The Politics of Security and Secularism in Turkey: From the Early Republican Era to EU Accession Negotiations

  • Pinar Bilgin
Part of the Palgrave Studies in Governance, Security, and Development book series (GSD)


Policy discourse and academic accounts alike are characterized by a sharp divide concerning the nexus between security and secularism1 in Turkey. On the one hand are those who consider the ‘state establishment’s2 interpretation and practices of secularism as unduly restricting the rights and freedoms of ‘the pious’ (Muslims and non-Muslims). On the other hand are those who consider any kind of challenge to the status quo regarding this matter as a threat to ‘national security.’ Historically, both perspectives have had their supporters inside and outside Turkey. A coalition of international actors has, for long, been supportive of the state establishment’s practices3 as the best form of defense against the threat of the rise of irtica (reactionarism). More recently, a growing number of actors including the European Union (EU),4 the United States State Department,5 and Pope Benedict XVI (Weigel 2006) have been critical of the very same interpretation and practices due to the adverse consequences they have had for the freedom of religion in Turkey. What has drawn the two positions further apart is the emergence of the AKP movement6 (Adalet ve Kalkinma Partisi, Justice and Development Party)


European Union State Establishment Religious Freedom Contemporary Civilization National Outlook 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 75 Yilda Düşüceler Tartişmalar (1998), Istanbul: Is Bankasi Yayinlari.Google Scholar
  2. Atay, Falih Rifki (1961): Cankaya, Ankara: Bates.Google Scholar
  3. Babahan, Ergun (2005): Laisite ve Sekularizm, Sabah, May 30.Google Scholar
  4. Basbakanimiz mürekkep yalamis (2005): Radikal, November 11.Google Scholar
  5. Berkes, Niyazi (1963): The Development of Secularism in Turkey, Montreal: McGill University Press.Google Scholar
  6. Bilgin, Pinar (2005): Turkey’s Changing Security Discourses: The Challenge of Globalization, European Journal of Political Research, 44: 175–201.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. — (2007): “Only Strong States Can Survive in Turkey’s Geography”: The Uses of Geopolitical Truths in Turkey, Political Geography, 26: 740–756.Google Scholar
  8. (unpublished): Re-thinking the Securityness of Secularism in Turkey, unpublished paper.Google Scholar
  9. Bryant, Rebecca (2001): An Aesthetics of Self: Moral Remaking and Cypriot Education, Comparative Studies in Society and History, 43 (3): 583–614.Google Scholar
  10. Büyükanit, Yaşar (2006): Harp Akademileri 2006–07 Egitim ve Ogretim Yili Açiş Konusmasi, (accessed 10 January 2007).Google Scholar
  11. Buzan, Barry, Ole Waever, and Jaapde Wilde (1998): Security: A New Framework for Analysis, Boulder, CO: Lynne Rienner.Google Scholar
  12. Davison, Andrew (1998): Secularism and Revivalism in Turkey: A Hermeneutic Reconsideration, New Haven & London: Yale University Press.Google Scholar
  13. Deringil, Selim (2007): Simgeden Millete: Abdulhamidden Mustafa Kemale Devlet ve Millet, Istanbul: Iletisim.Google Scholar
  14. Erdogan, Recep Tayyip (2004): Conservative Democracy and the Globalization of Freedom, Speech at the American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research, January 29, 2004, available at,eventID.735/transcript.asp. (accessed January 15, 2007).Google Scholar
  15. Göle, Nilüfer (2006): Europe’s Encounterwith Islam: What Future? Constellations, 13 (2): 248–262.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Hassan, Ümit (2001): Osmanli: Örgut-İnanç-Davraniştan Hukuk-Ideolojiye, Istanbul: Iletişim.Google Scholar
  17. Hurd, Elizabeth Shakman (2006): Negotiating Europe: The Politics of Religion and the Prospects of Turkish Accession, Review of International Studies, 32: 401–418.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Kafesoğlu, Ibrahim and Mehmet Saray (1983): Ataturk Ilkeleri ve Dayandiği Tarihi Temeller, Istanbul: Turk Dunyasi Araştirmalari Vakfi.Google Scholar
  19. Kili, Suna (2003): The Atatürk Revolution: A Paradigm of Modernization, Istanbul: Iş Bankasi Yayinlari.Google Scholar
  20. Koçak, Cemil (2006): Neşe Düzel interview, Radikal, November 13.Google Scholar
  21. Mardin, Şerif (1977): Religion in Modern Turkey, International Social Science Journal, 29 (2): 279–297.Google Scholar
  22. — (2005): Turkish Islamic Exceptionalism Yesterday and Today: Continuity, Rupture and Reconstruction in Operational Codes, Turkish Studies, 6 (2): 145–165.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. McSweeney, Bill (1999): Security, Identity and Interest: A Sociology of International Relations, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  24. Mernissi, Fatima (1991): The Veil and the Male Elite: A Feminist Reinterpretation of Womens Rights in Islam, trans. Mary Jo Lakeland, New York: Basic Books.Google Scholar
  25. Ozankaya, Ozer (1981): Ataturk ve Laiklik: Atatürkşü Düşüncenin Temel Niteligi, Istanbul: Is Bankasi Yayinlari.Google Scholar
  26. Prodromou, Elizabeth H. (2005): Turkey between Secularismand Fundamentalism? The “Muslimhood Model” and the Greek Orthodox Minority, Brandywine Review of Faith and International Affairs, Spring: 11–22.Google Scholar
  27. Said, Edward (1993): Culture and Imperialism, New York: Knopf.Google Scholar
  28. Tanör, Bülent (1955): Turkiye Cumhuriyetinde Layiklik, Ankara: A.U. S.B.F. Yayinlari.Google Scholar
  29. Wadud, Amina (2006): Inside the Gender Jihad: Womens Reform in Islam, New York: Oneworld.Google Scholar
  30. Waever, Ole, Barry Buzan, Morten Kelstrup, and Pierre Lemaitre (1993): Identity, Migration and the New Security Agenda in Europe, London: Pinter.Google Scholar
  31. Weigel, George (2006): A Question of Freedom, Newsweek, December 8.Google Scholar
  32. White, Jenny B. (2002): Islamist Mobilization in Turkey: A Study in Vernacular Politics, Seattle & London: University of Washington Press.Google Scholar
  33. Yavuz, Hakan (ed.) (2006): The Emergence of a New Turkey: Democracy and the AK Parti, Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press.Google Scholar
  34. Yavuz, Unsal (1990): Ataturk: Imparatorluktan Milli Devlete, Ankara: Turk Tarih Kurumu Yayinlari.Google Scholar
  35. Yetkin, Murat (2005): “Beni 28 Subat ABci Yapti,” Radikal, May 6.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Dietrich Jung and Catharina Raudvere 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Pinar Bilgin

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations