Political Islam

  • Recep Dogan
Part of the Middle East Today book series (MIET)


Political Islam is a particular form of interpretation on the basis of certain doctrines, beliefs, and values as the foundation of a political structure. The supporters of this ideology use some key concepts such as Islamic State, Caliphate, and the Sharia to constitute their doctrines. For Political Islamists, there is no distinction between religion and politics. The slogan “Islam is din and dawla” (religion and state) is common among them. Political Islamists aim to religionize politics for the promotion of a political order that is believed to emanate from the will of God and is not based on popular sovereignty. Political Islam has a long history but this chapter mainly covers the Political Islam that has emerged in the last decades. After the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, Western leaders, and in particular the United States, eagerly sought a group which could represent moderate Islam, thus, the AKP became the main beneficiary of this realignment. This approach provided an opportunity to political Islamists to establish their own party and obtain continuous success in the political arena. Since 2002, under the leadership of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Political Islamists have been in power in Turkey. Initially, the AKP emphasized democracy, respect for human rights and the rule of law as well as membership in the EU to reduce the influence of the military and secularists in the state. Although the AKP initially defined itself as a “conservative democratic party,” not as an Islamist party, the ongoing success in elections and great public support has revealed its actual agenda. In recent years, their exclusionary behavior and a tendency to compromise with authoritarian state structures blackened their democratic contributions. Since 2013, Turkey has been undergoing a drastic democratic reversal under the AKP government. After controlling the state institutions and obtaining a monopoly in power, Political Islamists use the power of the state against their opponents. Political Islamists have controlled all important state institutions in Turkey and undermined the foundations of Turkey’s secular order. They strive for the revitalization of Islamic civilization to cope with the west. They desire to restore the caliphate to unite Muslims under the leadership Erdogan.

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  • Recep Dogan
    • 1
  1. 1.Wisdom CollegeBrisbaneAustralia

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