order, subordi-nates regions, economies, and people to the requirements of capitalaccumulation. In the process, such an order further marginalizes cul-tures and knowledge of subaltern groups. Social fascism emerges under apolitical regime of ‘selective inclusion and hyper-exclusion – heightenedpoverty for the many and skyrocketing wealth for the few – operatingthrough spatial-military logics’ (Escobar 2004: 209). This is also elo-quently expressed in David Harvey’s (2003) concept of ‘accumulationby dispossession.’ While private enterprise and entrepreneurship arepromoted as the keys to wealth creation for everyone, the reality isthat increasing levels of impoverishment, growth in the informal sec-tor, and shaky employment give way to what Philip McMichael (2009)calls a ‘universal ontological insecurity.’ Ontological insecurity is increas-ingly an everyday reality for large sections of the world population(Atasoy 2009c). It is not an exaggeration to say that the military bureaucracy’s 1980intervention in civilian politics in Turkey has increased the militariza-tion of society, intensified social uncertainty, and fostered culturallyexclusionary practices. It has also harnessed a crisis ‘mentality’ in socialchange models of thought (cf. Insel and Bayramoglu 2004). As anactive, autonomous agent behind the creation and reproduction of an‘official Ataturkculuk’1 (Akyaz 2002) that is unchangeable (Mahcupyan4 December 2008), the military bureaucracy justifies its frequent inter-ventions by defining them as a method of state protection. It claims thatthese interventions are only directed against those political struggles
    • 78 Islam’s Marriage with Neoliberalismthat are forged by those from outside the true frames of reference forcollective action in public life. Both Islamic and Kurdish groups are seenas driving the process of damaging official Ataturkculuk, the legitimateframe of action. Significantly, it is these groups that are often marginal-ized within the state-controlled public sphere of wealth-generationand power, facilitating a process which may lead to the flowering ofpolitical and ethical commitments elsewhere. In response to such apossibility, the military challenges these groups and their ‘poisonous’politico–ethical stance with an aggressive nationalist fervour. What is at stake for the military is what William Connolly (2005: 3)calls ‘bellicose Unitarianism.’ In this case, it involves the protection ofAtaturkculuk from diversity in society and the political representation ofoppositional voices in the state. The security of the state, the territorialintegrity of the nation, the unity of national culture, and the invio-lable demands of sovereignty all constitute non-negotiable imperativeswhich link the defence of Kemalist unitarianism to exclusionary prac-tices that prevent the mobilization of oppositional political projects ofsocial change. The military, economic, and cultural dimensions of power are notidentical (Arrighi 1994; Tilly 1990); they are intertwined but separate.The distinct yet contingent conjunction of economic, military, andpolitical–cultural processes redefines the frame of reference for reorga-nizing the changing conditions of the national state. We cannot explainthe military’s intervention in Turkish politics by reference to the struc-tural weakness of big capital groups or politico–legal institutions andgovernments in advancing policy goals and redirecting economic policyorientation (Keyder 1987). The Turkish military maintains its institu-tional and political autonomy by harnessing all legal, constitutional,structural, and cultural means (Akyaz 2002; Jacoby 2004: 127–63). Itexerts direct and indirect control over and beyond constitutionallyelected governments and civilian institutions (Cizre-Sakallioglu 1997).In addition to the direct interventions carried out in the 1960, 1971,and 1980 military coups, the military bureaucracy has also devised newbehind-the-scenes interventions. Most notable are the 1997 soft coupwhich led to the resignation of a democratically elected government,and the military’s use of the Internet, as was seen with the most recent2007 e-coup during the presidential election. The military perceives itselfas playing a ‘guardianship’ role in relation to the unitary state and offi-cial state ideology (Akyaz 2002). It has exercised its veto powers grantedin the 1961 Constitution and the 1973 constitutional amendments andmaintains an ideological stance that is ‘above politics.’ The military is
    • Turkish Islam: Unthinking Kemalism? 79institutionally and politically autonomous, and a largely unaccountableagent possessing a monopoly on force within national boundaries. In Ong’s interpretation of Schmitt’s definition of sovereignty, theTurkish military can be characterized as representing the essence of statesovereignty, not only in terms of its monopoly on force to coerce butin terms of its extraordinary influence on political decision-making,thereby setting a framework for the practices of citizenship and theunitary state (Ong 2006: 5). It acts as an autonomous actor with thecontinuing capacity to influence political outcomes in a direction thatis acceptable within that framework. At the core of the autonomousagency of the military is its practice of extending its sphere of inter-vention and its social engineering impulse, not only into culturalnation-building, but also into what Patel and McMichael (2004: 236)refer to as cultural state building. By influencing the cultural dimen-sions of state activity and managing the frames of reference over asocial change model, the military in Turkey has been a core player inthe ‘moral regulation’ (Corrigan and Sayer 1985) of the national state.It rectifies Kemalist state ideology and the unitary state concept witha neoliberal reorganization of society that generates an undemocratic,coercive political atmosphere. The military’s managerial role in state regulation practices is criticalto an understanding of the complexities of neoliberal state transforma-tion. As historically specific to a project of domination (Abrams 1988),state making includes the disciplinary regulation of conflicting interpre-tations of existing social arrangements as well as political struggles overthe character of these arrangements. State making is also an exercise inthe legitimation of relations of subordination and the practice of acquir-ing the consent of subjects-citizens for their own subjugation (Abrams1988). It seems that under the conditions of what Harvey (2003) calls‘accumulation by dispossession,’ and given many of the uncertaintiesof neoliberalism emerging from various forms of privatization (Atasoy2009c), including privatization of the state (Hibou 2004; Leys 2007), themilitary has installed itself deeply in the politics of discipline. It furtherintensifies social–political prohibitions and the individual self-restraintsthat would permeate the sensibilities of citizens. This points to com-plex political relations, yet the basic assumption made by the militarybureaucracy continues to be the restoration of state primacy in socialrelations. It is this kind of assumption which implicitly relies on a pre-social, trans-historical definition of a unitary agency of the state in orderto maintain public order and social peace. This is deeply problematic asa basic ontological assumption (Rosenberg 1994), but it also supports
    • 80 Islam’s Marriage with Neoliberalismsome of the most dangerous ideas in regard to the political framing ofrule. That is to say, there is a reconfiguration of state institutions andpractices in order to facilitate the exercise of power in the direction ofa militarized form of moral regulation. This is what Escobar (2004) hasdescribed as signalling developments towards social fascism. The 1980 military coup was a turning point in changing the frame-work of rule and the institutional regulative space of the Turkish econ-omy. It included a neoliberal form of reorganizing the relations betweeneconomic, military, political, and cultural–ideological processes. In theirself-declared attempt to reinstitute a politically strong, interventioniststate (Cizre-Sakallioglu 1997), military generals wanted to depoliticizethe sharpened societal grievances of urban marginal groups and theunemployed, as well as youth. These politically disillusioned segmentsof the general population had come to play an important role in thegrowth of ideological social divisions and political tensions during the1970s (Atasoy 2005: Chapters 4–5). The military government formedafter the 1980 military coup used extensive coercive power to suppressall manifestations of ideological politics. The 1980 military coup created a political environment of widespreadstate coercion and violation of many fundamental rights and freedoms(Arat-Kabasakal 2007). There is no doubt that the political system cre-ated by the 1961 Constitution and the 1973 constitutional amendmentsplayed a crucial role in the militarization of political power duringthe 1980s and beyond. The National Security Council (NSC) createdby Article 111 of the 1961 Constitution has enabled the military toinfluence and at times directly control political developments (Akyaz2002: 351). The NSC was envisioned as a mechanism ‘to determineprinciples, make plans, and choose policies necessary in order to exaltand protect the material and spiritual existence of the state against allkinds of aggression, assault, and offence’ (Balci 2000: 63, my transla-tion). According to Balci (2000: 63), the founding of the NSC allowedthe Turkish Armed Forces to become a primary institution and to makepolicy-choices within the state over and above elected civilian mem-bers of parliament and the council of ministers. The 1973 constitutionalamendment reinforced the NSC’s position within the executive order,allowing the military to fulfil a primary advisory role in policy making(H. Ozdemir 1989: 95–8; 103–8). The military has since then directlyinfluenced the policy choices of governments by setting policy param-eters in terms of their compatibility with official Ataturkculuk. Thisimplies that civilian policy-makers who may hold different positionsas a result of ideological orientation, worldview, and political–economic
    • Turkish Islam: Unthinking Kemalism? 81interests should acquiesce to the military’s policy preferences. The 1982Constitution supports the preferences of the military elite in influencinggovernment decisions. Article 2 of the 1982 Constitution which definedthe Turkish Republic as ‘a state that subscribes to Ataturkist national-ism’ (Heper 2007: 94) makes policy views different from those of officialAtaturkculuk automatically unconstitutional. The 1982 Constitution further strengthened the military’s structuralposition in the balance of domestic power relations. The 1982 Con-stitution, which extended the number and political weight of seniorcommanders involved in NSC decision-making (Balci 2000: 59–62;Bayramoglu 2004: 92–7), required policy recommendations made bythe NSC to be given priority by the government. A book published bythe Secretary of the National Security Council titled Devletin Kavram veKapsami (the Concept and Content of the State) states that the NSCfulfils its responsibilities ‘within a democratic political system but in amuch faster way with discretion and without harming the secrecy ofnational security’ (Milli Guvenlik Kurulu Genel Sekreterligi 1990: 43–4;see also Sarlak 2004: 288). The military frequently took measures to pro-tect the security of the political system within official Ataturkculuk bywidely expanding the NSC’s areas of policy recommendation to includethe determination of school curricula, the selection of television pro-grammes, the closing of TV stations, and the opening of more prisons(Cizre-Sakallioglu 1997: 157–8). Moreover, the State Security Courts created by the 1982 Constitu-tion enhanced the military bureaucracy’s power within the judicialsystem. This was largely through political influence in the appoint-ments of its members. In addition to the Constitutional Court createdby the 1961 Constitution, both the State Security Courts and the NSCbecame the main vehicles for ensuring the protection of the state’s foun-dational principles as embodied in Kemalism or official Ataturkculuk(Bayramoglu 2004). Through these institutions, the high bureaucracy of the military andjudiciary has taken upon itself the ‘duty’ of reproducing ‘correct’ statenationalism against divergent interpretations (Insel and Bayramoglu2004). It has functioned as a coercive means of fusing the political andthe cultural in a way that reproduces and diffuses a sense of nationhoodknotted to the concept of state sovereignty. Although not confined to the suppression of the Left alone, all vari-ants of the Left have been subject to the military’s coercive power. Theestablishment of the Confederation of Revolutionary Labour Unions(DISK) in 1967, the Revolutionary Youth (Dev-Genc) movement of the
    • 82 Islam’s Marriage with Neoliberalismlate 1960s and early 1970s, and the Revolutionary Path (Dev-Yol) of the1970s all contributed to increased leftist political activism in Turkey. Inaddition to attracting youth, the Left drew significant support from theurban working class and gecekondu (urban shantytown) dwellers. The 1960s and 1970s were also a time of political reconstructionof Kurdish activism, largely in alliance with the revolutionary left-ist organizations noted above (Bozarslan 2003: 34–8). In contrast tothe religious and tribal-based uprisings of the 1930s, leftist Kurdishactivists were recasting Kurdish issues around the themes of economicexploitation, political oppression, and cultural–linguistic rights (Watts2007: 67). However, closer ties with the Turkish left also gave way to ide-ological fragmentation within the Kurdish movement. The DemocraticParty of Turkish Kurdistan (KDP) which was founded in 1965 andinspired by the Iraqi KDP of Barzani (Bishku 2007: 80; Watts 2007: 72–3)was a nationalist party supported by the tribal, landed Kurdish elite.The Revolutionary Eastern Cultural Forum or DDKO (Devrimci DoguKultur Ocaklari) founded in 1969 was more influential in the shapingof Kurdish politics (McDowall 2004: 411). It played a key role in thesocialist–Marxist refiguring of Kurdish national demands for recognitionand realization of Kurdish political, cultural, civil, and economic rights.Although it was closed and its leadership cadre imprisoned after the1971 military coup (Watts 2007: 75), the DDKO opened a space for theadoption of a Kurdish rights agenda by other leftist Kurdish organiza-tions which continued to produce a generation of leftist Kurdish leaders.The Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) founded in 1978 by former mem-ber of the Dev Genc Abdullah Ocalan carried the leftist Kurdish rightsagenda into the present with relatively little ideological modification(Ozcan 2006). The frame of the present work does not include a history of ideo-logical and organizational alliances between Kurdish and Turkish leftistactivists, nor an examination of the transformation of Kurdish politi-cal leftist activities into a national independence movement. Similarly,this book does not analyze the further radicalization of the movementand period of guerrilla warfare after Ocalan and other leading elementsof the PKK fled to Syria in 1979 (Bishku 2007: 84–90), or the highlyvaried Turkish government responses. However, it is important to under-score that the leftist refiguring of the Kurdish rights discourse from the1960s onwards firmly integrated Kurdish issues into the political agendaof Turkey. Various Kurdish nationalist political parties founded legallysince 1990s have built their programmes on this legacy. This includesthe People’s Labour Party (HEP), founded in 1990 and banned in 1993;
    • Turkish Islam: Unthinking Kemalism? 83the Democracy Party (DEP), founded in 1994, also banned in the sameyear; and the People’s Democracy Party (HADEP), founded in 1994 andclosed down in 2003. The HADEP was replaced first by the DemocraticPeople’s Party (DEHAP), and since November 2005, the Democratic Soci-ety Party (DTP) (Gunter 2008: 8). With the exception of the DTP, theseparties have all been banned for disseminating separatist propagandaand for allegedly having links with the outlawed PKK. The DTP achievedrepresentation in the Turkish parliament after electing more than 20 ofits candidates in the 2007 elections. Accused of engaging in activitiesagainst the unity and integrity of the state and country, the DTP is alsofacing a closure case opened in 2007 by the Constitutional Court. Theoutcome is pending. The military and judicial bureaucracy and the Turkish nationalistpolitical parties, including the ultra-nationalist National Action Party(MHP) and the social democratic Republican People’s Party (RPP), con-tinue to define Kurdish politics as a potential threat to the integrity ofthe Turkish state. After the 1980 military coup the government adoptedpolicies directed towards a brutal suppression of the Kurdish movement,once again repeating the policies of the 1930s. I believe there is defi-nitely a possibility here for a ‘negotiated consent’ (Sennett 2003: 260)over the thinking and ethos of the Kemalist fundamentals of the state.However, such a possibility would require an ethical sensibility ableto rework and modify the very core principle of the Kemalist state –territorially defined cultural homogeneity. This possibility, amazinglyenough, was hinted at when the Islam-sensitive AKP leader, and PrimeMinister Erdogan, admitted in 2005 that Turkey had a ‘Kurdish prob-lem.’ He also indicated that more democracy is needed to solve the‘grave mistakes’ Turkey has made in the past (Gunter 2008: 91). And in2005 the state-owned Turkish Radio Television Corporation (TRT) for-mulated a policy titled ‘public broadcasting in mother tongues otherthan Turkish’ (Dagi 2009) and started broadcasting in Kurdish for ahalf-hour each day, as well as other languages. In 2008 TRT openedits sixth channel, known as the Kurdish TRT channel, broadcasting inKurdish 24 hours a day. At the new channel’s opening reception, CultureMinister Ertugrul Gunay criticized the previous state practice of banningthe Kurdish language. And in a televised speech dubbed in Kurdish,Prime Minister Erdogan said that ‘we don’t need to be afraid of ourdiversity’ (Turkone 2009). The MHP opposed Kurdish broadcasting onthe grounds that it was ‘an attempt to divide the country into ethnicpieces.’ The RPP also opposed it on the grounds that the state should notgive financial support in the form of national tax revenue to a particular
    • 84 Islam’s Marriage with Neoliberalismethnic struggle (Dagi 2009). Although the AKP also promised to wagewar against the PKK in response to the escalation of armed conflictsin 2007, it is frequently accused of neglecting state security concernsand adopting policies to undermine the ideological core of the Kemaliststate. In short, a regime of fear instituted by the 1980 military coup toprevent mutability in the Kemalist framing of the state continues toinfluence politics in Turkey today. Although police and the courts have blotted out the record, theTurkish Engineers and Architects Union (TMMOB) (2008) insists thatthe 12 September 1980 military coup instituted a regime of fear throughcivil–military security forces, the prosecution, and the judiciary, seri-ously threatening freedom of expression and assembly. The 1982 Con-stitution replaced the 1961 Constitution as military generals moved torestore the authority of the state as the source of public order. Militarycoup leaders argued that the provisions of the 1961 Constitution, whichgave individuals more civil rights, universities more autonomy, studentsthe freedom to organize associations, and workers the right to strike,were a danger to state authority. By defining fundamental rights andliberties in highly restrictive terms, the 1982 Constitution provided themilitary with further tutelage powers as guardian of the state (Ozbudunand Yazici 2004: 13). In flagrant violation of international human rightsstandards, including the European Convention on Human Rights andthe International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the post-1980military-coup regime implemented the following measures:• political parties were closed down and party leaders banned from politics;• two out of three trade union confederations and 23,677 civil-society- based associations were closed down;• 650,000 people were detained;• 1,683,000 people were classified as a security threat to the state;• 230,000 people were tried in the courts;• among the 7000 people who were tried for the death penalty, 517 people received death sentences and 50 were actually executed;• 71,000 people were tried for their political-ideological orientations under Articles 141, 142, and 163. Adopted from Fascist Italy in the 1930s, Articles 141 and 142 did not permit what was described as ‘communist propaganda’ (Ahmad 1993: 136). Article 163 did not permit what was nebulously described as anti-laik activities;• 98,404 people were tried for being members of certain associations deemed in violation of the above listed articles;
    • Turkish Islam: Unthinking Kemalism? 85• 300 people died suspiciously and 171 people died of torture in detention;• 299 people died in prison. Among them, 144 people died suspi- ciously; 14 on a hunger strike, 16 in attempts to escape, 95 in other conflicts with security, and 73 from ‘natural causes’;• 43 were claimed to have committed suicide;• 30,000 people classified as sakincali (dangerous) were fired from their jobs as a precautionary act;• 14,000 people lost their citizenship;• 388,000 people were denied passports;• 30,000 left Turkey as political refugees;• 3854 teachers were fired;• legislation protecting the autonomy of universities was altered;• 120 university professors lost their positions;• 400 journalist were tried for a total of 4000 years of prison time and received 3315 years and 6 months;• 303 cases were opened against 13 large newspapers; 39 tons of newspapers and magazines were destroyed;• 937 motion-picture films were banned (TMMOB 2008: 2).The military regime targeted Turkish leftists, ultra-nationalists, andIslamists, as well as Kurdish activists, but it was particularly harsh onthe Left. According to the military’s own statistics, of the 60,000 peo-ple arrested, 54 per cent were leftists, 14 per cent were ultra-nationalists,and 7 per cent were Kurdish separatists (McDowall 2004: 416). Thesenumbers are disputed. The International League of Human Rights claimsthat more than 81,000 Kurds alone were detained within two years fol-lowing the coup (McDowall 2004: 416). Regardless, it is clear that strictmilitary control (K. Yildiz 2005: 16) pervaded the political system afterthe coup. The brutal use of coercive powers that allowed the abuse of funda-mental rights and freedoms was justified under Articles 13 and 14 of the1982 Constitution. Article 13 set the general ground for restricting allfundamental rights and freedoms, ‘namely safeguarding the indivisibleintegrity of the state with its territory and nation, national sovereignty,the Republic, national security, public order, public peace, public inter-est, public morals, and public health’ (Ozbudun and Yazici 2004: 15).Article 14 of the 1982 Constitution set the parameters for the abuseof fundamental rights and liberties. It stated that ‘none of the rightsand liberties embodied in the Constitution shall be exercised with theaim of violating the indivisible integrity of the State with its territory
    • 86 Islam’s Marriage with Neoliberalismand nation, of endangering the existence of the Turkish State andRepublic . . .’ (Ozbudun and Yazici 2004: 16). Reinforced by the new constitution, Law No. 2932 (passed in 1983)made it an offence once again ‘to express, diffuse or publish opinionsin any language other than the main official language . . . recognized bythe Turkish state’ (Gunter 1997: 10). With this law, the names of vil-lages were once again changed from Kurdish to Turkish (K. Yildiz 2005:16). Kurdish speeches and songs were banned, and those caught singingKurdish songs were prosecuted.2 A regime of fear was further reinforcedwith the establishment of a village guard system in 1985 (koy koruculuksistemi). Members of this civilian defence force supplemented the mili-tary in the Kurdish-populated southeast. At least 65,000 village guardswere recruited in the region (K. Yildiz 2005: 17). In addition, the post-military coup parliament passed State of Emergency Legislation (OHAL)in 1987. The legislation established a regional state of emergency gov-ernment in southeast Turkey directed by a regional governor with littleor no independent judicial review (Bishku 2007: 89; K. Yildiz 2005: 16).Decree 285 of July 1987 granted the regional governor the right to evac-uate villages on a temporary or permanent basis, and carry on securityoperations against PKK militants in the villages (K. Yildiz 2005: 17).Although the numbers are disputed (Aker et al. 2005: 6–7; K. Yildiz2005: 17), it is estimated that 3500 villages were evacuated by secu-rity forces from 1987 till 1999 when PKK leader Ocalan was captured inKenya. Three to four million people became internally displaced as theywere forced to migrate from their villages in the east to western regionsof Turkey. It is also estimated that more than 30,000 people were killedin the armed struggles between the Turkish army and PKK militants. Theemergency legislation lasted until 2002 when the government began toinstitute legislative changes in order to fulfil the Copenhagen criteria forEU membership, thereby opening a space for a political solution to theKurdish problem. After 1993, Articles 13 and 14 of the 1982 Constitution were amended,and other major changes were made to the 1982 Constitution, the mostsubstantive of which was made in 2001 in an effort to fulfil the Copen-hagen political criteria for EU membership. Despite these changes, theTurkish Armed Forces continue to play a ‘guardianship’ role over civilianpolitics. This is largely because of the constitutionally granted preroga-tives and privileges they have achieved through their active politicalinvolvement in the making of the constitution following each mili-tary intervention. Their first act of interference in the constitutionalprocess involved the 1961 Constitution written after the 27 May 1960
    • Turkish Islam: Unthinking Kemalism? 87military coup, the second saw amendments to the constitution after the12 March 1971 intervention, and the third involved the 1982 Consti-tution after the 12 September 1980 military coup (Ozbudun and Yazici2004: 32–41). Military leaders no longer seek to take over power directly, nor dothey place tanks and troops in the streets or issue mass arrests. Rather,they continue to oversee politics via a variety of constitutionally grantedinstitutions such as the NSC, the CC, and the YOK. Through its influ-ence on these organizations the military bureaucracy acts beyond itsconstitutional boundaries. After the 1980 coup their initial targets werethe Left and the PKK-led Kurdish independence movement. Then, afterthe pro-Islamic Welfare Party formed a government in 1995, in coali-tion with the centre-right True Path Party, the military-dominated NSCdeclared that ‘the dark forces of reactionaryism’ – referring to Islamicgroups and movements – were the real danger for state security. In its 28 February 1997 meeting, the military-dominated NSC’s Deci-sion Number 406 made 18 recommendations to protect the secularcharacter of the regime against these ‘dark forces.’ The most importantof these 18 recommendations included the following: 1. The principle of secularism should be strictly enforced and laws should be modified for that purpose if necessary (recommen- dation 1). 2. Greater state control over the private dormitories, foundations, and schools affiliated with Islamic groups, which must be placed under the control of the state and eventually transferred to the Ministry of National Education (recommendation 2). 3. In order to give the minds of younger generations a love for the republic, Ataturk, the homeland, and the nation, and with the ideal and goal of raising the Turkish nation to the level of modern civilization. a. an 8-year uninterrupted educational system must be imple- mented across the country. b. the necessary administrative and legal adjustments must be made so that Koran courses, which children with basic [secu- lar] education may attend with parental consent, operate only under the responsibility and control of the Ministry of National Education (recommendation 3). 4. The institutions of national education founded to develop an enlightened clergy loyal to the republican regime and Ataturk’s
    • 88 Islam’s Marriage with Neoliberalism principles and reforms must conform to the Law on Unified Edu- cation (recommendation 4). 5. Religious facilities should not be used for political purposes (recom- mendation 5). 6. ‘Media groups that oppose the Turkish Armed Forces’ based on their fundamentalist activities must be controlled (recommendation 7). 7. Military personnel who have been expelled for anti-secular activities must be prohibited from employment in the bureaucracy or other areas of the public sector (recommendation 8). 8. ‘Extremist infiltration’ into the Turkish Armed Forces, the universities, judiciary, and bureaucracy must be prevented (recommendation 9). 9. Swift action must be taken against those who have contravened the Law on Political Parties, the Penal Code, and the Law on Municipalities (recommendation 12).10. Initiatives that aim to solve Turkey’s political problems on the basis of ummah (religious community) rather than the nation, and that encourage the separatist terror organization (Kurdistan Workers’ Party [PKK]) as part of the ummah, should be prevented from doing so by legal and administrative means (recommendation 17).11. Law No. 5816,3 which defines crimes against the great saviour Ataturk, including acts of disrespect, must be fully implemented (recommendation 18). (For the whole list of recommendations see Gunay 2001).Then Prime Minister Erbakan, Turkey’s first pro-Islamic prime minis-ter, signed the recommendations at the NSC meeting but insisted thattheir implementation required approval from the Turkish parliament.The military, on the other hand, wanted immediate implementation.In order to force the government’s resignation and instate the NSCdecisions, the military waged a public multi-media campaign. This isknown in Turkish history as the postmodern soft coup, due to the man-ner in which the military intervened in politics. During its campaignthe military mobilized various groups over concerns about the future ofsecularism and the threat of growing Islamic militancy. This includedleft-leaning academics, trade unions, women’s groups, large businessgroups, and the judiciary. The campaign, in combination with theAnkara State Prosecutor’s court file, accused the Welfare Party and itsleadership of violating secularism, forcing the democratically electedpro-Islamic Welfare Party-led coalition government to resign on 18 June1997. Subsequently, in January 1998, the Welfare Party was banned from
    • Turkish Islam: Unthinking Kemalism? 89politics under the Political Parties Law and the Penal Code for violatingsecularism.4 The 28 February 1997 NSC meeting marks the beginning of an offi-cial anti-Islamic campaign, initiated and executed by the military andthe judiciary. Then Chief of Staff General Huseyin Kivrikoglu launchedthis campaign by saying that ‘February 28 is a process . . . [that] will last athousand years, if necessary’ (quoted in Gunay 2001: 2). In the processof carrying out this campaign, the judiciary and semi-autonomous stateagencies such as the YOK have increased their political power over par-liament, and implemented many of the recommendations of the NSCDecision Number 406. As will be discussed in following chapters, YOK’sheadscarf ban on university campuses and the exclusion of Imam-Hatipschool graduates from admission into university programmes (outsideof higher religious education) were justified by the NSC’s 28 Febru-ary decision. The military continues to stage anti-Islamic campaigns bymobilizing the media, civil society organizations, and the judicial sys-tem. A few of the most notable among these state-led campaigns are: thee-memorandum of 27 April 2007 posted on the Website of the Chief ofStaff by General Buyukanit, the republican rallies staged against the elec-tion of President Abdullah Gul, and an attempt by the ConstitutionalCourt to close down the AKP. In addition to launching public campaigns and issuing decrees andmemorandums, the military has also undertaken measures with con-siderable discretion and without undermining the secrecy of nationalsecurity, as stipulated in Devletin Kavram ve Kapsami published by theNSC Secretariat. There are now allegations that an ultra-nationalist‘gang’ believed to be an extension of a clandestine network whose mem-bers have links to the Turkish Armed Forces is operating in Turkey tolay the groundwork for a new period of military rule. This shadowynetwork known as Ergenekon has been discussed extensively in Turkishdaily newspapers since the summer of 2008. It is allegedly led by SenerEruygur, a retired head of the Gendarmerie (a branch of the TurkishArmed Forces responsible for maintaining public order), and anotherretired General Hursit Tolon. Ergenekon is also believed to have beenactive during the Cold War in fighting against the expansion of Marxismand Soviet socialist ideology in the 1970s, and against the Kurdish sep-aratist movement in the 1980s. It re-emerged in the 1990s to challengepolitical Islam. On 25 July 2008 a state prosecutor investigating a political-crimegang suspected of staging a coup against the Justice and Develop-ment Party (AKP) made public the details contained in the Ergenekon
    • 90 Islam’s Marriage with Neoliberalismindictment. Court proceedings probing the controversial activities ofErgenekon began in October 2008. Ergenekon’s membership includesretired military officials, several prominent journalists and academics,and the leader of a leftwing Workers’ Party. The network is believed tohave recruited ultra-nationalists and hard-line secularists and cooper-ated with a number of terrorist groups. It has also been alleged thatErgenekon is responsible for many political assassinations, includingthat of Turkish-Armenian journalist Hrant Dink. Organizational linksto numerous political groups have also been claimed. These include:Hizbullah, the PKK, the Revolutionary People’s Liberation Party/Front(DHKP/C), and the Turkish Workers and Peasants’ Liberation Army(TIKKO). Many in Turkey believe that Ergenekon is an incarnationof what is sometimes referred to as the Deep State – ‘invisible’ mem-bers of the military and political elite who have long controlled thecountry from behind the scenes (Globe and Mail 15 July 2008; Gunter2008: 107–26). As has been discussed since July 2008 in the left-leaningTurkish daily Radikal and liberal–Islamic Today’s Zaman newspaper,Ergenekon continues to defend a secretive deep-state power structuremade up of individuals typically drawn from, but acting parallel to,the state. According to critical essayist Turkone (2008) who writes inToday’s Zaman, the deep state concept as expressed through Ergenekonreveals a terrorist organization inside the state which commits murderand other illegal acts on behalf of the state. Largely immune from pros-ecution, its operations, which include intimidation, assassinations, andbombings, are often directed against those deemed to be in oppositionto the official state ideology (Radikal 10 August 2008). Ergenekon alsosubcontracts gangs in its terror business (Turkone 2008), while coop-erating with ultra-nationalist elements that exploit uneducated youngmen and pressure them to commit murder (Mahcupyan 15 August 2008,30 July 2008). The Gendarmerie, especially its JITEM branch (the Intel-ligence and Anti-Terrorism Unit), whose existence is officially denied,has also been alleged to be heavily involved in deep-state political mur-ders (Radikal 10 August 2008; Sarlak 2004: 292–3; Today’s Zaman 26–27August 2008). More than 9000 cases of human rights violations againstJITEM have been brought before the European Court of Human Rights,as well as charges of being engaged in drug and human smuggling,and arms trading with the PKK (Today’s Zaman 28 July 2008, 26–27August 2008). The Turkish courts began to hear the Ergenekon indictment on20 October 2008, but the hearings may not produce sufficient evi-dence to support the allegations. This was the case with the Susurluk
    • Turkish Islam: Unthinking Kemalism? 91parliamentary investigation of 1996 which exposed links between thecriminal underworld, the mafia, and Turkish security forces within thestate. The Susurluk incident refers to a number of ‘suspicious’ individualswho were killed together in a road accident. Those who died includeda high-ranking police officer, an internationally sought-after mafia boss,former leader of the far-right Grey Wolves movement Abdullah Catli,and a Kurdish tribal leader who was the head of a ‘village guard’ unitarmed by the state to combat the PKK. This incident would appear tooffer evidence of a connection between state authorities, criminal gangs,and the ultra-right Grey Wolves. However, no arrests have been made.The hope that the Ergenekon indictment will produce evidence may alsobe met with disappointment. I agree with many prominent intellectualsand academics in Turkey who have argued in Today’s Zaman (15 August2008) that the most promising outcome of an Ergenekon investigationis likely to be further revelations on the deep state.State-led refiguring of the ethos of sovereignty:The Turkish–Islamic synthesisIn addition to the use of coercive powers, the violation of democraticnorms, and the abuse of fundamental rights and liberties, military coupleaders in Turkey have sought to reorganize public space within a genericunderstanding of national unity and harmony. This has involved areconfiguring of politics and a military recrafting of Islamic morals,ideas, and values. In redefining the meaning of citizenship, a goodcitizen is expected to embody an ethos of responsibility before othercitizens, the nation, and the state. This has resulted in the refashioningof a Kemalist understanding of secularism rather than its elimination. The post-military coup government sought to combine Islamic valuesand Turkish nationalism by mixing a faith-based ethos with the virtueof state-amplification and national unity. The nationalist laik ideologyof Kemalism was cautiously mixed with Islamic moral values. The 1930sconcept of laiklik defined in terms of the association between religion,faith, ritual, and private space was reinterpreted and given a new formknown as the Turkish–Islamic synthesis (Guvenc et al. 1991). The Turkish–Islamic synthesis aimed to combine the reorganization of public spacewith a generic understanding of Islamic religion. Through the deploy-ment of a citizen-Muslim concept it introduced a pedagogy of culturalaction towards the self-identification of individuals with Muslim val-ues and morals, while modifying relations with other citizen-Muslims.This resulted in a complex relationship between the reorganization of
    • 92 Islam’s Marriage with Neoliberalismpublic space and individuals’ ‘cognitive maps’ – which Somers (1999)describes as ‘knowledge cultures.’ It is within these knowledge culturesthat citizens engage that public space. The Turkish–Islamic synthesis redefined the character of the knowl-edge culture by modifying the role of religion in public space. Militaryleaders emphasized religious education as essential to the refiguringof an ethico-political life. Article 24 of the 1982 Constitution statedthat ‘instruction in religion and ethics shall be compulsory in the pri-mary and secondary school curricula.’ Although this helps to introduceIslamic values and mores into the cultural conditions of citizenship,it does not unthink5 (Somers 1999) the statist knowledge culture ofKemalism; rather, it situates citizenship within an image of public spacederived from a Muslim culture as a source of morality. The general aimof this policy was to Learn in basic and middle education enough basic knowledge of Islamic religion and morals in accordance with Ataturk’s laicist and other principles, . . . thus the populace will obtain good morals and virtues to ensure in them a love of people, religion, morals, Ataturkism (Ataturkculuk), national unity and togetherness. [It was also stated that] . . . religious education will [A]lways take into con- sideration our state’s secular basis and always defend this princi- ple . . . [It will] inculcate . . . into the pupils the exalted concept of the national value of the standard, flag, nation, and fatherland, and to strengthen brotherly and friendly relations, respect, love, togetherness and national unity. (Poulton 1997: 182)Islam thus becomes a cultural condition of citizenship, while also play-ing an important cultural role in the development of citizens’ criticalresponsiveness to the state. Through a statist reinterpretation of its‘intersubjective public symbolic systems and networks of meaning-driven schemas’ (Somers 1999: 124) Islam refigures the narrative struc-ture instilling Kemalism. What is being promoted here is a genericunderstanding of Islam in order to redefine the character of publicspace for citizen engagement. The clear expectation of the state wasthat this ‘enlightened Islam’ (Colak 2005: 246) would galvanize citi-zens’ sense of national unity against any ideologies from Marxist, leftist,Kurdish-separatist, and other ‘radical’ Islamic political projects. 1960 military coup leader General Cemal Gursel had previouslydefined the meaning of true, enlightened Islam. He stated that: ‘the
    • Turkish Islam: Unthinking Kemalism? 93cause of our backwardness is not our religion but those who have mis-represented our religion to us’ (quoted in Colak 2005: 249). For Gursel,the state should take it upon itself to teach the true Islam to the generalpopulation. Similarly, 1980 military coup leader General Kenan Evren(1991: 301) gave an important role to the state in establishing firmcontrol over religion and instituting a true Islam within the normativeframework of public life: Families should not give religious education to children. This would be improper since it may be taught incorrectly, incompletely, or through the family’s own point of view . . . I ask you . . . not to send your children to illegal Koran schools . . . religion will be taught to our children by the state in state schools.In 1983, the State Planning Organization (SPO) prepared a Report onNational Culture which stated that the crisis of the 1970s was due tothe corruption of Turkish moral and cultural values by ‘divisive foreign’ideologies (SPO 1983: 535–43). According to the report, these foreignideologies prompted Turkish youth and intellectuals to imitate westerncultural values – a process destructive to national culture. Preservationof the nation’s culture was a duty of the state, and national culture,according to the report, was the sum of tradition and belief culminatingin religion (Guvenc et al. 1991: 113–22). In order to counter the politicalinfluence of these ideologies, as well as materialist–atheist orientations,leftwing ideologies, and divisive ethnic separatist movements, the fun-damental goal of the state was to strengthen nationalism. The SPO isclear in its report that the preservation of ‘national culture’ was and is aduty of the state. The post-military coup cultural investment in religion complementsKemalist laiklik by establishing a condition of possibility for the author-itative regulation of public life. It captures a strongly held emphasison an ideological commitment to the primacy of the state. It is impor-tant to note, however, that although Islam’s relational link to nationalunity was cultivated to secure a harmonious public life and create apanacea for containing oppositional projects, especially from the Left,more ‘radical’ manifestations of Islamic movements were also subject toclose scrutiny. An Islamic political movement emanating from outsidedirect state control was seen as radical, and, by definition, a threat tolaik fundamentals of the state. The possibility of refiguring the cultural fundamentals of the statedoes not require an entirely new kind of moral thinking and cultural
    • 94 Islam’s Marriage with Neoliberalismexpression. The military government of the 1980–3 period activelyenforced Muslim values in defining acceptable forms of social relationsin public life, yet it did not invent the Turkish–Islamic synthesis ide-ology. Throughout the republican period Islamic moral principles andcultural practices have been reworked and reimagined to operate withinthe official state ideology of Kemalism as a disciplinary technologyof governance. The Turkish–Islamic synthesis formulation represents amoment in the continuous and cumulative efforts at state regulationof Muslim–cultural activities. Despite its different manifestations, thestatist interpretation of Islamic values has articulated a message of socialresponsibility and civic commitment to national unity by combiningthe primacy of the state and Muslim ethos with a notion of TurkishIslam. Although it still upholds piety, the idea of Turkish Islam expandsa normative understanding of religion within the Kemalist frameworkof laiklik. As a particular way of relating to people and oneself withinpublic life, Turkish Islam cultivates an ethical principle of embodiedattachment to a unitary state concept.Aydinlar OcagiThe Turkish–Islamic synthesis concept was originally formulated by agroup of intellectuals, mostly university professors from Istanbul Uni-versity who had been meeting as the Aydinlar Klubu (Thinkers Club)since 1962. Among the members of this club were Ismail Dayi (a formerMotherland Party parliamentarian), Professor Ayhan Songar, AssociateProfessor Necmettin Erbakan (a former leader of pro-Islamic politicalparties from the late 1970s to 1997 and the first pro-Islamic prime min-ister of Turkey), and Dr Agah Oktay Guner (a former National ActionParty parliamentarian). The primary topic of discussion in the ThinkersClub was the relation of Turkishness to Islam (Yeni Gundem 22–28 Febru-ary 1987: 11). In 1970 the club was converted to an organization calledthe Aydinlar Ocagi (the Hearth of the Enlightened). It is this group, theAydinlar Ocagi, which launched the Turkish–Islamic synthesis conceptinto Turkish politics in the 1970s. The Aydinlar Ocagi was an asso-ciation founded by a group of ultra-nationalist university professors,intellectuals, and businessmen. Out of the 56 founding members, 31were academicians (Guvenc et al. 1991: 313–40). The group wanted toredefine Islam such that it would constitute an ethical foundation forKemalist nationalism. It was the president of the association, ProfessorIbrahim Kafesoglu, who produced the first ideological statement on theTurkish–Islamic synthesis, asserting that Islam, Turkish nationalism, andmodernity could complement one another (Arvasi 1979).
    • Turkish Islam: Unthinking Kemalism? 95 The Turkish–Islamic synthesis was publicized through the Ilim YaymaCemiyeti (the Association for the Expansion of Knowledge), foundedin 1973 by a group of politicians and intellectuals affiliated withthe Naqshbandi religious order. This cemiyet was begun by impor-tant Naqshbandi member Yusuf Turel, and his friends, AbdulkadirCavusoglu, Tahir Ugur, and Nazif Celebi (Mumcu 1994: 182–3). Othernotable members included former Prime Minister and President TurgutOzal, former cabinet minister Korkut Ozal, and politically influentialbusinessmen Eymen Topbas and Mustafa Topbas, as well as ProfessorsNevzat Yalcintas, Ayhan Songar and Salih Tug (Mumcu 1994: 182–3). The Aydinlar Ocagi and the Ilim Yayma Cemiyeti argued that Turkey’seconomic crisis in the late 1970s stemmed primarily from the failure ofthe Turkish educational system. Both groups felt that the educationalsystem failed to provide the younger generation with the knowledgeof national culture needed to fully appreciate their Muslim heritage(Guvenc et al. 1991). The ultra-nationalist MHP and its youth branch,the Association of Idealist Youth (Ulkucu Genclik Ocaklari), took up thisideology, with some modifications. During the late 1960s the MHP alsoviewed Islam an integral part of the ‘traditions, spirit, and beliefs of theTurkish nation’ (Poulton 1997: 157), but its greatest impact was thoughtto be its emotional appeal in promoting Turkism in the fight against left-ist politics. The leaders of the 1980 military coup also believed Islamto be a significant force in curtailing the spread of leftist ideologies.The shared perception here was that a rigidly secular understanding ofnationalism did not produce an emotional attachment to nationhood.Islam was seen to be capable of fostering a general ethos of engagementwith Turkish nationalism and the state. This formulation of the Turkish–Islamic synthesis, however, repre-sented a radical departure from the earlier republican ideology of thesecular state. The Turkish–Islamic synthesis involved the writing of anew history recalling an Islamic–Ottoman heritage, in sharp contrastto the early republican removal of Ottoman–Muslim cultural referentsfrom the national memory of the past. As discussed in Chapter 2,the Turkish Historical Society (1931) and the Turkish Linguistic Society(1932) were established to promote the ‘Turkish History Thesis’ and the‘Sun-Language Theory,’ with a very specific ethno-racial definition of thecultural, geographical, and historical ‘purity’ of Turks. Turkish–Islamicsynthesis ideology brought the history of Turks after Islam back into thereformulation of nationalism. The nation was still envisioned as a civicunity of individuals within the territorial boundaries of the state butthrough an emotional connection of religious virtue-based solidarity.
    • 96 Islam’s Marriage with Neoliberalism The proponents of the Turkish–Islamic synthesis were convinced thatthe secular nationalism of the Kemalist trajectory served to removeIslam as a vital cultural link between the Kurdish and Turkish people,thereby creating ideological room for the rise of a secular separatist,nationalist movement among the Kurds (Ikibine Dogru 25–31 January1987: 8–13). Therefore, the SPO Report on National Culture (1983) pro-posed the Turkish Islamic synthesis in part to create an Islamic culturallink between the Kurds and the Turks. This appears similar to what SaidNursi and Naqshbandi Sheiks claimed during the 1930s – that nationalunity should be conceptualized as the Islamic unity of various culturalcategories within the territorial boundaries of the state (van Bruinessen1992a, 1992b). In this sense, the Turkish–Islamic synthesis of the 1980spresents a neo-Ottomanist notion of state building in terms of a histor-ical continuity between the Islamic–Ottoman heritage, Kemalist laiklik,and Turkish nationalism. For the religiously inspired Kurds, however, the Turkish–Islamic syn-thesis was the reinstitutionalization of Turkish nationalism, and thestrengthening of a unitary conception of the state at the expense ofKurds. It was far removed from what Kurdish Islamic intellectual SaidNursi once claimed to be the basis for unified Muslim nationhood: anIslamic unity of cultural, linguistic communities. Although Said Nursidid not endorse Kurdish ethnicity, his ideas on Islamic solidarity con-tributed to the redefinition of Kurdish nationalism in relation to Islam.Following Said Nursi’s ideas, the Med Zehra ecole, an abbreviation forMedreset uz Zehra6 , has produced a remarkable synthesis of Kurdishnationalism and Islam in the rebirth of Kurdish nationalist activities(Ozoglu 2007: 30). The Med Zehra emerged in the 1970s from within theNurcu community movement, challenging the leftist ideological basis ofthe Kurdish nationalist movement. It criticizes the Turkish nationalistorientation of the Turkish–Islamic synthesis. It is also highly critical ofthe mainstream Nurcu movement in general and the Fethullahcilar inparticular for their denial of Said Nursi’s Kurdish origins and their sup-port for the official ideology of the military government following the1980 military coup (Atacan 2001; Kutlay 2005: 64). The Med Zehra movement claims that some Nurcu groups havedistorted Said Nursi’s Risale-I Nur by removing certain words and para-graphs from the original texts during its various reprints in the Latinalphabet (Atacan 2001: 123). Words such as ‘Kurds’ and ‘Kurdistan’were allegedly removed and replaced with such words as peasant, peoplefrom the east, and tribe, as well as certain paragraphs critical of Turkishnationalism. As a result, Nurcu groups, it is claimed, have undermined
    • Turkish Islam: Unthinking Kemalism? 97a universalist view of Islam and reinforced its Turkish nationalist inter-pretation. According to Seyhanzade, the founder of the Med Zehra, theKoran states that God created people of different nations and ethnic groups, not for the purpose of fighting with each other, but to meet, understand, and help one another. Therefore, no nation or ethnic group should be viewed as superior to another. If one denies the existence of dif- ferent nations or ethnic groups and their languages, then he or she denies the word of God. Attributing a sacred meaning to any particu- lar ethnic group puts one in danger of recreating cahilliye (pre-Islamic ignorance) period. (Atacan 2001: 128)Instead, Med Zehra pushes to the forefront the idea that each linguisticgroup is entitled to form its own state, and that these states should forman Islamic federation. An autonomous Kurdistan must be founded aspart of this Islamic federation (Atacan 2001: 125). For the Med-Zehramovement, the founding of an Islamic federation presents an alternativetrajectory to the oppression of Muslim communities by one another. The establishment of a regime of fear instituted by the 1980 mili-tary coup, and reinforced by the state of emergency government in theKurdish-populated southeastern area of Turkey, was the turning point inthe Med Zehra’s growing critique of Turkish nationalism and its denialof the existence of Kurds, and the Kurdish language, and even a ‘Kurdishproblem.’ The Med Zehra’s critique is also directed at various ultra-nationalist Turkish Muslim intellectuals and political groups for theiradherence to a project of cultural state building and a unitary notionof the nation based on a Turkish–Islamic synthesis that is oppressive toKurds. Turkish nationalist intellectuals and political groups are a casein point.Necip Fazil Kisakurek and Turkish–Islamic nationalismThe concept of vatan (fatherland), which has been circulating amongthe general population since the nineteenth century, helps to reveal thecrucial political role of religion in the neo-Ottomanist project of statebuilding formulated as the Turkish–Islamic synthesis. The great nation-alist, Young Ottoman poet Namik Kemal originally formulated thereligiously inspired imaginary of vatan but its contours have changedover time. For Namik Kemal, the notion of vatan never referred to a
    • 98 Islam’s Marriage with Neoliberalismsecular concept that eliminated Islamic referents. It was a religiouslyinspired imaginary of nationhood which gave primacy to the territo-rial sovereignty of the state (Akgun and Calis 2002: 587). The politicalvision of Kemalism also expressed the cultural ethos of vatan but with anappeal to pre-Islamic and pre-Ottoman referents of Turkishness. For theadvocates of the Turkish–Islamic synthesis, the single-party era Kemalistunderstanding of nationhood produced a form of cultural estrange-ment, almost a feeling of diaspora while living in the vatan. They wantedto create an ethos of engagement with the state for citizen-Muslimswhich expresses their cultural and emotional conditions of being andtheir source of morality rooted in Islam. Necip Fazil Kisakurek is theideological father of this formulation. His version of a Turkish–Islamicsynthesis situated Islam within a conservative, anti-leftist frame of ultra-Turkish nationalism espoused by the MHP and its youth branch UlkuOcakları since the 1970s. In his poem Sakarya, nationalist poet Necip Fazil Kisakurek describeda non-religious ethos of vatan as a source of estrangement: ‘Oz yur-dunda garipsin, oz vataninda parya’ (Destitute in your own home, pariahin your own vatan) (Kisakurek 1949, my translation). As illustrated inChapter 2 of this book, Kisakurek’s poems Cile and Ahsap Konak conveya feeling of estrangement as a condition of existential resentment. In orderto transform this condition of existential resentment, Kisakurek advo-cates the reorganization of a cognitive framework that recognizes the‘embedded character of embodied faith’ within vatan, to use a phrasefrom Connolly (2005: 57). The Buyuk Dogu (Great East) symbolizes thatframework and points to a model which engages the role of faith in pub-lic life. It is in the Ideolocya Orgusu, published in 1968, that Kisakurekrefigures Islam as the ideological basis for Turkish nationalism (Duran2004b: 139). Kisakurek created an image of the Buyuk Dogu in the essays publishedin his own periodical, the Buyuk Dogu, founded in 1943. These essayswere later collected in Ideolocya Orgusu (the Web of Ideology). In Ide-olocya Orgusu he describes the Buyuk Dogu as ‘a continuous, thorough,integrated faith, a worldview, and a poem of being’ that culminates inIslam (Kisakurek 1968/1976: 7, my translation). For Kisakurek, the BuyukDogu is the moral source of an ethico-political life in which individualand societal cultivation of habits, rituals, dispositions, sensibilities, andjudgements are embedded. To put it differently, the Buyuk Dogu con-stitutes the symbolic basis for a deeper and more comprehensive socialchange movement, and is expressed in the epistemic field of moralitythrough Islamic practices of being.
    • Turkish Islam: Unthinking Kemalism? 99 Kisakurek’s nationalism was fused with an Islamic sensibility and amessage of ethical commitment. His was a disciplined politics of becom-ing in the face of great anxiety and a sense of meaninglessness overa state-imposed secular culture in Turkey (Kisakurek 1968/1976, 1979).While the Kemalist understanding of laiklik represents a state-inducedpractice of forgetting the ‘visceral register of being’ (Connolly 1999: 29),Kisakurek’s Buyuk Dogu embraces the east (dogu) as an essential elementof that register, rooted physically and spiritually in Islam, and challeng-ing the existentially alienating effects of western materialism containedwithin laiklik. For Kisakurek (1968/1976: 8), ‘[T]he East that the Buyuk Dogu inte-grates and embraces is not tied to a race and geography outside theterritorial boundaries of the vatan . . . We are looking for the Buyuk Doguwithin the space of consciousness and visceral judgments inhabiting ourown vatan at home within its territories today and tomorrow’ (my trans-lation). Confined within the territorial boundaries of the national stateof Turkey, Kisakurek’s Buyuk Dogu is a quest for an ethic of self-disciplineand self-development through an Islamic reculturation programme.Rather than referring to a larger trans-state, trans-national phenomenonrelating to the racial unity of Turks or a religious unity of ummah, theBuyuk Dogu in Kisakurek’s own words refers to ‘a refined and a spiri-tual journey into our own inner soul on feet with heels lighter than thebreeze, rather than a rough and rancorous march toward outer climateson booted feet’ within the national vatan (Kisakurek 1968/1976: 8, mytranslation). The Ideolocya Orgusu presents a state-led Islamic social change pro-gramme for refiguring citizen-Muslims and recreating a Muslim society.Although the state is still conceived as a national state, it needs to berestructured along Islamic lines under the head of state whom Kisakurekcalls the basyuce (supreme head). The state is defined as the basyuce-lik (the office of the supreme head council), and the basyuce is chosenamong the Yuceler Kurultayi (supreme council), composed of a politicalelite well educated in Islamic matters. The Yuceler Kurultayi functionsas the executive and advisor to the basyuce (Kisakurek 1968/1976:257–341). However, real power, according to Kisakurek, remains in thehands of the basyuce. The yuceler kurultayi appears to be a powerlessfacade in the institution of a totalitarian state to morally refigure andregulate society (cf. Arendt 1951/1986 on totalitarianism). Moreover, for Kisakurek ethical self-development is relational; itrequires the reorganization of an ethos of engagement within soci-ety between various groups. Kisakurek (1968/1976) defines the moral
    • 100 Islam’s Marriage with Neoliberalismproject of reconfiguring an integrated self as an ethico-political projectresting on the possibility of reconstituting a public discourse throughthe organization of an ethos of engagement (cf. Atasoy 2005: 76–81).In this project, ‘the Buyuk Dogu composes “a mefkure senfonyasi” (sym-phony of an ideal), one for the East to listen to as an opus of itsliberation’ (Kisakurek 1968/1976: 11, my translation). Kisakurek divided the interstate system between the two civilizationalpoles of east and west (Turinay 2004: 220). The east consists of Asia, inwhich Kisakurek includes the Muslim Arab Middle East, Iran, India, andChina; the west consists primarily of Europe. An Asia-based focus onthe east represents a meta-narrative of a distinct knowledge culture thatneeds to be mobilized in the east’s challenge of racist western projectsof world domination. According to Kisakurek, the east and west dividerepresents a cultural contrast, opposite poles of emotional and symbolicvalue. Eastern subordination to the west has been rooted in its accep-tance of the cultural particulars of the west as universals of ‘modernity.’This has led to a blind imitation of western cultural practices. Kisakurekregarded European values as symbolic of the great ‘evils’ of life, syn-onymous with the impoverishment of the human soul. These valuesinclude: materialism, conspicuous consumption, egoism, instrumentalreason, and spiritual/moral decadence (Buyuk Dogu 1943: No. 1–2 and1944: No. 19–26). Under the imposition of a western life style, Muslimsfind themselves alienated from their cultural surroundings, creating theconditions for what Hannah Arendt (1951/1986) has called a ‘mecha-nistic atomism’ of mass societies. In a manner similar to Frantz Fanon’s‘manifesto of liberation’ in The Wretched of the Earth (1967), Kisakurekpointed to the need to transcend the mentality of enslavement derivedfrom decadent European values and to reject the ‘spurious heroes’ ofthe past. In contrast to a project of ‘modernization via westernisation,’Kisakurek proposed a new path for revitalizing humanity through east-ern values. He held that Asia was the source of a great civilizationthat was autonomous, pristine, and distinct – possessing the moralstrength necessary to take power back from Europe (Turinay 2004: 218).Kisakurek believed that the Buyuk Dogu could re-emerge as a rival civi-lization to the west but it would require a strong leader. As was the casewith the Ottoman Empire, Turkey could potentially perform and fulfilthis leadership task if it reorganized the state. However, this transforma-tional possibility for Turkey depended on its internalization of Islamicvalues. It was these values, Kisakurek insisted, that cultivate an ethos ofengagement based on affection, caring, and sympathy, rather than thedecadent, disenchanting values of the west.
    • Turkish Islam: Unthinking Kemalism? 101 The essence of Kisakurek’s social, political thinking is an emphasison the national sovereignty of the Turkish state under Islam. And ulti-mately, the Buyuk Dogu is a political project for repositioning Turkey asa strong, independent state within the interstate system. Kisakurek’s argument persists within the unfolding nationalist debateof Turkish Islam, albeit in different forms. Alpaslan Turkes, founder ofthe MHP, initiated an ultra-nationalist political mobilization of Turkish-Islam ideology out of a heightened sense of a ‘communist threat’ againstthe Kemalist state.Alpaslan Turkes, MHP, and the UlkuculerAlpaslan Turkes (1917–97), founder of the MHP, was instrumental incombining Islamic referents with an ultra-nationalist political projectof exalting Turkishness and the Turkish vatan. Before the founding ofthe MHP in 1969, ultra-nationalist politics was almost exclusively con-fined to the pan-Turkist tendency of Turkculuk (Turkism). Turk Ocagi(Turkish Hearth), a nationalist organization originally founded in 1911(and officially established in 1912), was the main organizational advo-cate of Turkculuk. Its views were printed in the magazine, Turk Yurdu(Turkish homeland), which included nationalist writers such as ZiyaGokalp. The organization was closed down in 1931, accused of advocat-ing pan-Turkism as a rival ideology to Kemalist territorial nationalism.It was reopened in 1949 but closed again in 1971 by military coupleaders. Since the mid-1970s its activities have been subsumed by theMHP and other organizations such as the Association of Hearts of Ide-als (Ulku Ocaklari), along with its successor the Association of IdealistYouth (Ulkucu Genclik) (Can 2000: 202; Poulton 1997: 132, 143). In the1970s the Ulku Ocaklari was one of the largest political groups in Turkey.It currently has 1000 local branches, approximately 20,000 active mem-bers, and more than 100,000 followers, known as Ulkuculer, who meetregularly in the ulku ocaklari (Can 2000: 201). The Ulkucu’s controland ideological influence over the Turk Ocagi has undermined its pan-Turkist orientation and strengthened the anti-communist orientationin its ideological stance. With 41 branches (ocaklar) and approximately7000 members (Poulton 1997: 144) the Turk Ocagi has now confinedits activities to the defence of Turkish cultural values and the territorialunitary state. The change in the ideological orientation of the Turk Ocagi under theinfluence of the MHP and the Ulku Ocaklari undermined the openlyracist, pan-Turkist attitudes of secularly oriented Turkcu intellectuals.
    • 102 Islam’s Marriage with NeoliberalismSimilarly, the founding of the Union of Turkish Nationalists in 1964by Alpaslan Turkes, established to replace the Association of Turkistsoriginally formed by ultra-rightwing pan-Turkist nationalist Nihal Atsiz(Goksu-Ozdogan 2001: 278), became the main vehicle for an ultra-nationalist reformulation of Islam’s position within Turkish culture. Nihal Atsiz (1905–75) is known in Turkist circles as the second greatestTurkish nationalist after Ziya Gokalp. Atsiz was opposed to the TurkishHistory Thesis of the single party era because of its emphasis on a terri-torialized notion of the Turkish nation. He advocated a de-territorializedunderstanding of pan-Turkism as a political unity comprised of all Turksunder one flag based on blood ties. For Atsiz, blood was also a cul-tural and moral indicator of national unity. By injecting the notionof blood purity into his definition of Turkishness beyond the territo-rial boundaries of the state, Atsiz also demonstrated his belief that thecosmopolitan cultural heritage of the Ottoman and Selcuk past contam-inated the Turkish race. This was a common theme expressed in manymagazines from the 1930s. Examples include: Orhun and Turk Sazi pub-lished by Nihal Atsiz, the Ergenekon and Bozkurt by Reha Oguz Turkkan,Tanridag by Riza Nur, Kopuz by Fethi Devetoglu and Turk Yurdu by HasanFerit Cansever (Goksu-Ozdogan 2002: 400). In all of these magazines,writers promoted the unity of Turks as an ideal to be realized throughthe development of historical consciousness. Fantastic stories were elab-orated in heroic poems, and compelling novels were written to mouldpolitical sensibilities about blood unity. References were made to myth-ical, pagan symbols originating from the shamanism of Central AsianTurks before Islam. Ergenekon is one of these symbols. It refers to amythical mountain in Asia where, according to legend, Turks gatheredto escape the Mongol hordes. Another compelling symbol was Bozkurt(Grey Wolf), a mythical animal which led the Turkish migration fromAsia westward towards Anatolia. In 1991, Nihal Atsiz’s Turk Ulkusu (the Turkish Ideal), a work publishedin 1966 as a 17-book collection, was recommended by the Ministry ofEducation as a school reference book. In this collection, Atsiz devel-oped a perspective on militarism in which he argued that wars arenecessary for nations to survive because they are the only vehicles withwhich to resolve conflicts of interests among nations (Atsiz 1966/1997:7–9). War preparation has two dimensions: a material dimension which,for Atsiz, is a technique involving maximization of resource extractionand advances in technological power; and a moral/spiritual dimensionwhich involves preparedness in terms of the strength of the nationalideal. The spiritual strength of a nation allows advances in the material
    • Turkish Islam: Unthinking Kemalism? 103field, but its absence causes total disaster regardless of the nation’s eco-nomic and material strength. The motivational power behind nationalcompetitiveness is the national ideal which, according to Atsiz, culmi-nates in the myth of Kizil Elma (Red Apple). In Kizil Elma, Atsiz showsthat blood purity alone will not guarantee national unity, not withoutknowledge of national consciousness (Bakirezer 2002: 354). For Atsiz(1966/1997: 12), it is the strength of the Kizil Elma which allowed a mil-lion Turks who migrated to Anatolia in the eleventh century to imagineand establish a world empire that extended to four continents. Atsizbelieved that many Turkish youth, unaware of the ideal of Kizil Elma,have adopted the foreign ideologies of Marxism and cosmopolitanism. Atsiz insists that Turks have long distinguished themselves in historythrough their military skills. And the success of the Turkish nation inadvancing its national interest depends on its preparedness for wars(Bakirezer 2002: 352–7). These ideas were combined into a nationalistimaginary that was not hostile to Islam but which saw the religiouspiety of Muslims in Turkey as an important factor contributing to socialsolidarity. This brought Turkism into closer alignment with the officialstate ideology and a notion of Turkish Islam which characterized thenationalist discourse of the 1980s and 1990s. The ultra-nationalist MHP of Alpaslan Turkes played a crucial rolein combining the Turkcu tradition with a territorialized nationalism ofKemalist official ideology (Bora 2002: 686) and an emotional appeal toIslam. In addition to the MHP and its youth branch, Ulku Ocaklari, theAssociation for the Struggle Against Communism (Komunizmle MucadeleDernegi, founded in 1950) was an aggressive and violent nationalistorganization. After the MHP and Ulku Ocaklari took control of theKomunizmle Mucadele Dernegi in 1977, the association ceased to exist.Upon taking control of these rival nationalist organizations, the MHPand the Ulku Ocaklari became the leading organization in articulatingTurkculuk and Islam within an ultra-nationalist ulkucu movement, onein which Islam was always subordinate to nationalism. Reformulating the pan-Turkist tendency of Nihal Atsiz into a territo-rialized notion of Turkculuk through an Islamic appeal, ulkucu nation-alism linked an anti-communist politics to the dream of nationalsovereignty (Hacieminoglu 1976). It views national economic powerachieved through a state-led programme of industrial development asa precondition for protecting the political existence of the Turkishnation in the world. According to Professor Necmettin Hacieminoglu,an ideologue within the ulkucu movement, ulkucu nationalism repre-sents ‘a return to the essence, a return to one’s inner self . . . ulkuculuk is
    • 104 Islam’s Marriage with Neoliberalisman organic reaction against a microbe in the body . . .’ (quoted in Can2000: 216, my translation). Thus, similar to the way in which a disinfec-tant is needed to fight against a microbe, spiritual–moral developmentis necessary in order to counter the alienating effects of western moder-nity on the Turkish national character. The leaders of the 1980 militarycoup incorporated the Turkish–Islamic synthesis ideology of the AydinlarOcagi into the official state ideology in a way that, as was the casewith MHP idealism, subordinated Islam. The Ulku Ocaklari developeda more openly pro-Islamic Turkish–Islamic idealism after the 1980 mil-itary coup. Hence, the founding of a rival nationalist party, the GrantUnity Party (Buyuk Birlik Partisi – BBP) by the former president of UlkuOcaklari Muhsin Yazicioglu and his Turkish–Islam idealists (Turk–Islamulkuculeri) (Can 2000: 207–8). Nonetheless, the MHP still plays a pivotalrole in the reproduction of an official ideology that subordinates Islamwithin Turkish nationalism. The MHP-style assemblage of religious and Turkish nationalist refer-ents was reproduced by the military after the 1980 coup. The militaryofficially accepted an Ulkucu slogan, ‘we are Muslim Turks’ (Ulku OcagiDergisi 1996) as a frame of reference for citizen action that was appro-priate to state sovereignty. It reflects an Islamic position that modifiesTurkishness in order to be appropriate to the Kemalist fundamentals ofstate nationalism without allowing Islam to emerge as a rival ideologicalstance. This represents a significant moment within the bureaucracy’slong history of constructing national history by reproducing a ‘correct’state-nationalism. Both the NSC and the CC allow the civil–militaryhigh bureaucracy to take it upon themselves to protect official stateideology. Through these institutions, bureaucratic cadres function to‘moralize’ politics on behalf of Kemalist laiklik and ‘enlightened TurkishIslam.’ The 1980, 1997 and 2007 military interventions are examplesof this.Turkish Islam under neoliberalismSince the 1980s Islamic politics has constituted the cultural platformfor Turkey’s participation in the global capitalist economy. An ideolog-ical link exists between Turkish Islam, which constitutes an ideationalframe of knowledge in the minds of practising Muslims, and the politi-cal alliances between various social groups in the competitive relationsof market capitalism. This affinity between an Islamic frame of knowl-edge and neoliberal market capitalism is not timeless but formed withinthe specific historical circumstances of domestic politics in Turkey.
    • Turkish Islam: Unthinking Kemalism? 105 After coming to power in 1983, the Motherland Party (MP) reartic-ulated Turkish–Islamic synthesis ideology within a neoliberal contextas a mixture of neoliberalism, nationalism, and various Islamic plat-forms. An in-depth analysis of the MP’s ideological outlook and itspower base is beyond the scope of this analysis, but the basic conclu-sion is clear. Under Ozal’s leadership the MP, although not an Islamistparty, managed to establish a broad-based coalition and promote theview that Turkey’s economic development projects should rest on themoral/cultural strength and legitimacy of Islam (Atasoy 2003/2004). Thepresence of a strong pro-Islamic faction within the party was crucialin establishing a link between Muslim cultural values and a neoliberaleconomic development project. This new articulation of Muslim cultural values alongside neoliberal-ism has settled one persistent question in the political debate over therole of Islam in politics. The debate dates back to the second half of thenineteenth century when Ottoman reformers initiated a westernizationprogramme to restructure the Ottoman state along secular principles.The secularization project was opposed by pan-Islamist reformers whoadvocated the adoption of western technology but not its culture. Theyargued that a nation which turned its back on its own culture couldonly produce a rootless imitation. For them, this was a call for disas-ter. The controversy was temporarily settled during the formative yearsof the Turkish nation-state in the 1930s when the founding leaders ofthe Turkish state eliminated any possibility of opposition against theruling party. For them, technology and culture were seen as elementsof a unified whole. Industrialization required a wholesale adoption ofwestern cultural values. Nonetheless, with the establishment of a multi-party regime in 1945 and the rise to power of the Democrat Party (DP)in 1950, the intellectual debate on Islam re-emerged. By incorporatingrural producers into the national economy the DP also integrated smallproducing peasants along with their Muslim beliefs and practices intothe state structure. During the 1970s, the debate over culture versus technology wasrevised within the pro-Islamic National Salvation Party (NSP). The NSPpopularized the theme of ‘western imperialism’ and questioned the pre-sumed universality of a western model. Under Ozal’s leadership duringthe 1980s, Turkish–Islamic synthesis ideology integrated Islam as a cul-tural moral value within the strategy of a competitive export-orientedeconomic model, while also, according to Ziya Onis (1997: 743–66),connecting it with a liberal western orientation. The combined effectof these ideological shifts was that the west was no longer perceived as a
    • 106 Islam’s Marriage with Neoliberalismcoherent cultural unit of modernity, but as an economic power withinthe larger space of global competition (Atasoy 2003/2004). The pro-Islamic AKP which came to power in 2002 has deepenedthis engagement with the market economy by fusing Islamic ethics andwestern modernity, presenting them in universalistic terms as projectsof liberal democracy and economic ‘globalization.’ As many Tanzimat,Young Ottoman, and Young Turk intellectuals did more than a cen-tury ago, the AKP is blending western standards – elevated to the levelof universality – and Islam, understood as a distinct source of cul-ture in Turkey. This is similar to Ziya Gokalp’s (1976b: 7–12) visionof Turklesmek, Islamlasmak, and Muassirlasmak (Turkification, Islamiza-tion, and Modernization), and not far removed from the state-ledreformulation of Turkish Islam and official Ataturkculuk. Out of his concern with the effect of the Protestant ethic on theadvent of capitalism in Europe, Max Weber argued that an a prioricultural opening was necessary for capitalism to evolve. This has a decid-edly functionalist flavour, however. As DiMaggio (1994: 36) argues, sucha position locates cultures ‘logically necessary to sustain markets [mar-ket capitalism] in places where markets have emerged.’ I argue that thestudy of Islamic politics in functional terms does not provide evidenceof a much stronger link between changes in the power configurationsof the state and the economy, and the cultivation of ethical sensibili-ties, scripts, attitudes, and justice norms that define an ethos of publicengagement. Therefore, in the following chapter I focus on the ways inwhich groups who take up the cognitive, symbolic, and normative ori-entations of Islamic ideas interact with the deployment of state powerover the shape of that power and economic strategy.
    • 4Reconstituting the State: TheIslamic Framing of NeoliberalismIn explaining how an Islamic orientation blends with neoliberalism,I believe it is essential to take into account the ideas, public narratives,and explanatory systems upon which Islamic groups predicate theiraction. A closer examination of the interpretive processes of Islamicframes of knowledge shows that Islamic groups define their existingposition and mobilize to reposition themselves in the economy throughthose frames. For the purpose of illustration, I employ a methodol-ogy that allows me to conceptualize the role of an Islamic ideationalorientation in its constitutive and regulatory effects. Paul DiMaggio (1994: 28) defines culture’s constitutive role in termsof how actors define their interests and how the character of societyis shaped. This includes the making of social classes and class cul-tures (Hirschmann 1977, 1986; Sabel 1982; Sahlins 1976; Thompson1963), as well as the market-oriented social transformation of society(Polanyi 1944; Somers and Block 2005). In terms of culture’s regulatoryeffect, DiMaggio’s focus is on constraining behaviour. This includes themoral self-restraint, discipline, and regulation that normatively groundbehaviour (Corrigan and Sayer 1985; Foucault 1966/1970; Polanyi 1944;Smith 1759/1976). Combined, the constitutive and regulatory roles ofculture are reflected in the emergence of distinctive repertoires, strate-gies, values, sentiments, and cognitive orientations that connect theethical and political in framing a social change trajectory. Various groups and movements struggle for the power to reinterpretreality, represent society, reshape culture, and reposition themselves inhistory. They interpret and aim to redefine frames of action in whatGramsci (1928/1971: 88, 108–11, 120, 229–39) refers to as a com-plex ‘war of position,’ the goal of which is to open a new politicalspace around distinct social imageries. The war of position centres on a 107
    • 108 Islam’s Marriage with Neoliberalismdiscursive ‘framing contest’ over the historical possibility of social trans-formation (Gamson and Modigliani 1989, cited in Fiss and Hirsch 2005:30). In Gramsci’s war of positioning, power is exercised in society on aterrain of struggle for organizing consent over a social change model(Mouffe 1979: 168–204). In Turkey, this is played out over the belli-cose unitary imagery of Kemalism in a way that connects an Islamicorientation to the politics of neoliberal social transformation. Alongside the AKP, other Islamic groups have participated in the insti-tutionalization of neoliberalism. The Naqshbandi religious order, theNurcu community (Nurcular), and the Gulen community (Fethullahcilar)have all done so, especially under the banner of enlarging civic engage-ment in the economy. This has appealed to a variety of social groupsaffected by deep class- and region-based inequalities and holdingculture-based grievances against Kemalism. All of these groups are sub-ject, albeit in different ways, to the ebb and flow of the global marketeconomy which creates the material conditions of inequality. However,Kemalist ideology, which has allegedly eviscerated Anatolia’s culturalrichness by imposing a homogeneous laik culture, encourages suchgroups to think of themselves as victims of social injustice, or what MikeDavis (2001: 20), in a very different context, calls ‘unequally endowedgroups.’ In the absence of a strong Leftist movement, the connectionbetween material and cultural tension has made Islam an appealingpolitical project. It represents a powerful countervailing force in the faceof both Kemalist developmentalism, with its class bias in favour of largeIstanbul-based industrialists, and laiklik, as embodied in the authori-tarian, homogenizing culture of civil–military state bureaucrats. Islamoffers significant appeal to those over whom Kemalist bureaucrats havecast a long shadow by questioning their cultural suitability for ‘western’modernity. The groups noted above include capitalists from smaller Anatoliancities, some large firms established in Istanbul, highly educated Muslimprofessionals from modest Anatolian families, and the urban poor andmarginalized. All wish to reposition themselves in a state restructuredalong neoliberal lines but in a way that caters to their imputed Muslimcultural differences and regional background (Atasoy 2003/2004: 139).It is not difficult to see why the economically privileged might support apolicy orientation focused on greater integration into the world capital-ist economy. The greater difficulty arises in relation to the economicallyweak. Of particular importance here has been the political resignifi-cation of an Islamic orientation that ties claims for ‘access rights’ tothe broader ideological frame of neoliberalism. References to the need
    • Reconstituting the State 109to respect Muslim traditions within the domestic context of the stateare thus linked to and draw upon the globalized ‘rights and freedoms’discourse of liberal democracy. The following section outlines the story of how the AKP and otherIslamic groups are contributing to a distinct phase in Turkey’s modernityprojects. On the broadest level, this is occurring because the politicalpower base of the Kemalist state is being opened up to contestation.The AKP and neoliberalism1It has now been more than 30 years since a market-oriented policyapproach has been embraced in Turkey in order to reduce the role ofthe state in the economy. In the process of transforming the economy, aseries of major crises have arisen since the late 1980s. The most recent, in2000–1, resulted in a 9.4 per cent fall in GDP. The most vulnerable, poor-est members of society, in addition to salaried professionals and small-to medium-sized company owners, shouldered most of the burden.Many skilled, well-educated workers lost their jobs, and among smallercompanies the bankruptcy rate soared. For the first time in Turkey, arti-sans, shopkeepers, and small business-owning tradesmen went on strike,closing shops and demonstrating against neoliberal policies. The AKPcame to power in the wake of this severe economic crisis. The party,which advocates the dominant neoliberal themes of privatization ofpublic corporations, liberalization of trade, entrepreneurship, and pri-vate investment, has a broad electoral base, receiving support from bothprosperous and disadvantaged segments of society. The AKP has suc-cessfully drawn on deepening inequality and mass dissatisfaction withneoliberalism to garner favour, while also promising to reduce poverty,extreme inequality, unemployment, and the informal economy. The AKP has been successful in becoming the leading party by incor-porating broad segments of society that had supported the coalitionpartners of the previous government. In building a cross-class coali-tion the AKP has reframed an Islamic moral stance to fit a ‘Third Way’party image that partly emulates the former political approaches of TonyBlair, Bill Clinton and Gerhard Shroeder. It charts a course of integrationbetween the neoliberal market economy and citizen-empowerment pol-itics. In this way it addresses the two central themes of contemporaryTurkish politics: neoliberal restructuring of the economy, and transfor-mation of the state along liberal–democratic lines. Both of these are cen-tral to the AKP government’s push for Turkey’s membership in the EU,which also requires a broader shift in Turkish ‘political culture.’ It is in
    • 110 Islam’s Marriage with Neoliberalismrelation to these transformations that an Islamic politics has gained con-siderable ground in the discursive battles being waged in Turkey today. The AKP’s state transformation policies operate through cross-classcoalition building between economically disadvantaged groups andlarge, globally competitive firms. Contesting the normative assumptionsand practices of Kemalist statism, the AKP advances an attachment to ‘anew social contract [idea] that facilitates an engagement between soci-ety and the state on the basis of universal justice and human rightsprinciples’ (AKP 2002: 21). The AKP’s idea of a new social contract iswedded to ‘a human-centred understanding of politics and [the enact-ment of] regulations and practices applied to an effective manifestationof the national will’ (AKP 2007: 21). As highlighted in its Developmentand Democratization Program (2002), the AKP argues for the need toredesign fundamental rights and freedoms in Turkey to make themcongruent with ‘universal standards’ and with the EU’s Copenhagenpolitical criteria. Indeed, the AKP programme is in general very muchin line with the politics of neoliberalism expressed in the ‘globalization’and ‘democratization’ discourses of the EU. In substantive terms, the creation and maintenance of trust betweenthe state and citizens is a key condition for the neoliberal politicsof the AKP in order to promote its programme on human welfare,individual freedom, and social justice. In a manner similar to theOttoman ‘circle of justice’ notion, the AKP’s emphasis on trust isculturally embedded in the reciprocity of moral obligations and expec-tations: citizens will entrust the state to serve them while the statewill respond to their demands (AKP 2007: 150–61). The trouble behindthis approach is related to an assumption that disadvantaged groupscould rely on the state to willingly be more inclusive and responsive.It also assumes that advantaged groups would be willing to financiallysupport a more just society. And, trust will ethically dispose varioussocial classes and groups towards a citizen-empowerment project with-out expecting one to dominate the other. Although problematic, itis precisely because of this emphasis on trust that the AKP is in agood position to include aspects of cultural, social, and emotionallife in a project of state transformation. The AKP’s linking of policywith a normative commitment to social solidarity through new rep-resentations of social and cultural space also undermines the elitisminherit in Kemalist state practices. The AKP is doing much morethan politically mobilizing a reified conception of the ‘social’ andthe ‘cultural.’ It is actively involved in constructing the very mean-ing of the cultural through an epistemic attachment to Europeanstandards.
    • Reconstituting the State 111 The AKP’s commitment to European norms comes with a particularpolitical–culture twist. The party links a neoliberal policy orientation toan Islamic version of what the World Bank calls ‘human capital growth’(AKP 2002: 20–7; World Bank 2004). It goes beyond conceptualizing thisas an aggregate of free actors in society making rational choices, andbeyond the removal of state-imposed political, cultural, and adminis-trative constraints. For the AKP (2002: 34), ‘combining world economicand European democratic normative standards with Turkish cultural val-ues and moral precepts can produce an ethics that would apply in allaspects of the economy as a precondition for permanent and perpetualgrowth.’ Islamic moral principles are seen as a strategy for ‘asset build-ing’ (Oliver and Grant 2004: 171) in human capital. What this ‘assetbuilding’ means in practice is that disadvantaged individuals and groupsmust be empowered culturally to become actively engaged in improvingthemselves in the economy. Through self-reliance and self-discipline,individuals endowed with an Islamic ethos and morality would be ableto fully manage their position in society. The basic assumption here isthat a more democratic system would serve as the opportunity structurefor the cultivation of a social ethic of self-realization. The identifica-tion of individual self-growth with economic freedoms underpins theAKP’s neoliberal orientation, politicized as a cultural project of citizen-empowerment based on ‘trust.’ This represents a position on the roleof the individual within the state that is entirely distinct from that ofKemalist elitism. The National Programme drafted by the AKP government in August2008 to fulfil Turkey’s EU membership requirements emphasizes theestablishment of a fully functioning democratic system. Defined ‘as agreat reform movement that requires fundamental changes in everyaspect of daily life and brings the country to the level of universalstandards and applications’ (Turkiye Ulusal Programı 2008: 1, my trans-lation), the programme identifies democratization as the most reliablebasis for Turkey’s economic and political stability and development(Turkiye Ulusal Programı 2008: 2). For Prime Minister Erdogan, theimplementation of the Copenhagen political criteria will enable Turkeyto secure economic growth by aligning its own ‘authentic’ Muslim val-ues with the European liberal principles of democracy, human rights,and individual freedoms elevated to a level of ‘universality’ (Akdogan2004: 13). The AKP is also adopting the Copenhagen economic objectives thatrequire a fully functioning market economy (Faucompret and Konings2008: 49–150; Hukumet Programi 2007; The Programme of the 59thGovernment 2003; Turkiye Ulusal Programı 2008). The AKP government
    • 112 Islam’s Marriage with Neoliberalismviews IMF-imposed polices as part of a process leading to Turkey’s EUmembership and it sets its own economic policies in relation to IMFrequirements. These include greater liberalization – with significantrestructuring of the agricultural and banking sector, privatization, tightfiscal policy, less state intervention, more equal conditions for com-petition and financial discipline to the informal sector (Boratav andOzugurlu 2006; IMF 2007). The government policies of the AKP haveexplicitly outlined a neoliberal programme which redefines develop-ment as participation in the world market (Hukumet Programi 2007;The Programme of the 59th Government 2003). In implementing itsmarket-driven policies, the AKP borrows heavily from the IMF whichhas been considered as an institutional pillar of economic develop-ment. The government signed the latest three-year stand-by agreementin May 2005 and received US$39.5 billion from the IMF (Faucompretand Konings 2008: 58). This is in addition to the US$8 billion bailoutagreement signed by the previous government in 2001 (Atasoy 2009a:177), over and above an existing US$11 billion loan (Blustein 2001).Indeed, in 2007, IMF loans to Turkey accounted for two-third of itsoutstanding credits, leading The Economist to call the IMF the ‘TurkishMonetary Fund’ (The Economist 2 February 2007). The IMF-induced crisis-management strategies and the EU member-ship process are all intertwined in the AKP’s intensification of the policyof privatization of public companies which began in 1984 (Grigoriadisand Kamaras 2008). The government’s privatization administration Website lists 188 public companies as being completely privatized from1985 to 2009. More than 50 per cent of state shares have been soldin 93 of these companies, many of which (66 companies) were priva-tized by block sale (Republic of Turkey, Prime Ministry PrivatizationAdministration 2008). State shares were also sold off in 240 mixedcompanies (TUSIAD 2005a). Nevertheless, the actual implementation ofthe programme has been slow, largely due to public opposition to lay-offs and legal proceedings launched by workers’ unions against someof the deals. The greatest increase in privatization occurred between2005 and 2006 under the AKP government (TUSIAD May 2008: 138–9),when key infrastructure industries such as telecommunications (TurkTelecom), petrochemicals and other energy-related industries (TUPRAS,ERDEMIR) were privatized. However, since 2007 the privatization pro-cess has slowed again in the politically uncertain context of tensionsemerging from the period of the military’s 2007 e-memorandum upuntil the July 2007 election, as well as the 2008 Constitutional Courtcase over banning the AKP. Since 2007, the government has droppedthe privatization of some state-owned companies (such as the Halk
    • Reconstituting the State 113Bankasi – People’s Bank) and postponed the sale of others (such asTekel Sigara – the cigarette manufacturing company, Turkish Airlines,Galataport, the National Lottery Administration, and Petkim – a petro-chemical industry). Contrary to assumptions made about income generation, the effectsof privatization have not been very significant. From 1985 to 2007, thetotal amount of income generated from privatization has been US$26billion, of which US$13.6 billion has been spent to pay privatization-related expenses (T.C. Basbakanlik Turkiye Ozellestirme IdaresiBaskanligi 2008: 10–11). And most of the income – US$12.5 billion –was generated in 2005. Although this represents an increase over theUS$1.3 billion generated in 2004 (Turkiye Ulusal Programı 2008: 15),the overall fiscal returns from privatization have been minimal. The creation of a political context for state downsizing, rather thanrevenue generation, appears to be the most important outcome of theAKP’s privatization programme. It is by no means entirely due to pres-sure from the IMF and the EU that the AKP openly proclaimed thatit ‘supports a free-market economy with all of its rules and institu-tions, and adopts the principle that the state should not directly engagein economic activity’ (AKP 2002: 33). There is more at work here forthe AKP than adhering to policies adopted in accordance with IMFstand-by agreements and World Bank conditionality terms. The AKPhas its own reasons for wanting to dismantle the state-owned enter-prises which have constituted the backbone of the Turkish economysince the 1930s. This is more complex than it first appears. Far from amove away from the state, particular attention is actually being drawnto the social and economic structure of the state. The meaning of priva-tization is intricately bound up with perceptions, ideas, and discursivedichotomies related to reconfiguring the content and character of thestate. The reconstitution of the state through neoliberal restructuring ofthe economy is a ‘deeply contentious outcome of historically specific“state projects” ’ (Jessop 1990, quoted in Brenner et al. 2003: 9). Thisoutcome is rooted in the old Kemalist state which deployed a variety ofpolitico–regulatory strategies – including those relating to forces of cap-ital and political power – to contain and monitor social processes andpolitical–economic activities within the space of a society represented as‘homogenous.’The realignment of Turkish capitalIt is important to appreciate how private capital has been realignedduring the rise of neoliberalism and its embodiment in the Islamic
    • 114 Islam’s Marriage with Neoliberalismpolitics of the AKP. This is best seen in terms of the divergence ofinterests that has emerged within the Turkish Industrialists’ and Busi-nessmen’s Association (TUSIAD), and between it and the IndependentIndustrialists’ and Businessmen’s Association (MUSIAD). TUSIAD, rep-resenting secularly oriented big business interests, is concentrated inthe Istanbul region, and has strong ties to the Kemalist state. It haskept its distance from the AKP’s Islamic–political project, although itsupports the AKP government’s neoliberal policies. MUSIAD, on theother hand, representing large- and smaller-sized Muslim business inter-ests, mostly from smaller cities in Anatolia, has very weak ties to theKemalist state apparatus and is a key element in the AKP’s cross-classelectoral coalition. However, it is no longer possible to see politi-cal Islam as aligned only with ‘small and medium scale,’ and newlygrowing Anatolian capital, as opposed to the secularly oriented bigbourgeoisie based in Istanbul. Since the mid-1980s the more successfulpro-Islamic groups have already entered the ranks of big capital. Someof them are now located in Istanbul while maintaining strong fam-ily ties with Anatolian towns and villages. Still, the political legacy ofKemalist developmentalism (which historically marginalized Anatoliansmall capitalists) continues to have a profound ideological effect onthe reproduction of differences between large Istanbul-based and smallAnatolian capitalists. This is related to the cultural signification of a‘Muslim other,’ and has led to a debate within business between sec-ularists and Islamists over the best direction for Turkish society. In thisdebate, pro-Islamic business groups combine their economic success sto-ries with the theme of Islamic social justice, while secularly orientedgroups express concern over the political future of the Kemalist state. TUSIAD was founded in 1971 by the largest private industrial andcommercial capital groups in the Istanbul region. Its headquarters isin Istanbul and it has only one Anatolian branch, which opened inAnkara in 2000.2 In 2005 TUSIAD had a membership of 458 firmswhich accounted for 43.2 per cent of total value-added in the Turkisheconomy, and 38.2 per cent of Turkish exports (TUSIAD Brochure).These firms are primarily family-owned and family-managed conglom-erates. For example, among the largest TUSIAD firms, Koc Holdingcontrols 108 companies and Sabanci Holding controls 50 companies.In 1998, the 15 largest TUSIAD companies in Turkey controlled over500 industrial enterprises, as well as some of Turkey’s largest financialinstitutions. Most of the TUSIAD member companies have their originsin the state-led industrialization project of the 1930s. High-level statebureaucrats were actively involved in the founding of industrial firms,
    • Reconstituting the State 115transforming themselves into a private industrial bourgeoisie. Industri-alization in Turkey has long been synonymous with nationalism, whichdirected social change onto a secular trajectory. Strong connections withstate bureaucrats and dependence on state backing explain TUSIAD’ssecularist political orientation. TUSIAD member firms still maintain strong links to the state andenjoy easy access to government support. They are aided by joint ven-tures with the military in production areas ranging from iron and steel,cement, automotive, pulp and paper, and food, to artillery ammuni-tion, small arms, military vehicles and rocket systems (Arac 2004: 7;OYAK Group Companies 2007). The close ties between some of itsmembers and civil–military bureaucrats often cause friction withinTUSIAD because they tend to contribute to a lack of concern withthe military’s frequent intervention in civilian politics. Leading older-generation TUSIAD members were pleased when the military engineereda soft coup on 28 February 1997, forcing the resignation of the demo-cratically elected coalition government of the pro-Islamic Welfare Party.Many leading pro-Islamic businessmen were arrested, and 100 pro-Islamic companies were blacklisted. These firms were excluded frombidding for military contracts on suspicion of undertaking ‘Islamic fun-damentalist’ activities against the secular state (Jang 2005: 203). Forthe owners of younger-generation TUSIAD firms, however, with limitedlinkages to the state, this was seen as harmful to democracy. Althoughcharges against pro-Islamic business groups were never proven, themilitary’s action served to dampen the competitive growth of Islamiccapitalists. And while TUSIAD strongly supports market-driven policiesits internal cleavages have tended to prevent it from giving unified sup-port to depoliticized regulation of the economy and more democraticstandards for the state (Bugra 1998). During the 1970s TUSIAD’s primary focus was on the institution-alization of export-oriented industrialization to replace the post-warimport-substitution model. It repeatedly argued that excessive state reg-ulation was the source of Turkey’s economic problems. During the 1980sTUSIAD worked for the consolidation of market-oriented structuralreforms, although they did so with hesitation, as they felt increasinglychallenged by the fast growth of smaller export-oriented companies.The legitimacy problems associated with privatization and growinginequality were largely ignored. Since the 1990s, under the influence ofyounger-generation business groups, and in any case reflecting TUSIAD’soverall support for Turkey’s membership in the EU (which it welcomesas an agent of international discipline), TUSIAD has also supported the
    • 116 Islam’s Marriage with Neoliberalismdemocratization reform requirements spelled out in the Copenhagenpolitical criteria. These include: the rule of law, respect for human rights,and the protection of minorities. It has published no less than threereports on democratization in Turkey between 1997 and 2001. Underthe influence of younger-generation firms, TUSIAD appears to have bro-ken with the inhibiting social, cultural, and legislative arrangementsof the old Kemalist state with which older TUSIAD firms had been soclosely associated (TUSIAD 2007). As an organization of large private companies with origins in statecontracts, TUSIAD’s unified support for liberal democracy is not entirelycertain. In relation to the AKP’s commitment to EU accession, TUSIADsupports the party and the political reforms required by the EU, as wellas the economic reforms required by the IMF. All three TUSIAD reportspublished on democratization in Turkey (in 1997, 1999, and 2001)emphasize the harmonization of domestic policies with internationalstandards and the need to change current legal arrangements whichrestrict individual freedoms and the expression of cultural rights. How-ever, when it comes to such issues as the headscarf ban and Imam-Hatipschools, TUSIAD reveals a deep-seated fear of Islamization by stealth,vowing to defend Turkey’s secular orientation against any and all issuesthat may be a threat to secularism. TUSIAD frequently points out thatit aims ‘to foster the development of a social structure which con-forms to Ataturk’s principles and reforms’ (TUSIAD May 2008: Preface).Regarding the AKP government’s latest attempt to lift the headscarf ban,TUSIAD has even argued that, although undertaken ‘in the name ofequality and the right to education . . . [the] true intention [here] is tomove Turkey away from its process of democratization and EU acces-sion . . . [the headscarf issue] provides an opportunity for those whointend [to] inhibit Turkey from progressing on her path to a strongerdemocracy . . .’ (TUSIAD January 2008). Although it broadly supports the AKP’s Development and Democratiza-tion Program, TUSIAD’s historical connections with the state have thusfar kept it out of the AKP’s cross-class alliance. MUSIAD (the Indepen-dent Industrialists and Businessmen’s Association, commonly referred toas the Muslim Businessmen’s Association), on the other hand, has a clearIslamic political orientation and is central to that alliance. Ten mem-bers of MUSIAD were among the founders of the AKP, and 20 memberswere elected as AKP parliamentarians in the 2002 elections (Jang 2005:227–8). MUSIAD also provided much of the financial base for the AKPin the elections. It rejects the Kemalist cultural hierarchy which privi-leged big Istanbul-based business. It also presents itself as the champion
    • Reconstituting the State 117of ‘Muslimness’ to those who have been marginalized in that hierarchy,even though many of its leading companies refrain from referring toIslamic symbols in their business activities. MUSIAD, founded in 1990, represents the economic interests ofyoung businessmen known as the ‘Anatolian tigers.’ Its members gen-erally have modest Anatolian Muslim-family backgrounds. A total of3000 of its more than 4000-member companies is located in variousAnatolian cities (World Bulletin 2008). Nevertheless, a large numberof MUSIAD companies tend to concentrate in Istanbul. The majorityof MUSIAD-member firms are small- and medium-sized and employfewer than 50 workers. In contrast to TUSIAD, 80 per cent of whosemember firms were established before 1980, 70 per cent of MUSIADcompanies were founded after 1980 (Jang 2005: 214–17). MUSIAD alsohas many branches throughout Anatolia (28 offices), unlike TUSIAD.MUSIAD aims to strengthen the export-market competitiveness of itsmember firms through co-operative and joint venture investmentsin corresponding areas of domestic production. MUSIAD Chairper-son Omer Vardan sees such investment strategies as essential for a‘sound placement of Anatolian capital’ in the world economy (WorldBulletin 2008). The traditional sectors of concentration for these companies arelabour-intensive industries such as textiles, garments, leather and car-pets, construction, building materials, food processing and transporta-tion. Since the mid-1990s, they have become involved in big-boxgrocery retailing, furniture making, computing and electronics, bank-ing and the media. MUSIAD represents 15 per cent of the Turkish GNP(compared to TUSIAD’s more than 40 per cent), but its strength lies inexport competitiveness (Shikoh 2006). It regularly organizes an Inter-national Business Forum (IBF) and a World Economic forum for theMuslim World, as well as annual trade fairs within the Organizationof Islamic Conference. MUSIAD is the headquarters for the IBF, whosekey objective is to utilize Islamic ethical virtues in wealth creation andsupport global-business networking among Muslim countries. MUSIAD’s initial opposition to Turkey’s EU membership has com-pletely changed since the 28 February 1997 military soft coup. Itnow combines its earlier policies to institute a Muslim free trade zone(MUSIAD 1996) with a strategy that embraces Turkey’s membership inthe EU. Within the framework of the Organization for Security andCooperation in Europe (OSCE), MUSIAD hopes to hold two meetingseach year, thus increasing its contacts and co-operative projects withEuropean business groups. Towards that end, MUSIAD has founded a
    • 118 Islam’s Marriage with NeoliberalismLiaison Centre in Brussels which acts as an introduction point for itsmembers moving into the EU economic space (World Bulletin 2008). MUSIAD presents itself as a civil-society organization that seeks toreduce state power in politics and the economy. This is the themethat has been repeated in MUSIAD publications since the release of itsApril 2000 report on Constitutional Reform and Democratization of Gov-ernment (MUSIAD 2000). Similar to the AKP’s Development and Democ-ratization Program, and in line with the democratization discourse ofthe EU, MUSIAD’s reports call for immediate implementation of theCopenhagen political criteria and a reduction in the military’s politi-cal power (MUSIAD 2000: 7–32). Although critical of the government’sfiscal-discipline policy which it sees as having disadvantaged smallercapitalists (MUSIAD 2008), MUSIAD supports the government’s com-mitment to the implementation of IMF policies that integrate Islamicfinancial organizations into mainstream banking and reduce the state’sinvolvement in the economy (Starr and Yilmaz 2006: 5). MUSIAD supports a social change project through an EU and IMF-driven process of market integration and democratization in Turkey.However, this process must be situated spatially with a reflexive glanceat the actual opinions and beliefs of the people – a move that inter-feres with the concept of ‘homogeneity’ assumed within state territory(MUSIAD 2008: 141). This includes the cultivation of what Onuf (1989:62, quoted in Cameron and Palan 2004: 6) describes as a propensityfor ‘reflexive self-regulation’ within the state towards a reworking ofthe state space in the representational sense. Conferring meaning tothe reform process, MUSIAD seems to be linking a national collectiveimagery with a social change programme that will be ‘for us and with anunderstanding that Turkey is part of the world society’ (MUSIAD 2008:142). This appears to be a project for rebuilding power/knowledge rela-tions in the representation of state space that differs fundamentally fromthe Kemalist format. In a manner similar to the AKP, MUSIAD offers a subtle but radi-cal shift in the meaning of political life which challenges the Kemaliststate’s social engineering role – one performed from top down by statebureaucrats in alliance with large bourgeoisie and politicians since the1930s. MUSIAD (2008: 141) offers a different image of the state andpolitical life from below, posited within the moral, normative, and cog-nitive framing of society. MUSIAD’s state imagery is premised on theconstitution of a market society by adapting its rules and institutions tolocal–national conditions. MUSIAD (2008: 142) argues that it is essen-tial for a social change programme to be established on the basis of
    • Reconstituting the State 119learning and acquiring knowledge from the moral–cultural values ofsociety. Charles Sabel (1994: 137) has shown that social–cultural learn-ing is not truly learning unless it disrupts existing relations of monitor-ing with regard to the relationship between the economy and the state.From this perspective, MUSIAD’s emphasis on social–cultural learningappears to be a call for a different political imaginary that ultimatelyundermines the Kemalist model of top-down political disciplining andregulation of social life. What is needed for MUSIAD is a new con-ceptualization of the ‘relations between thought and culture’ (Foucault1966/1970: 50) that presents an ethos of cultural pluralism as an impor-tant source for a social change model. This is similar to the AKP’s novelapproach to state transformation that emphasizes ‘trust’ as a complexentanglement of the political representations of the social and the cul-tural within the state. In contrast to the Kemalist conception of thepolitical, stretching vertically from the state to the social terrain, bothMUSIAD and AKP aim to formulate ‘horizontally articulated’ (Brenneret al. 2003: 14) linkages between the cultural and the social within polit-ical space. In a manner reminiscent of James Coleman’s (1988) use of theterm, such a link is considered formative to ‘human capital’ creation. Insofar as it represents a newly growing bourgeoisie from Anatoliawith weak connections to the state, it is hardly surprising that MUSIAD,in ‘refashioning futures’ (Scott 1999), supports IMF policies and hasembraced the World Bank’s advocacy of ‘human capital growth.’ In par-ticular, MUSIAD has accepted the shift in focus from state institutionsto a reliance on the autonomy of the individual and the primacy ofhuman economic rationality (World Bank 2004). This shift is recognizedas a necessary precondition for the development of an entrepreneurialspirit among Anatolian lower and middle classes. However, it is meldedwith the notion that an Islamic ethic also asserts the primacy of theindividual – which MUSIAD connects to a presumed Islamic require-ment that humans be free from political and administrative constraintsin order to realize their full potential. As one MUSIAD document putsit: ‘Allah requires only those individuals with reason, intelligence, andfreedom to fulfil their religious duties’ (S. Ozdemir 2006: 162). The context of these claims is that the state’s major role in the econ-omy during the early years of the Turkish Republic, along with its urban,industrial and westernizing biases, gave rise to a politics of resentmenton the part of regional bourgeoisie, articulated around cultural issues.MUSIAD members often believe that they have been looked down uponand discriminated against by government bureaucrats because of theirMuslim beliefs and rural Anatolian family backgrounds. They feel that
    • 120 Islam’s Marriage with Neoliberalismthey are perceived as backward, lacking the secular, urban, and mod-ern cultural prerequisites for participation in Kemalist state-making.Reacting against this they have sought to achieve economic success byadopting a strong Islamic work ethic, both for themselves and for theirchildren. Whereas the old Istanbul bourgeoisie embraced the Kemalist‘idea of the state,’ the Anatolian bourgeoisie resents the Kemalist stateas an oppressive bureaucracy. As a culturally distinct fraction of capitalthey question the inclusiveness of the existing public sphere. MUSIAD situates its wealth-creation strategies in the deployment ofeducational and disciplinary techniques at the individual level. Con-sistent with its embrace of ‘human capital growth,’ an Islamic workethic is combined with the need for high-technical educational achieve-ment. Although their upward social mobility is largely due to theirattainment of a first-rate higher education at state-funded public univer-sities, MUSIAD members have generally received an informal religiouseducation from their neighbourhood Koranic schools or from familymembers. A religious moral education helps Islamic individuals con-trast the economic rationality and self-interest assumed in commercialactivity with Islamic virtue (Davis and Robinson 2006: 173–4). Theseindividuals embrace Islamic ethics as a means of developing disciplined,responsible individuals, and seek to build a culture of capital accumu-lation that ‘associates high morality and ethical values with moderntechnology’ (S. Ozdemir 2006: 73). A religiously inspired, ethical indi-vidual is expected to develop a more communitarian economic attitudetowards instituting a just society (Davis and Robinson 2006), rather thanaccumulating wealth for self-interest. To support this culture MUSIADfrequently cites statements such as: ‘Prophet Muhammed was the idealmerchant . . . one who does a good deed in this world receives the rewardin this world as well as after death.’ These ideas are promoted in MUSIADperiodicals such as Homo-Islamicus (1993–7) and Cerceve, a newslettercalled MUSIAD in Press, an Internet-based Information Bank, and variousresearch reports. In contrast to TUSIAD firms, state involvement in the economybrought little or no direct benefit to MUSIAD firms. Consequently,they are strongly behind neoliberal economic reforms. An Islamic asset-building strategy appears to have helped many of them improve theirinternational competitiveness. The best sources of capital investmentfor MUSIAD firms are the so-called hidden wealth of pious Muslims,accumulated in the form of gold jewellery; the inflow of remittancesfrom Turkish immigrant workers in Europe; and public share-holding.Workers’ remittances come through share-holding investments and as
    • Reconstituting the State 121cash brought into the country in suitcases – mostly through the infor-mal channels of religious communities. It is estimated that the CentralBank also receives approximately US$4 billion in such savings annually(Demir, Acar, and Toprak 2004: 184 – endnote 28). Kombassan Hold-ing, YIMPAS, Buyuk Anadolu Holding, Sayha, and Ittifak are all holdingcompanies that have prospered with Turkish workers’ savings sent homeeither as investments in equity shares or as cash donations. Kombassan Holding, which owns 60 factories and 100 firms, wasestablished in 1988 by Bayram Hasim, a teacher from Konya. It hasgrown significantly with monies received from Turkish workers andnow employs more than 30,000 workers. Although Hasim does notcompletely reveal his business connections or the amount of financialsupport he receives, he has stated that Turkish workers in Europe con-stitute the largest group of company shareholders (Dincel 1999: 162).It is also well known that the Association for a New World View inEurope, a Turkish pro-Islamic organization, collects cash donations frommigrants in mosques and sends them to Islamic corporations throughprivate couriers. The holding companies Kombassan, YIMPAS and theULKER Group have been engaged in joint ventures in Germany, theNetherlands and Denmark since the mid-1990s. The Turkish militaryand the Capital Market Board have accused these companies of collect-ing large amounts of investment funds from unregistered sources viareligious communities. Kombassan’s and YIMPAS’ accounts were inves-tigated after the 28 February 1997 soft coup, but no evidence was foundto substantiate the claim (Jang 2005: 212–13). There are now five interest-free Islamic banks operating in Turkey. Twoare joint ventures established in the 1980s with Saudi and Kuwaiti cap-ital, and three were established in the 1990s by Turkish Muslims. Theyare Anadolu Finance House, established by Istikbal Group in 1991; IhlasFinance House, established by Ihlas Holding and the Turkish ReligionFund in 1995 (Ihlas Finance House declared bankruptcy in 2001); andAsya Finance House, established by the Fethullah Gulen community in1996. Another Turkish–Islamic bank, Family Finance, was establishedby the ULKER Group in 2001.3 These Turkish–Islamic banks (excludingIhlas) held about 4 per cent of total deposits in the Turkish banking sys-tem. Profit-loss sharing accounts, which offer returns on savings withoutofficially paying interest, constitute approximately 85–90 per cent oftheir deposits (Jang 2005: 146–7; Yuce 2003: 4). Together with the unreg-istered financial dealings of religious communities, these banks play asignificant role in mobilizing the ‘hidden wealth’ of Muslims for Islamicfinance in both Turkey and Europe.
    • 122 Islam’s Marriage with Neoliberalism It is noteworthy that newly wealthy medium- and small-sized firmshave proved to be highly successful within those sectors of the economythat employ informal labour. The ILO’s Decent Work and the InformalEconomy report of 2002 defines the ‘informal economy’ as includingnot only wage employment in unregistered workplaces but paid worknot covered by labour and social security legislation (ILO 2002: 5–9). Itis estimated that informal employment constitutes about half of totalemployment and over a third of urban employment in Turkey, com-pared to 5 per cent among the EU 15, and 11–15 per cent among the EU25 (EU-ILO 2007: 10–11, 31; World Bank 2006a: 137). Many MUSIAD companies specialize in textile and clothing produc-tion for external markets, a sector which tends to be labour-intensive.Their labour management philosophy is expressed through ‘mutualsocial responsibility’ based on moral values and duties, so that unreg-istered wage-employment is made socially acceptable (Yildirim 2006:236). Accordingly, wage earners in this context are not seen as mem-bers of a social class but as family members who are expected to provideservices for the common social good based on mutual trust and respect.4The TUSIAD leadership has called these informal types of capital mobi-lization and deployment of labour power illegal (TUSIAD 1995). ForMUSIAD, however, the informal incorporation of ‘hidden wealth,’ work-ers’ remittances, and informal labour into the process of private capitalaccumulation facilitates the integration of Islamic trust networks withina dynamic market economy, and has the added benefit of doing sowithout state involvement.Islamic trust networksIslam has clearly been a permanent partner in the state-led ideologicalconfiguration of cultural politics in Turkey since 1945. As examined inthe previous chapter, the Cold War state strategy was to contain realor potential Leftist and radical Islamist movements by refiguring Islamas a cultural component of official state ideology. Hence the notionof Turkish Islam. This strategy has tied the political representation ofIslam to conservative, rightwing political positions in the party politicsof Turkey (Ete 2003). Sufi orders such as the Naqshbandi and religiouscommunities such as the Nurcu cemaati and Fethullahcilar have, to alarge extent, been responsive to this formulation, mobilizing Islamicideas and beliefs by drawing on the statist Turkish-Islam concept. Thishas included the articulation of Islamic activities around the expansionof faith.
    • Reconstituting the State 123 My intention here is not to dwell on the changes in the ideologi-cal orientation of these religious groups. The complexity of their ideashas been extensively studies elsewhere (among others see: Algar 1979,1983; Mardin 1989, 1991). My aim is to first briefly examine how theymobilize ideas and beliefs in the formulation of Islam as a relationalcultural–moral resource tied to the economy. Next, I will provide a moredetailed account of the Fethullahci ‘interpretive frame’ (Snow 2004) onIslamic politics of neoliberalism. This analysis is important as it allowsme to conceptualize the role of an Islamic ideational orientation inits constitutive and regulatory effects. This is crucial for a more thor-ough understanding of the political positioning of Islamic groups inthe Gramscian ‘war of positions’ against the power players of the oldKemalist state. It seems that because of their ideological associationwith the notion of Turkish Islam, Islamic capital groups display a strongpro-developmentalist bias consistent with the Kemalist state. But it isalso because of their internalization of developmentalist ideology thatthey are not able to create a ‘cultural hegemony’ in the state. The eco-nomic power of Islamic capital groups has laid the foundation for theiremergence as a ‘neo-bourgeoisie’ (King and Szelenyi 2004: 26), culturallydistinct from their secularist counterpart within the existing system ofexploitation. Yet they lack the power to create a hegemony (Mert 2008)that is dedicated to managing a system of social reconstruction operat-ing through the state technologies of coercion and consent. As will beexamined in the following sections of the chapter, this is the basis for a‘two-pronged’5 Islamic platform. On the one hand, it is grounded in afirm scepticism of the Kemalist exclusionary cultural hierarchy that sup-ports Islamic mobilization in reshaping state power via an EU-induceddemocratization programme. On the other hand, it is based on thepursuit of socio-economic objectives through reinstituting the relationbetween culture and capital within neoliberalism.The Naqshbandi order and the Nurcu cemaati: Culturalattachment to neoliberalismAs an ancient religious order with roots in Turkey going back to the fif-teenth century (Algar 1983: 3), the Naqshbandi has established a strongorganizational structure that underpins its political success among stu-dents, university professors, educated professionals, and members of thebureaucracy (Mardin 1991). The Naqshbandi order has developed smallcommunity-based networks based on personal relations and linkedthem into a strong, centrally organized structure. This strategy has also
    • 124 Islam’s Marriage with Neoliberalismdefined the way in which their way of knowledge is pursued (Algar1983). Such knowledge – defined as self-purification – can only begained through absolute conformity to the teachings of the sheikh resid-ing in one’s community. In Naqshbandi thought there are three sourcesof knowledge: the book, memory, and the practice of rabita. Acquiringknowledge is not seen as a solitary practice involving the study of reli-gious texts only. Rather, the spiritual leader or master plays a crucial rolein the learning process. A Schimmel (1975: 366) writes that the centreof Naqshbandi education is the silent dhikr (recollection of God in theheart) inspired by the spiritual leader. The second characteristic is soh-bet, an intimate spiritual conversation between master and disciple. Theclose relation between master and disciple reveals itself in rabita (link-ing the heart of the follower to the heart of the leader) and results inthe experience of spiritual unity and purification through education ofthe heart. It is this system of interpersonal linkages established for theexercise of sohbets and dhikrs within small-scale community-based net-works that distinguishes the organizational strategy of the Naqshbandi(Atasoy 2005: 30–1). The main theme in the sohbet circles of the Naqshbandi is the socialexperience and daily life practice of Muslims. Sheikh Kotku, who isconsidered the greatest sheikh of the republican era after Arvasi, wasconvinced that Kemalist laiklik had devalued the moral–ethical dimen-sion of social existence. In altering those conditions, Kotku believed thatsocial life must be injected with greater moral strength. Kotku (1995:17–46) claimed that achieving moral–spiritual maturity is the most dif-ficult task for an individual, requiring a redefinition of the meaning ofsocial life. For him, unless ‘faith in God’ and a ‘willingness to work forthe well-being of Muslims’ are combined in the moral make-up of theself, a social life in need of transformation cannot even be imagined.Kotku (1995: 110) wrote: ‘we look at the mirror and try to beautify our-selves. We arrange our cloths accordingly. We wash our bodies to beclean. But our bodies are the property of the earth. It is the soul thatultimately must be beautified’ (quoted in Atasoy 2005: 125). Altering consumption norms figures prominently in the Naqshbandimobilization of meaning in an Islamic refiguring of social life. Kotkucautioned his followers on the conspicuous display of wealth foundin consumerism, which he believed to be the source of much moraldistress. Kotku (1995: 73–4) warns: Don’t love this world! The world is arable land for the afterworld. Whatever you sow here you will reap it there. Be generous, charitable,
    • Reconstituting the State 125 and benevolent. Don’t waste your money on sinful things. Don’t become lost in loose and dissolute ways of living. But you should love this world. Why? (Because) We will go to heaven from here. We will earn money here. We will look after the poor and needy with this money. We will live here in accordance with the knowledge (of the Koran), and educate others. Don’t care much for amusement. Don’t take delight in voluptuousness. Engage in practices that will lead you to heaven. (quoted in Atasoy 2005: 125–6)The basic argument here is that Islam, as a source of morality, must betaught in such a way that it becomes an existential basis for public life.In the development of a distinct Islamic ethos of engagement for sociallife, the Naqshbandi strongly promotes Islamic education in Turkey. Infact, this is the basis of the Naqshbandi mobilization of Islamic ideasand beliefs for generating a socio-cultural orientation within a Turkish-Islam framework. This sort of articulation has figured prominently inthe recent Islamic interpretive framing of wealth creation. In short,Muslims must emerge as morally inspired economic players and engagein a competitive market economy for wealth generation. The religiousorder is the moral architecture, providing the spiritual messages, ethicalrepresentations, and knowledge bound up with the values of marketcompetition. This is a deliberate act of acquiring and disseminatingknowledge that assigns meaning to Islamic cultural standards and prac-tices in ways appropriate for Muslim engagement. It is on the groundsof cultivating this engagement that Muslim capitalists have emerged asa culturally distinct ‘neo-bourgeoisie.’ Said Nursi, originator of the Nurcu cemaati, was also focused onstrengthening individual morality within a framework of faith set outin the Koran. Said Nursi (1876–1960) was an Anatolian Kurdish Islamicintellectual committed to cultivating an Islamic cultural dispositionthrough a ‘return to the Koran’ movement. His writings have been col-lected into a six-volume commentary on the Koran, the Risale-I Nur. Byreinterpreting the Koran in his writings Said Nursi hoped to constructa philosophy of political ethics that would serve as a guide for the self-development of Muslims faced with a disintegrating moral frameworkcaused by the imitation of western ways. For Said Nursi, the cultiva-tion of individual faith through the reading of the Koran and Risale-INur was by far the most important task in the establishment of a moralcommunity. The transformation of the state through the applicationof Sharia law was the second requirement for instituting Islam as a
    • 126 Islam’s Marriage with Neoliberalismway of life in society. The third requirement was the unification ofall Muslims against the ‘moral regression’ of the West inflected on aMuslim way of life. This final requirement referred to the global inte-gration of Muslims as a cemaat (ummah) beyond the territorial limitsof national states. However, unless the initial first task of strengtheningfaith was successfully completed, the second and third tasks could noteven be contemplated (Atasoy 2005: 79–81). Therefore, Said Nursi’s pri-mary emphasis was on bolstering faith for self-growth within the socialspace of the state. This has been forged within the Turkish-Islam fram-ing of the state through strategic alliances with conservative, rightwingpolitical parties and the laik state bureaucracy, both of which seemto have supported the renewal of Muslim faith in order to strengthenTurkish culture and the economy. The religiously framed moral–cultural disposition of Turkish Islamfunctioning within the state space assumes a ‘social contract’ of inclu-siveness. It takes its points of reference in ‘trust’ mobilized against thehierarchical and exclusionary relations of capitalism understood as asystem of exploitation. This argument makes sense in the creation ofan ‘imagined economy’ (Cameron and Palan 2003, 2004) based onDurkheim’s concept of organic cooperation of the faithful. From thisperspective, both the Naqshbandi order and the Nurcu cemaati havebecome a political expression of the historical reworking of Islamicideas for the purpose of creating meaning for wealth creation and eco-nomic development. Faith is held in tandem with a cultural opennessto rational thought and scientific innovation which are privileged asinstruments of economic development. For example, Said Nursi argues that the Koran reveals the laws ofnature as the work of God, and that their discovery is to be madethrough rationalist interpretation. For Said Nursi, western progress ide-ology, formal rationality, and faith in modern science are not onlyacceptable but in complete conformity with the Koran (Atasoy2005: 47). An in-depth analysis of Islamic religious orders and communities isbeyond the scope of my analysis, but the basic conclusion remains:they have become the main drivers in the development of an ethosof Muslim engagement with the market economy. In promoting theview that Turkey’s economic development projects should rest on themoral/cultural strength of Islam, they have articulated a particular socio-cultural understanding of Islam that bolsters social solidarity throughthe cultivation of faith. This observation convinces me that a formu-lation of Islam as part of national culture enriches an ‘interpretive
    • Reconstituting the State 127understanding’ (DiMaggio 1994: 27) that marries Islam with neoliberalcapitalism.FethullahcilarThe Fethullahcilar is one of the most influential Islamic social move-ments. It was developed under the leadership of prominent religiousleader Fethullah Gulen (1941–), a retired Imam who previously workedas a state employee for the Directorate of Religious Affairs. Gulen wasformally educated in state-run religious schools (L. Erdogan 1998).The writings of Said Nursi have been quite relevant to the Fethullah-cilar’s moral teachings and ideological stance on refashioning sociallife. Gulen, like Said Nursi, reinterprets the Koran in his writings todemonstrate that it contains knowledge regarding the laws of order andharmony found in nature. This is the basis of the Fethullahcilar’s beliefthat an Islamic modernity project can be deployed through a reflexivegrounding of social–economic restructuring on Islamic values of socialjustice and ideas of science and progress. The Fethullahcilar is involved in da’wa work in the tradition ofthe Tablighi Jamaat of the Indo-Pakistan subcontinent (Ahmad 1991:510–23). They often describe their activities as hizmet (vocational work).Although it is the largest movement in Turkey, the Fethullahcilar doesnot maintain a formal membership registry. They work in the spirit of adedicated mission and their primary concern is moral self-renewal. Thesuccess of the Fethullahcilar lies in its simple, direct, and personal appeal.It makes no demands on its followers to practice Islam. Rather, individu-als engage in religious education and devotional activities within small,community-based groups. Participants, who form strong interpersonalrelationships, meet regularly to read and discuss commentaries on theKoran, the Risale-I Nur, and the books of Fethullah Gulen. In addition to the work of Said Nursi, Ziya Gokalp’s ideas are also a sig-nificant influence on the Fethullahcilar movement (Yavuz 2003; Yilmaz2005). Gokalp contributed to the Kemalist notion that Islam can befunctional in bringing about social cohesion in society as long as itremains under state control. Kemalism had assigned the state key agencyin controlling the production and dissemination of religious knowl-edge in its management of national culture. Similarly, the Fethullahcilarviews Islam as a religion of self-development concerned primarily withmoral aspects of social life. Although this may potentially contribute tosocial cohesion in society, it also protects the Fethullahcilar movementfrom interference by the state bureaucracy. Consistent with Kemalist
    • 128 Islam’s Marriage with Neoliberalismstate-making principles, the Fethullahcilar movement espouses a moreliberal Islamic, Turkish nationalist ideology (Aras and Caha 2000), andis often praised for promoting ‘civic nationalism.’ The Fethullahcilarmovement emphasizes the political consequences of Islamic ethics. Itsuggests that morally strengthened and Islamically rooted individualswill embrace the notion of active citizenship and be motivated to ‘dogood’ for society. According to Gulen, Islam is a universalistic religion which promotespeace, dignity, and justice, and explicitly rejects any form of totalitari-anism and dictatorship. He believes that Islam supports democracy, andthat it should be left to the people to choose their form of governmentby reflecting on the circumstance of their place and time. Deliberationshould be carried out with the closest possible attachment to Islamicmoral principles on peace, dignity, and justice. Gulen argues that Islamdoes not offer an unchanging ideological formula for an Islamic statereconstitution project. In agreement with Ramadan (2004) who reinter-prets Islam in the light of the cultural reality of Muslims living in theWest, Gulen believes that Islam does not present a system of law out-side the contingencies of space and time. He rejects any suggestion thatIslam is a totalizing ideology, and makes the case for an imaginativerethinking of Islamic norms and principles for refashioning social life.He insists that ‘the Koran is a translation of the book of the universe,an interpretation of . . . the universe . . . Reducing it to political theoriesor forms of the state does great disrespect’ to Islam (Gulen 2005: 456). The Fethullahcilar movement has two central objectives in its pursuitof individual moral renewal: (1) to reconstruct individual thought inaccordance with the ideas, moral values, and normative standards ofIslam; and (2) to connect individualized pious belief to the transforma-tion of individual behaviour in the public sphere. In setting these objec-tives the Fethullahcilar is motivated by the belief that Islam constitutes a‘civilization for individual growth’ (Sirin 2005). What is interesting hereis that by focusing on individual growth the Fethullahcilar also demon-strates a concern with individuals becoming better, socially responsiblecitizens of the state. The group advocates a piety that is to be attainedthrough a quality education that connects the spiritual and materialworlds (Gulen 2005: 452). Training of the ego through asceticism,kindness and sincerity are crucial to the realization of this piety. In shaping their focus on social integration and harmony, theFethullahcilar advocates a consensual type of social contract based onself-limitation and moral development directed against injustice. Theframework of reference for guiding individual action should be worked
    • Reconstituting the State 129out by articulating the universal values of Islam with Islamic normativestandards for ‘doing good’ in everyday life. The common good of justicecan be achieved if the faithful ‘. . . place their knowledge and understand-ing at humanity’s service’ (Gulen 2001: 2–3). For Gulen, self-reflectionfor the purpose of attaining a just, ethical way of life is a more importantundertaking than the pursuit of a fixed, unchangeable framework for anIslamic state. The second most important criteria in the pursuit of theethical way, for Gulen (2002: 2), ‘is to overflow with . . . a deep love forhumanity and creation.’ An individual enlightened on the ethical wayis the one who synthesizes mind, logic, and consciousness and devoteshis/her life towards ‘doing good’ for all in the world (Gulen 2002: 4). There is no this world/that world or mind/heart dichotomy, for the believers’ emotions and reason are united . . . we need whole com- prehensive minds . . . Such people must be in constant contact and interaction with the atoms, molecules, and particles of the people, just as the mind is in constant contact with the body . . . By convey- ing the messages of their soul to all and elevating them to the level of people who have knowledge, skills, and genius for the future, they will present them for the common good and society’s benefit. (Gulen 2003, quoted in Atasoy 2009a: 181)The Fethullahcilar movement does not expect overtly religious behaviourin public. It is far more interested in motivating Muslims for ethicaldisciplining that strengthens civil-society engagement in the econ-omy rather than a retreat from it. To cultivate a distinctive ethicalorientation the Fethullahcilar has developed a web of some 20,000 micro-communities known as the nur evleri, the first of which opened inIzmir in 1968 (L. Erdogan 1998: 114). These are small apartment flatswhich function to reinforce pious beliefs and assist in the cultivationof moral values for self-development. In addition, thousands of studycircles and summer camps bring Fethullahcilar together to promote anethical education. These informal networks are also the basis for asolidarity-promoting ethos among members of the communal group.Young people participate in these circles learn how to establish a mean-ingful life through temsil (example) rather than by teblig (words orinstruction). The Fethullahcilar also operates seven private universities in Turkey.These are known as hizmet schools, and their ‘curriculum’ emphasizesmoral development by temsil. The schools are locally run and follow acompletely secular educational programme. They focus on the study of
    • 130 Islam’s Marriage with Neoliberalismscience and technology, and how to apply the resulting knowledge fromsuch study to economic development. These schools are funded throughthe philanthropic support of business communities and are integral tothe wealth creation strategy of the Fethullahcilar. The economic consequences of the Fethullahcilar’s emphasis on theself-attainment of an ethical foundation for ‘behaving well and doinggood’ (Ramadan 2004: 82) cannot be overstated. The Fethullahcilarsupports a free-market-economy model which cherishes economic indi-vidualism and entrepreneurship for wealth creation. But, the economicrationality of homo economicus based on the pursuit of self-interest isinconceivable in the Fethullahci worldview. An adherence to market-based economic activity must be supported by a normative orientationfor ethically grounded behaviour. This is similar to Adam Smith’s(1759/1976) insistence on the need for moral regulation of the pursuitof capitalist self-interest. For Smith, the morally restrained behaviour ofself-interested and self-commanded individuals would provide the basisfor benevolent acts and benefit the general social interest. In the Fethul-lahci worldview, an ethically responsible individual should unite thespiritual and material worlds by engaging in rational behaviour in anenlightened, harmonious manner informed by emotional intelligence: [N]eglect of the intellect would result in a community of poor, docile mystics. Negligence of the heart . . . would result in crude rational- ism . . . It is only when the intellect, heart and body are harmonized, and [man] is motivated towards activity in an illuminated way . . . that [he] can become a complete being and attain true humanity. (Gulen 2000: 105–6, quoted in Atasoy 2009a: 180)Gulen’s vision of Islamic reconfiguring of social relations assumes a com-munitarianism and rethinking of social solidarity among Muslims. Itembraces a culture of responsibility towards the less fortunate by eco-nomically successful individuals. Under the guidance of a moral framingof Islam, prosperous Muslims will be willing to enlarge the scope of civicengagement into an act of support for the justice, freedom, and dig-nity of others in a more egalitarian society. Nevertheless, an emphasison the morality of economic behaviour in order to restrain selfishnessand cultivate generosity does not inform us how Muslims experiencesocial inequality and the economic uncertainties of market capitalism.Although it certainly stands for a more egalitarian and just society, theMuslim experience of ‘ontological insecurity’ (McMichael 2009) underneoliberalism remains an important empirical question.
    • Reconstituting the State 131The class ambiguities of an Islamic orientationWhy do so many people who suffer under neoliberalism support Gulen’sIslamism and helps sustain the AKP’s cross-class coalition? On one levelthis may be explained by the phenomenal economic growth rate expe-rienced from the beginning of the decade – reaching no less than9.9 per cent in 2004 (TOBB 2005: 9). The fact that it remained as highas 6.1 in 2006 led a Financial Times (2007) report to exclaim: ‘cumu-lative expansion over the past five years reached 40 per cent, makingit the longest and most stable stretch of uninterrupted growth sinceat least 1970.’ Moreover, the AKP government’s fiscal discipline hasmeant that inflation has fallen to a single digit for the first time in 30years. On the other hand, high economic growth has been sustained byshort-term capital inflows which, alongside the massive foreign debt –increasing from US$130 billion in 2002 to US$184 billion in 2006 –render the economy vulnerable to another crisis (T.C. Merkez Bankasi10 January 2009). In spite of the high growth rate the government has been unableto deliver the social justice programme which it promised. Unemploy-ment, which reached 11.9 per cent in 2006, remains a major socialproblem. And 87.4 per cent of agricultural workers, in addition to almostall of Turkey’s self-employed workers, have no social protection whatso-ever. Women are the most severely affected. As of February 2007 only23.4 per cent of women in the economically active age-group wereemployed, compared to 69.6 per cent of men (T.C. Basbakanlik TurkiyeIstatistik Kurumu 2007). These figures contrast sharply with the 2005EU-15 rates of 64.8 per cent for overall employment and 57 per centfor female employment (World Bank 2006a: 42). In the last two decadesTurkey has created only 6 million formal jobs, although the working-age population has grown by 23 million (World Bank 2006b: ii). Inshort, phenomenal growth in the economy has only been achievedthrough heavy reliance on foreign borrowing and with limited formalemployment. However, the informal economy is flourishing, absorbing otherwiseunemployable labour. In 2004, 53 per cent of the employed labour forcewas unregistered – approximately one in three workers in urban areasand three out of four in rural areas (World Bank 2006b: iii). The WorldBank estimates that over three-quarters of unregistered employees wereworking in unregistered workplaces in 2003, while the underreportingof workers and the wage bill in registered workplaces is estimated tobe about 24 and 28 per cent respectively (World Bank 2006a: 37, 138).
    • 132 Islam’s Marriage with NeoliberalismEmployment for those with an education has been particularly problem-atic. In 2006, the unemployment rate for young people between 20 and24 with a minimum of a secondary school education was 23.4 per cent,and for those aged 25–29, only 12.2 per cent (World Bank 2006b: iii). Relative poverty (defined as the ability to obtain food and basic non-food necessities, and measured by a household consumption expen-diture of less than 60 per cent of the median) affects 27 per cent ofthe population, more than in any of the EU’s 25 member countries.6The data for 2005 also reveals acute income inequality: the incomeof the richest 20 per cent of the population was on average 7.3 timeshigher than that of the poorest 20 per cent. Regional inequality is evenworse: Kocaeli, the richest city in the Marmara region, enjoyed a percapita income level of US$6165 whereas Agri, the poorest city in EasternAnatolia, received US$568 per capita from national income – indicatinga massive disparity rate between the two cities (Atasoy 2007: 133). Turkey’s economic growth has thus led to an increasing number ofpeople living in cities under substandard conditions who are employedin the informal economy. Yet at the same time Turkey has virtually azero poverty rate in terms of the standard measure of US$1 per personper day. The proportion of the population living below the food-onlycomponent of the national poverty line is also only 1.35 per cent,thanks largely to a very high degree of inter-household transfer of food,clothing, and housing – reflecting a significant level of social solidar-ity (World Bank 2005: 14). About one third of the general populationlives in gecekondus (houses built illegally overnight). Gecekondu residentshave a 35 per cent poverty rate (World Bank 2005: 34). These peopleobtain assistance to build their homes and find jobs through kin, neigh-bours, hemseri (persons from the same region), es-dost (friends), tanidik(contacts), torpil (influential contacts), and kivre kardesligi (fictive kin). Such networks remain highly significant in Turkish society today andare very effective in translating feelings of durust (trust) and durustluk(trustworthiness) into poverty alleviation, labour commitment andwealth creation (cf. Dubetsky 1976). For example, among the unem-ployed in Turkey, 31.5 per cent look for work within the informalnetworks of friends/kin/community (T.C. Basbakanlik Turkiye IstatistikKurumu, Haber Bulteni 2007). Durustluk underpins the political aspectsof mutual reciprocity, symbolizing the importance of strong moral char-acter and ethical solidity. In addition to gecekondu dwellers, recentmigrants, and the poor being integrated into the highly personalizednetworks of cash and employment in this way, capitalists are also seek-ing durust workers. Smaller capitalists prefer to hire hemseri because
    • Reconstituting the State 133they trust them more; and workers find jobs by informally mobiliz-ing hemseri, tanidik-es-dost, torpil, and kin. The Ankara leather-processingindustry and, more recently, the dried fruit industry, for example, derivemany of its workers from Gudul, a small town near Ankara. In the face ofeconomic hardship, trust networks invoke a strong cultural consensus:employers expect hemseri to work for lower wages without social-securityprovision; but labour is only willing to do so in return for ‘charity,’ andthe necessary support when needed. What are we to make of the Islamic commitment to social cohesionin the context of a neoliberal economic orientation which continues togenerate massive inequalities? The AKP government has allocated fundsfor employment creation and job-training programmes, offered cred-its to small entrepreneurs, and supported micro-credit, but this barelytouches the real problem. More significant is the fact that the AKP gov-ernment bases its social welfare policies largely on family and socialsolidarity networks. Its family-centred social policy focuses on moti-vating and mobilizing civil society initiatives that can provide socialassistance (Bugra and Keyder 2005: 32). Non-governmental charitableorganizations such as Deniz Feneri (Lighthouse) channel funds donatedby Muslim businesses to the needy. Municipal governments have alsobecome key players in providing social assistance, with budgets heavilyreliant on donations from private individuals, thus acting as mediatorsbetween the local poor and Muslim charitable donors. This serves tosupport the privatization of social welfare under neoliberalism, rein-forced by the Fethullahcilar’s Islamic ethic which relies on individual‘righteousness’ and charitable initiatives to solve social problems. The relations of reciprocity based on mutual responsibility, respect,and trust may strengthen the role of Islamic charities, but it mayalso weaken it significantly. For example, the relations between capi-talists and workers are highly exploitative, yet many MUSIAD memberfirms represent the emergent Anatolian middle-class, which is hostile totrade unions. They pressed the government to enact the 2003 LabourLaw which excluded companies with fewer than 30 workers from job-security protection. The previous law only excluded those with fewerthan ten workers. The pro-Islamic Hak-Is trade union condemns thegovernment for intervening in strikes which are believed to slow downexports, and it also blames the government for not taking poverty,unemployment, and informal employment issues seriously (Yildirim2006: 248–52). A neoliberal reorganization of the middle classes throughAnatolian resentment politics directed against the Kemalist state mayyet give way to a new sense of bitterness on the part of workers and poor.
    • 134 Islam’s Marriage with Neoliberalism An interesting dialectic thus emerges from the dual character of anIslamic perspective: its embeddedness in both the liberal-democraticcapitalist ideas emanating from the European Union, and the Islamicnarrative of righteous individuals seeking the ‘good society.’ Islamicgroups aim to enhance individual capacities in a capitalist economyand they also support civil-society-based agents of charity. It may beuseful in this light to rethink Weber’s famous thesis on the protes-tant ethic and capitalism. The Islamic emphasis on brotherly love andethical discipline feeds into very personalized cultural processes of eco-nomic rationality which Weber seems to have ignored (Symonds andPudsey 2006; Weber 1915/1946 and 1930/1984). The effectiveness ofthis Islamic ethic in materially addressing inequality depends on theindividual will of believers who devote themselves to fulfilling hizmet(vocational work) and place it at the very centre of their economicactivity. An Islamic ethic can hardly offset the actual dynamics of neoliberalcapitalism in generating more inequality. Still, these inequalities willthemselves do little to mobilize the weak and poor to form a social-protest movement against neoliberalism. This is not necessarily becausethe symbolic relations of reciprocity and solidarity ‘contain’ poten-tial opposition. Nor is it because marginalized members of society areunaware of the inequality that is masked by the culture of mutualityunder which neoliberalism has developed in Islamic communities. Equally important, I believe, is the way politics work: not entirely andnot always based on economic grounds, but always context-bound. The‘moral’ politics of resentment needs to be taken into account if we areto understand why Islamic solidarity may not necessarily ‘snap,’ despitethe existence of such significant inequalities. Cultural tensions are alsoimportant; at times they are even ‘created’ by the military and judi-cial bureaucracy. What is certain is that even as neoliberalism generatesmassive exploitation and subordination, this has reinforced a politics ofIslamic resentment against the Kemalist state in Turkey. Islamic groupsare instrumental in locating religion more firmly within the public spaceas an expression of existential resentment against the Kemalist socialengineering programme. Political struggles, contestations, and resistance movements are at theheart of any project attempting to rearticulate political space. However,the Islamic cultivation of what Connolly (1999) calls ‘visceral aptitudes’in politics still remains a puzzle here. It arises from the multidimension-ality of interpretive conflicts being waged in Turkey over a social changetrajectory. The shaping of the public ethos of state sovereignty is central
    • Reconstituting the State 135to the conflict in relation to the actual location of effective power todecide what the programme for social change will be. Micro-politicalissues are also crucial in these conflicts. They instill in the populace thevery sentiments which suggest that the state practices of monitoringand regulation of social space are filled with undemocratic practices ofgovernance.Islamic groups and state sovereigntyWithin the context of an EU-imposed democratization programmeand a market-economy policy orientation, Islamic groups are activelyproducing ideas which redefine the cultural/symbolic settings of statesovereignty. The rethinking of sovereignty occurs through a discursivecontest over the meaning and limits of imagining a new public ethosof sovereignty as a measure of the actual practice of power within thestate. Islamic groups aim to recreate this ethos detached from the powernetworks of state-ruling bureaucratic cadres which – in the name ofnational unity and homogeneity – deeply install the state in the livesof citizens. And yet, these groups are often ambivalent in the reformula-tion of sovereignty because they must act within the order and authorityof the Kemalist state. As a result, while an Islamic knowledge culturecautiously relaxes the political primacy of Kemalist discourse and itspower structure, it still cultivates the notion of Turkish Islam in reac-tivating the Kemalist basis of state sovereignty. The embodiment of theprogress ideology that is inextricably linked to developmentalism sup-ports Kemalism. A more pluralist orientation from below may potentiallyframe an alternative form of sovereignty based on a culture of ‘recipro-cal giving’ (Hyde 1983: 16) and ‘trust’ by reimagining the public ethosin which state sovereignty is practiced. An Islamic symbolic attachmentto reciprocity, mutuality, and morality governs an ethical position thatmay come to deeply challenge the Kemalist state in its unifying claimsto a territorialized culture. This challenge is grounded in the Islamicembodiment of a normative authority, and, as articulated with the indi-viduating effect of a neoliberal market mentality, embeds a trajectory ofchange within the state beyond national frames. What is important to recognize here is that in place of the territoriallyhomogeneous space of the state, a historically specific Islamic politicsof neoliberalism opens a multiplicity of micro-political spatial domainswithin the state. This situates state sovereignty within a different setof boundaries and notions of social space (Cameron and Palan 2003,2004), compelling us to move beyond an epistemic logic of the state
    • 136 Islam’s Marriage with Neoliberalismas a reified institution. The Ottoman millet system which historicallyensured the substantive autonomy of cultural–religious communities pro-vides an example from within, while EU membership requirements setthe context from without – for the Islamic reworking of the relationshipbetween sovereignty and culture in multiple social domains. Islamic valuations and judgements about the women’s headscarfpresent a challenge to the centralizing, authoritarian thrust of theKemalist state which defines the parameters of women’s politicalactivism. The Kemalist framing of state feminism is the subject of thenext chapter, to be followed by a chapter outlining Islamic women’sresponses.
    • 5Kemalist State Feminism and theIslamic Dress CodeThe women’s headscarf issue takes up one of the most significant areasof debate in the struggle over an Islamic ideational orientation. Afterproviding a brief history of women’s Islamic clothing as context forthe current era of Islamic politics, this chapter examines the solidifi-cation of ‘state feminism’ during the formative years of the Kemaliststate. A Kemalist debate with the ghost of Ottoman social life under-pins both the state’s silencing of an autonomous women’s movementand the rise of educated, urban women to positions of privilege withinthe Kemalist cultural hierarchy. These women frequently refer to them-selves as Ataturkcu or Kemalist women. After a lengthy historical strugglewith the Kemalist state-ruling male elite, Ataturkcu women have cometo identify themselves as modern and progressive. At the same time,they have defined Muslim women’s embodiment of a specific type ofIslamic dress code as symbolizing a social condition of ignorance andbackwardness. In this binary formulation of Kemalist ideas, the viewthat women’s Islamic clothing is a symbol of ignorance results from thepersistence of an assumption that there exists an oppressive ‘Islamic’tradition that supports male domination in society. Ataturkcu womensee themselves as possessors of Kemalist laik knowledge that is crucialto sustaining a project of modernity against Islamic cultural oppression.In contrast, those women who practice an Islamic dress code are heldoutside of that knowledge structure. They are considered untrustworthyand incapable of promoting the modernity project.A brief history of the politics of the headscarf banAt the end of the 1960s the discursive meaning of women’s Islamic bodycovering practices shifted from an emphasis on carsaf to basortusu and 137
    • 138 Islam’s Marriage with Neoliberalismmanto/pardosu. These words were used to describe the clothing worn bywomen in public space. Carsaf refers to a black garment which con-ceals the entire body. It usually consists of a top part which coversfrom the head to the hips and a lower part which is worn like a longskirt. Although not considered standard Islamic dress for women, itsuse spread widely during the nineteenth century. Basortusu refers to aheadscarf tied under the chin which covers the head and the neck.Manto refers to a woman’s long-sleeved winter overcoat which opensin the front and is of varying length. Pardosu is a light overcoat wornin the warmer months and has been widely worn since the 1980s. Fromthe 1950s to the end of the 1960s carsaf was used as a general term torefer to a variety of body coverings worn by Muslim women in publicspace. In its place, the state bureaucracy has actively promoted basor-tusu and manto/pardosu (Aksoy 2005: 144). The Turkish Women’s UnionAssociation (1924–35, 1949–present) proposed the banning of the carsafon 13 March 1956. It claimed that ‘as an uncivilized form of dress thecarsaf was embarrassing Turkish women’s image in the world’ (Aksoy2005: 138). In the official discourse of laiklik, the carsaf was associated withIslamic obscurantism, allegedly mobilized in opposition to the moder-nity of Kemalist reforms. And yet, no government has ever enacteda law to officially ban it. Rather than an outright ban, the wearingof the carsaf became regulated by municipal by-laws in 1935 (Aksoy2005: 117–18). Very few municipalities actually banned its use (Arat1998: 55), but because some municipalities did adopt by-laws, it wasgenerally assumed that there was in fact a law passed by the centralstate government which made it illegal to wear the carsaf. Because ofthe widespread perception of a ban, women gradually stopped wear-ing the carsaf and began to wear the manto/pardosu as an overcoat tocomplement the basortusu. In the official discourse, the wearing of themanto came to symbolize Muslim women’s embodiment of Europeanmodernity as represented by the image of the French manteau style. TheTurkish Women’s Union Association further proposed that the govern-ment provide affordable manto/pardosu to those who continued to wearthe carsaf (Aksoy 2005: 138). Interestingly, all forms of women’s Islamic clothing were subsumedwithin the notion of carsaf, regardless of women’s actual practices.Although subject to little political debate during the 1940s and 1950s,there was a general expectation that the wearing of the carsaf woulddisappear. Governments tolerated the wearing of basortusu outside thehome as customary social behaviour. However, women were expected
    • Kemalist State Feminism and the Islamic Dress Code 139to take it off if they desired to be present in the state bureaucracy orin the public sphere of paid work, education, or politics. Women’s cov-erage was therefore not seen as an enactment of piety, but a sociallyprescribed behaviour reflecting traditions that were ‘outside of moder-nity.’ Piety was a matter of faith flourishing in the heart and not inthe manner of dress (Aksoy 2005: 136). Although it was not officiallybanned, Kemalist bureaucrats hoped that Islamic clothing would ceaseto symbolize a moral standing for women in society, and that the val-ues and norms of western modernity would set the standards of decencyand propriety. It was believed that as women internalized these westernvalues they would stop wearing the carsaf on their own and accept thisas emancipation from the oppressive practices of tradition. This wouldhave shown the whole world ‘Turkish women’s progressive attitude tomove forward towards civilization, towards the west’ (Sahingiray 1952).The continuing practice of women’s Islamic coverage was a source ofconstant annoyance for the modernizing elite who interpreted it assymbolizing the assertion of eastern cultural values against the west(Sahingiray 1952). By the late 1960s, not only the carsaf but the basortusu and longcoat as well were perceived as signs of religious obscurantism mobilizedin a counter-revolutionary movement against Kemalist laiklik reforms.Women’s Islamic clothing, regardless of variations, was seen in total-ity as a type of dress worn by fanatical and reactionary women whohad taken a clear political position against modernity and progress. Forexample, the leader of the 1960 military coup, General Cemal Gursel,defined the carsaf as ‘a black marker, a symbol of disgrace on the face ofTurkish women’ (Cumhuriyet 16 July 1960). Similarly, Alpaslan Turkes, amember of the committee involved in the coup, referred to the carsaf as‘a black fire that covered the whole country under its smoke’ (Cumhuriyet17 July 1960). A variant of this position was also used to describe thepolitical status of the basortusu and pardosu worn by university stu-dents. In the late 1960s and 1970s, these types of clothing were subjectto close political and administrative scrutiny on university campuses.State bureaucrats were dominant in refiguring the pedagogy of the true,enlightened, Turkish Islam to be taught in state schools. In addition to administering ‘pedagogies of persuasion’ (Mahmood2005: 79–117) designed to establish firm state control over the meaningof religion, the state bureaucracy also redefined the normative frame-work within which religion was to be experienced in the public sphere.The state bureaucracy became active in managing the political effects ofIslamic clothing. This was expressed by a shift in official references from
    • 140 Islam’s Marriage with Neoliberalismthe carsaf to basortusu and the long overcoat beginning in 1968 (Aksoy2005: 144). In the 1966–7 academic year, a female student from theFaculty of Theology at Ankara University was warned about wearing aheadscarf and long coat. In response to the warnings she removed them.However, there was an overall increase in the number of students whodecided to wear the headscarf. And even though they numbered onlysix in 1968 (Aksoy 2005: 145), the faculty administration was alarmedand fearful of the rise of an Islamic reactionary movement. An incident in which student Hatice Babacan refused to take offher basortusu, despite repeated warnings, was portrayed as indicativeof a growing counter-revolutionary Islamic movement on universitycampuses. Babacan’s basortusu was defined as a political symbol ofan obscurantist pro-Islamic movement and she was expelled from theFaculty of Theology despite the fact that there was no legal headscarfban. This was followed by boycotts and protests against the facultyadministration. According to protestors, the basortusu was an expressionof religious piety. Moreover, the connection made between the basortusuand a reactionary movement could only be seen as political oppres-sion by the state and a violation of constitutionally guaranteed freedomof expression and consciousness (Milli Gazete 20, 29 April 1973). Theremoval of lawyer Emine Aykenar from the bar in 1973 is anothernotable example in the debate. The declared reason for expelling herfrom the bar was that ‘it is impossible to associate religiously inspiredclothing with civilized dress and an occupationally required form ofclothing’ (Milli Gazete 29 March 1973). Emine Aykenar responded froma legal–constitutional perspective, insisting that her constitutionallyguaranteed freedoms were being violated (Milli Gazete 20 April 1973). The women’s clothing debate which began in 1968 continued onand off during the 1970s. The issue of Islamic dress was placed withina legal–constitutional context. Given that there was no legal stateban on women covering themselves, school administrators and legalbureaucrats used by-laws to prevent women from wearing the basortusu.Because of the shaky legal foundations for the basortusu ban, supportersof women wearing the basortusu argued the issue as a bureaucratic–administrative violation of the constitution and freedom of expressionand conscience. The rationale behind such bans was clearly politi-cal. Through an amendment in its by-laws, Hacettepe University wasthe first advanced educational institution to define the wearing ofthe basortusu as a political act reflecting students’ ideological associa-tion with pro-Islamic political parties (Duzdag 1998: 33, cited in Aksoy2005: 153).
    • Kemalist State Feminism and the Islamic Dress Code 141 It was only after the 1980 military coup that the headscarf ban spreadthroughout the country as a legally grounded decision. As will be exam-ined in the next chapter, the scope of the debate during the post-1980sexpanded from an emphasis on the political–administrative violation ofconstitutional freedoms to the phenomenon of the deep state, the state’saggressive intrusion on society, and the active political oppression ofMuslims who adopt an Islamic code of conduct in the public sphere ofeducation and employment. Since the 1980s, the word used to describe women’s Islamic body cov-ering practices has changed once again from that of the basortusu andmanto/pardosu to the turban. At present, the headscarf ban centres onthe turban and is defined in generational terms. Basortusu has now cometo refer to a type of headscarf worn by older generation women whotie it under the chin. It is presented as a social, customary mode of dressworn by older pious Muslim women. The turban, on the other hand, hascome to be seen as a more elaborate, fashionable type of headscarf thatis tied behind the neck and worn by younger women. The turban banis legitimated on the assumption that this type of headscarf symbolizesan anti-laik political movement against the Kemalist fundamentals ofthe state. In order to better understand the significance of this assump-tion, this chapter will examine the historical construction of meaningoften attributed to Kemalism in defining the parameters of ‘modern,’laik women.Epistemic uncertainty: What is modern?Behind all these references to Muslim women’s Islamic dress is a claimfor the cultural–political status of the practice. A brief overview of histor-ical variations in the meaning of Islamic clothing draws attention to thecomplexity of the politics of ‘discursive formation’ (Foucault 1972), withever-changing statements, claims, and practices for defining women’sembodied behaviour. Official statements and practices, as well as Islamicwomen’s own claims and actions point to the binary character of thediscursive debate. Women’s Islamic behaviour is grounded either in atraditional set of cultural prescriptions that are seen as oppressive, or ina set of modern values and standards that are assumed to be liberating.Within this binary, Kemalist discursive formation requires the kind ofbehaviour that expresses women’s participation in the national embod-iment of western modernity. This requirement frames women who wearIslamic clothing as participants in a religiously reactionary movementthat is inimical to their emancipation from the oppressive traditions
    • 142 Islam’s Marriage with Neoliberalismof the past. Such discursive framing evokes emotionally charged anddivergent reactions within feminist research. For Afshar (1998) and Moghadam (1991), who focus on state-sanctioned ‘compulsory veiling’ in Iran, women’s coverage is a symbolof Muslim women’s subordination to men, and an element of a culturethat restricts women’s personal freedom and individual human rights.However, when considering ‘voluntary veiling’ in Egypt, Hoodfar (1997)and Macleod (1991) identify a variety of reasons for women wearing theheadscarf and show that young and highly educated women in particu-lar are willing to adopt Islamic dress. These women use the headscarf toassure others that they can be active in the public arena and maintaintheir honour at the same time. In the context of Iran, Afshar (1998) andMoghadam (1991) describe women’s Islamic coverage in relation to asocial transformation project that assigns women an object status amidthe cultural requirements of social change. In the case of Turkey, accord-ing to Alev Cinar (2005), the Kemalist process of constructing images formodern women grants political agency to the male secularist elite. Thiselite has forged these images and monitored and managed their perfor-mance in the public sphere. The resulting women’s agency is limitedto their constitution of themselves in relation to performing Kemalistexpectations. Again, going back to feminist research on women’s Islamic dress,Hoodfar and Macleod point to the ‘veil’ as the site of women’s agency.Covered women appear as conscious, purposeful actors deliberatelynegotiating the dominant gender ideologies in their societies to advancetheir own interests and agendas. Nawal El Saadawi (1999) rejects thisperspective and argues that Islamic dress can only be understood fromwithin a women-subordinating Islamic discourse that defines femalesexuality as dangerous to men’s morality. There is no doubt that such anargument runs the risk of framing women’s coverage by reference to anahistorical cultural essence attributed to Islam. As I will discuss later inthe chapter, a male-dominated formulation of the meaning of women’scoverage in the Ottoman Empire referred to the female body as sexuallydangerous, causing potential discord in society. Although such a formu-lation has also influenced the politics of women’s coverage in Turkey,Islamic women’s own politics have undermined it (Tuksal 2000). The case of Turkey seems to illustrate that women’s Islamic cover-age has become significant within the larger Islamic political movementsince the late 1960s. In Turkey, the women’s Islamic movement is notonly directed against the administrative activities of a secularly orientedmale elite. It also challenges the Kemalist understanding of women’smodernity and participation in public life. And yet the question of
    • Kemalist State Feminism and the Islamic Dress Code 143women’s agency continues to be problematic. These women’s Islamicclothing represents an embodied attachment to an Islamic politicalmovement. For Marnia Lazreg (1994), although women actively par-ticipate in an Islamic movement, their participation may underminewomen’s attempts to achieve an independent self that transcends themoral boundaries of a dominant Islamic discourse. Still, this perspectivereproduces a binary certainty about Islamic women’s status in soci-ety in terms of subordination to and emancipation from an Islamicmovement. As argued by Leila Ahmed (1982, 1992), women’s Islamic clothingdoes not have an innate meaning inimical to or advantageous forwomen’s own interests, but reflects a historically specific symbolism ofwomen’s status in society. According to Ahmed, it is in the contextof Muslim encounter with European colonial powers that a discursivetradition was structured, creating the essentialist cultural dichotomiesbetween Islam and the West. The values and practices of Islam embod-ied a backward culture which elicited women’s passivity and submis-siveness; European cultural norms, loosely identified with the liberaltradition, presupposed freedom in favour of individual autonomy andself-realization. The post-colonial feminism of Ahmed (1982) identifiesa potentially liberating symbolism in the act of ‘veiling’ as an anti-westmovement. For Ahmed (1992), women’s Islamic dress signals a distinctcultural experience and is representative of Muslim resistance to westerndomination. This perspective suggests that the ‘allure of the west’ underpins theKemalist discursive formation of covered women as culturally backward,indifferent, and perhaps unaware of their oppression. However, the caseof Turkey does not support Ahmed’s argument on women’s Islamic dressas an anti-colonial nationalist symbol. Although Islam was important indefining nationalism from the late years of the Ottoman state, Muslimclothing norms do not symbolize an anti-western resistance movement(Barbarosoglu 2005). However, they have gained symbolic value withina religious ethos that has developed in relation to the political framingof normative standards for a social change programme within the state. The question of women’s agency is a deeply troubling issue in fem-inist theory. It assumes that women are active, rational subjects whoseek autonomy and self-realization by struggling against the domi-nant norms and institutions that oppress them (Lovell 2003). Thisliberal emphasis within feminism belies the possibility that womenalso actively adopt dominant norms that systematically constrain theiroptions (K. Davis 1993; Mahmood 2005). Therefore, women’s accep-tance of Kemalist discursive formation does not necessarily reflect their
    • 144 Islam’s Marriage with Neoliberalismemancipation. Similarly, women’s participation in Islamic clothing prac-tices is not as straightforward as liberal/feminist thought assumes itto be. We should not ignore the possibility that women embody andactively support ideals and practices that might sustain principles offemale subordination – a possibility that cannot be captured by binarythinking about women’s behaviour. This is not a straightforward storyof cultural enactment of dominant norms; it is a story that discursivelyframes a particular articulation of normative orientations, along withthe gendered power relations within which Kemalist women self-declarethemselves as agents of state modernity. Before providing an analysisof the politics of women’s Islamic clothing in the next chapter, I willcontinue my study of the Kemalist articulation of meaning attached towomen’s Islamic dress.The historical construction of women’s Islamic clothingThere is historical continuity in the state-led cultural transformationprojects from the time of the Tanzimat era of the Ottoman Empireto contemporary Turkey. During this lengthy period, Muslim women’spractices of dress have been subject to intense debate. Discussion hascentred on the limits of a normative structure of rules and regulationsin framing women’s participation in the public sphere and its effects ontheir ‘empowerment.’ Norms of decency, modesty, and good mannershave long been the criteria determining the boundaries of women’s pub-lic presence. Historically, these norms arose to re-establish customarybehaviour that would ensure the ‘moral suitability of women’s clothingfor safeguarding the respectability of the state’ (Aksoy 2005: 55). As women’s presence in public space was being refigured under thewesternization project of the nineteenth century, the state tried to delin-eate ideal Muslim feminine virtues by issuing decrees (Tuglaci 1984:11–22). The Ottoman state issued decrees to regulate a women’s dresscode and limit women’s choices in an attempt to counter the cul-tural reconfiguration of daily life under westernization. The Kemalistrebuilding of the state entailed an epistemic break from a deep-seatedOttoman–Islamic past and a move towards modernity through western-ization. Kemalist state rebuilding turns on the redefinition of symboliccodes and cultural aspects of social life, and consequent identificationof the individual self with images of western modernity. Although nospecific clothing law was adopted for women, the very act of Kemaliststate building was bound up with the cultural–symbolic work of draw-ing boundaries between the old Ottoman and the new Kemalist state.
    • Kemalist State Feminism and the Islamic Dress Code 145These boundaries were drawn by representing the new state as the‘emancipator’ of women from the subordinating, reactionary Ottoman–Islamic social practices embodied in women’s clothing. The ‘unveiling’of women was equated with Turkey’s progress in ‘catching up’ with west-ern modernity (cf. Cinar 2005; Yegenoglu 1998). This resulted in theunsettling of deeply rooted Ottoman–Islamic daily life practices, andprompted the rise of an ontological anxiety as constitutive of futureIslamic politics. In the Ottoman Empire state regulation of clothing was wellentrenched, with a particular emphasis on head covering. State-issueddecrees to regulate clothing were directed primarily at men and des-ignated differences in rank. These decrees were enacted within theOttoman millet system in order to maintain the cultural boundaries ofreligious communities. As early as the sixteenth century (Seni 1995:25–45), the state also issued decrees for Muslim women’s dress. Andin 1725 a decree was passed in an attempt to prevent Muslim womenfrom imitating the make-up and form of dress of Christian women onthe grounds that it was undermining their moral integrity and publicrespectability (Akbent 1987: 105 cited in Aksoy 2005: 55). Muslim menwere subjected to decrees as well, in an effort to encourage self-controland prevent their behaviour from violating Islamic norms of honourand public decency (Aksoy 2005: 56). These early decrees issued withinthe Ottoman millet system were intended to maintain distinctions incustomary clothing practices and determine the public limits of moralbehaviour. It is only during the mid-nineteenth century that the state issueddecrees to regulate clothing norms in public space by eliminatingcultural–religious differences indicated through dress. The possibilityof imposing a uniform dress code was rooted in the conditions of anOttoman attempt to unify the political and the cultural structure withinthe territorial space of the Ottoman state. This possibility arose fromadopting a moralistic stand on how to refigure the cultural sphere ofcitizenship formation. In 1829, Sultan Mahmut II passed a law requir-ing all civil officials of the state to wear the fez, regardless of theirreligious affiliation (Cinar 2005: 61). There was no law issued duringthat time for women’s clothing, and the carsaf, traditionally worn bywomen in most urban centres in Arab parts of the Ottoman Empire, wasbecoming much more visible in Istanbul. By the 1880s the carsaf hadgreatly increased its public presence on Istanbul streets (Aksoy 2005:57). The state attempted to ban it for alleged security reasons becausemen who committed crimes or were suspected of criminal acts were
    • 146 Islam’s Marriage with Neoliberalismable to disguise their true identities (Aksoy 2005: 57–9). Nevertheless,the state was unable to completely ban it. The carsaf gained ever wideracceptance, especially in Istanbul, along with the yasmak (a veil coveringthe lower part of the face) and the ferace (a long-sleeved loose overcoat)worn outdoors by Muslim women. Although popular among womenof higher rank in larger cities of the Ottoman Empire, the carsaf neverbecame a standard piece of clothing for rural Anatolian women of lowersocio-economic status. The increasing popularity of the carsaf is consistent with women’sshifting position in public space after the Tanzimat reforms. Consid-ered a sign of women’s high rank, respectability, and inaccessibility(El Guindi 1999: 97–115), the carsaf was frequently adopted by womenfrom ‘high society’ participating in the public sphere of education andpaid employment. The Tanzimat reforms allowed girls to receive an edu-cation in state schools as early as the 1840s, although their educationwas largely at the primary school level. From 1842, girls could be trainedas midwives after their primary level education (Aksoy 2005: 51), and, in1858, were admitted to the rustiye public schools which produced can-didates for the civil service. Nevertheless, very few women entered stateemployment after graduating from these schools, and those who didoften worked as teachers (Quataert 2000: 66). The first school to traingirls for teaching (Daru’l muallimat – Kiz Muallim Mektebi) was openedin 1870. Women’s participation in various domains of public life was anaspect of the Ottoman effort to catch up with the west (Kandiyoti 1998:275). However, an Islamic ‘modesty-shame’ code continued to ‘describethe valued privacy attached . . . to women’ (El Guindi 1999: 104), whichmediated their presence in the public sphere. Women’s Islamic cloth-ing bridged a moral line that separated the protection of bodily privacyand modesty from participation in the public domain. Still, the type ofbody cover for Muslim women remained uncertain and subject to muchdebate.Ottoman–Muslim intellectuals and women’s Islamic dressFatma Aliye HanimDuring the period of Ottoman social transformation, Muslim womenwere highly active in articulating their social concerns and defendingwomen’s rights. These women were the educated daughters and wivesof members of the Ottoman ruling class residing in Istanbul (Toska 1998:76–7). They published the magazine Sukufezar in 1886, and wrote criticalessays analyzing the Ottoman practices of Islam that had undermined
    • Kemalist State Feminism and the Islamic Dress Code 147their social position. Kadinlara Mahsus Gazete (a Gazette Special forWomen), founded in 1895, and Kadinlar Dunyasi (Women’s World),published between 1913 and 1921 by the Osmanli Mudaafa-I Hukuk-u Nisvan Cemiyeeti, demanded greater rights and freedoms for women(S. Cakir 1996). Kadinlara Mahsus Gazete published 604 issues between1895 and 1908 (S. Cakir 1996: 27–8). The goal of these publishing activ-ities was to improve women’s social position in society and ensuretheir participation in public life. Some of the most notable womeninvolved in promoting women’s rights during this period include: FatmaAliye Hanim, daughter of Ahmet Cevdet Pasa, Fatma Zehra, Leyla Saz,Makbule Leman, and Fatma Fahrunnisa. As an advocate of women’s participation in the public domain, FatmaAliye Hanim (1862–1936) used an Islamist perspective to denouncewomen’s wearing of the carsaf. She insisted that the carsaf was used tosymbolize a customary context in which women were pushed into a sec-ondary social position. Fatma Aliye Hanim is considered one of the firstfemale writers of the Ottoman Empire. Interestingly, Fatma Aliye Hanimis also known for establishing the first Ottoman women’s charity orga-nization, Nisvan’i Osmaniye Imdat Cemiyeti. She published five novels,five essay–letters–memoir style publications, one book of history, onebook on philosophy, and one translation of a novel (Ucan Supurge 19October 2008). Because of her opposition to the official Turkish HistoryThesis, her achievements have not been recognized within the Kemalisttradition of history writing. It was only in October 2008 that the gov-ernment of Turkey acknowledged her work. And, in a significant move,the Central Bank of the Republic of Turkey decided to print her imageon the back cover of the 50 Lira banknote released on 1 January 2009(Barbarosoglu 2008). This is the first picture of a woman published onpaper currency in Turkey. Fatma Aliye Hanim, who published under the name of Meram and‘a woman,’ portrayed heroic images of highly educated, professionalMuslim women in her novels. The female figures in her literary workwere strong, self-confident, and independent wage earners in the pub-lic sphere who did not rely on men for their survival. This representsa departure from the usual representation of Ottoman–Muslim womenin literary writings as romantic, passive, and subordinate persons whofrequently ‘sacrificed’ themselves for family reasons (Canbaz 2005: 4).Fatma Aliye Hanim argued that the depiction of women as subordinateto men was mostly due to the fact that literary writers were men. Thesemen were either unaware that women’s rights and freedoms were guar-anteed by Islamic law, or they consciously rejected Islamic principles
    • 148 Islam’s Marriage with Neoliberalism(Toska 1998: 74). As a result, male writers propagated ideas consistentwith the adoption of European norms for Ottoman women’s liberation.Fatma Aliye Hanim defined this as ‘extreme westernization’ (Mardin1992: 34). In her novels she depicted an image of Muslim women seek-ing to embody Islamic values and norms for their own empowerment.Her writings in Hanimlara Mahsus Gazete elaborated her Islamic stand-point in regard to women’s empowerment. With its greatest circulationbetween 1895 and 1908, the newspaper became a major vehicle forthe defence of Muslim women’s rights in Ottoman society. The articlespublished in the Hanimlara Mahsus Gazete questioned women’s sub-ordination in the family and society, but without rejecting their roleas mothers and wives in the domestic sphere (S. Cakir 1996). FatmaAliye Hanim also published articles on women’s issues in other news-papers such as Tercuman’I Hakikat, Inkilab, and Malumat. Her book,Nisvan’i Islam, published in 1891, was specifically written for Europeansand described women’s rights in Islam. The book was translated intoArabic, English, and French. In her writings, Fatma Aliye Hanim hadno intention of giving advice to women as housewives, nor of glorify-ing women’s domestic sphere of work. Rather, she developed an imageof Muslim women that contrasted with both the traditional Ottomanand western perspectives. The Muslim woman was to be well-educated,embodying strong Islamic moral principles in her life (Toska 1998: 75).Fatma Aliye Hanim insisted that women take up active roles outside thehousehold but only in accordance with an Islamic belief system andcode of dress. For Fatma Aliye Hanim, The wearing of a loose dress by women and covering the hair in public life fitted coherently with Islamic morality. The carsaf and other forms of whole body coverage, including facial cover, were not required by Islamic law but adopted as part of refiguring social customs for women. (Isin 1988: 24, my translation)For Fatma Aliye Hanim, the norms and practices of Muslim women’sclothing were reproduced over the generations within a multi-culturalOttoman social context and under non-Islamic, and in particular,Persian, cultural influences (Koca 1998: 45–6). Although not consis-tent with norms required by the religion of Islam per se, the socialcustomary behaviour adopted to constitute part of Muslim cultural tra-ditions reinforced a secondary social status for women. Fatma AliyeHanim has therefore connected women’s customary dress with their
    • Kemalist State Feminism and the Islamic Dress Code 149subordinate position in society but without pointing to Islam as thesource of their subordination. Her argument was directed at the elimina-tion of the carsaf-ferace. Moreover, she saw women’s wearing of the carsafas indicative of the ‘extreme westernization’ that followed Tanzimatreforms. Women from higher socio-economic positions had often wornthe carsaf as a way of concealing their revealing, western-style dresseswhile strolling on the streets of Beyoglu. It had nothing to do with theIslamic belief system. As a Muslim woman writer, Fatma Aliye Hanim approached thesocial position of women in society from an Islamic belief system thatemphasized piety, modesty, and humility as the cornerstones of femalereligious behaviour. From this perspective, even the wearing of the head-scarf by Muslim women was not an Islamic requirement but adoptedwithin the totality of Islamic principles relating to societal morality.While Fatma Aliye Hanim wanted the carsaf to be abolished, she alsorecognized how highly Muslim women regarded their headscarves inupholding that morality (Fatma Aliye Hanim 1891; cf. Canbaz 2005;Kiziltan 1993). She knew that ‘[these] women would vehemently defendtheir headscarves with the utmost force’ (quoted in Canbaz 2005: 27, mytranslation). Ottoman male intellectuals who were much preoccupied with thewesternization process and its effects on the state and society also wroteabout women’s social position. Although Fatma Aliye Hanim was thefirst woman to write on the subject of women in society, male writershad also been writing about women for some time, among them NamikKemal. Namik Kemal was an advocate of a social-change model blend-ing a Muslim worldview with western modernity. He supported FatmaAliye Hanim’s argument that Muslim women’s Islamic clothing was nota marker of subordination. For Namik Kemal, the problem did not liein the religion of Islam, but in its misrepresentation. As a result, he fre-quently called for women’s education and participation in the publicsphere. He also denounced the subordinating effects of Ottoman cus-tomary arrangements on marriage and family life. Another male writer,Abdulhak Hamit, went even further in his novel Tarik by suggestingthat women’s position in society was a good indication of society’s levelof modernity and progress (Aydin 1999). Therefore, in order to moveahead on the path of modernization, Ottoman reformers had to improvewomen’s social standing. These ideas were subject to intense debate during the late Ottomanperiod. One important site within which this debate occurred was theoffice of the Seyhulislam, the highest religious office in the Ottoman
    • 150 Islam’s Marriage with Neoliberalismstate structure and run by a male religious elite. Significantly, bothSeyhulislam Musa Kazim (1858–1920) and Seyhulislam Mustafa SabriEfendi (1869–1954) rejected the Islamic suitability of the argumentsdeveloped by Fatma Aliye Hanim.Seyhulislam Musa Kazim and Seyhulislam Mustafa Sabri EfendiAccording to Seyhulislam Musa Kazim, Islamic law (Seriat) requiredwomen to cover their bodies, including their hair, by wearing a formof dress that did not arouse sexual desire in men (Kara 1987: 53). Herested his position on a kind of ‘primordial human nature’ theory ofmen. He argued that: It is not within a husband’s capacity to resist the allure of and desire for a younger and more beautiful woman than his wife. Such an incli- nation, which is beyond the husband’s capacity and power to control, will destroy not only the affection between a husband and his wife but also the ties between the woman whom he desires and her hus- band. In other words, the happiness of both families will be destroyed as a result of the man’s lust and uncontrollable sexual appetite. It is in view of these sorts of circumstances that the Muhammedi seriat requires women to cover themselves. (Quoted in Kara 1987: 55, my translation)Musa Kazim’s reasoning for women’s coverage, which is based on man’s‘human nature’ and the importance of social order, closely resemblesthe Enlightenment thinkers’ emphasis on individualism and rational-ism. For Musa Kazim, the limitation of women’s presence in the publicsphere is both reasonable and good for society. In order to maintainsocial order, women should do their utmost to ‘perfect’ their moralstanding and help the individual man become more sensitized to themoral requirements of the social order. Otherwise, the result will besocial chaos. Musa Kazim considered women bound by a ‘natural duty’to protect their bodily privacy against male sexual aggression: [W]omen by nature are gentle and delicate and subject to male aggression. Therefore, an Islamic requirement for women to cover themselves is a great work of blessing, compassion, and benevolence. This is especially important at a time when high sexual appetite imprisons the human body within its oppression and aggression. Especially at a time when men are so sexually charged and defeated by their desire to commit unlawful sexual acts, women’s contact
    • Kemalist State Feminism and the Islamic Dress Code 151 and friendship with men will do no good but lower their value as humans. (Quoted in Kara 1987: 53–4, my translation)Seyhulislam Musa Kazim clearly states that a piece of clothing used toconceal the woman’s body is a necessary material means of protectingthe body from male sexual aggression. It is also regarded as a sacredsymbol and gift from God that enables women to achieve a higher levelof humanness by transcending the primordial qualities of nature. Basedon these ideas, it was evident to Musa Kazim that women should beresponsible for domestic duties in the private sphere of the home, whilemen must be responsible for work outside the home: To think otherwise is against their divinely inscribed nature . . . the goal of creating women is only to give birth to children and to raise them. Women’s employment in areas outside of their natural boundaries, wearing indecent, impudent clothes that expose their beautiful bodies to the sexualized gaze of men will result in the moral destruction of family life and the annihilation of human values. (Quoted in Kara 1987: 54, my translation)For Musa Kazim, it was acceptable for woman to receive some education,enough to fulfil their maternal and matrimonial responsibilities. But, ‘ifwomen intended to gain higher education for the reason of workingoutside the home, they would end up abusing their divinely bestowedduties and, therefore, betray humanity’ (quoted in Kara 1987: 56, mytranslation). Musa Kazim agreed with Fatma Aliye Hanim that Islam didnot forbid women from higher education and paid employment in thepublic sphere. But, he did argue that Islam does not require women toprovide income for the family. He insisted that ‘in fact they should nothave such responsibilities at all, because their employment in the malesphere will prevent them from fulfiling their natural duties as wives andmothers’ (quoted in Kara 1987: 58, my translation). Seyhulislam Musa Kazim tried to justify these assertions by referenceto the religion of Islam, but Seyhulislam Mustafa Sabri Efendi seems todisagree that Islamic law requires women to cover their bodies. Ratherthan use theology, Seyhulislam Mustafa Sabri Efendi situates his argu-ment within the social–customary definition of a Muslim social code forwomen’s modesty, respect, and protection. Both Seyhulislams seem toagree on the significance of women’s coverage for the moral integrityand social cohesion of society. In a manner similar to Seyhulislam Musa
    • 152 Islam’s Marriage with NeoliberalismKazim, Mustafa Sabri Efendi argues that the removal of Islamic dressfrom the definition of women’s moral code of conduct would cause fitne(intrigue) in society. ‘Good for nothing women’ would use this changein the moral code to expose certain parts of their body with no culturalnotion of shame and, thus, disturb men’s morality by sexually arousingthem (I. Arsel 1989: 60). Mustafa Sabri Efendi did not view the exposureof the face as diminishing women’s morality and respectability. But menwere morally weak. Since men by nature were not able to control theirsexual impulses, he argued that women should take moral responsibilityand protect themselves from men’s aggression. The problem with this sort of argument, for Mernissi (1991, 1996),and for Fatma Aliye Hanim writing a century before Mernissi, is notwith the religion of Islam. The problem is with the ethico–political dom-inance of a particular understanding of Islam by the religious–politicalmale elite who reconfigure gender relations within which women arerequired to be obedient, subservient, modest, and humble. El Saadawi(1999) also rejects perspectives similar to those developed by Seyhulis-lam Musa Kazim and Seyhulislam Mustafa Sabri Efendi. She argues thatthese positions can only be understood from within the political dom-inance of a women-subordinating Islamic discourse that defines thefemale body and female sexuality as dangerous to men’s morality.Ismail Hakki IzmirliIsmail Hakki Izmirli (1868–1946) is an intellectual and professor ofIslamic religion and philosophy who made significant contributionsto the development of Islamic thought in the Ottoman Empire andTurkey (Kara 1989: 91–3). His writings are similar to those of FatmaAliye Hanim, who argues that an image of women as subordinate withinIslam is a misinterpretation. Ismail Hakki Izmirli disagrees with bothSeyhulislam Musa Kazim and Seyhulislam Mustafa Sabri Efendi, whoconnected man’s innate inability to control his sexual impulses withthe need to maintain social order through women’s embodiment of anIslamic modesty-shame code. For him, ‘the family did not consist of asubordinate wife and a dominant husband; but a partnership of the two’(quoted in Kara 1989: 113, my translation). Women were created to fulfill the same goal as men. [Referring to Sura Zariyat 51/56 which stated that] ‘I created the spirits and humankind for them to worship me.’ . . . Women are neither instru- ments for men’s happiness and delight, nor a toy for their con- tempt and sexual appetites . . . There is no difference in women’s and
    • Kemalist State Feminism and the Islamic Dress Code 153 men’s civil rights . . . they are equally obliged to learn and educate themselves . . . A woman can be a learned scholar, a saint, a statesman, a doctor of Islamic law, a teacher, a judge, a governor . . . with Allah’s eminence they can even be prophets as was the case with Prophet Jesus’ mother, Mary, or Asiye, who looked after Prophet Moses . . . There is no difference between women and men in terms of Allah’s commands and prohibitions. (Quoted in Kara 1989: 113–14, my translation)According to Ismail Hakki Izmirli, a woman’s sexuality does not dimin-ish her respectability. Body coverage is not a denial of sexuality, nordoes it restrict the scope of women’s rights and freedoms. Rather, Islamicdress is necessary for women to conceal their beauty from strange menand protect their honour and reputation against the sexual aggressionand humiliating gaze of ‘inferior humans’ (Kara 1989: 114). In referenceto Sura Nur (24/30), Izmirli points out that Islam instructs men to lowertheir gaze before ordering women to cover themselves (Kara 1989: 114,116–17). Women’s Islamic clothing is neither a guarantee of women’s libera- tion and freedom nor an indicator of their subordination. It is merely an indispensable and reliable means to reduce harm, to stay clear of the wicked, and to minimize malicious acts in society . . . Men and women should converge in terms of their intellect, morality, goals, wishes, and inclinations, and there should be no difference in terms of their decency or good manners. A woman is a woman not because of her beauty or ornament but because of her intellect, decency, and modesty. (Quoted in Kara 1989: 115–16, my translation)There is no difference between the faithful, whether they be male orfemale. For Izmirli, both men and women are required to live a moral lifein accordance with Islam, and women’s bodily coverage does not violatethe equality principle implicit in the idea that ‘sovereignty belongs toGod.’ He argues that ‘quite naturally, women should receive higher edu-cation and participate in many domains of public life as men do, and,thus, further contribute to societal happiness’ (quoted in Kara 1989: 116,my translation). Variations in the Islamic ideas developed by Fatma Aliye Hanim,Namik Kemal, Seyhulislam Musa Kazim, Seyhulislam Mustafa SabriEfendi, and Ismail Hakki Izmirli do not produce a single-unified
    • 154 Islam’s Marriage with NeoliberalismOttoman–Muslim perspective on women’s bodily coverage. Fatma AliyeHanim, Namik Kemal, and Ismail Hakki Izmirli have situated theirargument within a model of social change that blends Islam with‘modernity,’ whereas Seyhulislam Musa Kazim and Seyhulislam MustafaSabri Efendi have developed an Islamic perspective for the prevention ofmoral–sexual fitne (intrigue) in society. Their debate turned around theeffects of Islam, Ottoman customary practices, and the influence of theTanzimat westernization programme on women’s social status. Despitea divergence in perspectives, they all agreed that woman’s Islamic dresssymbolizes a cultural notion of respectability, honour, modesty, and theright to non-intrusion. It was a code of morality that marked an asex-ualized presence of woman in the public space, enabling women toenjoy privacy and be in public at the same time (cf. El Guindi 1999:Chapter 5).The Kemalist image of the Anatolian womanThe Kemalist elite ignored the rich history of debate over women’srights during the Ottoman Empire. Because of their privileged back-ground as daughters and wives of members of the Ottoman ruling class,Ottoman women activists were referred to in a demeaning fashion asIstanbul kadinlari (Istanbul women) (Toska 1998: 78). Their promotionof women’s rights expressed within an Islamic frame was wrongly char-acterized as a manifestation of Ottoman traditionalism in opposition tothe values of modernity (Ramazanoglu 2004). Women’s dress was construed as a moral metaphor, but in a way thatdisplaced the carsaf and ferace as symbolic markers of old Ottomanways. After placing covered women’s cultural suitability for modernityin doubt, Kemalist bureaucratic cadres acted as self-declared agents ofmodernity and undertook the remaking of women’s self-consciousness.They did so within the general framework of a social engineering andcultural management scheme that served Turkey’s modernity project.Those identified with Ottoman–Islamic ways were seen as lacking thecultural prerequisites necessary for participation in the Kemalist socialchange programme (Atasoy 2007: 127–8). In the process the old imageof Ottoman–Muslim women was displaced from the Kemalist socialimaginary. A crucial point here is that the Kemalist ‘moral order’ locks womenwho enact Islamic clothing norms into a permanent status of backward-ness and subordination. In the sense defined by Charles Taylor (2004),the notion of moral order here goes beyond a collection of norms that
    • Kemalist State Feminism and the Islamic Dress Code 155govern social relations and/or political life. It ‘carries a definition notonly of what is right, but of the context in which it makes sense tostrive for and hope to realize the right’ (Taylor 2004: 9). As a concep-tion, moral order shapes the ‘social imaginary’ in enabling the practicesof a society (Taylor 2004: 2). The Kemalist image of moral order definesthe features of Ottoman social life as backward and then identifies therealization of modernity in terms of a series of social customary trans-formations in normative standards and practices. My argument shouldbe clear. The Kemalist instalment of a ‘modern’ moral order produces aconflictual relationship within the public sphere as it gradually displacesand marginalizes Muslim normative practices embedded in the socialimaginary of the previous moral order, both on an individual level andon a social level. In Inebolu on 28 August 1925 Mustafa Kemal stated: The Turkish nation ought to prove that it is civilized in its men- tality and intellect. The Turkish nation ought to demonstrate that it is civilized in its family life and ways of living. . . . Is our clothing national? Is our clothing civilized and international? No, no. . . . Can there be a nation, friends, without clothing? What is the meaning of showing the most valuable jewel to the world if it is covered in mud? . . . In order to reveal this precious gem, it is absolutely imperative that we cleanse ourselves from the mud. . . . Civilized and international clothing is very valuable and worthy of our nation. (Inebolu’da Bir Konusma [A Speech in Inebolu] 28.VIII. 1925 in Ataturk Kultur, Dil ve Tarih Yuksek Kurumu 1990: 89–90, my translation)In the same speech in Inebolu Mustafa Kemal also spoke againstwomen’s facial coverage: In my travels I observed not in the villages but in towns and cities that our women friends are covering their faces and eyes with great care. This must inflict them with pain and a great deal of suffering, especially on hot summer days such as these. Male friends, our own selfishness is in part the cause of this outcome. . . . Women should show their faces to the world. And, they should see the world with their own eyes. (Ataturk Kultur, Dil ve Tarih Yuksek Kurumu 1990: 90, my translation)
    • 156 Islam’s Marriage with NeoliberalismThe implicit assumption in the speeches of Ataturk was that an Islamicdress code for both men and women underlined a lifestyle which devi-ated from the prospect of a civilized society. For him, the Ottoman styleof dress was not something that a civilized person could ever wear. Inregard to men’s clothing he said: What is this dress? How can a civilized person put this strange cloth- ing on and make the world laugh at him? There should be no doubt that state officials will rectify this problem . . . [they] will redress the whole nation with civilized clothing. (Kastamonu’da Ikinci Bir Konusma [A Second Speech in Kastamonu] 30.VIII. 1925 in Ataturk Kultur, Dil ve Tarih Yuksek Kurumu 1990: 93, my translation)In the Kemalist social imaginary of civilization, women’s Islamic dresswas very simply a symbol of barbarism that oppressed women. In hisKastamonu speech on 30 August 1925 Mustafa Kemal clearly articulatedhis position on women’s Islamic body coverage: I have seen women in some places who throw a piece of cloth or a towel or something like that over their head, and hide their faces and eyes, and when a man passes by she turns her back . . . What is the meaning and sense of such behaviour? Gentlemen. Can the mothers and daughters of a civilized nation take on such a strange shape and adopt this strange manner, this barbarous posture? This image makes the nation an object of much ridicule. It must be remedied at once. (Kastamonu’da Ikinci Bir Konusma [A Second Speech in Kastamonu] 30.VIII. 1925 in Ataturk Kultur, Dil ve Tarih Yuksek Kurumu 1990: 95, my translation)The adoption of European-style clothing thus became imperative, a pre-scription for the realization of the Kemalist ‘cultural turn’ project. The‘new woman’ was to wear suits in the public sphere, bathing suits onthe beach, and evening gowns at ballroom dance receptions. She was towear elegant dresses at evening gatherings, pants when horseback riding(Cinar 2005: 63–5), and a French-style manto for an overcoat. Movingaway from the Islamic code of dress and taking off the headscarf wasa Kemalist imperative for women’s presence and representation in thepublic sphere. Those who did not comply were quickly singled out asbackward and culturally ill-suited for modernity. Within the Kemalistmoral order women who wore Islamic clothing were displaced from the
    • Kemalist State Feminism and the Islamic Dress Code 157public sphere of employment, education, and politics, and pushed into amarginalized existence. Fatma Aliye Hanim was among these Istanbulluwomen. Unfortunately, her major effort to secure greater women’s rightswas totally ignored in Kemalist Turkey. In 1925 the Hat Law was enacted to insure that men would wearwestern-style clothing. Only state-employed religious personnel werepermitted to wear religious garb and that too only during religious cer-emonies. The law completely prohibited men from displaying Islamicsymbols in the public sphere (Cinar 2005: 70). Interestingly, the lawdid not include an outright ban on women’s Islamic dress, nor did itclearly indicate how women should dress. Until the abolishment of theCaliphate in 1924 – which officially started laiklik – Mustafa Kemal didnot even present an image of Islam as subordinating women to men.In his earlier speeches Mustafa Kemal merely suggested that women’sbodily concealment should not prevent them from participating inthe public sphere. For example, in a speech he delivered in Izmir on31 January 1923 he stated In towns and cities . . . those who watch women with the veil assume that these women do not see anything. Women’s coverage as required by religion should be simple. It should not create difficulties for women in their daily social life, and in economic and educational activities. (Turk Inkilap Tarihi Enstitusu 1989: 155, my translation)Mustafa Kemal openly advised these women to ‘dress [modestly] asrequired by religion and in accordance with the Seriat principles . . . [Forhim] women should observe the moral principles, rules, and conven-tions of our society’ (Arat 1998: 55, my translation). Since he did notspecify exactly what simple clothing was in Islam, we can probablyassume that for him it included women wearing the headscarf and aloose-fitting dress. After 1924, Mustafa Kemal began to express his dis-like of the carsaf, ferace, and facial covering, but there is no evidence thathe required women to take off their headscarves. Still, there is consider-able evidence that Mustafa Kemal wanted women to be both modest andmodern (Kadioglu 1998). The Kemalist imagery of a ‘modern woman’was thus built on the reproduction of a code of morality drawn fromreligion. Mustafa Kemal also expressed his dislike of women imitating aEuropean style of dress that exposed the body in public. He accusedthem of having a superficial sense of modernity, of being fascinated by
    • 158 Islam’s Marriage with NeoliberalismEuropean fashion, dance, and afternoon tea parties, while gradually los-ing their sense of attachment to national values and ideas (Toska 1998:80). In the process of making sense of ‘national’ women, an image of theIstanbullu woman was invented. While some Istanbullu women embodiedold Ottoman ways, others internalized demeaning European behaviour.In either case, they were viewed as lacking a sense of national cul-ture. Thus, urban ‘westernized’ women were sidelined in the Kemalistmoral order and regarded as ignorant of the genuine Turkish culture ofAnatolia. The ideas expressed by Mustafa Kemal in favour of a simplified versionof woman’s Islamic clothing could easily be interpreted as paradoxical.However, I believe this seeming paradox tells us a great deal about howKemalism managed to synthesize or reconcile its unease with both Islamand western modernity. The Kemalist unease with Islam was resolved with the removal ofOttoman customary practices as symbolized by the Islamic clothingcode of carsaf/ferace and articulated in an Istanbullu woman image. ForMustafa Kemal, those who held a certain understanding of Muslimwomen in Turkey in relation to their Islamic style of clothing weredescribing Istanbullu women. ‘They were neither genuine Turkish womennor the real women of Anatolia’ (Toska 1998: 78, my translation). Animage of Anatolian woman, then, was articulated to redefine woman’spersonhood within a Turkified notion of Islam and a national history,as advocated by Ziya Gokalp. Anatolian women, who were not spoiledby Ottoman–Islamic customs or European decadence, were viewed asenjoying equal rights with men. Secularization became an imperativeto socially disrupt the influence of Ottoman ways and reconstituteAnatolian customs and conventions in national culture by replacing theuniversalistic worldview of Islam. Kemalism was ill at ease with western modernity as well. It was enam-oured of European techno-scientific civilization and socio-normativestandards but at the same time guarded against a world conquering,‘imperialistic image of the West’ (Atasoy 1997: 86). A verse in the Turkishnational anthem by Mehmet Akif Ersoy describes the west as ‘a wild,ferocious beast with a single remaining tooth named “civilization”.’Again, in opposition to such an image, Anatolia symbolized a moralsource of developmentalist goals, yet with a distinct folk culture under-pinning the transition to modernity. On this path, women who enjoyedequal rights with men were to shoulder their share of responsibilities.For Mustafa Kemal, it was not acceptable to hold the premise that‘Turkey cannot be a civilized country and move on the path of progress
    • Kemalist State Feminism and the Islamic Dress Code 159because the population has been separated into two groups of men andwomen who do not share the same goals . . . [For Ataturk] Anatolianpopulations live together as a unified group of men and women’(Toska 1998: 78, my translation), and women should be approachedin a way that will maximize their participation in the developmentproject. Kemalist anxiety over both Ottoman–Islamic ways and western‘civilization’ was connected to the creation of milli his (a national con-sciousness) for reconstituting nationalized processes of social change.Milli his was an ethos defining sources of moral motivation, judgement,and the cultural practices of individual citizens. In the Kemalist socialimaginary Turkish women were expected to bridge the cultural require-ments of western modernity and the cultivation of a national ethos. Thefundamental task for the Kemalist state was to ‘recreate’ women as pos-sessors of national virtue and morality who, as mothers of the nation,would instill these values in the next generation (A. Inan 1998: 20–1,cited in Durakbasa 1998: 41). In this project, women’s Islamic clothingwas a secondary consideration; the embodiment of religious virtue wasprimary. The frequently made claim that Kemalism displaced religion from thepublic sphere is not quite true. Undoubtedly, it drastically underminedthe old Ottoman social imaginary, but it also defined modern womenwith reference to religious morals. In his speech at Izmir Teacher’s Schoolfor Girls on 14 October 1925, Mustafa Kemal stated: Turkish women should be educated, enlightened, virtuous, earnest, and ‘heavy.’ Not heavy in weight but in morality, in virtue – our women should be the most learned. The responsibility of Turkish women is to bring up future generations to protect and defend the Turkish nation with their intellect, motivation, and armed power. Women who are the source and essence of the life of the nation can only fulfill their responsibility if they are virtuous. Let us be reminded of a verse from Fikret: ‘of course humanity will be degraded if women become wretched.’ (Izmir Kiz Ogretmen Okulunda bir Konusma, 14.X. 1925 in Ataturk Kultur, Dil ve Tarih Yuksek Kurumu 1990: 98, my translation)The ‘new women’ of the Turkish republic were to be modern for sure,but also modest and honourable. By embodying virtues drawn fromthe state-defined notion of Turkish Islam, these women were ethically
    • 160 Islam’s Marriage with Neoliberalismpositioned to be in the moral service of national developmentalism(Kadioglu 1998). They were not viewed as subjects involved in a strugglefor their own personal freedom and individual human rights (S. Tekeli1991), but as objects, as ‘mothers of the society’ servicing nationalgoals (Durakbasa 1998: 41). This role expectation immersed women inthe state-induced social engineering programme. As ‘national moth-ers,’ the selfhood and social standing of women were reconfigured,not in terms of rights, but in terms of loyalty and obligations to thebureaucratic ‘moral order of modernity’ (Taylor 2004). These womenwere the guardians of the national civilization programme (Durakbasa1998). According to Gole (1996), Kemalism assumed a ‘civilizing mission’that guaranteed a wide range of rights for women. The civil code of1926, which Gole (1996: 74–7) defines as ‘the vector of civilization,’ensured an egalitarian relationship between men and women in rela-tion to inheritance and marital affairs. On 3 May 1930, women weregranted the political right to vote with an amendment of the MunicipalLaw, and then the right to vote and run in parliamentary elections asa constitutionally granted right in 1934 (Celik-Levin 2007: 204; Ecevit2007: 190–1). Interestingly, however, the expansion of opportunities for women alsosilenced them. The bureaucratic implementation of Kemalist reformssuppressed women’s independent voice in favour of an epistemologythat secured the state’s rights over and above the individual humanrights of women. The single party era of ‘state feminism’ (Ecevit 2007:190) represents a reversal of women’s independent involvement informulating and defending their rights and concerns – a movementthat dates back to the late Ottoman Empire. Under Kemalism womenlost their independent voices. The silencing of the Women’s Peo-ple’s Party and the Turkish Women’s Union Association are cases inpoint.The Turkish Women’s Union AssociationBuilding on the experience gained during the Ottoman Empire, urbanwomen continued to press their demands for active, independentinvolvement in public life and political participation. Nezihe Muhiddin(1889–1958) and Sukufe Nihal (1896–1973) were among the well-educated, activist Ottoman women leaders who struggled for women’srights and political participation (S. Cakir 1996: 306–12). They foundedthe Women’s People’s Party (WPP) in Istanbul on 16 June 1923, even
    • Kemalist State Feminism and the Islamic Dress Code 161before Mustafa Kemal’s own People’s Party was founded on 9 September1923 (Tuncay 1981: 57). The WPP did not receive a welcoming receptionfrom Mustafa Kemal. It was criticized by the media and not approved bythe government (Toska 1998: 84). With pressure from Mustafa Kemal,Nezihe Muhiddin and other founding members of the WPP formed theTurkish Women’s Union Association (Turk Kadinlar Birligi) on 7 February1924. The WPP functioned as a philanthropic organization in supportof women’s education and women living in poverty. Despite its name,the association was not exclusively a women’s association. Both womenand men were included in its membership. The Women’s Union Association was required by law not to engagein political activity (Ecevit 2007: 188). However, on 25 March 1927,the association amended its by-laws to reflect a new organizationalgoal – the realization of women’s political rights (Toska 1998: 84). Thegovernor of Istanbul did not approve this change in the association’sby-laws, declaring that women’s primary responsibility was to give birthto and raise children, not to be involved in politics (Caporal 1982: 691).Nonetheless, since the government approved it, the Women’s UnionAssociation began to promote women’s right to political participation.Nezihe Muhiddin, leader of the association, swore in a speech deliveredin July 1927 that women in the organization would work until theirdeath towards the goal of obtaining electoral rights (Toska 1998: 84–5).The speech caused much controversy, with some members arguingthat the association should continue to do philanthropic work ratherthan pursue political goals. The government was completely opposedto Nezihe Muhiddin’s political demands (Caporal 1982: 694). The con-troversy was resolved when Nezihe Muhiddin and other activist womenwere removed from the leadership of the association in September 1927.A new leader, Latife Bekir, was elected following the departure of SadiyeHanim, and cooperated fully with the government. After the government granted women suffrage rights in 1934, LatifeBekir and others in the administration followed Mustafa Kemal’s Repub-lican People’s Party’s advice to dissolve the Women’s Union Association(Durakbasa 1998: 39). The association was dissolved in 1936. Accordingto Latife Bekir, women were now granted all their rights by the gov-ernment. Therefore, there was no longer a women’s question in Turkey,and no reason for a separate women’s association (Toprak 1986: 24–9).With the closing of the Women’s Union Association, the possibility oforganizing autonomous women’s organizations was brought to an end,along with any independent voice for women. Although women weregranted suffrage rights, and 18 women were elected to parliament in the
    • 162 Islam’s Marriage with Neoliberalism1935 general elections, there was only one woman within this electedgroup from the former leadership of the Women’s Union Association.Nezihe Muhiddin, Sukufe Nihal, and other leading women activistswere not even approved as candidates for the Republican People’s Party(Toska 1998: 85). And Nezihe Muhiddin’s attempt to be elected as anindependent was not supported by the single party-government regime(Durakbasa 1998: 39). After the amendment of the Law of Associations in 1948, the TurkishWomen’s Union Association was reopened in 1949. It reaffirmed itscommitment to the cultural development of women and the strength-ening of women’s political rights granted by the state (Caporal 1982:653–4). However, women were not able to shake off the legacy of theprevious era. The years from 1936 to the 1970s were considered the corakyillar (the barren, wasted years) in women’s political activism (S. Tekeli1998: 337–8). After passing through the ‘restless years’ of the 1970s(Ecevit 2007: 192–5), the growth of a women’s autonomous movementin Turkey began again in the 1980s (Celik-Levin 2007). Islamic women’sactivism towards lifting the headscarf ban also flourished during thepost-1980s period. It challenged the old Kemalist state by question-ing the authority of the Kemalist moral order and its political alliancestructure.Kemalist women: An urban, educated eliteAlthough the Kemalist elite initially singled out urban and Istanbulluwomen for being unaware of the genuine Turkish culture of Anatolia, itwas in fact the women from urban centres in general, and Istanbulluwomen in particular, who benefited the most from Kemalist reforms.They embraced the Kemalist social change programme with remark-able fervour in an effort to situate the personal dimension of theirlives within modern social patterns. They became triumphant, dis-playing a confident image of modernity with no sense of uncertaintyor ambivalence, while the once glorified rural–peasant women of theAnatolian hinterland were left with the image of religious obscuran-tism. Iffet Halim, a well-known figure from the Turkish Women’s UnionAssociation of the 1930s, has expressed this new image of urban,Istanbullu women: Today, women in the cities are wearing hats, they have become doctors, lawyers, workers, journalists . . . In comparison, rural women continue to follow the same path they did 200 years ago; despite all
    • Kemalist State Feminism and the Islamic Dress Code 163 these efforts, they are in the work force in the fewest numbers, and have become humiliated and ignorant to the highest degree. (Iffet Halim 1933: 13–14, quoted in Toska 1998: 86, my translation)Because of their privileged position within Kemalism, urban womenfrom large cities gave themselves a ‘celebrity status’ (Kurzman et al.2007) as the protectors and executors of the Kemalist social–culturaltransformation. Despite this privileged status as possessors of Kemalistknowledge within the cultural hierarchy, these women did not enjoyan autonomous existence within the Kemalist state. In fact, they weresubmerged within a cultural space controlled by the state. Althoughvoiceless as autonomous agents of their own rights, they intended touplift rural, Anatolian women from their perceived condition of back-wardness. But, Kemalist women trusted neither the cultural conditionnor the Muslim religious beliefs of rural, Anatolian women. Without thistrust, Muslim women were defined as ‘strangers’ (Simmel 1971) withinthe cultural management of the Kemalist celebrity status hierarchy. Inthe current politics of the headscarf ban, it is Kemalist women, thoughvoiceless for themselves, who are active in fighting against Muslimwomen’s demand for the right to wear the headscarf at school. Identify-ing themselves with the Kemalist state, they in a way represent an ‘elitewomen’s hegemony’ (Abadan-Unat 1998: 332) over Islamic women. Anepistemological debate now rages over the ethical–political meaning ofwomen’s coverage as well as the hegemonic status of Kemalist, Ataturkcuwomen. This is the theme of the next chapter.
    • 6Politics Without Guarantees∗:The Headscarf BanFor almost three decades now, since the 1980 military coup, thewomen’s headscarf issue has figured prominently in the ongoing debateover Islam’s increasing presence in the public sphere in Turkey. Womenwho wear the Islamic headscarf insists that it helps them make sense oftheir public life experience, while others view it as a symbol of polit-ical Islam. With the exception of a few scholarly works on the subject(Abu-Lughod 1986/2000; Hoodfar 1997; Mahmood 2005; Ozdalga 1997;Saktanber 2002), the headscarf remains largely unexamined from thepoint of view of the people who embrace it. This chapter and the nextexamine how the headscarf acquires meaning in the Islamic refashion-ing of social life. I consider how Islamic groups encounter the ‘secular’institutions and social practices of public space, although it is notentirely clear what the secularity of that space consists of (Taylor 2007),nor how these groups reconfigure a public ethos of engagement withvarious conceptions of public life. In the present chapter, I draw my data from pro-Islamic and left-leaning newspapers, periodicals, research reports, and literary writings,as well as published material collected from various Islamic groups andorganizations. Additional data includes public statements and commen-tary given by reporters and editors. A textual analysis of this sourcematerial enables me to draw a general picture of dominant Islamic views.I do not dwell on particular references, nor do I examine the specificform in which these materials are presented. My goal here is to illus-trate an Islamic figuring of transformational politics by examining how ageneral Islamic normative position is being shaped around the women’sheadscarf issue.∗ I borrowed this formulation from Patel and McMichael (2004: 251). 164
    • Politics Without Guarantees: The Headscarf Ban 165 The struggle over the women’s headscarf is constitutive of the Islamicpolitical renegotiation of the secular public domain defined by theKemalist state. Women continue to contest laik practices and the mean-ing attached to the headscarf by the state. However, their contestationtakes place within the larger male-dominated Islamic politics of statetransformation. The women’s headscarf issue is also profoundly con-tingent upon the specific response of Islamic groups to the challengethey face from the laik state bureaucracy. Islamic groups either committhemselves to an oppositional movement or abandon women’s concernsunder the risk of threats by the state. In either case, women’s headscarfpolitics is without guarantees in producing a coherent transformationaloutcome outside of the state-nationalist position of Turkish–Islam. Women’s Islamic clothing has been subject to strongly contested ideason whether it is a backward movement directed against modernity thatthreatens laiklik, or a liberating movement which enlarges the scope ofindividual rights and freedoms and contributes to the democratizationprocess. This highly contested political issue involves questions aboutthe possibility of reasserting the Kemalist form of knowledge as domi-nant in the present, on the one hand, and revising the Kemalist frame topermit political renegotiations over the reinterpretation of the past andthe present, on the other. Islamic groups have the potential to unravelthe Kemalist normative authority of laiklik which has been premised onan arbitrary distinction between private and public domains. The objective of the Islamic ‘strategic practice of criticism’ is the rein-terpretation of ‘the present with a view to determining whether (andhow) to continue with it in the future’ (Scott 1999: 7). This requiresthe Islamic articulation of an ethical–political life that assigns a spe-cific meaning to the politics of existential resentment in the intersectionbetween state sovereignty, morality and history. It entails ‘interpretivejudgment’ (Connolly 2005: 127) with a mix of moral values, norma-tive practices, desires, passions, and incentives that foster a public ethosin refiguring futures, although the outcome is unknown and withoutguarantees. Grounding their interpretive judgement in the ‘modern’ social imagi-nary of individual human rights and freedoms discourse, Islamic womenhold the headscarf to be constitutive of a register of legitimacy thatgives religion a role in public life. For them, Kemalism is a source ofmoral ‘disembeddedness’ from social life whose authority over the pub-lic sphere must be questioned. However, without a commonly held viewof what the ethos of public engagement might be, an Islamic effort tocountervail the public authority of Kemalism to produce an imagery of
    • 166 Islam’s Marriage with Neoliberalisma social change appears uncertain. The analysis in this chapter enablesus to better assess the power plays involved in the Islamic reconfigura-tion of a social change project. The political engagement of both laikand Islamic men with the women’s headscarf issue has implications forpolitical discourse which bear directly on the execution of state power.It is in the nexus between the Kemalist bureaucratic deployment of statepower and an Islamic refashioning of a conceptual terrain of individ-ual freedoms and human rights that questions arise as to whether andhow the headscarf can raise expectations and provide opportunities fora new form of culture and society. This of course brings forth the ques-tion of Islam’s relevance to ‘democracy’ as one of the most significantand contested issues discussed in relation to Turkey’s EU membership.Islamic transformative resistanceFor 40 years, Islamic groups have been reformulating the women’s head-scarf issue around a ‘cultural turn’ (Bonnell and Hunt 1999), from theauthoritarian laik knowledge structure of the state to the epistemologyof democratic rights and freedoms. Moving outside the cultural binaryof modern versus reactionary, the headscarf issue has introduced a newepistemology into the debate – with epistemology being defined as ‘thebody of rules and criteria used to evaluate whether [demands to wearthe headscarf] should count’ (Somers 1999: 124) as democratic rights.Islamic women and men who redefine the headscarf within the indi-vidual rights frame of liberal democracy have subjected Kemalist rule to‘the test of epistemological accountability and credibility’ (Somers 1999:124). In questioning various forms of state repression, these groupshave developed what Stephen Gill calls, in an entirely different context,‘transformative resistance’ (2007: 117). In this case, resistance is directedagainst Kemalist state practices in the hope of constructing a cultureof social change. This has been evident since the headscarf ban whichwas introduced after the 1980 military coup. Islamic women have subse-quently moved the platform of resistance from public demonstrations,hunger strikes, and letter writing campaigns onto a legal foundationin the courts, where they have articulated a clear political demandconnecting Islamic social imagery to their desire ‘to live in a democracy.’ There is no shared Islamic ‘position’ on the headscarf ban, nor asingle, unified form of agency. The formulation of Islamic demandsis a context-bound process within which Islamic normative theoriz-ing makes sense in relation to specific circumstances. The normative–political meaning of the headscarf depends on the historical formation
    • Politics Without Guarantees: The Headscarf Ban 167of a particular administrative–bureaucratic context of laiklik at a givenperiod of time. It may be formulated as a matter of religious expression,freedom of conscience, and embodiment of cultural practice, on theone hand, or as a matter of democratic citizenship, individual rights,and social justice, on the other. In a manner similar to that describedby Gramsci (1928/1971: 123–205) in The Modern Prince when explain-ing the role of pedagogical and political work in the emancipatorypolitics of social movements, Islamic groups are active in the peda-gogical task of cognitively connecting a Kemalist understanding of theheadscarf issue to the state’s violation of human rights. When theydemand that the state be held accountable for the democratic rightsof individuals, Islamic groups seek to politically alter the form of soci-ety and the state. In this way they develop an idea about the ‘state’sresponsibility to cultural difference’ as a concept of epistemic privilege.This captures both ‘normative political values and normative politicalobjectives’ (Scott 1999: 135) in their formulation of a position on theheadscarf issue. The most active players within the headscarf movement are young,female university students. They have been the most organized force ina headscarf movement that has developed into both a pedagogical anda political process. In response to the headscarf ban, these women havefirmly embraced the religious dimension of their social existence andcalled for greater freedom of expression and conscience in an attempt toalter the existing state practice of laiklik. I will turn to this argument inthe next chapter. Significantly, Islamic women’s politics on the headscarf ban is entan-gled with Islamic men’s politics. The Islam-sensitive AKP and the pro-Islamic Welfare Party (WP) before it, as well as other male-dominatedIslamic groups, have also defined the headscarf ban in terms of women’s‘democratic rights.’ However, the military and the judicial bureaucracyhave placed both the AKP and the former WP under suspicion ofanti-laik charges. As a result, the leadership cadres in these politicalparties have chosen to withdraw their attachment to the concept of‘state responsibility to cultural difference,’ both as a normative politi-cal value and as a normative political objective. When threatened bythe state bureaucracy, the survival of Islamic political parties appearsto be more important than the pursuit of an Islamic transformativepolitics. In deciding to pursue or not to pursue a transformational pol-itics around the women’s headscarf issue, Islamic political parties andtheir male leadership have greater political agency over women’s issues.However, this is more complex than it might appear.
    • 168 Islam’s Marriage with Neoliberalism In Gramsci’s formulation, political agency refers to the movement itselfrather than specific political organizations, political parties, and actualindividuals (Gill 2007: 117). There is a large space of micro-politics inwhich potentially millions of what Gramsci called ‘organic intellec-tuals’ operate in the social milieu of daily life practices. In our case,this micro-political space contains female university students, as well asmembers of the Islamic symbolic class of religious orders, intellectuals,and journalists. The political agency of the headscarf movement doesnot refer to a concrete person, but combines a multiplicity of forces,organizations, institutions, and individuals mobilized to refashion someof the conditions underlying the power plays in society and the state.A process both pedagogical and political combines a variety of elementsthat interact simultaneously in constituting the movement. As shownby Aminzade et al. (2001), there is a myriad of dimensions to suchmovements – opposition, resistance, repression, opportunity, conces-sions, and so forth. In the headscarf movement, where state bureaucraticcadres perceive the integrity of the Kemalist order to be under continu-ing threat by Islamic forces, the use of the state’s power of repressionassumes permanent status. Working under the coercive exigencies ofongoing struggle, the forces of the Islamic movement, in response, havenot produced a single unified resistance either. Therefore, the headscarfmovement continues to constitute a politics without guarantees. Although they have not retreated entirely, nor gone underground,and while they remain focused on a ‘democratic rights’ platform, Islamicgroups pursue different agendas and tactics within various factions ofthe movement. Some have chosen to seek transformation on the polit-ical path, while others have chosen to promote the headscarf issue as amoral, cultural matter divorced from the political realm. Under threatby the Constitutional Court, the male-dominated AKP leadership haschosen to untangle itself from the ‘transformative resistance’ politics ofthe headscarf movement. This may lead the party to deal with women’sheadscarf concerns as a cultural–moral issue, leaving the question ofstate transformation outside of its balance of power politics. It mayalso lead university students who seek change to gain greater politi-cal agency of their own and develop a more focused resistance. Forexample, the women who founded the Ak-Der and Ozgur-Der as non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in 1999 decided to pursue theirown struggles against the headscarf ban independent of Islamic men.(This will be examined more deeply later in the chapter.) Under eitherscenario, the Islamic refashioning of the future remains highly complexand uncertain.
    • Politics Without Guarantees: The Headscarf Ban 169 Ali Bulac, an Islamic columnist for the liberally oriented pro-IslamicZaman newspaper, has defined the AKP’s current distancing of itself fromheadscarf politics as a sign of its submission to the ‘invisible powerof the administrative-bureaucratic center’ (Bulac 5 August 2008, mytranslation). And Etyen Mahcupyan (15 August 2008), an Armenian-Turkish columnist writing for the same pro-Islamic newspaper, hassuggested that both the administrative–bureaucratic cadres and thesocial democratic Republican People’s Party have perpetuated the notionof a permanent Islamic danger, defining Islamic groups as a constant‘threat’ to the laik state. This fear-mongering has been used to justify anever-ending state of emergency in Turkey. Goldstone and Tilly (2001:181) define ‘threat’ as ‘an independent factor whose dynamics greatlyinfluence how popular groups and the state act in a variety of conflictsituations.’ Therefore, the idea of an ‘Islamic threat’ shapes the state’srepressive actions against students and their supporters in the headscarfmovement. In its response to the perceived ‘threat’ of Islamic groups,the state itself becomes a ‘threat’ and source of repression, causing somegroups to respond with a mix of concessions, retreat, and/or radicalism. Mahcupyan (15 August 2008) further argues that the notion of anIslamic threat against laiklik, which is used to justify a state of emer-gency, has also created a permanent discursive condition for militarycoups in Turkey. The military has intervened in politics using a vari-ety of ‘creative’ pretexts since the 1980 military coup. In the currentperiod, the military has not openly declared a coup, but is engagingin what can only be called ‘slow-motion coup-making that extends thecoup over a prolonged period of time’ (Kenes 30 June 2008; Mahcupyan15 August 2008). This slow-motion coup has generated a permanentcondition of bureaucratic monitoring in Turkish politics. Although theAKP is the democratically elected government, it seems that Turkey hasactually been ruled in the context of a unique type of coup for thelast year and a half. The most sensitive issue is the demand by Islamicgroups to lift the headscarf ban. For Bulac (5 August 2008), such circum-stances mean that the military–judicial bureaucratic cadres have takenthe AKP hostage over the Islamic threat idea. Given this situation, thesecularized, Kemalist segments of society, including the social demo-cratic and ultra-nationalist fractions of political parties and women’sorganizations, which would otherwise prefer ‘democracy’ to a militarycoup, support the military bureaucratic monitoring of society becausethey know that ‘democracy’ guarantees the AKP will remain a major-ity government. On the other hand, a variety of Islamic groups aresupportive of a more ‘democratic’ politics that opposes state repression.
    • 170 Islam’s Marriage with Neoliberalism On 9 February 2008, the AKP government successfully passed a billin parliament permitting female students to wear the headscarf at uni-versities. Shortly thereafter, on 14 March 2008 the bill was countered inan indictment submitted to the Constitutional Court by the Chief Pub-lic Prosecutor of the Supreme Court of Appeals. The indictment accusedthe AKP of undermining Turkey’s laiklik system and asked for a ban onthe party as well as a ban on the prime minister, president, and 69 otherparty members from participating in politics (see Chapter 1). The AKPavoided being closed down by the Constitutional Court when the courtruled against banning it on 30 July 2008. Nonetheless, the party wascertainly intimidated, as 10 out of the 11 judges on the ConstitutionalCourt agreed that the AKP has become a ‘focal point for anti-secularactivities and needs a strong warning’ (Simsek 2008). The AKP has alsolost half of its state funding because of the Constitutional Court’s deci-sion. Moreover, the decision included a clause stating that ‘if attemptsare [made by the AKP] in the future to take steps considered againstlaiklik, the chief prosecutor will immediately open a new closure case,in which the Constitutional Court will not [have] to examine it fromscratch, but [merely] continue from the previous case’ (Bulac 15 August2008, my grammar). My own belief is that the closure case has decisively shifted the bal-ance of power in favour of the high bureaucracy, thus weakening theAKP government’s ability to pursue a coherent social change policy. Forexample, Prime Minister Erdogan, in a conciliatory tone, has stated forthe first time in a public speech on 5 January 2009 that ‘laiklik mustbe embraced as one of the foundational, unchangeable principles of thestate the way it was defined in meaning and spirit by the Constitution’(Radikal 5 January 2009, my emphasis). Although still in government,the AKP, now under close bureaucratic surveillance, seems to be reducedto a state of powerlessness in pursuing a transformational policy onissues considered ‘sensitive’ for the future of laiklik. In the future, theAKP may therefore be reluctant to disturb the political alliance structureof the Kemalist state. Placed under the gaze of the state’s surveillancepanopticon, the usual suspect issues in the laiklik controversy – suchas the lifting of the headscarf ban – are now unlikely to be tackledagain soon. Under current conditions, the military–judicial bureaucracyhas succeeded in restoring the primacy of the Kemalist state over soci-ety. An intimidated AKP has shelved women’s headscarf concerns fornow and may decide in the future to avoid bureaucratic challenges.I believe Islamic women are the most likely societal group to continueprotesting against the headscarf ban rather than accept the condition of
    • Politics Without Guarantees: The Headscarf Ban 171passivity expected of them by both the state and Islamic political parties.A deeper examination of the headscarf ban provides an opportunity tocritically review the Islamic articulation of an epistemological positionwhich privileges the democratic rights of individuals over and beyondthe security of the state.The headscarf banThe Milliyet published a series of reports from 27 May to 18 June2003 titled the turban dosyasi (the turban file). These reports give usan indication of how widespread the use of the headscarf is in Turkey.Approximately 64.2 per cent of Turkish–Muslim women cover their hairwith the headscarf when outside their homes. And 77 women out ofevery 100 households wear the headscarf. Approximately two thirds ofthe 22 million women in Turkey over 17 years of age (about 14 millionin total) cover their hair when outside the home. Out of these 14 millionwomen, 11 million women define their head covering as a basortusu(headscarf), 2 million women define it as traditional coverage such asthe yasmak or Yemeni, 800 thousand women refer to their head cover-ing as a turban, and 270 thousand self-identify their coverage as a carsaf(Milliyet 27 May 2003). Clearly, the headscarf has widespread appeal formany women in Turkey. There has never been a law designed specifically to regulate women’sclothing in Turkey, nor an explicit constitutional ban on women wear-ing the headscarf at universities or anywhere else. There are onlyadministrative by-laws on a dress code accepted by governments orregulations set up at public institutions such as the Council of HigherEducation (YOK). These regulatory by-laws have restricted applicability.For example, by-laws regulating the clothing of state employees can onlybe applied to state employees. Similar regulations were established inrelation to students’ clothing after the 12 September 1980 military coup. Military generals have taken the issue of Muslim women’s head cov-ering into the legal arena, redefining the meaning of citizenship interms of a generic understanding of Islamic values and morals. In estab-lishing firm control over religion the military in Turkey has promotedthe notion of an ‘enlightened Islam’ within the state (see Chapter 3).Beginning in the early 1980s, the military expressed increasing concernthat the issue of the Islamic headscarf worn by students was evolvingoutside the sphere of an ‘enlightened Islam’ and becoming a politicalsymbol of an Islamic reactionary movement. For military coup leaderGeneral Kenan Evren, the headscarf symbolized an Islamic ‘threat’ to
    • 172 Islam’s Marriage with Neoliberalismthe state and needed to be banned. General Evren has said: ‘We willnot allow the headscarf at universities. We are determined. No oneshould talk about this issue any more’ (quoted in Aksoy 2005: 163, mytranslation). The military government has made a number of amendments tothe clothing by-laws pertaining to students and public employees.On 22 July 1981, the clothing by-law for elementary and high schoolstudents’ attire was amended. With the publication of the amendmentin the Resmi Gazete (Official Gazette) on 7 December 1981, female stu-dents were banned from entering classes wearing the headscarf (ResmiGazete 7 December 1981). In the same year, another amendment wasintroduced in Ministry of Education by-laws to regulate the clothingof employees and students in state schools. This amendment stip-ulated that students and employees were required to wear simple,‘contemporary,’ and ‘modern’ clothes in accordance with Ataturk’s prin-ciples (Resmi Gazete 7 December 1981). Since private universities hadnot yet spread throughout Turkey by the 1980s, this by-law required alluniversity students to remove their headscarves out of an assumptionthat they did not conform to modern design and an Ataturkcu line. Onthe basis of these amendments, the Ataturk University administrationdecided in 1981 to ban the wearing of any kind of clothing consideredan Islamic political symbol, including the headscarf. Subsequent to theban, 30 students who refused to take off their scarves were subject tocriminal investigation and detained by police (Aksoy 2005: 165). February 1982 saw the first outright ban on the headscarf when theYOK yielded to pressure by the military-led National Security Council(NSC). This by-law was fully implemented as of 10 January 1983.It required university police officers and security employees to inspectstudent clothing at university entrance gates (Aksoy 2005: 166). Thosewho did not comply with the by-law and insisted on wearing the head-scarf were not admitted to their schools. Some students who continuedto wear the headscarf were subject to further disciplinary measures bytheir university administrations, and even expelled. Still others decidedto leave school instead of exposing their hair. And some even choseto hide their hair by wearing a wig over their hair or headscarf. Thosewho did not wish to jeopardize their education revealed their hair.Whatever their final decision, all of these students endured a very diffi-cult, painful process of deliberation (see next chapter as well as Ozdalga’s1997 in-depth interview). YOK’s by-law was very harsh in its disciplinary measures. It was alsodifficult to implement and caused a public outcry. In 1983 when the
    • Politics Without Guarantees: The Headscarf Ban 173military regime came to an end and the Motherland Party was electedto form a civilian government, Prime Minister Turgut Ozal asked YOK tomodify its clothing by-law. YOK did amend it on 10 May 1984, therebyallowing students who chose to wear the headscarf to cover their hair ina ‘modern, contemporary’ way. This contemporary form of hair cover-ing came to mean the turban rather than the basortusu. The basortusu wasdefined as un-modern because it is a large headscarf covering the entirehead and shoulders and tied under the chin. The turban, which is tiedbehind the head revealing the neck and ears, was considered a more suit-able, contemporary form of head covering. This so-called modern styleof headscarf was socially rejected not only by the women themselvesbut by the media and others who ridiculed it. Thus, Ozal’s concilia-tory efforts failed to help young Islamic women who wished to coverthemselves return to the classroom. Islamic women wore the turban in a different style, folding it neatlyunder the chin to conceal the neck and completely cover the hair, ears,and back of the head. Three or four pins are often used to prevent thescarf from slipping and revealing the hair. In the case of the basortusu,the head, hair, and ears are also covered but the scarf is knotted underthe chin, sometimes revealing part of the neck. This form of headscarfis not held in place with pins. As a result, it may slip and reveal a smallportion of hair on the forehead. However, it should be noted that bothstyles fully reveal the face. Because of a lack of clarity, the new by-law which was introduced toallow the lifting of the 1982 headscarf ban merely introduced greatercomplexity into the debate. The discussion over the headscarf issue wasnow expanded to include the turban-laiklik connection and a woman’sright to cover her hair as a constitutionally guaranteed matter of free-dom of religion and conscience (paragraph 24 of the 1982 Constitution)(T.C. Anayasasi 1982). Nowhere in the by-laws are there any specifications as to the meaningof contemporary, modern clothing or how these clothes can be designedto confirm to the principle of laiklik. Nonetheless, these by-laws werejustified by reference to Article 2 of the 1982 Constitution which guar-antees laiklik as the founding principle of the Republic of Turkey, andArticle 174 which insures the unchangeability of Kemalist reforms, aswell as Article 10 which guarantees equality before the law, regardless ofrace, ethnicity, gender, or religion. The 1984 YOK by-law made an arbitrary distinction between basortusuand turban, symbolizing two opposing political positions in relation toIslam. From 1984 onwards, women wearing the headscarf came to be
    • 174 Islam’s Marriage with Neoliberalismaddressed as turbanlilar (women with a turban) in a way that discur-sively identifies their head covering as a political symbol of an Islamicreactionary movement against the state. In contrast, the basortusu cameto be associated with the innocence of ordinary Turkish–Muslim womenfrom Anatolia. These Anatolian women who were once despised byKemalists during the 1930s for being rural, ‘backward,’ and ‘traditional’have now come to represent purity, piety, and innocence before thestate. Interestingly, those who reject the turban often indicate that theyare not against the basortusu. They point out that their mothers andgrandmothers also cover their hair with the basortusu, which for themsymbolizes religiosity and piety. They repeat that they are only againstthe turban because it symbolizes the politicization of head covering byreactionary Islamic groups. This highly nuanced debate over the headscarf has contributed to thecreation of a bifurcated view of Anatolian women. Anatolian womenare divided between those who are religious, gracious, and ‘ladylike,’and turbanli women who are aggressive, disobedient, and rebellious.Young university students who wish to cover their hair and participatein the public sphere as professional women are viewed as reactionariesby the state, while poorly educated women in the domestic sphere ofthe household are seen as commendable. However, despite the political stigma attached to the turban, a major-ity of women in Turkey do not see it as problematic in any way. TheMilliyet (31 May 2003) reports that about 75.5 per cent of the generaladult population is against the headscarf ban in universities, and only6 million out of the 42–4 million in the total general adult populationview the turban as an expression of political Islam. Despite the ban, students remain unwilling to give up their head-scarves. As the number of students wearing the headscarf grew in theearly 1980s, President Kenan Evren (who retired from his military postto become President after the transition to a civilian regime in 1983)sent a warning to YOK calling attention to the growth of anti-laikreactionary activity in the country in general and in universities in par-ticular. In response, YOK passed another by-law in 1986 which bannedthe turban at school. The ban was justified on the grounds that ratherthan being a modern style of head cover, the turban was in fact mis-used as the basortusu, thereby becoming a political symbol of an Islamicreactionary movement. The amendment made in Article 7 of the higher education dis-ciplinary by-law stipulated that students should wear ‘contemporaryclothing’ at all times on university campuses, although it left the
    • Politics Without Guarantees: The Headscarf Ban 175interpretation of contemporary clothing to university administrations(Aksoy 2005: 172; Cinar 2005: 81; Ozdalga 1997: 482). On 8 January1987 the by-law was published in the Resmi Gazete and became legallyenforceable. On the same day university presidents in Turkey meetingin the Mediterranean city of Adana accepted a ban on the headscarf oncampuses across the country, including private universities. Students who did not comply with the new clothing by-law were to be‘convinced’ that they were in the wrong. Special rooms were designatedwhere students were asked to meet with university administrators to beenlightened and persuaded to remove their turban. These were knownas ikna odalari (persuasion rooms). If students insisted on wearing theirheadscarves after efforts were made to persuade them otherwise, theby-law stipulated that students were to be disciplined at the discretionof the university administration. In her novel Ikna Odasi, Yildiz Ramazanoglu (2008) describes women’sexperiences in these persuasion rooms as a form of psychological terror.The novel tells the stories of three friends who were forced to make thedifficult choice between removing their headscarves in order to continuewith their university education or wearing the headscarf and losing thechance for an education. Except for one student, Nermin, who refusedto take off her scarf, the other two friends in the novel chose to continuewith their education. It was a ‘humiliating’ experience for both of them.One ended up wearing a wig to hide her hair and the other decided toremove her scarf. The implementation of the 1987 by-law was highly arbitrary. Themeaning of ‘contemporary clothing’ was ambiguous, resulting in dif-ferent interpretations and inconsistent implementation of the by-law.The various political orientations and attitudes of university admin-istrations also contributed to the arbitrary application of the by-law.In some universities students were disallowed from attending classes.At others, students were removed from school for a limited period oftime, while still other schools expelled them totally. There was alsowidespread unease among students over implementation of the by-law. There is no accurate statistical data to show the actual number of stu-dents affected by the headscarf ban. According to then leader of theTrue Path Party, 80,000 students were expelled from school in 2004 asa direct outcome of the ban (Zaman Newspaper, 1 October 2004). Andthe number of teachers laid off from their jobs was estimated to be 5000(Bulac 2005: 33). Ali Bulac (2005: 33) argues that hundreds of thousandsof students have been expelled. Given that many of the students wear-ing headscarves did not attend classes regularly because of the ban, they
    • 176 Islam’s Marriage with Neoliberalismwere essentially disqualified from continuing their education. The fam-ilies of these students were also adversely affected. Many wanted theirdaughters to continue their education even it was necessary for them totake off their headscarves. However, as I show in the next chapter, someof these students have felt very uncomfortable about making such adecision. In short, the implementation of the clothing by-law has causedwidespread anxiety among students, their families, and other membersof society. I refer to this as headscarf madness. It is an expression of thesecular ‘panic’ associated with a perceived Islamic threat and plays aleading role in the binding power of the Kemalist state over society.It also generates considerable Islamic distrust against the state. (For anexcellent examination of a genealogy of panic disorder and state power,see Orr 2006.) Students affected by the ban have organized protest groups, demand-ing that university administrations and the government restore theirindividual human right to freedom of expression and conscience(R. Cakir 2000). In response to the protests, the Motherland Party gov-ernment passed a bill of amnesty on 16 November 1988. Studentsdisciplined under the 1987 YOK by-law and expelled from univer-sity were thereby allowed to return to school. The amnesty law alsoendorsed freedom of choice in clothing for students and universityteaching staff, providing the clothes did not violate Kemalist principlesand reforms guaranteed by Article 174 of the Constitution (Aksoy 2005:178). President Evren vetoed the law, arguing that no law can be passedwhich makes reference to religion. Subsequently, under the Mother-land Party government’s influence, YOK amended its by-law again on3 December 1988 to permit the wearing of the turban for religious rea-sons. The amendment was published in the Resmi Gazete on 4 December1988 (Aksoy 2005: 180). On 10 December 1988, parliament passed alaw allowing the headscarf and turban to be used as hair cover for reli-gious reasons. On 5 January 1989, the president challenged this rulingbefore the Constitutional Court. The court found the law unconstitu-tional on 7 March 1989 on the grounds that ‘allowing students to covertheir heads on religious grounds is against the principle of laiklik . . . ;a secular state cannot introduce a legal measure taking into account reli-gious convictions’ (Sentop 2008: 2). The decision was made by referenceto Articles 2, 10, and 174 of the Constitution. Article 10, which guar-antees equality before the law, regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, orreligion, was put forward by the Constitutional Court decision on thegrounds that legislation based on religious reasons violates the equalityprinciple. Subsequently, on 7 July 1989, the Council of State (Danistay)
    • Politics Without Guarantees: The Headscarf Ban 177repealed the YOK by-law of 1988 permitting the turban for religious rea-sons. However, after Ozal was elected President on 8 November 1989,YOK changed its by-law and gave authority over student discipline toindividual universities. As a result, with the exception of a few uni-versities which kept the ban, such as Istanbul University, women wereallowed to wear the headscarf while at school. The legal uncertainty with regard to the headscarf ban has becomemore complicated with the passing of Law No. 3670 on 25 October1990, a law concerning the establishment of the Directorate General onthe Status and Problems of Women (Ecevit 2007: 196). The Directoratewas created in accordance with the 1979 UN Convention on theElimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW)which Turkey ratified in 1985 (Celik-Levin 2007). In relation to theheadscarf ban, the Directorate acknowledged that Article 10 of theConstitution does not guarantee equality for women. Thus, consider-ing the prohibitive aspects of the headscarf ban, it is interesting thatLaw 3670 stipulated that all types of dress are allowed in institutionsof higher learning, provided they are not forbidden by law (Sentop2008: 2). Given Law 3670, Supplementary Article 17 which was addedto the YOK legislation adopted the same principle and annulled thedisciplinary measures taken previously by university administrations(Aksoy 2005: 191). Although a strongly secularist social democraticRepublican People’s Party appealed to the Constitutional Court, thecourt did not declare Article 17 unconstitutional. It argued that thefreedom of clothing clause in Law 3670 does not apply to the wear-ing of the headscarf or turban (Aksoy 2005: 195; Sentop 2008: 2). Withthis move, the Constitutional Court signalled that the wearing of theheadscarf or turban is an ‘exception’ to the freedom of dress clause(Kadioglu 2005b: 40, endnote 18). On the basis of Article 17 of theYOK legislation, many universities allowed students wearing the head-scarf to attend classes without facing much of a problem from 1990until the soft coup of 28 February 1997. However, the court’s rul-ing on the turban as an exception to the freedom of dress clause hasbeen used after the soft coup to apply a strict ban on headscarves inschools. As should be clear from this chronological account of the changesin clothing regulations, uncertainty and ambivalence define thestate’s response to the women’s headscarf issue. In contrast to theIranian model of state-sanctioned ‘compulsory veiling’ (Afshar 1998;Moghadam 1991) and the Egyptian model of ‘voluntary veiling’(Hoodfar 1997; Macleod 1991), the application of the headscarf ban in
    • 178 Islam’s Marriage with NeoliberalismTurkey swings back and forth between periods of relaxation and rigidenforcement. After a period of relaxing its disciplinary measures because of theintroduction of the 1990 law which established the Directorate Generalon the Status and Problems of Women, YOK again banned womenfrom wearing the headscarf at school in 1998. The ban was legallyjustified by reference to the 1991 Constitutional Court’s decision,although it was neither understood nor implemented as grounds fora ban until after the 1997 soft coup (Sentop 2008: 3). The 1998 banattached a symbolic, moral meaning to the headscarf prohibition,positioning the laiklik principle against an Islamic reactionary move-ment. However, the uncertainty and ambivalence over the legality ofthe headscarf ban continue to challenge the moral authority of theKemalist state. The military-dominated NSC has kept the headscarf issue a top policypriority by designating it the main axis of the laik-Islamist divide in poli-tics. Recommendation number 13 on the list of 18 recommendations bythe NSC (Decision No. 406) dealt with the implementation of the ban.It recommends that ‘practices that violate the attire law and might giveTurkey an anachronistic image must be prevented’ (Gunay 2001: 14).Following the recommendation, Turkey’s Higher Coordination Councilfor Human Rights ruled on 8 May 1998 that the headscarf is a symbol ofpolitical Islam and that banning it does not constitute a human rightsviolation (Gunay 2001: 14). The NSC’s definition of the women’s head-scarf as a political symbol effectively strengthened a laik conception ofpublic space as hegemonic, thereby helping to unite the general popu-lation around the state. For the NSC, the possibility of acknowledging aneed for what Connolly (2005: 7) calls ‘the institutional ethos of engage-ment’ between groups with different political–cultural orientations wasout of the question. Rather, the aim was to reduce the visibility of theheadscarf in the public sphere. Ideological adherence to the Kemalist principle of laiklik found itsexpression in YOK’s imposition of the headscarf ban. For YOK, theheadscarf ban on university campuses was absolutely necessary toclamp down on political Islam. It found its justification in the 1990Constitutional Court’s explanation of why the annulment appeal toArticle 17 on freedom of dress does not apply to students who wearthe headscarf. This was clearly expressed in a declaration issued by theCommittee of University Presidents a few days after the 28 February rec-ommendations. The declaration was titled ‘the Relevant Legislation onClothing in Higher Education Institutions and Legal Appraisals’ (Sentop
    • Politics Without Guarantees: The Headscarf Ban 1792008: 3). The ban was implemented in universities across Turkey as ofNovember 1999 and remains in effect. The NSC’s soft coup of 28 February 1997 was against the pro-IslamicWelfare Party (Refah Partisi – WP). The WP was the majority party withinthe RefahYol coalition government formed in June 1996 with the con-servative, nationalist True Path Party (Dogru Yol). The WP’s frequentsymbolic references to the headscarf as central to its politics, amonga number of other culturally sensitive issues, caused the party to be per-ceived as anti-laik. The Constitutional Court closed down the WP inJanuary 1998 on the grounds that the speeches of several party lead-ers were against the laik principles of the constitution. The WP wasreplaced by the Virtue Party (Fazilet Partisi – VP) which was itself closeddown in June 2001 on similar grounds (Carkoglu and Kalaycioglu 2007:26). The Felicity Party (Saadet Partisi – FP) was opened immediately afterthe closure of the VP in July 2001. The FP remained a marginal fac-tion representing a national view ideology within the Islamic movement.The AKP, which was founded in 2001, defined itself as a party withliberal–democratic convictions. Despite its electoral success in formingtwo successive majority governments, the AKP has come under closescrutiny by the military and judicial bureaucracy. Under the pressureof an intimidating state bureaucracy, the AKP has shown a tendency toabandon its liberal–democratic social change programme, including alifting of the headscarf ban, to adopt a more state-nationalist position –conciliatory with the actual possessors of state power – the military andjudicial bureaucracy (Alpay 2008). Rising state-protectionist bureaucratic nationalism has been instru-mental in the AKP’s stepping back from its transformative politics ofpolitical and constitutional reform. The AKP now finds it increasinglydifficult to tackle a wide range of issues that need to be addressed inrelation to Turkey’s EU membership. This includes freedom of associa-tion, the civilian oversight of military forces, wider issues on freedomof religion, and a new constitution (Commission of the EuropeanCommunities November 2008). The AKP also faces an intensifyingnational security discourse by state bureaucrats and hard-line nation-alist political parties. This has been of particular significance after the9 February 2008 parliamentary vote to amend Articles 10 and 42 of theConstitution – articles on equality before the law and the right to highereducation. These amendments allowed women wearing the headscarfto attend university. For Prime Minister Erdogan, the vote by parlia-ment was a triumph for democracy and justice, while for the judicialbureaucracy it was unconstitutional. In March, the Constitutional Court
    • 180 Islam’s Marriage with Neoliberalismplaced the AKP on trial with charges of potentially undermining laiklikin Turkey. In October 2008 the Constitutional Court published (in the ResmiGazete) its reasoning for the closure case against the AKP, arguingthat these amendments ‘indirectly change the fundamental character-istics of the Republican regime, which are outlined in Article 2 of theConstitution’ (Koker 2008: 2). The court has justified its decision thatthe AKP has become ‘a focal point for anti-secular activities’ by referringto parliament’s reasoning in making such amendments: [I]t is known that in our country some female students have been unable to exercise their to education at universities for a [consider- able] time because of the attire which is used to cover their heads. Training generations in accordance with the goal determined by Ataturk to achieve contemporary standards of civilization requires that all should be able to use their right to education without discrim- ination under the principle of equality before law. For these reasons it became necessary to make these amendments to Articles 10 and 41 of the Constitution. (Koker 2008: 2)The court has argued that these amendments introduced religion intopolitics and, thus, contributed to the possibility of them ‘leading topressure on people having different lifestyles, political opinions orbeliefs’ (Ozbudun 2008: 2). Although the notion that allowing studentsto wear the headscarf at university violates the rights of others, dis-rupts public order, and undermines laiklik is highly contentious, theConstitutional Court has used this reasoning both in the annulment ofthe constitutional amendments and in the closure case against the AKP. Through the cases on the headscarf issue and the closure of the AKP,the Constitutional Court has clearly shown that the state bureaucracycommands true possession of the state in terms of the ability to drafta completely new constitution and make amendments to the existingconstitution (Ozbudun 2008; cf. Insel 2007a and 2007b). Throughout2007 and 2008 this issue has been discussed extensively in Turkishnewspapers. The moderately Islamic Zaman newspaper and left-leaningRadikal share the opinion that the judicial bureaucracy has asserted itselfagainst parliamentary democracy, thus paving the way for an emergingsystem of juristocracy. According to Professor Ergun Ozbudun (2008: 1), who led a legal com-mission in 2007 to draft a new civilian constitution, the Constitutional
    • Politics Without Guarantees: The Headscarf Ban 181Court has defined the primary constituent power to make newconstitutions by reference to ‘the will . . . produced by interruptions inthe country’s political regime that occur due to various factors which areoutside the legal framework in terms of their emergence.’ For Ozbudun,this implies that a new constitution can only be drafted after such inter-ruptions as military coups and civil wars. According to Hasan Cemal(2007), writing in the social–democratic leaning Milliyet, these sortsof considerations define constitution making in Turkey as a militaryissue. The 1961, 1971, and 1981 Constitutions were all products ofmilitary coups drafted by constituent assemblies formed under mili-tary rule. For Cemal, these constitutions reflect ‘an extreme distrusttoward the Parliamentary Will and sovereignty of the people.’ Accord-ing to writers in the Radikal, the 1921 and 1924 Constitutions werealso non-civilian, a product of ‘the extraordinary circumstances’ ofthe state-making project by the military bureaucratic elite (Hur 2007).The 1876 Constitution of the Ottoman Empire appears to be the sin-gle exception to the militaristic pattern in constitution making inTurkish history (Ozgurel 2007). Ahmet Insel (2007a) summarizes themeaning of these examples in relation to the Turkish state: poweris exercised by the ‘parliamentary system [as] limited by the mili-tary . . . [with] the real possibility of [the military’s] intervention in thecountry’s political and social life.’ Thus, any attempt by the AKP tomake constitutional amendments is subject to close scrutiny by whatInsel (2007a) refers to as the actual ‘owners of the state’ – the statebureaucracy. Debate over the headscarf ban centred on the Kemalist principle oflaiklik has also spurred a discussion on whether the constitution shouldbe free from Kemalist ideology. As discussed extensively in Chapter 2,the Kemalist ideological principles formulated in the 1930s were knownas the ‘six arrows.’ These arrows frame the ideological outlook of theRepublican People’s Party. For those involved in drafting a new civilianconstitution in 2007, including Professor Ozbudun, the association ofthe six arrows with the Republican People’s Party creates an unfair com-petitive political environment for other political parties with differentideological outlooks and policy orientations. Furthermore, ideologicalengagement of the constitution with the six arrows creates the seri-ous problem of an undemocratic, authoritarian environment (Radikal6 August 2007) under the gaze of state bureaucrats. Another profes-sor of constitutional law, Zafer Uskup, also an AKP parliamentarian,has expressed similar concerns. However, because of his party affilia-tion, Uskup’s comments were taken as a sign that the AKP is against
    • 182 Islam’s Marriage with NeoliberalismKemalism, and by definition, against laiklik. For Ozbudun, this wasunfair. According to Ozbudun, rather than appealing to Kemalism as adynamic movement of modernization and social change, constitutionaldebates selectively centre on an authoritarian interpretation of laiklik.Both Ozbudun and Uskup argue that Kemalism should be removed fromthe constitution on the grounds that it is used to justify arbitrary bureau-cratic interventions. While a statist interpretation of laiklik is often usedin appeals to the Constitutional Court, other tenets of the six arrowssuch as economic statism (devletcilik), populism for a classless society,and revolutionarism are totally ignored. Even nationalism has cometo be redefined as Kemalist nationalism (Ataturk miliyetciligi), which isan extremely obscure concept. An ideologically motivated selection ofcertain principles of Kemalism is used to restrict the scope of a demo-cratic expression of rights and freedoms. This presents a statist version oflaiklik as the only way to protect the Turkish Republic and the Kemalistprinciple of republicanism (Oran 2007b). The obscurity of the position attached to Kemalist ideology in theconstitutional debates reinforces a range of penal and civil provisionsrestricting freedom of expression in Turkey. Article 301 and Article 305of the Turkish Penal Code are cases in point. Article 301 criminalizes theexpression of opinions that are thought to denigrate Turkishness, theRepublic, the government, the Grand National Assembly, the judicialinstitutions of the state, and military or security structures. Article 305criminalizes any expression presumed to harm fundamental nationalinterests, including independence of the state, its territorial integrity,national security and the fundamental characteristics of the TurkishRepublic – for example, secularism (IHOP 2008; International HelsinkiFederation for Human Rights 2006). These and other articles continueto undermine the human rights and freedoms of citizens in Turkey onthe grounds of protecting state sovereignty.Islamic human rights organizationsWomen opposed to the headscarf ban have been subject to the ebb andflow of power struggles between the male-dominated Islamic movementand Kemalist state bureaucrats. However, within the general history ofthe headscarf debate, these same women have also become politicizedin the process of pursuing their own interests against the executionof the ban. They have waged their struggle largely on the basis ofhuman rights violations by the state, with thousands of students filing
    • Politics Without Guarantees: The Headscarf Ban 183court applications. Some cases settled in favour of students have beenappealed by the state prosecutor to the Council of State, which hasupheld the legality of the ban. Challenging court decisions on the basisof human rights violations, some students have also taken their cases tothe European Court of Human Rights (ECHR). The ECHR became involved with the issue when two students com-plained that their university administrations had refused to take theirgraduation photographs while wearing a headscarf. Senay Karaduman, apharmacy student from Ankara University, applied to the ECHR in 1993,and Leyla Sahin, a medical student from Istanbul University, appliedin 2004. In both cases the ECHR ruled that Turkey did not violate theEuropean Convention on Human Rights. The banning of the headscarfon university campuses was deemed not to be against freedom of reli-gion because, according to the court, secular states have the right toprotect their institutions against anti-secular activities (Lule 2008: 18).The court declared that when a student chooses to attend a secular insti-tution, that student must comply with the secularism requirements ofthat institution. Islamic groups rejected the decision by the ECHR on thegrounds that there is no freedom of choice in Turkey given that all insti-tutions are laik by law. In the case of Leyla Sahin, the court referred toTurkey’s legal system and decided that the ECHR was in agreement withthe Constitutional Court and the Council of State decisions. (For a moredetailed discussion of the ECHR decision, see Aksoy 2005: 269–73.) Forthe ECHR, the public display of religious symbols such as the headscarfin universities, where a majority of students share the same religion,could be a vehicle of fundamentalist ‘oppression’ against non-practicingMuslim students or others with a different religious orientation (Aksoy2005: 271; Lule 2008: 18). The politicization of women who wear the headscarf in Turkey hasbeen ongoing for years. In fact, Islamic women were involved in variouscivil society organizations at the highest level in the 1990s. Women’sinvolvement in the pro-Islamic Welfare Party Ladies Commission in1989 and 1990 was the first step towards their active participation in pol-itics. With membership registration in the Welfare Party at nearly onemillion (Y. Arat 1999: 8), the intensity and extent of Islamic women’sactivism has been unprecedented compared to women’s involvementin any other political party or organization (Eraslan 2004; R. Cakir2000: 89–104). More than 18,000 Islamic women worked at the grass-roots level in the 1994 local elections in Istanbul alone (R. Cakir 2000:94). Since the mid-1990s the political experience gained through theWP was successfully used in the founding of Islamic NGOs. After the
    • 184 Islam’s Marriage with Neoliberalismclosing of the WP by the Constitutional Court in 1998, Islamic womenhave focused much of their organizational activism on women’s humanrights. There are now more than 300 associations, clubs, and foun-dations formed by Islamic women (Eraslan 2004). Included amongthem are Gokkusagi Kadin Platformu (The Rainbow Women’s Platform),founded in 1994 as an umbrella association with 46 organizations inIstanbul; Baskent Kadin Platformu (The Capital City Women’s Platform),founded in 1995 as an umbrella association with 14 organizations inAnkara (Y. Arat 1999: 83); Cinar Kadin Platformu, founded in 1995 asan umbrella association with 14 organizations in Bursa; and GuneydoguKadin Platformu, founded in Diyarbakir to focus predominantly onKurdish women’s problems in the southeast. All of these organizationswere created for the general improvement of women’s social status inTurkey, as stipulated within the context of Turkey’s ratification of theUN CEDAW agreement. Baskent Kadin Platformu’s efforts are also aimedat providing a counter-response to the ‘traditionalist’ ideas attributed toIslam concerning women’s subordination (R. Cakir 2000). Dr. HidayetSefkatli Tuksal, who received a Ph.D. from the Faculty of Theology ofAnkara University, is a founding member of the platform. There are also many secularly oriented women’s organizationsfounded to improve women’s status according to the CEDAW agreement(Ilkkaracan-Ajas 2008; see also Women for Women’s Human Rights –New Ways). Two of the more prominent secularly oriented organiza-tions are Women for Women’s Human Rights and Anayasa Icin KadinPlatformu (Women’s platform for constitutional change), which wasfounded in 2007 as an umbrella group with 86 women’s organizations.A quick survey of the mission statements of both the Islamic and sec-ularly oriented women’s organizations shows that they agree on theurgent need for implementation of the CEDAW policy prescriptionsin Turkey. They also both disagree with the basic assumption widelyheld by Kemalist state bureaucrats in general and the Kemalist TurkishWomen’s Unity Association in particular that women’s rights and equal-ity problems were solved in Turkey with the founding of the republicand the implementation of Kemalist reforms. Despite the consensushere, an ideological divide between Islam and secularism prevents thesegroups from developing a stronger solidarity network with which tobring about change in Turkey (S. Tekeli 1991). According to Ilkkaracan (2005), the CEDAW’s 2005 report on Turkeypoints to the fact that neither the constitution nor other relevantlaws of Turkey clearly define what constitutes discrimination againstwomen. This is an area in which Islamic women hope to position the
    • Politics Without Guarantees: The Headscarf Ban 185headscarf ban as an issue of discrimination and violation of humanrights. Secular women’s organizations are not concerned with the head-scarf issue. Their many areas of interest include equality rights, freedomof choice, violence against women, domestic violence, honour crimes,marital relations, sexual rights, labour market participation, educationof women, and political representation. They aim to achieve greatergender equality through policy formulation, research activity, and rapidproject implementation, as well as through legal, constitutional reformsand enforcement of existing laws (Celik-Levin 2007; Ilkkaracan 2005;Ilkkaracan and Amado 2004). Islamic women who wear the headscarf claim the ban discrimi-nates against them in terms of freedom of choice, equal opportunities,right to education, labour market participation, and political represen-tation. They have formed many different human rights organizationsto further their struggle against what they view as discrimination.Ak-Der and Ozgur-Der were both founded in 1999 as non-governmentalwomen’s organizations focusing on the single issue of the headscarfban. Ak-Der (a women’s rights organization against discrimination)and the Ozgur-Der (an association for freedom of thought and educa-tional rights) share the view that the headscarf is a women’s personaland cultural choice based on the pursuit of individual human rights.Maslum-Der (an organization supporting human rights and the soli-darity of oppressed people) was founded in 1991 and also deals withthe headscarf ban as a violation of women’s human rights. Maslum-Deris not exclusively a woman’s organization but was founded by thosewith an ideological attachment to Islamic politics. It is sensitive to theissue of the headscarf ban although it has a more comprehensive man-date on human rights violations in Turkey, including women’s humanrights. These organizations commonly emphasize the citizenship andhuman rights dimension of the headscarf issue in contrast to its religiousdimension. In order to provide a more detailed perspective on these organizations’approach to the headscarf ban, I will discuss Ak-Der and Maslum-Derin depth. My discussion is based on the organizations’ own pub-lished materials, as well as other newspaper publications and secondarysources.Ak-DerAk-Der was founded on 15 February 1999 as a ‘women’s rights organiza-tion committed to fighting discrimination.’ It also registered itself with
    • 186 Islam’s Marriage with Neoliberalismthe United Nations (UN) on 25 July 2008 as an NGO with a specialconsultative status on women’s human rights in Turkey. Its fundingcomes from membership subscriptions and donations received in com-pliance with the laws of Turkey. Ak-Der was founded by a group ofwomen who were discriminated against as students, lawyers, medicaldoctors, teachers, and professors. It has no affiliation with a politicalparty. The President of Ak-Der, Dr. Refia Kizilhan, has written in theorganization’s mission statement that the educational rights of studentswearing the headscarf have been taken away and the right to work ofprofessional women has been denied, all because of their attire (Ak-der2005). Among these women is Fatma Benli, a lawyer and vice-Presidentof Ak-der who earned her law degree before the strict implementa-tion of the headscarf ban. She was unable to complete her two yearsof graduate education because of the ban. A 300-page master’s thesisoral defence was scheduled for her at Istanbul University law school, forwhich she was required to take off her headscarf. She refused to removeit, and the defence committee in turn refused to take her to the defence(Tavernise 2008). Ak-Der promotes the human rights of Islamic women who wish towear the headscarf and maintain their access to education and employ-ment without compromising their religious beliefs. Ak-Der took on morethan 600 cases for women claiming violation of their human rightsbecause of the headscarf ban, out of 30,000 similar cases in the courts(Eraslan 2004: 823–4). Ak-Der’s focus on women’s human rights links the headscarf issue tothe notion of fundamental human rights of freedom and equality asspecified in the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights. As an NGOregistered with the UN, Ak-Der appropriates the declaration’s statementon citizenship rights which asserts that ‘everyone is entitled to real-ization, through national effort, and international co-operation and inaccordance with the organization and the resources of each state, theeconomic, social and cultural rights indispensable for his dignity andthe free development of his personality’ (McMichael 2004: 19). By tak-ing a strong stand on a woman’s free choice to dress, Ak-Der articulatesthe women’s headscarf issue as a matter of Muslim morality definednot by reference to Islamic texts but by reference to the principles ofequality, individual rights, and freedoms. For Ak-Der, the headscarf banconstitutes an arbitrarily defined and executed obstruction of women’sindividual rights. It has no legal grounding. Therefore, it aims to fightthe ban on a legal basis as an issue of justice. It promotes its positionthrough books, newsletters, position papers, press releases, reports, and
    • Politics Without Guarantees: The Headscarf Ban 187survey results, as well as through DVD, CD, VCD releases, YouTube, andInternet blogs. In an effort to raise social sensitivity and awareness ofwomen’s human rights violations, Ak-Der also organizes protest marchesand public demonstrations, all within the frame of ‘Press Conferencesand Meetings and Demonstration Law.’ In addition, Ak-Der offers counselling services for women who wearthe headscarf and wish to continue their education abroad. Even thoughthe total number is not known, Sibel Eraslan (2004: 820–1) estimatesthat since 2000 there have been approximately 3500 women who havetravelled abroad to study because they were not permitted to attendclasses in Turkey. Those students with the personal financial means tocontinue their education abroad are of course able to circumvent theban. Prime Minister Erdogan’s daughter who is studying in the USA is aprime example. Some women from lower socio-economic backgroundsare able to study abroad with the financial assistance of Islamic NGOs.WONDER is one such supporting organization. It is an international stu-dents association founded in 2000 in Vienna, Austria. Its membershipconsists of both men and women. The founding 12 members of WON-DER are Turkish students who travelled to Vienna for their universityeducation in 2000. They became known as the ‘first 12’ (Maden 2008).WONDER owns dormitories and provides counselling and scholarshipsfor students to study in various locations across Europe. There are 200women who wear the headscarf among the 700 members of WONDER.WONDER is known to be funded by donations from Islamic groups,although its donation sources are not specified in any of its availablepublications. Ak-Der has no known organizational ties with WONDER,but it provides information and legal support for women who wishto go abroad for their education. Ak-Der (2008) has listed the namesand accompanying stories of 17 female students who have earned theirdiplomas in European countries through WONDER’s financial support.Among the names listed is that of Leyla Sahin, who complained aboutTurkey’s headscarf ban to the ECHR. Sahin earned her medical degreein Austria. According to AK-Der, many of these students have obtainedtheir degrees from universities in Austria, Hungary, and Romania,because WONDER finds it easier to arrange for admission of Turkishstudents under the administrative regulations of these countries. HIT,or International Education Consultant, is another organization whichoffers study opportunities abroad. It was founded in Istanbul in 1993by the secularly oriented Dogan Group. HIT provides education coun-selling and placement for students in North America, Australia, NewZealand, Malaysia, and Europe. It is not an Islamic organization but it
    • 188 Islam’s Marriage with Neoliberalismdoes tap into the growing market of Islamic students. HIT advertiseswidely on Islamic Websites and in publications for Islamic students whoare unable to study in Turkey. Both WONDER and HIT place studentsin schools whose degrees are approved by YOK as equivalent to those ofTurkish universities. According to Fatma Benli, the headscarf ban has no legal groundingbut reflects a secularist fear of political Islam. According to Benli, [T]his has nothing to do with secularism [laiklik] versus Islam . . . in real secularism, you can do what you want and wear what you want . . . This is all about classism. This is about people who lived in nice neighbourhoods, shopped in nice stores and saw us people from the countryside moving in. So they used the headscarf as a pretext. (Mackinnon Globe and Mail 21 July 2008)This signals a new image of Anatolian women who wear the head-scarf and wish to have a place in the public sphere of educationand employment. According to Yildiz Ramazanoglu (2004), a Muslimwoman researcher and writer who also wears the headscarf, the newAnatolian women with high aspirations challenge the Kemalist socialimagery of modern women. That imagery expects women wearingIslamic clothing to remain in the domestic sphere, while uncoveredwomen who adopt a European-style dress code move forward into thepublic realm and represent women’s embodiment of Kemalist reforms.In an interview by New York Times journalist Tavernise, Fatma Benliargues that the ban actually pushes Turkey backwards by locking womenlike herself out of skilled professions, permitting them few opportunitiesin the public realm of employment (Tavernise 2008). Benli adds that theban has caused women to retreat: ‘ “There’s a sense of defeat,” she said.“Now the objective is to have a family, to make a nice marriage. Theydo not have the ideals we once had” ’ (Tavernise 2008). Despite the sense of defeat, some women in Islamic clothing are notwilling to be associated with an image of Anatolian women as mothersand wives socially confined within the domestic sphere of the house-hold. In another interview with Globe and Mail journalist Mackinnon,Fatma Benli argues that although the ruling elite has constructed theheadscarf politically as a symbol of Islamic threat, it represents theupward social mobility of Anatolian populations. The headscarf repre-sents a class rivalry between the old bourgeoisie in large cities such asIstanbul and Ankara, and the newly emerging bourgeoisie of smallerAnatolian cities. In the same interview Benli argues that Kemalist
    • Politics Without Guarantees: The Headscarf Ban 189women are historically viewed as better-educated and moneyed womenof high socio-economic status from large cities such as Istanbul andAnkara. They are the ‘White Turks’ of Kemalist Turkey, a colloquial termwhich has nothing to do with skin colour but refers to a cultural hier-archy in Turkish society (cf. Arat-Koc 2009). In that hierarchy, devout,relatively poor women from the Anatolian hinterland who wear Islamicclothing are often dubbed ‘Black Turks’ (Mackinnon 2008). This sug-gests that students who wear the headscarf are a visible reminder for‘White Turks’ that the Kemalist cultural hierarchy is slowly being turnedupside down. The old Kemalist elite now feels threatened by the socialmobilization of Muslim groups repositioning themselves in society asa culturally distinct fraction of the newly emerging Anatolian upperclasses.Maslum-DerThere are many politically diverse human rights organizations foundedsince the 1990s in the context of Turkey’s push for EU membership.Most welcome the EU’s scrutiny of the country’s human rights records.Many of these organizations are left-leaning and secular, sharing a sim-ilar human rights understanding to that of the EU (Duncker 2006).The most prominent human rights organizations in Turkey includeIHD (Insan Haklari Dernegi – Human Rights Association) which wasfounded in 1986, TIHV (Turk Insan Haklari Vakfi – Turkish Human RightsFoundation) which arose in 1990, and the Maslum-Der founded in 1991.The IHD, founded by a number of intellectuals and mothers of politicalprisoners, focuses on prison conditions, disappearances, political andother unlawful killings, torture, internally displaced people, rights ofthe disabled, asylum seekers and refugees, as well as the right to freedomof expression and peaceful association. The TIHV, founded by the IHDand medical professionals, provides treatment and rehabilitation for tor-ture victims. The Maslum-Der was founded by a group of 54 Islamicand nationalist individuals as an alternative to the left-leaning, secu-lar human rights organizations in Turkey. It shares similar goals to theIHD and cooperates with them in its activities. (For more details see:International Helsinki Federation for Human Rights 2006.) The Maslum-Der began its work by focusing on right-wing politicalprisoners and has increasingly become known as a moderate Islamichuman rights organization. It derives its finances from subscriptionfees collected from members, as well as donations. It is completelyindependent from the state and other political parties. Together with
    • 190 Islam’s Marriage with Neoliberalismthe IHD, TIHV, the Helsinki Citizens’ Assembly (HCA), and AmnestyInternational – Turkey, the Maslum-Der is the founding member ofthe Human Rights Joint Platform (Insan Haklari Ortak Platformu –IHOP), founded in 2005 to strengthen the capacity of a human rightsmovement in Turkey (Bianet Haber Merkezi 16 August 2005). In contrast to Islamic women’s human rights organizations, theMaslum-Der does not focus solely on the effects of the headscarf banon women. Although it is sensitive to the issue, for the Maslum-Derit is unacceptable to ignore other issues surrounding women’s humanrights such as gender-based wage discrimination, honour killings, andpolice harassment of Kurdish women. Its wider human rights agendais expressed in its founding slogan: ‘on the side of all oppressed andagainst all oppressors’ (Maslum-Der Mission Statement). In fact, thechoice for the name of the organization reflects its overall orientation:the Turkish word maslum means ‘the oppressed’ in English. Maslums areall those individuals and groups whose rights are violated. Accordingto Maslum-Der (Mission Statement: 1), any attempt to restrict humanrights that cannot be justified on the principles of human dignity andjustice constitutes oppression and a violation of human rights – whetherthose limitations are economic, social, legal, psychological, cultural, orany other de facto reason. Consequently, the Maslum-Der defines allviolations of human rights as within its scope of interest. This is clearlyexpressed on page 2 of its mission statement: The members of Maslum-Der work towards the achievement of eco- nomic and cultural rights; the right to education; women’s rights; the right to health; child’s rights; consumers rights; the right to assembly and to organizing; freedom to travel and settle and the right to a healthy environment as well as a right to life; individual freedom; right to justice and right to a just trial; right to equality; freedom of religion; freedom of thought; freedom of the press; and the right to seek refuge and minority rights. We believe that this is the way to develop an efficient and encompassing human rights struggle. (My grammar)Although Maslum-Der is a general human rights watch organization,it is in the context of the 28 February 1997 soft-coup which demandedrigid implementation of the headscarf ban that the Maslum-Der came tobe identified with Islamic issues. For Ayse Kadioglu (2005b: 35), its sensi-tivity to the concerns of Islamic women and its definition of the ban as ahuman rights violation contributed to Maslum-Der’s current reputation
    • Politics Without Guarantees: The Headscarf Ban 191as a pro-Islamic organization. I believe that the underlying concept ofhuman rights is what differentiates the Maslum-Der from other secularlyoriented human rights organizations. For the Maslum-Der, human rights constitute the common issue forall humanity. It defines the universality of human rights by reference todivine law. According to its mission statement: Maslum-Der believes that human rights are universal, and that the source of human rights is the fact that individuals were created as human beings. Thus, natural law – divine law – constitutes the foun- dation of human rights . . . Human rights are rights bestowed by God, without any exception, to every individual with full equality in line with human dignity. (Mission Statement: 1)With an emphasis on God’s divine law, the Maslum-Der does not takethe 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) as the basis fora claim of universal human rights. According to its mission statement,the UDHR cannot be universal. The UNHR is a tool in the post-SecondWorld War reorganization of international politics under western cul-tural and political hegemony. It reflects an aspect of western culturalvalues which appears to justify the West’s right to intervene in the affairsof countries in the Islamic world, South East Asia and Far East whichpossess different cultural and religious orientations. For the Maslum-Der, the UDHR is an instrument of domination by western powers,whereas the universal claim of human rights should constitute the com-mon issue for all humanity. The underlying notion of human rights forthe Maslum-Der is God’s law. This is a claim to religious universality butwithout a culture-religion-specific demand of exclusiveness. Interestingly, although it does not base its notion of the universalityof human rights on the UDHR, the Maslum-Der agrees with the UDHRfor conferring on a person ‘the status of a subject of law beyond domes-tic jurisdiction’ (Lindgren Alves 2000: 478, quoted in McMichael 2009:24). This extends the same set of rights to all people and regards allpeople as equal. Similarly, the Maslum-Der’s mission statement iden-tifies human rights as basic human values possessed by every humanbeing. Human rights are thus universal and egalitarian. According to theUDHR’s definition, human rights are universal but individual nation-states are responsible for the realization of human rights (McMichael2009: 24–5). For the Maslum-Der, the UDHR construction of humanrights – both as universal in its narrative, and particular in its national
    • 192 Islam’s Marriage with Neoliberalismapplication – is contradictory: The UDHR builds on both the univer-sality principle of human rights and the national principle of the statesystem in human rights monitoring. For Maslum-Der, the contradiction between the universality and par-ticularity of human rights construction constitutes the basis of a cleardouble standard. The double standard emerges in monitoring humanrights implementation through the complex international processes ofbargaining within a community of states such as the EU and the UN.In this construction, a particular European narrative of human rightsassumes the status of universality for other states to emulate. Individualstates’ emulation of European values and norms is then to be monitoredwithin the nation-state system through the rulings of various inter-national organizations such as the ECHR. The Maslum-Der argues (onpage 2 of its mission statement) for the need to develop a human rightsunderstanding and implementation procedure based on justice. Theorganization further argues that the procedure must be free from anykind of double standard that emerges from within the process of inter-national bargaining and only serves to reproduce global inequalities inthe distribution of power and wealth. This double standard appears tobe the inevitable outcome of what Chase-Dunn et al. (2009: 76) describeas a ‘ “democratic deficit” of existing institutions of global governance.’Put somewhat differently: as opposed to the possibility of a ‘cos-mopolitan democracy’ emerging from the empowerment of citizens byinternational declarations and conventions, in parallel with and inde-pendently of their own governments (Archibugi and Held 1995), theMaslum-Der evokes the image of an undemocratic global system thatis reproduced ideologically and institutionally by the conventions anddeclarations established within the unequal relations of internationalorganizations. In potentially challenging bases of Euro-American power, theMaslum-Der develops a human rights understanding based on an ethicsof justice. The source of this fundamental ethical principle is divinepower. Page 2 of the mission statement reads: This fundamental principle which provides for ‘being a witness of the truth’, expresses an understanding which discards the idea based on preferring ‘society’ to ‘the individual’, ‘the majority’ to ‘the minority’ and ‘the ones from us’ to the ‘right and just ones’. This ethical princi- ple gives us the framework to ground and method to defend human rights. This requires that we defend human rights as a general cat- egory for everyone . . . Our main principle is to remain on the side
    • Politics Without Guarantees: The Headscarf Ban 193 of truth . . . this ethic is to defend human rights on a deontologic[al] ground . . . based on evaluating the ‘goodness’ of an action or deed according to the consequences it produces. Hence, for the Mazlum- Der to defend human rights without discrimination . . . is a moral, ethical imperative. (My grammar)For the Maslum-Der, the moral imperative of human rights transcendsnational borders and requires ‘above-politics cooperation’ at the worldlevel (Mission Statement: 2). Towards a more comprehensive concept,the Maslum-Der wishes to realize the common right of all humanity‘by being open to the world and benefiting from different cultures.’This is similar to what McMichael (2009: 29–30) means by ‘ethicaluniversalism’ – a concept based on the mutual respect of individualsand collective struggles for self-determination and self-definition againstsocial injustice and prejudice. Again, the Maslum-Der’s mission state-ment (page 2) reflects the organization’s commitment to the notion ofwhat Mahatma Gandhi (1938) called ‘moral universalism’: In the struggle [for] human rights, . . . it is crucially important that the international community puts human rights and freedom under the guarantee of law through internationally recognized documents. However, we need to point out that international documents signed by many countries through the United Nations are not sufficient in either content or power of enforcement . . . Thus, in order to improve human rights, the human rights defenders of the world need to be open to all cultures of the world, not just to their own, and should develop a vision for transforming the gains of each civilization to the gains of humanity.The Maslum-Der is clear here not to refer to ‘humanity’ as being inde-pendent of history. As Hannah Arendt (1951/1986: 298) wrote in herThe Origins of Totalitarianism, an abstract idea of humanity itself doesnot guarantee ‘the right to have rights, or the right of every individualto belong to humanity.’ What ‘humanity’ amounts to in Maslum-Der’sconceptualization is the mutuality of particular historical, cultural cir-cumstances of communities within a transnational sphere. It is morallyembedded in God’s ‘divine justice,’ which is assumed to be necessary forthe institutionalization of human rights outside national/internationalstate projects. Such a moral commitment to universal aspirations rootedin divine justice certainly lends itself to a religious belief in equality andfairness that is common to many different religions. But the question
    • 194 Islam’s Marriage with Neoliberalismof how to translate such a commitment into action within the globalsystem needs to be seriously addressed.The moral embeddedness of human rights and democracyCan Islamic women’s concern with the headscarf ban be bridgedthrough a commitment to ethical/moral universalism and the institu-tion of a more ‘comprehensive democracy’? ‘Comprehensive democ-racy’ (Pratap, Priya, and Wallgren 2004) refers to another kind ofdemocracy, understood as a way of life rather than a mode ofgovernance. It combines the notion of vasudhaiva kutumbakam (aSanskrit word, meaning ‘the world is a family’) and the Gandhianword swaraj (self and rule). Working for a comprehensive democ-racy implies sampoorn swaraj (full realization of self-rule). Hence thetitle of the article written by Pratap and Priya (2004) is ‘VasudhaivaKutumbakam: From Democracy to Sampoorn Swaraj.’ I believe suchan approach is helpful for understanding the implications of theheadscarf ban in a more comprehensive way. This approach takesinto account the meaning of the headscarf as integral to a women’sright to self-definition and right to live with a particular moral,cultural, and spiritual orientation. It also reveals the limitations ofexisting human rights discourse and practice. Central to an Islamichuman rights discourse is the moral–ethical dimension of individ-ual self-definition and rule. From the perspective of what I am call-ing moral embeddedness, Islamic human rights organizations helpus situate the headscarf movement within the notion of ‘compre-hensive democracy,’ one which also takes into account the moral,cultural, and spiritual aspects of individual human lives (Pratap andPriya 2004). A ‘comprehensive democracy’ requires committed political effort andbridge building with other forms of global justice movements througha process of deliberation on the ideals of justice, self-definition andself-development, as well as the relations of unjust conditions (Young2000). This is not a deliberation built on a single, self-enclosed, andabstract theory of democracy. In contrast to a theoretical universal-ity abstracted from social context, comprehensive, democratic bridgebuilding is a ‘situated conversation’ of engagement with diverse socialcontexts (Young 2000: 14). It encompasses life itself in a comprehen-sive manner that makes our lives more meaningful. Swaraj relates toall dimensions of human life and applies to relationships at all levels,from the individual to the global (Pratap and Priya 2004: 3). In James
    • Politics Without Guarantees: The Headscarf Ban 195Bohman’s (2007: 19–57) words, such an approach identifies democracynot with demos, the people, but with demoi, peoples. ‘A democracyof demoi’ then requires rethinking the basic epistemic assumptions ofdemocracy beyond its singular territorial connotation of space (a dis-trict, country, or land) and its territorialized political subjects (statemembership). In short, it requires rethinking citizenship, membership,and human life beyond the state (Bohman 2007). As long as we take itas given that all peoples are striving to redefine the basic relationshipsof human life, no single ideology, group, or region can be identifiedas the sole proprietary dispenser of the epistemic values promoted bydemocracy. Unfortunately, the ideological divisions that have solidified betweenIslamic and secular selves may inhibit the emergence of a comprehen-sive democracy for some time to come. This is certainly the case in theTurkish context (S. Tekeli 1991). The fear of an Islamic threat has alsobeen manifested in the EU’s unresponsiveness to women’s concerns overthe headscarf ban in Turkey, which Islamic human rights organizationscall the European ‘double standard.’ Ak-Der, the Islamic women’s rights organization, argues that theheadscarf ban violates freedom of religion and conscience. It removeswomen’s inherent abilities and the right to deliberate on the valuesand norms of their own lives. This undermines democracy’s funda-mental ideal of self-determination which is necessary to fully real-ize human rights. In rulings by the ECHR on the cases of SenayKaraduman in 1993 and Leyla Sahin in 2004, the religious needsand cultural traditions of women were ignored. According to theAk-Der’s chair: After 9/11 Islam has been connected with terrorism and we see a worldwide policy against Muslims. Such a policy can also be found within the EU process. We do not expect more religious freedoms for Muslims in Turkey with this process. (Duncker 2006: 57)Ayhan Bilgen (2005: 78–9), former president of Maslum-Der, has arguedthat the practice of a headscarf ban in Turkey is a violation of women’srights and freedom of religion. The ban implemented through adminis-trative by-laws and judicial rulings constitutes a crime against women’shuman rights in Turkey. The 28 February 1997 soft coup essentiallycreated the political–administrative context for this crime by strength-ening the existing imbalance of power over decision-making exercised
    • 196 Islam’s Marriage with Neoliberalismby bureaucratic and judicial cadres. For Bilgen (2005: 79), Islamicgroups have held ‘false expectations’ from the EU in regard to theimplementation of basic normative conditions of religious freedomsand rights against the ban. The expectations are false because theEU has failed to interact with demoi, or ‘with new publics,’ to useBohman’s phrase (2007: 46) – those who use human rights to claim theirdemocratic entitlement to freedom of religion. Ali Bulac (2005), an Islamic writer for Zaman Newspaper, expands onthis issue and argues that there are dangers in the abstract and general-ized notions of democracy and human rights associated with the EU andthe ECHR. The democratic ideal and the content of the human rightsframework used by the ECHR to deliberate on the women’s headscarfissue are historically specific, reflecting an account of European cultural,social, and moral order. The EU cannot deliberate on the values andpractices of the headscarf through a historical account abstracted as auniversal theory of democracy. Writing on the ECHR’s 2004 decision regarding Leyla Sahin, Bulac(2005) argued that Islamic groups should never have applied to theECHR over the headscarf ban. By applying to the ECHR to have theheadscarf recognized as an expression of women’s religious beliefs,Islamic groups legitimized the ECHR as an agent with the authority todeliberate on this matter and decide whether women should be allowedto wear the headscarf. For Bulac (2005: 33), this was a mistake whichallowed the ECHR to intervene in ‘our religious affairs,’ to decide onthe meaning of self-determination and weaken the ability of womento deliberate on their own religious rights and freedoms. This mis-take on the part of Islamic groups points to the coercive authority ofEU decision-making beyond the importance of group solidarities andpolitics. From the perspective of Hannah Arendt’s (1958) understanding of‘action,’ the Islamic granting of legitimacy to the ECHR seems inimi-cal to the normative authority of an individual to deliberate and act.Arendt (1958: 177) asserts that ‘to act, in its most general sense, means totake an initiative, to begin . . . to set something into motion.’ For Arendt,then, the ability to initiate and begin to act constitutes the most funda-mental of human freedoms. Writing on the basis of a similar premise,Bulac (2005: 35) argues that no court (or state for that matter) candecide on a religious matter concerning a women’s right to wear theheadscarf. This issue can only be deliberated on and acted upon by indi-viduals, communities, and non-governmental civil society groups. The
    • Politics Without Guarantees: The Headscarf Ban 197matter itself is a religious one beyond the jurisdiction of the state andinternational organizations. Bulac (2005: 34) repeats that the ECHR’s decision is based on the ideathat ‘Muslims constitute a majority in Turkey, and that the wearingof the headscarf is an expression of Muslim religious faith which maypotentially constitute Muslim oppression over non-Muslims.’ Accordingto Bulac, this is strange yet effective reasoning that hinders Muslims’ability as individuals and as a community to initiate deliberation andact on a religious matter of conscience. Moreover, for Bulac (2005:33), the ‘assumption that those who wear the headscarf could beoppressive to others’ is also strange and can only reveal the inabil-ity of the EU to engage with Muslim communities. The EU is not aninclusive community of various religious, cultural communities, buta culturally uniform ‘Western club.’ Bulac is therefore highly scepti-cal about the moral legitimacy of the EU to set normative standardsand epistemic values for democracy because its decision-making pro-cess actually excludes the normative ideals of deliberating individualsand groups. However, Bulac’s emphasis on the exclusionary practices of the ECHRon human rights should not be taken as indicative of a desire for theinclusion of Islamic individuals and groups in the European decision-making process according to the ‘deliberative democracy’ model (Barber1984; Besson and Marti 2006; Bohman 1996, 2007; Young 2000). Bulacis arguing for neither inclusion nor equal participation of Muslims inthe European decision-making process over the headscarf issue. In thedeliberative model of democracy political actors not only express preferences and interests, but they engage with one another about how to balance these under circum- stances of inclusive equality . . . this model conceptualizes the process of democratic discussion as not merely expressing and registering, but as transforming the preferences, interests, beliefs, and judgments of participants. (Young 2000: 26)However, Bulac’s critique is based on the conviction that religious beliefsin relation to the headscarf are not open to transformative delibera-tion. Instead, he points to the dishonesty of Muslims in presenting acosmopolitan image of themselves as a group who synthesize Islamicand European cultural values, practices, and normative standards. ForBulac, the headscarf issue is a religious issue and Muslims should not
    • 198 Islam’s Marriage with Neoliberalismpretend that they are defending it as part of their democratic humanrights. According to Bulac, democratic deliberation can only pertainto the ontological meaning of engaging truths about what holds forEurope and what holds for Muslims, and not the religious meaning ofthe headscarf: The decision of the court [ECHR] should be a vehicle for a cognitive awakening. We Muslims, either because of our naïvity or ignorance, are thinking that we can consume world cultures despite the funda- mental values of our religion. The only thing we [have fought] for has been limited to the headscarf and dress code. We are, henceforth, in desperate need of an earnest confrontation with and self-critique of ourselves. (Bulac 2005: 34)Bulac (2005: 38) believes Muslims should take the initiative to figure outhow to live as Muslims while living in a modern world. They must askwhat kind of a social life they really want, without having false expec-tations of democracy. Further, they must establish what the meaningof Islamic truth is for a Muslim. For Bulac, the problem is not whetherthe question of the headscarf is subject to democratic debate, but howto constitute an ontological base of existence for Muslims beyond andoutside the moral authority imposed by the state and state-like insti-tutions. His is an intellectual’s concern with the attempts at a ‘fakesynthesis’ between Islamic values and European standards. This con-cern finds its best expression in a description by Žižek (2008: 270–2) of amusic critics’ puzzlement with the ‘Ode to Joy’ from the last movementof Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony: at bar 331, the tone changes totally, and instead of the solemn hym- nic progression, the same ‘Joy’ theme is repeated in marcia Turca (‘Turkish march’) style, borrowed from the military music for wind and percussion instruments that eighteenth century European armies had adopted from the Turkish janissaries . . . after this point, every- thing goes wrong . . . But the final cadenza is the strangest of them all, sounding less like Beethoven than a puffed-up version of the finale of Mozart’s Abduction from Seraglio, combining the ‘Turkish’ elements with the fast rococo spectacle . . . The finale is thus a bizarre mixture of Orientalism and regression into late eighteenth century classi- cism, a double retreat from the historical present, a silent admission
    • Politics Without Guarantees: The Headscarf Ban 199 of the purely fantasmatic character of the joy of all-encompassing brotherhood. (Žižek 2008: 271–2)For Žižek (2008: 273), there is an alternative way to think about themovement: ‘things do not [suddenly] go wrong only at bar 331, withthe entrance of the marcia Turca, they go wrong from the very start.’Žižek analyzes Beethoven’s ‘Ode to Joy’ as a signifier for the unoffi-cial European anthem of unity. The perplexity of the EU over whatto do with Turkey’s membership resembles the music critics’ confu-sion over the last movement of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony. For Žižek(2008: 274), the problem is not Turkey, nor the marcia turca in theNinth Symphony, ‘but the basic melody itself.’ What is needed is anentirely new melody, through Europe’s ‘interpretive confrontation’ withothers and with its own history about a new definition of what Europereally is. In listening to ‘the basic melody’ of European cultural unity played bythe Brussels technocratic elite on Turkey’s religious–cultural difference,Bulac asks Islamic groups to be ‘honest’ in regard to their expectationsfrom Europe. Muslims should undertake their own ‘interpretive con-frontation’ with a refashioning of their own futures. It is in response tothe latest EU report on Turkey’s progress towards fulfilling membershiprequirements (Commission of the European Communities 5 November2008) that Bulac offers his urgent call for ‘honesty.’ This finds its reflec-tion in Islamic groups who now increasingly question whether they can‘trust’ the EU to promote ‘democracy’ as a way of life for individuals andgroups with their moral, cultural, and spiritual orientation. To quoteBulac: The vast majority of religious people are no longer hopeful about the EU . . . EU circles and the intellectuals supportive of the EU bid in Turkey have failed to adequately respond to the demands of religious people . . . While the latest progress report makes references to the problems of all disadvantaged groups, including gays and transsex- uals, it does not make a single mention of the problems the religious majority is facing. This is the primary reason for the decline of pop- ular support for the membership bid. Intellectual . . . support will not suffice to get full membership; it will also require popular support. (Bulac 2008)
    • 200 Islam’s Marriage with NeoliberalismIslamic individuals and groups would like to see the EU recognizethat their struggle is against the laik notion of the ‘secularity’ of pub-lic space as imposed by an authoritarian bureaucracy. However, thesilence of the EU on the headscarf problem causes them to questionwhether they can ever trust the EU to define their struggles through acomprehensive approach to democratic normative expectations relatedto self-definition and self-rule. Women have been explicit in their questioning of the EU, as theytry to make sense of their personal experience of the religious, spir-itual, and moral dimensions of life. Rather than implement furtherreforms towards greater liberalization and democratization, the AKP,under threat of closure, has now moved to establish closer ties withthe state bureaucracy. Moreover, the ECHR rulings and the silence ofthe November 2008 EU progress report on the headscarf problem haveserved to strengthen a hard-line nationalist position. Islamic womennow encounter the headscarf ban in the context of a hesitancy againsthard-line state bureaucracy and the European imposition of a doublestandard on the ban. Islamic women’s personal experiences in makingsense of headscarf politics is the subject of the next chapter.
    • 7Headscarf Madness: Narratives ofReligious RightsThis chapter examines how the impassioned, sometimes absurd actionssurrounding the headscarf in Turkey are experienced by the peoplethemselves. It considers how larger projects of refashioning social andpersonal life interact in the making of an Islamic ethical–political stand-point. The chapter shows that as women and men endeavour to exertIslam’s presence in the public sphere, they embrace and uphold a par-ticular Islamic interpretive position through which they participate ina process of redefining their political–cultural–emotional terrain. Theheadscarf movement constitutes an Islamic reworking of the meaningof secularity in public space that is both pedagogical and political. In A Secular Age (2007: 1–20) Charles Taylor has identified three mean-ings for the concept of secularity. The first refers to the secularity ofpublic space and involves the emptying of religion from autonomoussocial spheres. Within this space, the vast majority of people continueto believe in God and practice religion, as was the case in CommunistPoland. Laiklik in Turkey has never emptied religion from the publicsphere but kept it under strict state control. Therefore, the first meaningof secularity of public space applies to the Turkish case but with somedifference. The second meaning for Taylor refers to the falling off of reli-gious belief and people turning away from God. This is definitely not thecase in Turkey. The third meaning of secularity refers to the conditionsof belief. Secularity in this sense involves a move towards a society inwhich belief in God is only one option, one human possibility amongmany others. For Taylor (2007: 3), ‘secularity in this sense is a matterof the whole context of understanding in which our moral, spiritualor religious experience and search takes place.’ The ‘context of under-standing’ here refers to the articulation of a background or frameworkof experience. As discussed extensively in previous chapters, the Islamic 201
    • 202 Islam’s Marriage with Neoliberalismreworking of laiklik through the headscarf movement seems to makemost sense in terms of this third aspect of secularity. The headscarf movement is about reimagining the political–socialcontext of moral and religious experience with an emphasis on freedomof religion and human rights discourse. It connects the first meaningof secularity to the third. That is, the headscarf movement reimaginesreligion in the public sphere by rearticulating the laik conditions of reli-gious experience. This reimagining is transformative of the state. Thepresent chapter aims to uncover how Islamic individuals rearticulate thethird sense of secularity defined by Taylor in reference to the conditionsof belief and religious experience. The chapter draws from interviews which I conducted with 30 womenand 10 men in Ankara. All interviews have been transcribed and ana-lyzed. My informants are all Muslims who describe themselves asreligious, regardless of their actual observance of daily prayers. Theyall fast during the month of Ramadan and all my male respondentsattend a mosque for Friday prayers. All but two of the women I inter-viewed wear a headscarf. These two women are strongly opposed toIslamic headscarf practices. Those who wear the headscarf refer to it as abasortusu while those against it call it a turban. My sample of womenwho wear the headscarf is made up of 20 students studying in vari-ous academic departments at Middle East Technical University, AnkaraUniversity, Gazi University, and Hacettepe University. These are presti-gious public universities and among the largest in Turkey. The studentsare enrolled in various programmes including engineering, biology, his-tory, chemistry, physics, and teaching. I also interviewed six professionalwomen: a store manager, a lawyer, a doctor, a social worker, a teacher,and an economist. The teacher and the economist are opposed to theheadscarf. I also interviewed four women who wear the headscarf anddescribe themselves as housewives. The students in my sample are intheir twenties and the professional women and housewives are in theirthirties. My student respondents come from various cities and towns in centraland eastern Anatolia. Those who are not from Ankara initially stayed instate dormitories established for university students, but then moved toprivate homes, generally in the second year of their university educa-tion. Given that the headscarf is also banned in school dormitories, sixor seven students will often rent an apartment close to their school inwhich they dress entirely as they wish. They typically move out of theuniversity dormitories when they first decide to wear the headscarf, fre-quently in the first year of their university education. Only one student
    • Headscarf Madness: Narratives of Religious Rights 203in my sample graduated from a religiously oriented high school (anImam-Hatip School), but all were brought up as Muslims by their parents.None had a strictly religious family background. My male respondents all have professional backgrounds and are intheir thirties, forties, and fifties. Among them are two professors fromthe Faculty of Theology at Ankara University, and a former graduateof the same Faculty who later graduated from the Faculty of Law andcurrently works as a lawyer in government. I also interviewed a socialworker, two jewellers, a shoemaker, two schoolteachers, and the headof an adult public education centre. One of the jewellers is also a lawyerbut does not practice law. All define the headscarf as a basortusu, with theexception of three men who refer to the Islamic headscarf as a turban.These three men include the two jewellers and the shoemaker. The Fac-ulty of Theology professors are not opposed to the Islamic headscarf butbelieve that students should comply with the headscarf ban. Participants were recruited through personal contacts in the commu-nity and snowball sampling. The high proportion of female undergrad-uate university students as compared to other women and men is dueto the snowball sampling method. I conducted face-to-face, open-endedinterviews with each of my informants. Interviews were approximately2 hours long and recorded on audiotape. Approval for the interview pro-cess was received from the Research Ethics Review Committee of SimonFraser University and all respondents consented to be interviewed. Therespondents have been given pseudonyms. The interviews have enabled me to explore the religious sentiments,personal hopes, and doubts regarding headscarf practices under the con-ditions of the ban. In addition to illuminating the headscarf movementfrom the point of view of the people who embrace it, informationgathered from the interviews also helps us understand the argumentsdeveloped by those who oppose it. This data allows us to assess whetherthe experiences of women who wear the headscarf actually convergein terms of an attachment to Islamic ethics in public life which figureswithin the larger context of Islamic politics. The information presentedalso shows that those opposed to the Islamic headscarf are neitheragainst the religion of Islam nor against women’s coverage for religiousreasons. Rather, they are opposed to the entanglement of the Islamicheadscarf with political and transformative concerns. This underscoresone crucial finding. The headscarf issue is not about being religious, butabout Islamic transformative resistance, the rearticulation of political–social conditions of change, and the background of experiencing theIslamic in relation to Charles Taylor’s third sense of secularity.
    • 204 Islam’s Marriage with Neoliberalism My research suggests that it is a fallacy to assume that women andmen involved in the headscarf issue possess a unified agency as individ-uals or groups that will enable them to change the conditions of theirexperience. My goal here is not to generalize about women’s reasonsfor wearing the headscarf or the political effects of their decisions onlarger Islamic projects, nor to generalize about the oppositional ideasof their adversaries. My interviews provide ethnographic insight intoIslamic politics from the perspective of people who embody an Islamicethos of public life. As Dorothy Smith (1999) suggests, the most press-ing concern in ethnographic research is how individuals encounterthe social–political–emotional relations involved in the shaping of aknowledge culture within which they are active. Although my sampleis relatively small, it provides a clear understanding of women’s ownexperience with the headscarf. It also allows us to better evaluate theconstitutive effect of the headscarf in terms of political agency belong-ing to the movement itself rather than the various beliefs of individualsor groups. Information gathered from the interviews also allows us to see howwomen construct strategies for countering opposition. This includes myinterviews with women and men who oppose the Islamic headscarf.The issue of strategy is crucial in reconfiguring the conceptual terrainof the marriage between the ethical and the political in which the head-scarf movement is located. The commonly upheld headscarf narrativereflects the interconnectedness of a moral–ethical commitment to indi-vidual freedoms and human rights, rather than an appeal to Islam asan exclusive or closed framework of religious morality. This situates anIslamic position within the possibility of an engagement with othersocial experimentations on human living that encounter the demandsof opposition and criticism. Thus, the chapter allows us to consider if therecent intensification of headscarf politics provokes a variety of politi-cal forms and conceptual terrains that present Islamic transformativepolitics as a ‘situated conversation’ on the diverse social conditions ofwomen and men.An Islamic reworking of secularity: Religion in societyIn A Secular Age, Charles Taylor (2007) included the idea of the secularconstituted by the incorporation of religious elements as one possibil-ity of human experience in society. This is an idea raised repeatedlyduring interviews with my respondents who wear the headscarf. The stu-dents I interviewed link the headscarf ban to the political struggles of
    • Headscarf Madness: Narratives of Religious Rights 205Anatolian Muslim groups who are assuming class power as they reposi-tion themselves within society and the state. In this context, the Islamicheadscarf represents part of the religious search for these newly emerg-ing Anatolian groups who are exercising the right to make religionand spirituality relevant to the organization of their social lives. Thisis consistent with the findings of previous chapters. The following narratives reflect some of the experiences and attitudesof students regarding the headscarf ban and the meaning of laiklik inTurkey. Ayse decided to cover her hair in the first year of her high schooleducation in Eastern Turkey. She boarded at school, where she studiedfor four years. While having a conversation with a friend in the schooldormitory, she mentioned her desire to cover her hair at some point inthe future. Ayse expressed this as kismet. She thought further about themeaning of kismet and decided that she had to take greater initiativetowards its realization. In her own words: kismet doesn’t work like ‘apear that stews itself and then drops in my mouth. I said to myself thatI had to take the time and trouble to make the decision.’ Ayse’s parentswere not aware of her decision. Banu also began to wear the headscarf at her high school in Ankara,her hometown. She was brought up in a religious family, for whomreading the Koran and daily prayers were important. For Banu, agood Muslim must live in accordance with the foundational pillars ofIslam. Her decision to wear a headscarf was the outcome of her faithin God: The headscarf expresses my religious conviction to give meaning to life. You feel relaxed and comfortable when you listen to music. I feel exactly the same way when I wear my headscarf. My male class- mates care about their manners when they talk to me. They are more respectful toward me. They know that my faith in God is the essence of my inner being. I am trying to live that way in society as well.Emine first covered her hair in the second year of her high schooleducation at an Imam-Hatip school. She began her studies in a secularstate-run high school. However, after passing the required courses andexams, she transferred to a state-run Imam-Hatip school which teaches ablend of Islamic and secular courses. It wasn’t difficult for her to suc-ceed in courses on the Koran, hadith, fiqh, and Arabic. She learnedArabic from her uncle, a teacher of the language, and studied the Koranwith her parents when she was a child. When studying the Koran at
    • 206 Islam’s Marriage with Neoliberalismschool, education administrators allow female students to cover theirhair, although it is not mandatory. Emine began to cover her hair atschool and has continued to do so since then. Zehra’s story is quite different. Although she too was interested in cov-ering her hair in high school, she postponed making the decision untiluniversity. Initially, Zehra was hesitant because of the difficulties shesaw faced by other female students wearing the headscarf. Nevertheless,she decided to make a commitment in the first year of her universityeducation: Nothing is going to happen to a human being by postponing a deci- sion to a later year. To what year and time can an individual postpone a decision? I decided to take the initiative and make a decision at once. My mother wears the headscarf in a traditional way, tied under her chin. I often wait at the door with needles as my mother leaves the house to make sure that she ties up her scarf securely. Without a needle or two, the headscarf often slips over the head and exposes the hair.These young women were brought up as Muslims by their parents. Theylearned how to read the Koran in their childhood years during the sum-mer holidays by taking state-run Koran courses in local state mosques.Except for Emine, they have no formal training in religious issues. Zehrawanted to go to the Imam-Hatip School to study religion but decidednot to. She indicated that female students in Imam-Hatip schools wereexpected to cover their hair by their schoolmates, something Zehrafound repulsive: These girls were covering themselves just to live up to the expecta- tion. This was repulsive for me. I used to get angry about why these girls were required to cover their hair. If I went to the Imam-Hatip school, I was also going to be influenced by others to cover my hair. I am glad that I didn’t go to the Imam-Hatip. I made my decision to cover my hair on my own.For Zehra, the decision to cover her hair was a difficult one. It wasmade after a long period of deliberation on how to live her life as a reli-gious person. However, she finds the conditions in which she covers herhair depressing. She experiences her Islamic head covering as pathetic,and tragically comical at the same time. As a result, she has considereddropping out of school. Her parents, who only have a primary school
    • Headscarf Madness: Narratives of Religious Rights 207education, wanted her to open her hair and continue her education. Inthe end, Zehra decided to continue with her schooling: I do not want to think that a Muslim should live her life like a turtle withdrawn from life in her shell. We should be out there active in society. Therefore, I gave up the idea of leaving school and decided to attend classes with a wig. I have never been comfortable with it, though. You are putting it over your headscarf. Does the headscarf show underneath the wig? Of course it does. When I was walking up the staircase at school today, I saw girls dressed like me wearing wigs. Even I found them funny-looking and strange. [At this point in the interview Zehra looked ashamed and bashful, and her voice was saddened.] They are so comical yet so pathetic. What else we can do but laugh at ourselves. We carry the wigs in our bags and put them over our headscarves just before entering the university. As a result, these wigs often look uncombed and frizzled, as if they are shocked by electricity. But they let you into the school as long as they see some hair on your head. This is bizarre. Everybody is play- ing a game of deception when they are trying to comply with this stupid ban.For Sultan, another of my respondents, it is preferable to be in thisuncomfortable and embarrassing position than to expose her hair. Forher, university education is a bread-and-butter issue. ‘A person froma modest family background with limited financial support requiresa university education in order to secure one’s livelihood.’ The head-scarf, on the other hand, is a matter of moral and spiritual concerns.It is not just a piece of clothing that covers the hair. It entails a rangeof standards and behaviours which affect the ability to realize Islamicmoral virtues in social life. Sultan views the headscarf as integral tothe development of an Islamic ethical disposition in the daily prac-tices of her social existence. She notes that when some of her friendstook off their scarves, they became more willing to compromise on theIslamic modesty required of pious women and began wearing short-sleeved shirts and tight-fitting pants. However, for Sultan, as muchas for Zehra, the most vital concerns behind the headscarf are self-reflection and conscious deliberation over self-definition in a secularcontext. All of the students I interviewed indicated that wearing the headscarfis central to making religion relevant to the organization of their dailysocial life. Zehra did not get into the details of her religiosity. Banu
    • 208 Islam’s Marriage with Neoliberalismdid not see herself as more religious than others who do not covertheir hair, but said that she tries to live as a religious person. Ayse alsoindicated that she tries to fulfil her religious obligations as much aspossible. For Ayse, a good Muslim must have a strong belief in the message ofIslam and its encompassing character. Belief is a private matter. Manyof the Islamic religious duties and rituals required by the five pillarsof Islam are to be carried out discreetly in the privacy of one’s homeand without a public declaration of their performance. Daily prayers,for example, do not have to be carried out in a mosque; they canbe performed at home. And fasting is an entirely individual matter.Alms giving should also be a private affair between giving and receivingindividuals. The wearing of the headscarf is not a requirement found within thefive pillars of Islam nor is it one of the six requirements of Islamic faith.It is not foundational to religion. Nevertheless, for Ayse, wearing theheadscarf is a religious duty that helps her realize and maintain Islamicvirtue in her public life. Moreover, it connects privately held religiousbeliefs to a public expression of moral and spiritual life. For Emine, Islamic dress is not the most important aspect of beinga good Muslim. Rather, the attainment of Islamic knowledge and itsapplication to daily life beyond the technical memorization of the Koranand the hadith represent the real essence of living as a Muslim. Islamic knowledge should be understood in a more comprehensive way. It should help us directly in our lives to deal consistently with the demands of religious morality. It must also help Muslims to be autonomous. It should help them better understand the meaning of individual freedoms and how to connect this with the religious demand for a moral life. A Muslim must reflect on the material con- ditions of his or her existence, on environmental issues, and on innovative ways of finding solutions to problems. Unless these issues are discussed extensively, Muslims will continue to focus on religion in a limited sense confined to issues of personal piety. Piety is a mat- ter of faith between God and the individual. It really doesn’t concern me. What is most important is to realize the connection between the way I think and the way I live.For Selvi, the religious significance of the headscarf is an issue of faithbetween God and the individual. She also believes it to be a religiousduty but not a foundational requirement of Islam.
    • Headscarf Madness: Narratives of Religious Rights 209 Of the most utmost importance for a Muslim is to understand the meaning of the five pillars of Islam. Daily prayers, fasting, and alms giving are all fundamental. A Muslim should critically reflect on the meaning and content of these requirements in order to live consistently according to the moral demands of these Islamic fundamentals. A Muslim should avoid bad things, canonically pro- hibited acts such as stealing, lying, hurting others, and harsh, unkind behaviour. A Muslim should be educated in the meaning of the mes- sage and acquire the capacity to develop a more disciplined and refined self. These are important for personal growth and in order to flourish in society. So wearing a headscarf is important for spiritual growth but not a fundamental requirement.Ayse thinks in much the same way but gives a more specific mean-ing to the headscarf issue. She speaks of the headscarf as a conduit forexperiencing religion as a conception of universal principles beyond aparticular place and time, signalling a spiritual kind of life and a way ofkeeping faith alive in the public sphere. Ayse opens her hair at the school gates and attends classes without aheadscarf. She believes it is more important for her to gain an educa-tion and participate in the professional, scientific world as a believing,practicing woman than to risk being dismissed by the university admin-istration. Wearing a wig over her headscarf was not an option for Aysebecause she feels that wearing a wig is not consistent with the religiousduty of modesty expected from women. Nevertheless, she understandswhy some choose to wear a wig: It is easier for students to wear the wig. You can easily put it over the headscarf and take it off outside the school gates. You are still covered under the wig. I leave school without a scarf and put it on in the street. Everybody sees me doing this, which is embarrassing for me. But I have no option.Meryem, who covered her hair just before attending university, wearsa wig over her scarf although she finds it humiliating. She feels thather classmates stare at her. In order to avoid this humiliation, she hasconsidered quitting school, but her parents who are poor farmers ineastern Anatolia insist that she continue her education and secure abetter future. She also feels psychological pressure from other studentswho have chosen to quit school under the headscarf ban. These stu-dents believe the wig to be inconsistent with Islamic norms and don’t
    • 210 Islam’s Marriage with Neoliberalismwish to open their hair at school. Since quitting school is not an optionfor Meryem she prefers the wig to removing the scarf completely, eventhough it is humiliating. Esra does not find the wig humiliating and has covered her hair sincethe first year of high school. She is simply not willing to open her hair.She wears her wig as a symbol of protest against the headscarf ban.The wig sends a strong message that she is not willing to comply withthe ban: I would never consider opening my hair. I have decided to wear a wig over the headscarf just to be able to attend classes – not for beauty, not because I don’t have hair. I make sure that my headscarf shows underneath the wig. They should realize that I am wearing the headscarf underneath. This shows that I have not opened my hair. Sometimes I don’t wear the wig because some professors do not care about it. But, when I see a fat, well-dressed man, I quickly put the wig over my headscarf. It is certain that this man is the Dean or the Chair. I don’t want to be punished by him.Banu tried at first to wear the wig when the ban was strictly enforced.After a few weeks of trying this, she decided against the wig. She nowopens her hair at school. She did not wish to talk about why she decidedagainst the wig, and I didn’t insist. She told me that it was a very difficultdecision. She attended classes with tears in her eyes when she first beganto open her hair. Initially, everyone in class stared at her, which shefound very discomforting. Later they got used to it and they don’t stareat her any longer. Emine also decided to open her hair at the university gates. She toldme that her education is very important and she does not wish to jeop-ardize it. She hopes to continue her education at the graduate level andbecome an academic. Her father who is a professor at another universityalso advised her to open her hair at school rather than wear a wig. Herfather told her that she could enter university and attend classes witha wig over her headscarf, but this would have singled her out as a ‘tur-banli woman’ and would also be registered in her student file. Her fatherwarned that this kind of profiling could jeopardize her post-graduateeducation and future employment in academia. Still, for her father thedecision ultimately belonged to her. After careful deliberation Eminedecided to open her hair at school. For these students, the most significant aspect of wearing a head-scarf is the personal cultivation of Islamic moral virtues in society.
    • Headscarf Madness: Narratives of Religious Rights 211However, according to them, this does not mean that coveredwomen are morally or spiritually superior to those who do not coverthemselves. According to my respondents, men must also actively participatein the cultivation of Islamic virtues. They must enhance their per-sonal growth in spiritual matters and refrain from objectifying women’sbodies. According to Zehra, this requires a serious shift in their under-standing of women’s place in society. There is no difference betweencovered and uncovered women. A woman’s decision to not coverher hair or dress in accordance with the Islamic modesty require-ment should not be taken as a sign that she is morally corrupt.Men should be careful not to take the headscarf as a marker whichdifferentiates moral from immoral women. For Zehra, the decisionto wear the headscarf is an individual matter of organizing one’ssocial life in terms of a religious conception of the moral and thespiritual. Banu adds a social–political dimension to the headscarf issue. Shebelieves that women’s religious piety, of which the headscarf is a symbol,is important for the future cultural reshaping of society. Women arethe primary agents of childhood socialization. Consequently, mothersplay a crucial role in creating within their children a general propensitytowards a spiritual life. By passing on Islamic values to their children,women make faith and religious principles central to Muslim social life.They can be at the forefront in inculcating Islamic values and sensibil-ities into their children’s lifestyle choices. In short, the headscarf is asymbol of religiously inspired social life. Guler, another of my respondents, indicated that she strives to livein harmony with her faith and morality, thereby contributing to thegradual emergence of a normative social context. In a manner similarto Banu, Guler also said that her goal is not an Islamic transformationof existing public institutions but to create a social context in whichcovered women can achieve greater integration into the public sphereas Islamic individuals. Sebnem further questions state practices which exclude Islamicwomen who wear the headscarf from gaining access to public edu-cation and employment. Sebnem wants to fully participate in publiclife. Although she briefly considered not enrolling in university becauseof the ban, she decided against it. She simply will not accept beingexcluded from the public sphere of education and employment. Ayse’s headscarf practices reflect her desire to exercise her personalautonomy in order to make personal lifestyle choices for herself.
    • 212 Islam’s Marriage with Neoliberalism Next year I will graduate as a science teacher. I will be forced to take off my scarf before entering school and put it back on outside on the streets. My students will see me doing this and it is just not right. I know I will have all sorts of problems as a teacher. I wish I could live comfortably as a religious person. I will follow the rules and open my hair at work because I want to work. I am not arguing against the ban either. I just don’t understand why they don’t allow me to take it off and put it on in the lavatories. Why should I be subjected to the humiliation of dressing on the streets? I am quite hesitant to go into public offices; I am afraid that they will say things to humiliate me or somehow create a situation that prevents me from being a teacher. This is just not right.Selvi also expressed her incomprehension over how it is beneficial forsociety if she opens her hair. ‘Forcing me to open my hair on the streetsat the school gate is damaging to my individuality; it is humiliating forme. Everybody is staring at me as if I am doing something really bad.I just don’t like it.’ Zeynep is convinced that the reasoning behind the headscarf banhas nothing to do with the fear of an individual’s Islamic faith. It isthe fear of a connection between an individual’s spiritual search anda social change project. This comes close to Banu’s understanding ofthe symbolism of the headscarf as contributing to a moral reordering ofsociety. Zeliha’s insights on this subject are illuminating: There are three categories of women in Turkey. One category con- sists of traditional women from smaller Anatolian towns and villages. They cover their hair in a traditional way with the yasmak. They are Muslims but not very knowledgeable on religious matters. Their way of coverage reflects a modest family background and thus contributes to the honour of the family in that region. The second category of women consists of those who are highly knowledgeable on religious matters but are not active in public life. They do not participate in higher education. They don’t produce knowledge. They may not even be employed and are rather withdrawn from society. The third cate- gory of women includes those of us who are trying to be learned in the sciences. We are not only interested in religious science but also in the natural sciences, technical engineering, economics, history, society, etc. We are doing whatever is necessary to get our educa- tion. I accept the humiliation of opening and closing my hair on the
    • Headscarf Madness: Narratives of Religious Rights 213 streets if this is what I have to do to get my education and participate in society.For Hilal, this is specifically a class struggle. She differentiates the socialclasses according to two categories: the upper classes from the largecities and the ‘modest’ classes who are from Anatolian towns. ‘We arewell respected among modest Anatolian people. Those who reject andexclude us are the bourgeois segments of society.’ Hatice supports andstrengthens this view: In the past Islamic women with headscarves were not interested in higher education and the improvement of their position in society. The state educational system helped women of higher social status to advance in the educational system. They had no interest in wear- ing the headscarf. They mostly earned professional degrees. In the past, those who wanted to be more religious stayed away from public life. They were more interested in issues of moral uprightness, char- acter formation, and domestic matters than higher education and professional employment. But, now the situation is different. We are more aware of our secondary social status in society, and we want to change it. We want to have a better life. We are more conscious that our head coverage and our religiosity should not prevent us from improving our social position in life. . . . As we put this heightened awareness at the centre of our mobilization, opposition against our headscarves has become more rigid. It is because those who oppose our head covering do not want to see us there with them in the higher institutional positions of the state and the economy.All the students I interviewed agree that the headscarf ban serves toprotect the privileged position of the traditional upper classes fromthe formation of an alternative upper class of modest Muslim familiesarising from the Anatolian hinterland.How to think about civil matters with a religiousdimension?As shown in the previous chapter, the Constitutional Court rulings onthe headscarf issue give top priority to laiklik as the foundational prin-ciple of the Kemalist state, over and above freedom of religion andconscience. According to the Constitutional Court, legislation based onreligious grounds cannot be permitted because it violates the equality
    • 214 Islam’s Marriage with Neoliberalismprinciple. The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) also ruled that asecular state has the right to overrule freedom of religion and consciencein its legislative efforts to counter religious reactionary movements. Thestudents I interviewed disagree with these decisions. For them, freedomof religion and conscience are central normative values in a laik, demo-cratic society. They insist that their choice to wear the headscarf doesno harm to others nor does it represent reactionary opposition to thesecular state. For the students, ‘true’ laiklik or secularism should support individu-als’ engaged participation in society. Their argument is for the right tocover their hair for religious reasons – a right which should be groundedin ‘social-symbolic trust’ (Žižek 2008: 33). These students are not onlyadvancing ideas in favour of a ‘comprehensive democracy’ but alsopointing to the political hegemony of laiklik in the exercise of statepower vis-à-vis the subject of individual rights. They believe the banhas nothing to do with laiklik but is a purposeful strategy to reduce thesymbolic meaning of religion in grounding behaviour. Gulsen, one ofthe students in my sample, suggests that those who defend the ban arenot even laik: I don’t think they are laik. They don’t want me to live the way I wish, but they also do not want me to live the laiklik. I am not able to expe- rience laiklik. I am a university student. I am smart and successful. I have an active and investigative attitude. But, they are pushing me out of the school. They are making me sad and harassing me. They are preventing me from making future plans for myself after gradua- tion. I am not even sure that I will be allowed to graduate. I want to work in the public sector. I want to work for the government. I don’t know if I will be allowed to work with my headscarf.For Gulsen, laiklik in Turkey means that Islamic individuals are not ableto fully express their religiosity in the public sphere or seek employ-ment in the public sector. They have no autonomy over their life choicesindependent of what is prescribed by the state elite. These students argue that they only seek to produce an agreementon the ethos of public engagement through which their experiencecan be counted as meaningful. This is the basis on which a com-mon understanding of the symbolic, moral order of laiklik can beproduced. From this perspective, which is also shared by another stu-dent, Nuran, the headscarf ban is not and cannot be consistent withlaiklik. And for Emine, if there is laiklik, there should be respect for
    • Headscarf Madness: Narratives of Religious Rights 215differences in lifestyles and choices. Tijen, also a student, echoes thissentiment: the government, the state, and university administrators define the headscarf as against laiklik. So strange . . . If laiklik is important why don’t they define it in a clear way. There is laiklik in America and England too, and there are many who cover their hair there. They are free to choose the way they dress. If that is laiklik in America it can be that way here too. In Turkey they keep defining laiklik arbitrarily without any clarity as to its meaning. Nobody knows what it refers to when they say they defend laiklik. There are many, many laws that are arbitrary in their restrictions.According to another student, Umit, permitting a wig to be worn overthe headscarf is just such an arbitrary practice of the ban. If students whowear a wig over their headscarves are allowed to enter university whileother covered students who do not wear a wig are excluded, this createstense political relations between university employees and professorswho observe the ban, and students. The following view expressed by another student, Fatma, helps toclarify the arbitrary definition of laiklik. She refers to the social classstruggles described earlier: I think that a specific segment of society is using laiklik for its own interests. They are openly using laiklik and Ataturkism. They are act- ing as though these principles are under their ownership. Can’t I be laik and Ataturkist? Can’t I love and respect Ataturk? Because I have a headscarf they stamp me as backward and reactionary. How do they know that I am a reactionary person, opposing progress? Maybe I have the same ideas, same taste, attitudes, maybe I enjoy the same things in life. I don’t want them to stamp me as a stranger because of my headscarf.Fatma’s critique of laiklik conveys her opposition to a ‘minimal religion’(Taylor 2007: 534) which confines the experience of spirituality to one’simmediate circle of family and friends. For Fatma, religion is very muchin the public arena. Emine is also adamant that laiklik has no socialhistorical basis in Turkey: There shouldn’t be something called laiklik in Turkey. What is the basis of laiklik? It emerged in Europe with a reform movement, the
    • 216 Islam’s Marriage with Neoliberalism Renaissance. The reason: there was a class of dominant clergy in soci- ety exploiting the poor and perpetuating scholastic thinking against progress. Laiklik destroyed such a system, eliminated the dominance of the clergy and helped science and scientific thinking move to the forefront. In Turkey, there was never such a class of clergy, and no need to push forward another class to replace the clergy. But, if laik- lik means a separation between religion and the state, well, it doesn’t exist either. The state regulates religion in Turkey. The Directorate of Religious Affairs is the best example. It is a state institution; imams and preachers are state employees. They receive their salaries from the state. Mosques are state institutions. If there is going to be laiklik, it should be different from what we have.In Fatma’s formulation, laiklik must be attached to democracy: I fully support democracy. I am cognizant of the fact that democracy is what enables me to be here. I am here of my own choice. Democ- racy enables me to make my own choice for myself. I am fully aware that because of democracy my family respects my right to make a choice. But, I still want to have the right to live in accordance with my belief in God. Democracy should guarantee me that right, laiklik should guarantee that right. I am going to be a math teacher. I am aware that I will only be teaching math to my pupils, not religion. As far as I am concerned, laiklik should be relevant here, not in my choice of clothing. I should not be prevented from my daily prayers. My prayers do not harm anyone. I am not a danger to others. I am very successful at school. I am graduating with the highest grades in my class. I fulfill my responsibilities the best I can. They should not restrict me then because of my dress, please.Fatma conceptualizes democracy in terms of freedom of choice over herself-definition and self-rule. Nurcan, another student, complements thisby saying that ‘laiklik needs to be supportive of freedom of religion andconscience, but, unfortunately, we are not able to enjoy it in Turkey.Laiklik in Turkey is used in order to limit the scope of our freedom ofexpression and choice.’ For these students, laiklik undermines the social–symbolic trustin those individuals with a moral and spiritual orientation towardsreligion. The students’ conception of freedom is close to Kymlicka’sdefinition of freedom as the ability to act on present preferences.Will Kymlicka (2001) emphasizes ‘context of choice’ for autonomous
    • Headscarf Madness: Narratives of Religious Rights 217action. The values, preferences, or aspirations of individuals are sociallyinformed, and the ability to make choices is intimately tied up withthe cultural conditions of individuals. Students in their critique ofstatist laiklik emphasize religious values as providing the conditionswhich define what is significant and meaningful for good decision-making. Therefore, such values are essential to secure freedom fromstate-imposed impediments over their preferences. Kymlicka (2001: 22)calls this the ‘liberal culturalist position’ of citizenship. It asserts thatthe religious searching of the students I interviewed would be fully con-sistent with liberal democratic principles in justifying the granting ofrights. Kymlicka’s ‘liberal culturalist’ position is about granting special rightsto ethno-cultural minorities within a liberal democratic framework ofWestern European or North American multiculturalism. Although thenotion of ‘liberal culturalism’ seems to apply to the headscarf case, thestudents I interviewed in Turkey are not members of a cultural minoritygroup. Their religious seeking is more a case of citizenship entitlementthan a demand for special minority rights. Students integrate into theirheadscarf conceptions of individual freedom ‘a background conceptionof what is significant’ (Taylor 1979, quoted in Cunningham 2002: 37).This integration constitutes the basis of a ‘comprehensive democracy’(Pratap, Priya, and Wallgren 2004) with which people can conceive andact on their own goals in refiguring a way of life, regardless of thepurpose in their political or religious practices. The students in my sample refer to religion as ‘a context or frame-work of the taken-for-granted’ (Taylor 2007: 13). This resonates wellwith two cases discussed extensively within the multiculturalism con-text of Canada: the founding of Islamic courts in the civil justice systemand the Canadian Supreme Court’s decision regarding the divorce caseof an Orthodox Jewish woman. Both cases take religion as a backgroundcontext in mediating civil disputes over personal and communal mat-ters. The debate on Islamic courts ended with a decision against Islamicreligious mediation, but the Jewish woman’s divorce case resulted in thelegal enforceability of religious promises by a secular court. A discussionof these cases does not signal a move away from this chapter’s concernwith the headscarf issue in Turkey. Quite the contrary. These examplesfrom Canada help us better illustrate the complex relationships betweenreligion and democracy, which entail a whole range of struggles betweenthe state, citizens, and cultural–religious communities. I will briefly sum-marize these cases to draw comparative conclusions about the argumentfor the headscarf made by the women in my sample.
    • 218 Islam’s Marriage with NeoliberalismThe Canadian debate on Islamic courtsThe debate began when the auditor of Ontario, Canada wrote in hisOctober 2003 report that there was an urgent need to institute analternative dispute resolution (ADR) system in Ontario. The urgencyresulted from the huge backlog in court cases on civil, family, and reli-gious disputes. The Ontario chief justice at the time was also in supportof ADR, a system which was envisaged to carry out dispute resolutionwithin ethnic–cultural communities in a culturally sensitive manner.Lawyer Mumtaz Ali was responsible for creating the ‘Islamic Institute ofCivil Justice,’ an ADR platform for Muslims based on religious principles.Opponents of the initiative often referred to the Islamic Institute of CivilJustice as the ‘sharia court.’ However, the first Islamic courts in Canadafailed to materialize, as intense controversy and debate prompted theOntario government to decide against the courts. Marion Boyd, a lawyerfrom Toronto, was asked by the Ontario government to review the 1990Arbitration Act which dealt with religious groups settling civil disputesusing their own courts. She argued that the government could not allowJewish courts and forbid Muslim ones; that would be discriminationbased on religion (Trevelyan 2004). ADR has been operational in Canada since 1990. For example, anOrthodox Jewish court known as Beth Din has been actively involvedthroughout North America, dealing with commercial business disputes,matrimonial issues, divorce mediation, and other family disputes. BethDin means ‘house of judgment’ in Hebrew and refers to a rabbinicalJudaic court. The Beth Din makes decisions through rabbinical inter-pretation of primary sources such as the Torah, the Talmut, and theMidrash. The Canadian system also recognizes the right of CanadianNative communities to resolve disputes in accordance with native spir-itual and normative standards. Although an Islamic dispute resolutionsystem never materialized, Canadian Muslims hoped to use the JewishBeth Din model to introduce Islamic mediation into a recognized courtof arbitration within an immigrant multicultural system adopted in thebeginning of the 1970s. Canadian multiculturalism has facilitated the transformation of auniversalistic perspective of citizenship into a variety of claims for equal-ity on the basis of ‘categorical identities,’ including cultural–religiouscommunities claiming rights (Bourque and Duchastel 1999). The 1982Charter of Rights and Freedoms contributed to this shift. The insti-tution of ADR through religious community-based dispute mediationcourts rests on the Charter’s recognition of cultural rights. Cultural
    • Headscarf Madness: Narratives of Religious Rights 219community rights are explicitly incorporated into the constitutionaldocument (Bourque and Duchastel 1999: 188). The decision to settledisputes through religious courts is a matter of choice. Any decisionrendered by religious community courts or a panel of mediators wouldhave to be consistent with the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedomsand subject to state monitoring. For example, in contrast to the Amer-ican courts and the UK’s practice of English Law, Canadian courts donot enforce decisions made by the Beth Din if they violate the CanadianCharter of Rights and Freedoms (Jewish Law Guide). According to early supporters of Islamic courts in Canada, the IslamicADR could have established a link between a Muslim tradition of arbi-tration, mediation, and conciliation, and the Canadian context of rightsand freedoms discourse. According to Kutty and Kutty (2004), such alink would enable Muslims to rethink and reinterpret Islamic texts incontemporary civil matters to be consistent with a liberal framework ofrights and freedoms, and a departure from the patriarchal traditions ofMuslim societies. Critics of the Islamic ADR have argued that the ADR assumes claim-making religious communities to be homogeneous. However, Muslimshave immigrated from various countries in the world and do not con-stitute a culturally, linguistically homogenous community. Also, the‘categorical rights’ of groups such as women cannot be ignored inmaking claims for community rights. Gender inequalities and maledomination of ethno-cultural community organizations may very welldiscriminate against women in community-based dispute resolutions aswell. Women who go through community arbitration might be sociallypressured not to appeal the decision in Canadian courts. Transparencyand accountability in ADR decisions might be difficult to monitor by theCanadian courts, resulting in the legitimation of cultural–religious abuseof women within the community. These are all serious concerns. (Fora detailed analysis of the complicated relations between gender issuesand the construction of Muslimness within the Canadian multiculturalcontext, see Khan 2002.) Opponents of Islamic courts have further argued that Islamic lawis inherently unjust. Critics frequently draw examples from Iran,Afghanistan, and Saudi Arabia. Many opponents of the initiative wereIranian-Canadian women and their children who immigrated to Canadaafter the Islamic revolution. Maryam Namazia, a spokesperson for theInternational Federation of Iranian Refugees, argued in her internationalwomen’s day speech delivered in 2004 that the religion of Islam cannotresolve civil disputes justly. For her, discriminatory family and personal
    • 220 Islam’s Marriage with Neoliberalismstatus codes in Islam are important pillars used to justify the oppres-sion of women in Muslim societies. She argues that the founding of‘Sharia courts’ is the extension of a movement ‘that stones women onstreets and hangs apostates from cranes on city squares in Iran. . . . It hasno right to speak of civil rights and justice. It is itself a pillar of injus-tice and rightless-ness in the world today’ (Namazia 2004). Similarly,For Azar Majedi, head of the Organization for Women’s Liberation, thefounding of an Islamic ADR is the work of a political Islamic movementwhich aims to establish a separate Islamic republic in Canada. Hence thetitle of the article she delivered on 8 March 2004, International Women’sDay, was ‘Islamic Sharia court in Canada – Is Canada next?’ She states: When I heard about the sharia court in Canada, I first thought it was a joke. When I realized it was real; that it was really happening, and when I read that soon Islamic courts may become a reality in Canada, I was overwhelmed; I was shocked. It sounded like a fantasy. As a friend [said]: the Islamic Republic of Canada is coming into being. I thought of my friends . . . who escaped one Islamic republic only to end up in another. How many Islamic republics do we have to fight?: One in Iran, one in Afghanistan, . . . the creation of another in Iraq, and now one in Canada. (Majedi 2004)Majedi is also against a role for Islam in the justice system. For her,political Islam is a reactionary and misogynist movement . . . There are many women and men here today who have fled the torture, execution threats, and humiliation of political Islam. For us to see the seeds of an Islamic republic being sown here in Canada is terrifying . . . let me . . . take you back to the 11th of September 2001. As a result of this tragedy . . . the crimes of this brutal movement in Afghanistan and Iran were exposed. (Majedi 2004)Interestingly, opponents of Islamic ADR are generally silent on the otherexamples of ADR initiatives in Canada. Both Namazia and Majedi havebeen silent on the Beth Din Orthodox ADR of Canada and support theNative Canadian ADR. Janice Stein, a Jewish woman and professor ofPolitical Science, as well as Director of the Munk Centre of InternationalRelations at the University of Toronto, has described such silence as an
    • Headscarf Madness: Narratives of Religious Rights 221expression of Islamophobia and a double standard (Stein 2008). For Stein,religious mediation, Islamic or otherwise, represents a dilemma for theliberal system when addressing civil cases with a religious component. If one shares the perspective of democracy developed by Tilly (2007),the relationship between ethno-cultural-religious issues and women’srights in a liberal system raises important concerns about the com-plications of liberal democracy and democratization which cannot beignored in a predominantly religious world. (I will come back to thisissue later in the chapter.) Instead of confronting the complicationsof democratization in regard to cultural–religious issues, opponents ofIslamic mediation have developed their arguments by referring to theuniversality of human rights. According to Saeed Rahnema (2006), reli-gious mediation harms the universal rights of all citizens in Canada.He argues that ‘permitting different religious interpretations and prac-tices to extend their authority to the secular Canadian legal systemjeopardizes the human rights of many Canadian citizens, particularlywomen.’ Rahnema (2006) has even claimed that ‘Canadian democracyand its social cohesion will be in danger if religious encroachments intothe constitutional legal system are not confronted . . . [by] secular, demo-cratic voices who [have] . . . respect for citizens’ rights as guaranteed bythe Charter and the Constitution.’ Although Rahnema appeals to the liberal democratic principles offreedom and equality which are reflected in the Universal Declarationof Human Rights (UDHR), he neglects to address complications arisingfrom the ‘dilemma of liberalism’ in terms of cultural–religious issues. Myaim here is not to defend the founding of Islamic courts in Canada butto draw conclusions from this experiment for rethinking the complexrelationship between individual rights, religious/cultural rights, and theinstitution of a more comprehensive understanding of democracy as away of life. The case of the Canadian Jewish woman’s divorce examinedbelow illustrates this complex relationship more fully.Freedom of religion and the Canadian Supreme CourtIn the divorce case between Stephanie Brenda Bruker and JesselBenjamin Marcovitz the Canadian Supreme Court ruled in favour ofreligious rights in a civil matter. The couple were Orthodox religiousJews and had married according to the norms of Orthodox Judaism inMontreal in 1969. They divorced in a civil court in 1980. The coupleagreed in civil divorce proceedings that they would also receive a reli-giously sanctioned Jewish divorce (get) from a tribunal of rabbis (Beth
    • 222 Islam’s Marriage with NeoliberalismDin). Without the issuance of get a woman cannot remarry within theJewish religious community and her children will be considered ille-gitimate. For 15 years, Marcovitz refused to appear before a Beth Dinfor the issuance of a get. After she obtained her religiously sanctioneddivorce in 1995, Bruker decided to open a case in a Canadian courtfor damages caused by her ex-husband who delayed a religious divorcefor 15 years. Damages included compensation for her being unable toremarry and have legitimate children according to the Jewish faith. TheCanadian court granted her an award of $47,500 plus interest in 2003on the basis of a breach of contract, regardless of its religious content.This was despite Markovitz’s argument that the Beth Din constituted amoral obligation and not a legal one. Markovitz insisted that he was pro-tected by his right to freedom of religion from having to pay damagesfor his breach. The case went to the Quebec Court of Appeal in 2005which ruled that Marcovitz’s breach of contract was religious in natureand thus not enforceable within a secular court system (Baum 2007).In 2007, the Supreme Court of Canada upheld a $47,500 award to thewoman. Madame Justice Rosalie Abella wrote that the consequences to women deprived of a get and loyal to their faith are severe . . . They may not remarry within their faith, even though civilly divorced. If they do remarry, children from a second civil mar- riage are considered illegitimate and restricted from practicing their religion . . . [Justice Abella argued that] any harm to the husband’s religious freedom in requiring him to pay damages for unilaterally breaching his commitment, is significantly outweighed by the harm caused by his unilateral decision not to honour it. (CBC News 14 December 2007)In short, the Supreme Court of Canada decided on a breach of a religiouspromise and upheld the enforcement of religious rights of the womanspelled out in a private religious contract agreed within the framework ofBeth Din. Without a religiously sanctioned get, the woman is considereda ‘chained wife’ under Jewish religious law and deprived of the rightto remarry. The case means that secular courts have the power to ruleon breaches of religious promises (CBC News 14 December 2007). Theruling thus sets a precedent on the legal enforcement of promises ofreligious rights that remains binding within a secular jurisdiction. The two examples drawn from Canada show the complications ofliberal democracy in regard to civil matters with religious dimensions.Although the founding of Islamic courts was never realized, Jewish
    • Headscarf Madness: Narratives of Religious Rights 223courts continue to operate. This is a practice that masks discriminationbased on religion. Nevertheless, this also frames a context in which thereligious rights of individuals as promised in a private religious contracthave become legally enforceable. The Canadian cases illustrate that sec-ular state practices regarding civil matters interact continuously withreligious issues. A comparative look at the two cases also points to thediscriminatory political and social conditions that are pertinent to thegeneral workings and complexities of liberal democracy.Back to the Turkish headscarf issue: Democratization, trust,trustworthiness, and respectThe headscarf ban in Turkey has now entered into an impasse betweentwo polar positions over the secularity of the public space. Both theTurkish state and the ECHR argue that the headscarf ban does not vio-late freedom of religion and conscience, and that the state has the rightto overrule religious freedoms in order to protect the laik order. However,the students I interviewed insist that the state should be accountable forrespecting their freedom of religion and conscience. For them, norma-tive religious values should be respected and recognized in a modern,laik, and democratic society. The students in my sample refer to the headscarf ban as a public policythat harms their choice to live religiously. According to the students, theharm encompasses a range of issues: fundamental freedoms, freedom ofexpression and religion, equality of conditions for the right to educa-tion and employment in the public sector, and psychological damageto personhood and personal self-growth. These issues point to state–citizen relations that define the context of public politics in Turkey. Thestudents whose views I have documented wish to integrate conceptionsof freedoms and rights with ‘a background conception of what is sig-nificant’ for them as human beings in the organization of their sociallives. Their desire to take religion as a background reference point sug-gests that they wish to rework the statist practices of laiklik in redefiningthe context of citizen–state relations. Central to this reworking is theshaping of the values and norms of Muslim living in a secular context. The reworking of laiklik requires critical thinking and a serious politi-cal debate on the multidimensionality of engagement between religiousand secular ways. It includes a rethinking of the practices of the Kemaliststate and Islamic normative standards in the social context of secular-ism. The issue here is the historical variability in state–citizen relations.A debate on the context of public politics should reflect on the ethos
    • 224 Islam’s Marriage with Neoliberalismof engagement between Islamic and secular ways of social life. A frame-work should be worked out in a way that individuals can participatefully in public life, regardless of the political and religious differences inpracticing religious obligations. This is a serious debate that calls into question the historicalunchangeability assumed in the connections between the sovereigntyof the state and state practices of laiklik. To make such an assumptioncomplicates the struggle between citizens and the state to reach a nego-tiated consensus on the headscarf issue. The question of ‘democracy forwhich groups?’ remains a concern that needs to put civil issues that havereligious content into the complicated negotiations and policy adjust-ments of the democratic process. This question remains significant notonly in Turkey, which has a strong political legacy of state-centrism, butalso in Canada which has a long-established history of liberal democ-racy. Although they have different political–cultural backgrounds, dis-crimination based on religiously complicated civil issues continues tomasquerade both in Turkey and in Canada as universally accessibledemocracy. Tilly’s (2007) analysis of the processes that make democratizationand de-democratization more likely to occur in a national soci-ety offers important insights into the interaction between religiousconcerns and public politics. Tilly argues that democratization andde-democratization interact with the changing ‘state capacity’ to super-vise democratic decision-making and to put those decisions into prac-tice. Tilly (2007: 16) defines state capacity as ‘the extent to whichinterventions of state agents in existing non-state resources, activi-ties, and interpersonal connections alter existing distributions of thoseresources, activities, and interpersonal connections as well as relationsamong those distributions.’ Low-capacity, weak states are unlikely to beeffective in making and enforcing democratic decisions, in monitoringpublic politics, and in dealing with security issues. High-capacity statesextend states’ monitoring and intervention throughout the territory andpopulation (Tilly 2007: 20). Turkey is a high-capacity state, with rela-tively strong grass-roots organizations, social movements, political partymobilization, competitive elections, and interest group activity. There-fore, it has the potential to institute a high-capacity democratic state.However, in terms of the extensive involvement by the state militaryand bureaucratic forces in public politics, Turkey approaches the modelof a high-capacity undemocratic state. I argue that in order to reach a negotiated consensus on complicatedpublic policy issues concerning the relationship between the Islamic
    • Headscarf Madness: Narratives of Religious Rights 225headscarf and laik culture, it is fundamental to make the state bothdemocratic and more capacious. According to Tilly (2007: 23), the fun-damental processes promoting democratization and de-democratizationconsist of the increasing integration of trust networks (such as religiousmembership) into public politics, the increasing insulation of publicpolitics from categorical inequalities (such as gender, religion, class, andethnicity), and the decreasing autonomy of major coercive power cen-tres (such as armies and religious institutions) from public politics. Tilly(2007: 80–105) contends that trust is a necessary condition for linkingnegotiations, struggles, and policy adjustments to the democratizationof the state. In a trust relationship, at least one party places valuedenterprises at risk to the errors, failures, or malfeasance of another party. The students I interviewed contend that the headscarf ban is premisedon a fundamental distrust of their political motivations and aspirationsby the state and state agents. In turn, women who wear the Islamicheadscarf have little trust in the state and the EU as well, for not respect-ing their freedom of choice and rights to equality. The ban sustains the‘categorical inequality’ of Islamic women based on their observance ofreligious obligations in public space. The contentious politics of the headscarf ban in Turkey revolvesaround deliberations of trust and risk. Islamic women want the stateto trust them while state agents deliberate on the risks of lifting theban. Tilly’s (2005, 2007) work on trust points to a fundamental rela-tionship that is significant for democratization in Turkey – one thatcould be promoted through the integration of Islamic women and theirconcerns over the headscarf into a consultative process of public pol-itics. Any changes that might occur from this would rest on Islamicwomen’s engagement and interaction with the state, which could pro-duce a negotiated consent. However, withdrawal or exclusion fromthe consultation process carries a higher risk for the growth of trustnetworks in transforming power reconfigurations outside the state con-sultative mechanism. As I show below, with little or no respect grantedto Islamic individuals, it is highly unlikely that trust can become part ofthe relations between Islamic individuals and state agents. I suggest that Tilly’s analysis needs to be supplemented by the con-cept of respect (Sennett 2003). In terms of the relationship betweendemocracy and trust, the Islamic women I interviewed described strongfeelings of resentment against the headscarf ban for restricting their fullself-realization. They resent the fact that they are not recognized for thechoices they make in managing their social life and they continue tosearch for social respect.
    • 226 Islam’s Marriage with Neoliberalism Richard Sennett (2003) has conceptualized respect as fundamentalto experiences of social relations and the self. It addresses an expres-sive life in which human beings are treated as equals. The criticalyardsticks of respect include: status, which refers to where a personstands in a social–cultural hierarchy; prestige, which refers to emotionswhich status arouses in others; recognition, which conveys mutuality;and honour, which proposes first a code of conduct and second a sig-nalling of a kind of erasure of social boundaries and distance (Sennett2003: 53–6). If we rethink Islamic women’s experiences from the perspective ofrespect offered by Sennett, respecting women who wear the Islamic head-scarf would include honouring and recognizing their personal choicesfor seeking religion. It would also include admitting their claims ofindividual freedoms and rights, permitting them to ‘participate moreactively in the conditions of their own care’ (Sennett 2003: 261), andacknowledging their right to self-realization as equals within the statusand prestige hierarchy of the Kemalist state. Conceived in this way, rela-tions of democratization must include respect (Sennett 2003) as muchas trust (Tilly 2005, 2007). Democratization cannot simply be imag-ined to occur by following and applying a single, strict set of rules. Therelationship between respect, trust, and democracy has to be negoti-ated. Democratization must involve a ‘negotiated consent.’ Accordingto Sennett (2003: 260), the negotiation engages the complexities ofpersonhood as much as social structure. With little respect and trustgranted to Islamic individuals, the foundations of democracy appear tobe depreciating in Turkey. One of the woman I interviewed, a self-described housewife namedSebahat, relayed an interesting personal experience which illustrates agrowing social tension over existential concerns relating to the head-scarf issue. Her experience occurred in a military-run shopping centre.The shopping centre sells subsidized goods to the families of militarypersonnel, currently employed or retired, and to others accompaniedby a person who has a membership. Sebahat’s neighbour and friend ismarried to a retired army officer and therefore has a membership at theshopping centre. This neighbour took Sebahat and her mother-in-lawto the military-run shopping centre for an afternoon outing. Sebahatand her mother-in-law wear the headscarf, but their friend does not.Sebahat’s headscarf is in the turban style while the mother-in-law’s is atraditional basortusu. Soldiers are stationed at the gate of the centre andmonitor visitors by checking their identification cards at the entrance.Both the friend and the mother-in-law passed the gates and entered
    • Headscarf Madness: Narratives of Religious Rights 227the centre but Sebahat was refused. The mother-in-law and the friendquestioned the soldiers about their refusal of Sebahat’s entry. One soldieranswered in the following manner: This mother’s headscarf is tied in a religious way, like my mother’s, under the chin. Look at the needles in the headscarf of this woman. She has covered her hair like the turbanli students. We have directives from our authorities and we cannot accept women with such a turban to enter the centre.After this response from the soldier, Sebahat insisted that her mother-in-law and friend continue with their shopping, but in solidarity withSebahat they refused to shop there and left the centre. During theinterview Sebahat revealed a sense of despair. She told me: It is not the fault of the soldiers. My son will be a soldier soon. He will also be asked to refuse people like me. I am a mother with three chil- dren. My husband is a very low-paid public employee. The only thing I am concerned about is how to find cheaper sale items. That’s why I went to the centre to shop. That shop sells things cheaply because of the taxes we pay but we cannot even shop there. Look at this double standard. The military eats the honey of this country. We pay for it, but we cannot even go to their bloody shops.Sebahat clearly resented the fact that she was targeted for being untrust-worthy, although the military’s distrust was not based on her actions.And there was no deliberation on her past and present history. Trust waswithdrawn from her not because of objective considerations obtainedabout her political or Islamic engagements. After all, the mother-in-lawwas also wearing a headscarf. The military’s decision derives from aninstant ‘assessment’ of the style of the headscarf. Because of the waySebahat wore her scarf it was defined as a turban. And thus she wasautomatically given the label of untrustworthy. Another woman whom I interviewed relayed a similar story of an inci-dent in which she was deemed untrustworthy. Selma, who wears herheadscarf in a turban style, went to her daughter’s graduation ceremonyat Ankara University. Her daughter, who does not cover her hair, grad-uated second in her class in the Department of Space Sciences. Selmawas refused entrance to the university because of her headscarf. She wastold that if she wants to observe her daughter’s graduation she has tochange her headscarf style and tie it under the chin. This is what she
    • 228 Islam’s Marriage with Neoliberalismdid to make her scarf fit the definition of basortusu. In the interview, shetold me: I don’t care about their rules and regulations. I just went there as a visitor to see my daughter receive her diploma. I didn’t go there to change their rules, but they treated me as if I am a terrorist. I was not a student, just a visiting mother, but they forced me to change the style of my cover on the street . . . humiliating me like that at the door! Am I not a citizen? A bunch of ridiculous people is making these stupid, ridiculous rules. And we have to comply with them!Not only was Selma annoyed but she was also upset that the gate-keepers of the university questioned her fundamental trustworthinessby making a snap judgement based on the style she adopted to coverher hair. Aysegul, another self-defined housewife, gave me an example of beingharassed on a public bus: When we were riding on a public bus, a middle-aged woman who was also wearing a headscarf began to shout that ‘I know why you are covering yourselves this way. Your husbands are pressuring you. Don’t worry, we will help you,’ as if we are asking for her help. They keep calling us turbanli. They pity us. They see us as if we are chained. I feel that we are treated as second-class citizens, like slaves, the way blacks are treated in America.Mine, also a self-described housewife, told me the following: Some friends and I, from time to time, visit historical sites in Turkey. We need to see and appreciate our treasures. We have a beautiful country. Anyway, we were visiting an old historical mosque in Bursa. I also had my daughter with me on that trip. My daughter covers her hair. There was a group of older people visiting the mosque as well. My daughter asked one man to take our picture. After he took our pictures, he asked if she was a student. Once she said yes, he said that he couldn’t reconcile her turban with her level of educa- tion. He said what a pity, I am so sorry for you. He probably thought that we were uneducated and pressured into wearing the headscarf by our husbands. [Her emphasis] Therefore, he didn’t say anything to us. But, he thought that my educated daughter should not wear it at all, that she should be freed from the turban. Isn’t it funny? I have
    • Headscarf Madness: Narratives of Religious Rights 229 a university diploma in engineering. But this man thought, without knowing anything about me, that I must be uneducated and pres- sured by my husband. I cannot be my own person. This is the kind of society we are living in.Hatice, a student in my sample, explained that she too has being stigma-tized for not fitting the expectations others have of an educated woman,merely because of her headscarf. Even strangers on the streets tell herthat she is too young to be religious. They question her decision andfrequently ask ‘why don’t you enjoy your youth? You can do it later;you are too young for that. Why do you wear that thing? What are youtrying to do?’ For Hatice, these sorts of questions reveal that her deci-sion to wear a symbol of her religiosity is not respected and that hermotivation is often suspect. The above quotations illustrate how trust was withdrawn from thesewomen on the basis of general references to laik cultural rules pertainingto the secularity of public space. Piotr Sztompka (1999: 69) defines trust as ‘a bet on the future con-tingent actions of others.’ As argued by Luhmann (1979: 33, quoted inSztompka 1999: 69), ‘the clues employed to form trust do not eliminatethe risk . . . They do not supply complete information about the likelybehaviour of the person to be trusted. They simply serve as a spring-board for the leap into uncertainty.’ For Sztompka, granting trust isbased on an estimate of the trustworthiness of others in the relation-ship. The estimation of trustworthiness in consideration of conferringtrust may be epistemological, based on consideration of informationobtained about the future possible engagement of individuals. Or, itmay be genealogical, based on knowledge derived from the past historyof relationships. Or, it may be based on cultural demands and pressuresover what is acceptable and worthy. Sztompka (1999: 70) calls this the‘culture of trust.’ An estimation of trustworthiness is common in allthree considerations of granting trust. In the trust/distrust culture of Turkey’s laiklik, the style of headscarfadopted by women is used as a clue to make epistemological judge-ments about the risk that women pose to the system. This is wellillustrated by a discussion which I observed between a man and awoman who wears the headscarf. I have named the woman Asuman,and the man Zafer. The woman is a store manager from my sampleof professional woman, and the man is a jeweller. The man was dis-trustful of the woman’s intentions, so distrustful, in fact, that he evenquestioned the sincerity of her religiosity. The woman and man are
    • 230 Islam’s Marriage with Neoliberalismrelatives who met each other at the house of another relative of theirs.I observed their conversation while they were playing a friendly cardgame at home. All the women in the game were wearing a basortusu,tied under the chin, except Asuman whose coverage is defined as a tur-ban. Since they were close relatives none of the women was coveringtheir hair at home. I was invited to play the game as well. The discus-sion started with Zafer asking Asuman why she covers her hair the wayshe does. Zafer: ‘my wife, sisters, and your mother also cover their hair with a basortusu. They don’t make any fuss about it, and nobody questions them. Why are you wearing a turban?’ Asuman: ‘I cover my hair because of my belief in Islam. I am just trying to fulfill my religious obligations.’ Zafer: ‘There are only five pillars of Islam. Wearing a headscarf is not one of them. You don’t need to wear a turban to be a Muslim.’ Asuman: ‘yes it is not part of the five pillars of Islam; it nevertheless is an obligation.’ Zafer: ‘Do you do your daily prayers? Namaz [daily prayers that Mus- lims are required to do five times a day] is the most important pillar of Islam.’ Asuman: ‘Sometimes I do, but I am not doing it regularly.’ Zafer: ‘Namaz is part of the Islamic five pillars. If you are so con- cerned about being a good Muslim, why don’t you fulfill the most important pillar of Islam.’ Asuman: ‘Woman’s coverage is not a pillar but an obligation. And, I am trying to fulfill my responsibilities.’ Zafer: ‘If it is the case, first you must pray. The rest is just odds and ends.’The conversation went back and forth. Asuman tried to show that theKoran contains many references to the importance of woman’s cover-age. Zafer kept questioning her religious sincerity. Because she does notregularly perform her daily prayers, which is part of the five pillars ofIslam, her religious motivation for wearing what Zafer calls a ‘turban’is questioned. The debate reaches an impasse and Zafer accuses her ofbeing stubborn and disrespectful: ‘You always think that you know itall. You never accept other people’s opinions. You never consider thepossibility of being wrong but you are wrong in this case. The turbanis not an Islamic pillar. If you are so concerned about performing yourreligious duties, you must do your namaz.’ The conversation ended with
    • Headscarf Madness: Narratives of Religious Rights 231Asuman leaving the table very upset and crying, although she hid hertears from others in the group. She was heartbroken for being ques-tioned about her sincerity and for not being respected. After a while shecame back, acted as if nothing happened, and the card game resumed.Zafer did not apologize to her, nor did she say anything else on thematter. This was not an isolated case, and I have observed many similarinstances in Turkey. For example, among the professional women I inter-viewed who do not cover their hair, the teacher and the economist alsoquestioned the religious sincerity of women who adopt the turban style.These professional women said that they fulfil their religious obligationsas required by the Islamic five pillars but the headscarf is not one ofthem. For them, the Islamic headscarf symbolizes women’s involvementin political Islam. They simply do not trust the intentions of turbanliwomen. Some of the men I interviewed (the two school teachers andthe head of the adult public education centre – all state employees)also expressed their suspicion of covered women. They contend thata good Muslim, either woman or man, has to be sincere, kind-hearted,good natured and mannered, but the display of religious conviction bywearing a headscarf is not necessarily an indication of religiosity. Inter-estingly, however, this description of a good Muslim is shared by womenwho wear the headscarf. One of the professors of theology whom I call T.A. also believes thatthe headscarf is used for political reasons. For him, students who wearit are rebelling against the state and simply don’t want to accept thestate’s ruling. The other professor whom I call S.F. disagreed. Accord-ing to S.F., the rebellion is not against the state but against a specificdecision. For T.A., it is against whoever made the decision, includingthe Council of Higher Education (YOK), which is a state agent. Sincethe state is behind the decision, student opposition is perceived to beagainst the state. According to him, this is the source of the unease insociety. They both agreed that the students should open their hair andcontinue their education but without forgetting that they are Muslims.T.A. justified his argument by stating: Our religion requires education. Let’s say the headscarf is also a reli- gious obligation. Religion requires both education and the headscarf. The state forbids one of these religious requirements. Which one do you choose? You will choose to open your hair because education is more important than covering the hair. In the Koran, there is no explicit requirement for covering the hair but there is for the bosom.
    • 232 Islam’s Marriage with Neoliberalism Hair coverage is a tradition. The meaning of Koranic verses should be decided in terms of their emphasis. The Koran emphasizes coverage of the bosom. Hair coverage is not Allah’s order. Open or cover you hair, it is up to you. Either way is permissible.The religious sincerity of these women has been seriously questioned.But none of the women I interviewed who wear the Islamic headscarfmade reference to the foundational pillars of Islam to justify their headcover. They all said that it is a symbol of women’s modesty and a reli-gious obligation which some women choose to observe. Yet they do notquestion the religious conviction of other women who choose not towear the headscarf. For example, the social worker in my sample of professional women,whom I call Deniz, said that she knows many women who do not covertheir hair but live consistently within the Islamic rules of modesty. ‘Theydo not wear revealing or tight dresses. They don’t wear mini skirts, shortsleeved tops, or tight pants. They don’t drink alcohol.’ She covered herhair only a year ago, and her life remains similar to that of other women.She still enjoys a very active social life, eating out, going to concertsin the evenings. According to Deniz, many women in Turkey withouta hair cover still behave modestly and unpretentiously in public life.Deniz described her hair coverage as rooted in her faith and the deci-sion to live religiously – a decision which should not be questionedbut respected as a matter of personal choice. All the covered womenI interviewed expressed this same sentiment. Mehmet, a social worker from my sample of professional men, arguedthat modesty is an important aspect of Islamic morality that is expectedof both women and men. Head covering is an aspect of women’s mod-esty, but women who wear the headscarf may not necessarily live inaccordance with the Islamic meaning of modesty. For Mehmet, modestyis a moral manifestation of faith in the existence of the other world after death. Belief in the other world comes with a belief in accountability. We will be rewarded or punished on the basis of what we have done here. I need to observe, critically think, and intellectually be convinced of the idea of accountability. Once I am convinced, I can refigure my life here. This is what modesty is about.For Mehmet, the meaning of modesty is rooted in the idea that humanbeings are only guests in this world:
    • Headscarf Madness: Narratives of Religious Rights 233 You see a river, leading to a lake in which there is a huge whale swim- ming. The first question to ask is what the whale is doing here. It should be in the ocean not in a lake. Humans are like whales. We do not belong to this world. I am not talking about rejection of the world at all. Only when we are able to link our existence in this world with the other, can we properly fit in here, just as the whale must find an outlet to the ocean where it lives.Similarly, Deniz describes modesty as an expression of faith that permitsa believer to link this world to the other. ‘This world is a place for usto enjoy what has been created and made available for us. But, we needto learn how to say “thank you.” The Islamic concept of accountabilityis an expression of gratitude for the gifts given to us to enjoy withoutbeing self-indulgent.’ Deniz and Mehmet argue that many women in Turkey cover theirhair to imitate other covered women. Deniz offered an example of herneighbour’s 15-years-old daughter who recently covered herself: I asked her ‘what are you doing? What is this?’ She said that she decided to wear the headscarf because many of her friends cover themselves and she doesn’t want to be the only one who is not cov- ered. I tried to explain to her that this is not a good reason at all but she did not understand me.Deniz and Mehmet argue for modesty as a concept and practicegrounded in faith and devotion. This requires making sense of the reli-gious meaning of modesty by being learned. For them, the headscarf isnot primarily about being religious, nor is it an indication of being agood Muslim. Similarly, T.A., the professor of theology, describes a goodMuslim as being learned: Being learned is the highest form of religious worship. It is as important as namaz. Thus, a good Muslim will be trustworthy, hard- working, and reflective of his or her actions. You need to think, reflect, and interpret the meaning of your actions. This cannot be done by imitating others. In the West, they also reflect on the mean- ing of their actions but only for the purpose of realizing their own self-interest. In Islam, reflection cannot be directed towards maxi- mization of self-interest. You cannot imitate this. You need to allow people to think and reflect on things. Unfortunately, we don’t have freedom of thought and conscious reflection in Turkey.
    • 234 Islam’s Marriage with NeoliberalismThe emphasis on being learned by critically thinking and reflecting onthe meaning of faith and devotion is widely accepted by my respon-dents. This draws attention to the significance of Islamic pedagogy inchanging the normative conditions of Muslim practices through the cul-tivation of a deeper, broader social imagery for Islamic women. Fatma,a student in my sample, articulated this emphasis on being learnedthrough a concept of Islam hanimefendisi (Islamic lady): When they look at us they should be able to see that we live the reli- gion of Islam. We should have a different flair in our look. In addition to striving towards being a good mother, wife, and educator in our personal lives, we should also strive towards enriching our intellec- tual capacity. Rather than remaining in the domesticity of our homes, we need to build our capacity in the sciences and other professions. We need to strengthen and live our faith; our work in the sciences should help us to find Allah as the creator of the best. We need to identify with Islamic morals. An Islam hanimefendisi is covered, and still elegant and well dressed, respectful, and respected. She organizes her life according to faith and not by imitation. She is a trustworthy woman with good manners, sincerity, and decency. These are among the personality traits cultivated through Islam. They are also essen- tial aspects of our own culture. These traits indicate our civility. I try to live like this. This is my desire. In order to be a hanimefendi, the headscarf is unnecessary. There are many women in our society who embody Islamic principles of decency, modesty and civility. Some wear the headscarf and some don’t.Sevgi, the lawyer in my sample of professional women, does not evenconsider the question of whether women who do not cover their hairbehave modestly in public life in a manner consistent with Islamicnorms. Women, Islamic or otherwise, can wear whatever they want.However, for Tugba, the doctor in my sample, covered women have beenput under a microscope: They have been constantly tested, examined, and questioned whether or not their style of dress or public behaviour fits into what they expect from a religious woman. Even if there is a small, tiny diversion from what is perceived as religious we will be seen as insin- cere Muslims. For example, if I wear pants, even though they are loose and the hip curves covered with a longer tunic, I will be ques- tioned for diverting from religion. This form of dress is still modest
    • Headscarf Madness: Narratives of Religious Rights 235 and consistent with Islam. Other women also wear these kinds of dress to be more modest in society, but nobody questions if they are Muslim or not.For the women I interviewed who wear the headscarf, the reli-gion of Islam cultivates ‘a regulative sensibility’ (Mahmood 2005: 47)through its values, norms and standards in shaping one’s conductin domestic and social life, including employment, education, andother social activities. For them, the Islamic regulative sensibility isconstitutive of a Turkish culture already shared by many in Turkey.According to these women, religion is not relegated to a distinct, sep-arate sphere. It is regulative of moral, ethical sensibilities in daily lifeexperience. Both the women and men I interviewed made reference to mod-esty in relation to a set of norms and values that reveal a viewpointon refiguring the regulative aspects of social life. This entails makingIslamic teaching an integral part of moral education. For Mehmet, thisincludes cultivating values which avoid deception and lies, being trust-worthy, learning to share, being respectful of others, being grateful,and so on. For him, these qualities are integral to Turkish sensibili-ties. All my respondents share this view regardless of their support forthe Islamic headscarf. Therefore, those who support wearing the head-scarf are convinced that the current obsession with it is not rootedin opposition to religion or religious sensibilities. It is based on thepower plays of class conflict and regional contention between the newlyemerging classes of small Anatolian cities and historically dominantgroups from large cities. This is expressed by Esra who sees the pur-suit of a religious sensibility as part of the very nature of Turkey’s socialchange story: those who do not want people like us to achieve prominent posi- tions in society resort to the ban. If we achieve higher positions in society with a religious sensibility, we will be potentially transforma- tive of the political practices of the state. That is why they constantly use an iron fist with us. It cannot go on like this. We are thirsty for democracy. And there should be reconciliation.For the professors of theology and the former graduate of the Facultyof Theology in my sample, reconciliation is only possible through thepedagogical work of cognitively embedding the democratic rights ofindividuals within society. According to S.F.,
    • 236 Islam’s Marriage with Neoliberalism there should first of all be an agreement on the legitimacy of the questions raised about the lack of freedom of thought and conscious reflection. The state and state agents cannot indulge in such peda- gogical training. In order to have social harmony we need to have learned individuals. The state works within a command-order hier- archy; the state wants slaves. We are part of the educational system which enslaves individuals. You cannot expect a democrat from the enslaved. We do our scholarly work only within the limits allowed by the state. It is very difficult to achieve social reconciliation.The jeweller-lawyer in my sample, whom I call Osman, acts exactly inthe way that the women I interviewed complain about – placing themunder close ideological scrutiny and questioning their motivation. Incontrast to the professors, Osman sees freedom of thought and con-scious reflection as a dangerous move. He simply defines the actionsof women who wear the headscarf as political. For him, the turban isthe political flag of a reactionary Islamic movement. He views womenwho wear the Islamic headscarf as part of a movement which aims toturn Turkey into an Iranian-style theocracy. Osman earnestly claimedthat he was not against women covering their hair, nor against themperforming religious duties. In fact, he described his mother as a verysincere religious woman who regularly performed her daily prayers. Shealso wore a basortusu. However, for him, the turban is not religious at all. These turbanli students are not religious. They show every contour of their body. You can easily see the curves of their breasts when they walk on the streets. They are simply orospu (whores). Their numbers keep going up because the younger students are imitating the dressing style of these orospu.These harsh words, although unfortunate, show the extent of social ten-sion. For Osman, the granting of rights to these women is dangerous. Heacknowledges that the headscarf ban may be violating the principles offreedom of religion and conscience, but he believes Turkey cannot trustIslamic people. Therefore, for him, democracy is a luxury for Turkey. If you let these people, they will turn Turkey into Iran. They hate Ataturk and his principles. They say that they want greater freedoms and rights, but if you give them the freedoms and rights, the first thing they will do is to get rid of the freedoms and the rights of others. EU membership is not a good idea
    • Headscarf Madness: Narratives of Religious Rights 237 either. The EU pushes for democracy which encourages these fanat- ics who hide behind the mask of democratic rights. Turkey needs a strong army. The military should crush them before it is too late. But the military does not want to appear as though they are the ones who are against democracy. The EU will never take Turkey as a member anyway; I think the military should forget about the EU and behave the way it must.With little respect and trust in the relationship between democracyand inequality, which Tilly (2007) contends is vital for democratiza-tion, Osman favours the social inequality that is sustained within theKemalist cultural hierarchy. He freely accepts the lower status and pres-tige granted to Islamic segments of society. Osman also supports militaryintervention in politics rather than democratization to ensure the per-sistence of the cultural hierarchy. His distrust of religiously inspiredindividuals and groups prevents him from fully supporting democracy,which requires greater participation of individuals, including religiousindividuals, in the public sphere on a more egalitarian basis. Interestingly, Mehmet, the social worker, and Nedim, the shoemaker,argued against the removal of the headscarf ban even though they sup-port women wearing the Islamic scarf. Contrary to Osman, who distrustsand disrespects Islamic individuals, Mehmet and Nedim argue that theidea of respecting the principles of human rights and freedoms, equal-ity, and social justice is not well established in Turkey. According toNedim, as long as disrespect and distrust of differences continue toinfluence norms and standards of behaviour, the removal of the banwill cause social unrest. For Mehmet, the root problem of this disrespectand distrust is the educational system which neglects responsible moraldevelopment. The issues of personal self-growth and self-rule have beensuppressed because of the bureaucratic fear of producing unintendedconsequences for the state. As a result, Turkey’s pedagogy is guided bya social imagery of state bureaucrats in which the individual display ofcertain behaviours is seen as unacceptable. Although neither Mehmetnor Nedim has read Tilly or Sennett, they both argue that the dis-play of differences is only possible within a political context anchoredin principles of mutual trust (Tilly) and respect (Sennett). For Nedim,moral maturity, modesty, and decency are all fundamental features ofan understanding of democracy that is grounded in culture as a way ofsocial life. The development of such an argument has meant the strengtheningof a connection between pedagogical and political processes in a more
    • 238 Islam’s Marriage with Neoliberalismcomprehensive social change programme. This programme is widelyembraced by Islamic groups as a search for more comprehensive rightsand freedoms. For others, it is construed as a search for an Islamicmoral order that assaults Kemalist laik principles of the state. The ulti-mate manner in which the tension between these groups plays itself outremains to be seen. Whatever the eventual outcome, the case of Turkeyoffers a rare and unique opportunity to witness the ongoing relation-ship between secularism, Islam and democracy as constituent elementsin the ongoing process of state transformation today.
    • 8ConclusionThis book has examined state transformation in Turkey by focusing onthe intersection between knowledge cultures and the globalized framesof neoliberalism. The work brings together the historical complexitiesthat have emerged from the nineteenth-century ‘secular’ reorganiza-tion of the Ottoman state to the present ‘Islamic’ reconstituting of theKemalist laik state. These complexities are revealed through the diversepolitical orientations, normative measures, standards and practices thatexist under a global market economy. In studying the long history ofthe interplay between secular-laik and Islamic politics in Turkey, myprimary aim has been to uncover how such relations interact with theglobal conditions of historical capitalism. Turkey’s current bid for EUmembership links the ways in which participation in the neoliberal mar-ket economy and moral/cultural claims are conceived. This is similarto the nineteenth-century Ottoman bid for the adoption of Europeanways. The incorporation of globalized, normative practices of the marketeconomy and liberalism into an Islamic framing of state reconstitutionin Turkey indicates that Islam had long been a part of a complicatedplurality in the political reorganization of the global economy. Framing Islamic politics in this way allows us to unravel meaning-driven schemas beyond a state-centric understanding of cultures ashomogeneous and nations as a territorial encasement of these cul-tures. The move beyond state territoriality as a reference point forpolitics comes down to a critical approach to an epistemology of state-centrism that has dominated social sciences since the late nineteenthcentury. This shift also challenges essentializing conceptual frameworksof global politics that describe Islam in reified terms as an abstract,self-evident category. Moving beyond a research strategy which concep-tualizes Islamic politics, cultures, and global conditions as self-evident 239
    • 240 Islam’s Marriage with Neoliberalismcategories poses the specific challenge of detecting, as argued by SaskiaSassen (2007a: 9), how local/national conditions articulate with globaldynamics in a way that social relations are continually reconfigured andrestructured in space. In dealing with such a challenge, the present work is an attemptto grasp historical contingency rather than construct a formal, abstractconceptual category of state reconstitution detached from historicallyspecific social processes. This is crucial if we are to demonstrate that‘in history there are divergent manifestations of a singular process,’and if we are to perceive the unity in diversity without reifying either(McMichael 1990: 396). The methodology adopted in this book offersa historical rethinking of the state-centric territorial politics on theforces of capital and citizens, and on political power between and withinstates. Through such a methodological rethinking, the book ‘turns tosocietal forces’ (Atasoy 2009b: 2) in order to examine state reconstitu-tion as a complex, historically specific process. Raising questions aboutan ‘epistemology of state centrism’ (Brenner 1999: 45), the currentIslamic state restructuring in Turkey is understood as a geo-political,geo-economic, and geo-cultural project of change from within andoutside. Having traversed a lengthy and complicated history of Turkey fromthe late Ottoman Empire to the present, I am now in a position toassert that Islam’s marriage with neoliberalism today undermines theconnection between state sovereignty, ‘as a measure of actual power’(Rosenberg 1994: 131), and Kemalist laiklik, historically established dur-ing the ‘national era’ of what Beck (2000) calls the ‘first modernity.’Presented as an ontological feature of social life under ‘modernity,’the Kemalist connection between state sovereignty and laiklik expressesthe central assumption of the first modernity – that ‘we live and act in theself-enclosed spaces of national states and their respective national societies’(Beck 2000: 20, emphasis original). In conveying an Enlightenment-based frame of reference, the Kemalist state embodies a representationof the first modernity’s ‘methodological nationalism’ (A.D. Smith 1979:191, quoted in Beck 2000: 21) which is trapped in the Westphaliansystem of situating sovereignty in territorially encaged national jurisdic-tions of socio-economic and politico–cultural relations (Brenner 1999;Mann 1993; P. Taylor 2003). The Islamic reconstitution of the state ispremised on the meaning and consequences for human life of the rulingrelations of Kemalist entrapment within a ‘container theory of society’(P. Taylor 2003), one which assumes a territorially bounded space ofsocial relations defined and controlled by the state.
    • Conclusion 241 An Islamic reworking of the Kemalist configuration of the firstmodernity presents us with a complicated story of a marriage betweenIslam and neoliberalism that creates the conditions for an ethico-political societal mobilization. This mobilization articulates a discourseof human rights based on an ethics of justice and human dignity rootedin divine power, frequently supplemented by liberal–democratic con-cepts of individual freedoms and rights. An ethic of human rightsframes an Islamic deontological approach to self-definition and the rightto live within a particular moral, cultural, and spiritual orientation.In this sense, the Islamic human rights approach constitutes an instanceof the historical development of ‘an ethic of citizenship governed byhuman rights’ rather than the principle of national self-determination(McMichael 2009: 25). This unravels the Kemalist ontology and sepa-rates the notion of sovereignty from statist laiklik as a generalized featureof social life. And yet, the unravelling of Kemalism is historically spe-cific to the world-historical processes and power relations of neoliberalcapitalist restructuring. This book has stressed Islam’s role in transforming the state as a histor-ically specific deployment of ethico-political and pedagogical strategiesfor reconfiguring the material and discursive relations of neoliberal-ism. The Islamic reworking of the state is occurring as a historicaloutcome of Turkey’s integration into the globalized economic, politi-cal, and normative frameworks of neoliberalism regionally centred onthe EU. Still, this reworking remains a deeply contentious product ofthe complicated and contradictory relations of the historically specificstate project of Kemalism. The twenty-first-century Islamic mobilizationof newly rich capitalists from the Anatolian hinterland, the growingconcern of women over the headscarf ban, the emergence of Kurdishclaims to cultural rights, and the rise of Islamic religious groups have alloccurred largely by reference to social injustices inflicted by the Kemaliststate. As a historically specific project, Kemalist state formation took placewithin the general international conjuncture of the Great Depressionof 1929 and the resulting state protectionism in the world economy.But the Kemalist state was distinct from fascist and Stalinist states,which were historically rooted in managing the class relations of anindustrial economy as a protective, albeit varied, response to the insti-tutions and destructive effects of a laissez-faire economy (Polanyi 1944).The Kemalist state was about instituting an industrial economy whenthe global free-trade system was collapsing, rather than being a pro-tective response to the laissez-faire economy, as described by Polanyi.
    • 242 Islam’s Marriage with NeoliberalismIn instituting an industrial economy, Kemalism legitimized its politico–regulatory strategies by an appeal to the notion of progress rooted inEuropean techno-scientific universalism. Aiming to create a national classof private industrialists, state bureaucrats emerged as the possessors ofthe state, equipped with political and economic power and in alliancewith the possessors of knowledge of European modernity – secularlyoriented intellectuals. It is important to highlight the fact that although shaped in the inter-national conjuncture of the Great Depression, Kemalist state making hasits roots in the landmark of Ottoman state restructuring, the Tanzimat.The Tanzimat programme involved a specific restructuring of the statethrough a liberal worldview as imagined in the course of the nineteenth-century form of free-market-oriented world economy. The Tanzimatwas an Ottoman attempt to replicate the ‘capital-coercive trajectory’ ofthe British state (Tilly 1990). The British trajectory had been formed inthe lengthy relations of an ‘accumulation of power and capital withinthe state’ (cf. Arendt 1951/1986: 143; Arrighi 2007: 229; Tilly 1990). It isimportant to note that the British model was only one particular formamong other historical trajectories by which nation-states developedlater in the complicated nineteenth-century political–military relationsof the system of states. Various state-making trajectories were at play ininstituting the market economy as a politically administered territorialspace for the accumulation of power and capital within the Europeancolonial system of states (Arrighi 1994, 2007; Polanyi 1944). This processincorporated global geo-political and economic relations into the Britishcapital-coercive trajectory of state making as the dominant model (Tilly1990), but the form of the state was not the nation-state; it wascolonial. The nation-state system emerged simultaneously out of thecomplicated world-historical relations of the nineteenth-century marketeconomy. The Tanzimat (restructuring) of the Ottoman state was entangled withlarger processes of geographical expansion of capital accumulation andpower, via the self-regulating market institution described by Polanyiand its political–military struggles. In response to the destructive eco-nomic effects and political–military relations of the market economy,Tanzimat reforms aimed to reconfigure the existing ethos of sovereigntyfrom one which historically accommodated cultural–religious hetero-doxy to one which ultimately produced a unified and homogeneoussociety. The goal was to institute a ‘national state’ in order to containsocio-economic-ethnic relations within society – bundled up with anassumed Ottoman nationality.
    • Conclusion 243 However, the project was riddled with contradictions arising from thedeployment of European liberalism as an ideology of state primacy andsocial cohesion. Liberalism was very difficult for the Ottoman state toimplement in its effort to strengthen economic and political–militarypower. It prompted a period of more generalized ‘integration crises’ inthe empire, with nationalism emerging as an organizing principle, notfor securing loyalty to the Ottoman state, but for establishing claimsto statehood among various communities of the empire. The globalgeographical expansion of ‘capitalist logic’ (Arrighi 1994) via the British-led colonial reorganization of the world political–economic space(McMichael 2004) had intensified the process of disintegration of ‘worldempires’ (Wallerstein 1974), including the Ottoman Empire, thus lead-ing to a change in the historical form of states. A shift ‘from empires tomodern nation states’ (Held et al. 1999: 32) in the territorial politics ofpolitical and economic power has been a defining feature of the chal-lenges faced in the Ottoman restructuring of the state. Complicationsresulted from the fact that the global expansion of ‘capitalist logic’undermined the ‘territorial logic’ of Ottoman rule, which consequentlyresulted in the emergence of distinct linguistic, ‘ethnic’ affiliations asmarkers of nationality and state loyalties (Sassen 1999). It should notbe surprising, therefore, that the ‘integration crises’ of the OttomanEmpire inspired intense ideological debates and hopes for state restruc-turing through the ‘principle of territoriality’ (P. Taylor 2003). Thesedebates were centred on how to secure the state loyalty of variouscultural–ethnic groups and contain the socio-economic activities ofcapital accumulation within Ottoman borders. In response to the integration crises in the Ottoman Empire, vari-ous currents of secular and Islamic thinking emerged with the aim ofrearticulating ethico-political principles of territoriality and governance.This was to be achieved through an engagement with the Europeanliberal worldview of the market economy, state sovereignty, and nation-alism. The process of territorial rearticulation of social, economic, andcultural processes, with a corresponding demarcation of a national soci-ety, has occurred since the Tanzimat. Islamic thinking, like secularism,had become a constitutive element in the long history of Turkey’sfirst modernity since Tanzimat, particularly after the First World War.Ottoman-Islamic intellectuals had hoped for the institution of the pri-macy of the state and sovereignty in the ethical–political reorganizationand regulation of social cohesion – to be realized through the filterof a synthesis between Islamic principles and European modernity. Forthem, Islam had to accompany the notion of state sovereignty but it had
    • 244 Islam’s Marriage with Neoliberalismto be connected to a comprehensive rethinking of the ethos of a norma-tive order in culturally and politically administering the territorial spaceof the state. To repeat, the Ottoman–Muslim adherence to European liberal think-ing and a market economy since the Tanzimat has set in motion aprotracted twentieth-century coupling of secularism and Islam in regardto the notion of state sovereignty. However, I do not view the Islamicreconstitution of the state in Turkey today as the outcome of a ‘culmi-nating process’ (McMichael 2001: 207) which has evolved within theglobal expansion of market capitalism. Rather, I draw attention to theprocess whereby state reconstruction becomes a historical project ofspace restructuring of larger global processes and political–economic–cultural relations in world-historical capitalism. The nation-state is aform of state structuring and expresses socio-political, cultural, and ide-ological struggles which themselves are historical parts of and outcomesof the politics of the global economy. I agree with McMichael (2001:206) that, as a historical project, the nation-state has definite ‘geo-political lineages across time and space.’ As does the restructuring of thestate under the world-historical relations of neoliberal capitalism. Butthe current neoliberal processes of state restructuring do not replicatenineteenth-century relations. What is different today is that the connection between statesovereignty and claims for cultural homogeneity – bundled up in theprocesses of nation-state making after the First World War – has becomeunbounded. An examination of Islamic cultural politics in Turkeytoday, which combines ethico-political and pedagogical processes inthe development of an Islamic human rights discourse and a searchfor ‘comprehensive democracy,’ illustrates this argument well. In break-ing the historical connections between state sovereignty and culturalhomogeneity imposed by Kemalist laiklik, Islamic groups are extend-ing the scope of a search for ideas and explanatory systems beyondthe state. The shift in the territorial extensity of the state is occurringas Islamic groups embody globalized discursive frames of democracy,human rights, and a neoliberal economy. I utilize a comparative perspective because it allows us to uncover thehistorical contingency involved in the complex entanglement of domes-tic and global processes and relations. Unless we situate national staterestructuring within the material and discursive processes, relations, andstructures of the global, which are dynamic, contradictory, and compli-cated, we cannot make sense of the historical variability in the nuancedrelations between Islam and laiklik. The concepts of state restructuring
    • Conclusion 245encompass a multiplicity of relations within the system of states impli-cated in the world capitalist economy. It follows that the historical emer-gence of the two distinct yet intertwined imaginaries of state structuringthat continue to influence Turkish politics today, laiklik and Islam,is explained as being conditioned within the nineteenth-century free-trade market economy. The historical entanglement of laiklik and Islamin state restructuring is being repeated in the late twentieth and earlytwenty-first century neoliberal reorganization of the global market econ-omy. The Tanzimat was a distinct project of Ottoman integration intothe British-led political reorganization of capitalism. The current Islamicreconstitution of the state is occurring as contingent to the integrationof the Kemalist state into the material and discursive relations of neolib-eralism framed by the EU, as well as the IMF and the World Bank. NgaireWoods (2006) defines these as ‘globalizers’ of neoliberal capitalism. The present work employs a form of comparative historical method-ology developed by McMichael (1990) known as ‘incorporated com-parison.’ It directs our attention to the restructuring of Ottoman andKemalist states as something to be understood as distinct outcomes ofhistorically specific global political–economic processes and relations.Given the specificity of each period in the history of capitalism, staterestructuring exhibits divergent forms, rather than replicating a genericmodel of state formation fitting into an ideal type. The nineteenth-century free-trade market economy generated the Ottoman Tanzimat.The mid-twentieth-century statism of the 1930s, which emerged fromthe crisis of the nineteenth-century self-regulating market institution(Polanyi 1944), produced the Kemalist state. Late twentieth and earlytwenty-first century neoliberal market capitalism is generating theIslamic reconstitution of the state. The Kemalist state was predicatedon the consolidation of the power of state bureaucrats in institutingthe industrial capitalist economy and in creating large private capitalistsas its dominant class. The current Islamic reconstitution of the state isdevoted to the reworking of the material and ideological–cultural ten-sions and corresponding practices of the Kemalist state. The Kemaliststate itself has been reworked and reconstituted as it has passed throughvarious phases of ‘national developmentalism’ (McMichael 2004) sincethe First World War, and especially during the international ColdWar politics of anti-communism after the Second World War (Atasoy2003, 2005 Chapters: 4–5). The post-war reworking of the Kemaliststate involved adherence to an ideological construct of Turkish Islamunderpinning national developmentalist ideology and the disciplinarypractices of the state.
    • 246 Islam’s Marriage with Neoliberalism The current Islamic reconstitution of the state in the context ofTurkey’s bid for EU membership is being worked out via the mobiliza-tion of newly emerging middle classes from Anatolia and other societalgroups, including religious groups and intellectuals, women, and Kurds.These groups are demanding new representation in the state. They standin opposition to the bureaucratically inspired state authoritarianismwhich excludes a significant segment of the population from mean-ingful participation in public politics. The Kemalist high bureaucratsas well as the nationalist political parties such as CHP and MHP con-tinue to demand a demonstration of loyalty to core Kemalist principlesof state sovereignty. On the other hand, Islamic politics seeks to breakthe strictly controlled and sanctioned cultural politics of the Kemaliststate via an anti-bureaucratic campaign and a mobilization of variousgroups from the Anatolian hinterland who demand representation. The neoliberal framing of a social change trajectory undertakenthrough the EU integration programme has intensified tensions overthe statist definition of culture and sovereignty. While current Islamicpolitics challenges the intersection between the cultural continuity oflaiklik and state sovereignty, military–judicial bureaucrats in power oftenrespond to the challenge by directly and indirectly intruding into thepolitical negotiations and power plays of state restructuring. The form ofthe emergent state structure has yet to crystallize. Nevertheless, Islamicsocietal mobilization cuts through the cultural hierarchy of Kemalism,stretching vertically from the upper bureaucratic echelons of the stateto the micro-political space of social terrain. In replacing older cul-tural hierarchies, Islamic groups upholding ethical principles of humandignity and justice are motivated to build ‘horizontally articulated’(Brenner et al. 2003: 14) linkages between the cultural and the socialwithin political space, via new representations in the state. Such amobilization no doubt transforms the state from within and without,although the politics of transformation proceeds with uncertainty andwithout guarantees. The restructuring of the Kemalist state includes a political reworkingof the relations, thinking, and ethos of sovereignty. It also embod-ies the material and ideological tensions between secular and Islamicorientations on the relations of change in existing patterns of inclu-sion and exclusion. The heightened politics of state monitoring anddisciplining, on the one hand, and social–political mobilization, con-testation, and demands for representation, on the other, characterizea dynamic process of state transformation. The bureaucratic vanguardresponds by promoting state disciplinary practices that further militarize
    • Conclusion 247society, and by fostering culturally exclusionary policies that marginal-ize these newly mobilized societal groups. Nevertheless, rather thanproviding a resolution to the conflictual relations of state transforma-tion, the coercive practices of the state bureaucracy contribute furtherto social uncertainty in society. This uncertainty arises from unsettledpower struggles and ideological conflicts over the frames of referencefor a social change model. It includes representation of new politicalalliances and social classes from Anatolia, as well as the changing rela-tions of Islamic women in society, and Kurdish cultural demands inrefashioning social life and reconstituting the state. Uncertainty in social relations continues to be fed by conflict overbureaucratic persistence in state-centrism as expressed through themonitoring of political space, disciplining of citizens, and normativegrounding of social behaviour. After tracing the existing relations ofuncertainty in the Kemalist state, which can be referred to as ‘bellicoseunitarianism’ (Connolly 2005: 3), this book argues that the bureaucraticinsistence on encaging social relations within a notion of national cul-tural homogeneity feeds into a project of social fascism (Escobar 2004).This is a project that reformulates the ideological bases and ethos of statesovereignty via a continued adherence to the notion of ‘Turkish Islam.’As an ideological extension of the state sovereignty principle, TurkishIslam refigures the cultural conditions of citizenship and coercive dis-ciplinary practices of bureaucratic domination which in turn intensifythe social–political conditions of marginalization and subordination(cf. Abrams 1988). This does not unthink (Somers 1999) Kemalism andits knowledge culture embodied in state-centrism; it aims to re-establishbureaucratic power in the state. However, under neoliberal economic and political restructuring,which generates claims for new representations of social, ethnic, andreligious life, Kemalist state-centrism continues to be undermined.The crumbling of Kemalism also lies within the cultural–ideologicalrelations of laiklik. The adherence of Islam to the neoliberal creedrestructures the Kemalist state and its sovereignty principle, whichhas been tied historically to laiklik. An Islamic moral stance on socialjustice offers a very different view of the state’s sovereign power. Invest-ing considerable authority in state-ruling bureaucratic cadres and theexercise of power, the Kemalist notion of state sovereignty, accord-ing to Islamic critiques, turns individuals and cultural communitiesinto what Hegel calls a ‘ “formless mass,” an “indeterminate abstrac-tion” [which] lacks every one of the institutional characteristics thatallow us to identify real communities’ (Yack 2003: 33). In The Origins of
    • 248 Islam’s Marriage with NeoliberalismTotalitarianism Hannah Arendt (1951/1986) extends this view of ‘masssociety’ into an explanation of state repression. She argues that theloss of social–political organizational networks and moral standards,and hence the lack of meaningful social relations, results in acute,disorganized feelings of insecurity. The disorganized insecurity of themasses is transformed into organized insecurity via bureaucrats in statepower using force and various other governmental techniques to coerceand subjugate citizens of the state. For Arendt, bureaucratically orga-nized insecurity shifts ground from a democratic orientation in socialrelations to the restoration of state primacy. The isolated, lonely, con-fused individual is the main metaphor used in this theorizing of masssociety. The Islamic individuals and groups discussed in this book do nothave the depressing image of lonely individuals in a mass soci-ety described by Arendt. The Islamic critique of state practices ofsovereignty in relation to citizen discipline and moral regulationno doubt appeals to public passions. But, an Islamic orientationmoves beyond an emotional appeal to passions; it plays an ideolog-ical role in constituting and regulating the interest-based politics ofclass making (cf. Hirschmann 1977, 1986; Sabel 1982; Sahlins 1976;Thompson 1963) and producing ideas for a social transformationalproject (cf. Polanyi 1944; Somers and Block 2005). It also plays a regula-tory role in normatively grounding human behaviour in the economyand politics (cf. Corrigan and Sayer 1985; Foucault 1966/1970; Polanyi1944; Smith 1759/1976). Combined, Islam’s constitutive and regula-tory roles connect the ethical and political in framing and mobilizinga social change trajectory that appeals to anti-bureaucratic sentimentsagainst state coercion and authoritarianism. Therefore, Islamic politicscan only be conceptualized as constitutive of a ‘transformative resis-tance’ (Gill 2007: 117) to bureaucrats in power and state-centrism inpolitics. The further point to be made here is that Islamic individuals andgroups direct their critique of a ‘moral order’ generated by the Kemaliststate’s exclusionary practices at an ethic of state-bureaucratic power asabsolute over social space. This ethic expresses the ‘illiberalism’ of thelaik moral order and sustains the ‘dark side of [liberal] democracy’ (Mann2005). This is because, according to Islamic critiques, the laik moralorder has established a pre-political, pre-social, and trans-historicalimagery of the state that has conceptually entangled sovereignty and cul-tural homogeneity. This moral order in turn governs the rules of conductfor individuals in the public sphere which, Islamic groups claim, hasgenerated an understanding of citizenship conceptualized as a formless
    • Conclusion 249mass. They stand opposed to such an understanding of citizenship andpromote ideas which make religion more relevant to the organizationof their social lives. This opposition represents a systematic attempt toreconstitute a society in which moral and religious experience is onlyone option among many others in framing social behaviour. A vari-ety of social groups affected by deep class and region-based inequalitiesand holding culture-based grievances against Kemalism are now mobi-lized in what Gramsci calls a ‘war of position’ (Gramsci 1928/1971: 88,108–11, 120, 229–39; Mouffe 1979: 168–204). This is also a pedagog-ical mobilization which connects the politics of representation to thepolitics of class culture, knowledge structures, and interpretive valua-tions that are central to the redefinition of these groups as ‘unequallyendowed groups’ (M. Davis 2001: 20). The historically specific ‘epistemology of state centrism’ permeates theconceptual entanglement between state sovereignty and cultural homo-geneity within Kemalism. As a distinct ontology of ‘national’ space,state-centrism has its roots in a lengthy process of bureaucratic socialengineering which has shaped a ‘national’ culture around laiklik sincethe Tanzimat of the 1840s. This epistemology lies in a space-basedassumption of the national as immune to historical change. Becauseof the ideological persistence of this assumption about immunity tochange, the Kemalist state is now riddled with a ‘crisis of authority’(Gramsci 1928/1971: 275). In the words of Gramsci (1928/1971: 276),‘[T]he crisis consists precisely in the fact that the old is dying and thenew cannot be born; in this interregnum a great variety of morbidsymptoms appear.’ The intransigence in the Kemalist knowledge structure of state-centrism has two historical components: an adherence to the capitalistmarket economy and liberalism. The historical connection betweenthese two components is repeated – though unique in various importantways – in the course of twenty-first-century neoliberal restructuring. Theongoing challenges to the concepts and practices of the Kemalist state –uniquely embarked upon through EU-induced globalization and democ-ratization programmes – do not imply a ‘post-territorial’ (O’Brien 1992;Ohmae 1990) reorganization of social relations leading to a ‘retreat’(Strange 1996) from the nation-state project. The state is still very impor-tant in territorially consolidating global relations of neoliberalism. TheIslamic reworking of the Kemalist state is a historical product of specificglobal political and economic relations that position neoliberalism as anorm-setting knowledge culture within regional (EU) and international(IMF and World Bank) regulatory frameworks of neoliberal capitalism(van der Pijl 2006; Woods 2006).
    • 250 Islam’s Marriage with Neoliberalism The current Islamic politics of state transformation presents us withan interesting theoretical and methodological challenge. The challengecomes from the fact that Islamic politics is embedded in liberal–democratic and neoliberal capitalist ideas emanating from the EU andthe IMF–World Bank, yet ingrained in ethical behaviour arising fromIslam as a universal religion. An Islamic reworking of the state incor-porates the globalized discursive frameworks of neoliberalism and theuniversality of the Islamic principles of social justice into the historicallyspecific relations of a knowledge culture within the state. The challengehere is to account for the incorporation of large-scale discursive, institu-tional, and material processes into a contextualized specification of staterestructuring. An Islamic reconstituting of the state is uniquely situated to act asa powerful countervailing project to state-centrism and the nationalsovereignty principle expressed in laiklik. The possibility of an Islamicrecontextualized imagery of state restructuring has historically beengenerated by neoliberalism. Closely linked to this possibility is the loca-tion of the social terrain for the production of ideas. The sociology ofideas perspective (Camic and Gross 2001) presupposes local contextsand institutional settings as the spatial reference point for the pro-duction of ideas. Although useful in tracing the importance of ideas,public narratives, and explanatory systems in social change projects,the sociology of ideas perspective remains inadequate in describing theincorporation of the global and ‘universal’ frames in an Islamic transfor-mative politics. Linking contextually specific interpretive phenomenawith the globalized discursive framing of a neoliberal perspective anduniversalized framework of Islamic morality alters the very meaning ofspatiality within and across states (Atasoy 2009a: 182). This alerts usto the epistemological inadequacy of state-centrism in describing socialprocesses and global dynamics within the state that cannot be encasedterritorially as national. As argued by James Ferguson (2006), in placeof the territorial social space defined by the state, the contextually spe-cific politics of state transformation spatially encapsulates material anddiscursive relations of neoliberalism in such a way that a multiplicity ofsocial terrains and political spaces are opened up within the state. At this point, we can see Islamic politics as relational in produc-ing knowledge and generating interpretive meanings for framing socialrelations, reconstituting power dynamics, and reshaping policy dis-cussions of neoliberal capitalism. This implies that a new form ofpolitics is emerging beyond the legally constructed, categorical notionof state-citizenship relations. The unsettling of state-centrism consists
    • Conclusion 251of a rethinking of the relationship between the political and socialspaces of power under neoliberalism. Islamic politics is part andparcel of the neoliberal production of new configurations of polit-ical space outside the state-centric territorial organization of socialrelations. Sassen (2006) describes this process as ‘denationalization,’ a spatialconsequence of the territorial mixing of national and non-nationalelements. There is an obvious shift in the nation-state frame of refer-ence for organizing socio-political life and cultural meanings with theincorporation of global processes and dynamics. This may not justify aconceptual ‘leap over historical contingencies’ (Block 2001) towards ‘thetransnational state’ (Robinson 2004). Although ‘a very different discur-sive landscape’ (Ferguson 2006: 63) has emerged that cannot be treatedas national, nations and nation-states still matter (Calhoun 2007). Whatis in historical motion is a process of ‘reterritorialization of the stateitself’ (Brenner 1999: 42). The process is highly complex as it is contingentat the national level on complicated material relations, political struggles,and ideological–cultural tensions. A neoliberal policy framework has nodoubt achieved an epistemic value in the global economy, but the linksbetween participation in global power structures and the reproductionof moral claims and symbolic attachments can only be established asan outcome of political negotiations within the territorial politics ofpower relations. Recognizing this process opens up the possibility ofrethinking state transformation in terms of social relations and practicesof spatial re-encompassment which operate through shifting meaningsof context. Islamic politics aims to articulate a horizontal integration of the socialand the cultural as a state-making project from below. This processinvolves an Islamic refiguring of a historical path of the political asan expression of newly mobilized social groups which embody global-ized interpretive frames of referencing. Such refiguring transforms theold Kemalist modality of public space organized for state-dominatedways of social life. The outcome is truly contingent at the nationallevel on the politics of recombining what is private and what is public.Micro-political issues are also crucial in resolving these tensions. Theyinstill in the populace sentiments concerning the implications for citi-zenship rights as enforceable claims that emerge out of the conflicts andstruggles between state bureaucrats and agents. As these sentiments con-cern rights, privileges, obligations, and duties, discussions of citizenshipnecessarily proceed in a normative shadow relaying visions of good civiclife (Tilly 1997).
    • 252 Islam’s Marriage with Neoliberalism An Islamic articulation of the global and the micro-political expressesa dynamic and more pluralist orientation from below that may poten-tially frame an alternative form of sovereignty based on a culturethat grounds behaviour through the norms of reciprocal giving (Hyde1983), trust and trustworthiness (Sztompka 1999; Tilly 2005), andrespect (Sennett 2003). An Islamic mobilization that politically andpedagogically links a symbolic attachment to reciprocity and normsof trust, with an ethical position on social justice and respect, maycome to deeply challenge the epistemological credibility of Kemaliststate rule. The possibility of this challenge is grounded in an Islamicnormative authority that embeds a social change trajectory in a com-mitment to ethical/moral universalism which is implicit in the notionof ‘comprehensive democracy’ (Pratap, Priya, and Wallgren 2004). Tak-ing into account the moral, cultural, and spiritual aspects of individualhuman lives (Pratap and Priya 2004), the notion of comprehensivedemocracy morally disassociates ideals of justice, self-definition, andself-development from the ideal of national determination. This helpsto reconfigure political space as a horizontally integrated conversationbetween a multiplicity of diverse social and cultural contexts. A hori-zontally integrated space reterritorializes state making as a project frombelow in a manner that incorporates global and micro-political spatialdomains of social relations. This is one historical possibility that requires taking risks. There arenumerous uncertainties resulting from potentially conflicting norma-tive orientations, strategies, and practices of Islamic groups transformingthe state and social relations. There is also the possibility that a complexarray of global social movements and institutions, including an Islamicsocial justice movement, will contest globalized norm-setting frames ofneoliberalism at multiple local, national, and global levels. This possi-bility also requires risk-taking as these social movements adopt diversenormative ideals and political strategies in transforming the conditionsof categorical social inequalities. All these possibilities are constitutive ofthe politics of a social change trajectory, but the outcome of any form ofsocial change politics is without guarantees. This is especially so whenpursuing ‘comprehensive democracy’ as a way of life.
    • Notes1 Islam’s Marriage with Neoliberalism1. Foreign direct investment (FDI) is a form of international capital inflows. It refers to an investment made by a company from an investor country in a foreign host country. FDI usually leads to ownership of at least 10 per cent of the host firm. It ‘sometimes takes the form of foreign acquisition, in which an investor obtains partial or full ownership in an existing company . . . Foreign investors can also . . . establish new companies in a host country, wholly foreign-owned or in partnership with domestic investors’ (Bandelj 2009: 129).2 The Allure of the West1. In the Ottoman land-tenure system, both Muslim and non-Muslim millets were allotted parcels of state-conquered lands for farming in the form of timars (fiefs). The timars were the main unit of production, carried out for the subsistence needs of the producers and for the taxation requirements of the state (Bailey 1970: 78–9). These lands were allocated to sipahi (rural cavalry members), who fulfiled military and administrative functions in the districts (Inalcik 1973: 104–8). Sipahi had claims of ownership neither over the land nor over the direct producing peasants. They were intermediaries between the central authority and peasants, collecting taxes in their area of adminis- tration for a specified period of time. They would also recruit mercenaries in their timar areas during times of war, to be disbanded at the end of the con- flict. The primary role of mercenaries was to work during times of peace on the plot of land allocated to sipahi. The timar was an indivisible and unalterable unit. This system of land allocation and production legally prohibited peas- ants from selling and subdividing land allotted to them, even though they had direct access to the land (Inalcik 1985: 106). A commercialized form of production was limited and mediated to a large extent through taxation in kind (tithe tax) by sipahi in their timar areas.2. The white-marble Baroque Palace of Dolmabahce stretches 600 metres along the Bosphorus, the two long wings contains 365 rooms extending from the higher middle section of the enormous throne – the largest in the world – in a mixture of Hindu, Turkish, and Italian styles. The Armenian Balyan fam- ily built the palace in 1854. It was furnished and supplied with imported items from Europe. Except for the carpets on the floors, which were Turkish Hereke-made, everything else in the Palace is from Europe, including a four- and-a-half-ton chandelier presented by Queen Victoria. The flavour and taste of the Victorian era dominates the entire accumulation of furniture, utensils and so forth (A Historical Guide to Istanbul 1996: 131–2). 253
    • 254 Notes3. Gokalp believed that the printing of newspapers played a key role in this process because of their capacity to describe people’s locally experienced social lives in more colourful ways and thus generate an emotional closeness among the people.3 Turkish Islam: Unthinking Kemalism?1. I use Kemalism and Ataturkculuk interchangeably.2. The opening of the TRT Kurdish channel in 2008 is a step towards reversing this comprehensive ban on the use of the Kurdish language.3. In 1951 the DP introduced Law 5816 for ‘Crimes Committed Against the per- sonality of Ataturk and Ataturkism.’ This law was specifically enacted against the religious brotherhoods and intellectuals who were critical of Kemalist reforms (Tarhanli 1993: 28). Political parties established on the centre-right after the DP have continued to promote a conservative version of Kemalism that incorporates religious beliefs and practices of the general population into Kemalist laiklik. They see Islam as an important component of the national culture and a source of social solidarity as advocated by Ziya Gokalp. Nev- ertheless, both state bureaucrats and political parties of various orientations have always been fearful of political Islam developing outside state control.4. After its closure the Welfare Party re-emerged under a new name in 1998, the Virtue (Fazilet) Party. The Virtue was the continuation of the Welfare Party in terms of its milli gorus (national view) ideology, party leadership and orga- nizational structure. The AKP emerged in 2001 as the moderate faction of an Islamic political orientation after its split from the Virtue. Although it is a descendant of the Welfare/Virtue Party, as I have discussed in Chapter 1 of this book, the AKP represents a more liberally oriented Islamic discourse which I define as ‘liberal Turkish Islam.’5. The concept unthink here was inspired by Wallerstein (1991) Unthinking Social Science: The Limits of Nineteenth Century Paradigms, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.6. Said Nursi had proposed the founding of a university called the Medreset uz-Zehra. Although he pursued this project until 1951, it was never realized. He envisioned the projected medrese to be trilingual: Arabic, Kurdish, and Turkish were all to be used for instruction (Algar 1979: 315). Religious subjects were to be taught together with natural sciences. For Said Nursi, religious sci- ences represented the light of conscience and natural sciences were the arts of civilization and development. Thus, the Medreset uz-Zehra was to synthesize an Islamic religious orientation with the western idea of material development and progress (Atasoy 2005: 47). This aligns Said Nursi with the modernist– Islamic thinking of Afghani and Abduh. The Med-Zehra movement embraced Said Nursi’s Medrese uz-Zehra project.4 Reconstituting the State: The Islamic Framing ofNeoliberalism1. The following sections of the chapter on the AKP and neoliberalism, the realignment of Turkish capital, Fethullahcilar, and the class ambiguities of an
    • Notes 255 Islamic orientation are based on a substantially revised and rewritten version of an earlier publication (Atasoy 2007).2. It has two additional branches, one in Brussels opened in 1995 and another in Washington D.C. opened in 1998.3. The Turkish–Saudi joint venture Faisal Finance House was purchased by Kom- bassan Holding in 1998 and later by the ULKER Group in 2001, with financial contributions from the American Islamic Finance House – LARIBA. Faisal Finance thus acquired the name Family Finance.4. In the absence of hard data, I can only offer the example of female industrial home-workers engaged in towel production in the Denizli region, which has an overall 50.2 per cent informal employment rate. Globally oriented firms account for almost 70 per cent of the city’s numerous towel firms. Women in this region, some single and some married with children, earn about US$2 an hour. Turkish towel producers established their reputation by weaving towels on handlooms out of pure cotton and linen, designed with unique traditional embroidery motifs. These women often work at home, participating in the production of US$1.5 billion worth of towel exports from Denizli. They see their paid work as a matter of ‘helping out’ subcontractors, who frequently are male relatives and neighbours. For the data in this footnote, see: Atasoy 2003: 74–5; Oz 2003: 6; Tekinarslan 2007: table: Istatistik amacli bolge siniflamasina ve kayitlilik durumuna gore istihdam, 2005.5. I owe this expression to Ken Jalowica.6. Turkey published its first official poverty statistics in 2004, following the State Statistics Institute’s survey on Household Budget Research Results published in 2003. The poverty report of 2004 defined the poverty line in terms of the ability to obtain food and basic non-food necessities, whereas the hunger line was defined in terms of not being able to obtain basic food needs. For the data in this paragraph, see Bugra and Keyder 2005: 20; Demirtas 2005; EUROSTAT 2007; T.C. Basbakanlik Turkiye Istatistik Kurumu 2006; World Bank 2005: 29.
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