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  • Author: ilman Lanz
  • Publication Date: 03-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: This text discusses the case of Talip, son of Turkish immigrants to Germany and a recent convert to Islam. Specifically, the text addresses Talip's reasons for a (re)conversion and the details of his embrace of Islam as the religion of his ancestors. The argument is made that processes of conversion cannot be captured through the conceptualization of different stages or phases except in retrospect. In showing this impossibility, the text further argues that every conversion needs to attach itself or revolve around a specific event that is taken as cathartic for making the move towards the new faith. Attempts that delineate commonalities in processes of conversion and that then speak of phases or stages are able to illuminate the social dimension of this phenomenon. The focus on events, proposed here, is able to much better highlight the idiosyncratic, contingent and personal dimensions of the same phenomenon.
  • Topic: Islam
  • Political Geography: Turkey, Germany
  • Author: Sevgi Çilingir
  • Publication Date: 03-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: This article attempts to analyze various aspects of ethnic and religious identity configurations among the Turkish Sunni Muslims in Britain and to explore how such social processes influence their socio-political integration. It tries to situate the Turkish community in the context of British Muslim identity politics. Findings in this article are based on in-depth interviews on perceptions and attitudes the Turkish Sunni Muslims have and their implications in the planning of collective activities, especially in the field of education. This study reveals that although the current level of integration among the Turkish Sunni Muslims in Britain is less than expected, neither living in a non-Muslim country nor claiming to have a British identity are perceived as incompatible with Turkish and Islamic values. This paper concludes that educating Turkish youths in ethnic and religious values is a priority, as it is seen as a means to protect against assimilation, while allowing for successful integration.
  • Topic: Education, Islam, Politics
  • Political Geography: Britain, Turkey
  • Author: Zeynep Yanaşmayan
  • Publication Date: 03-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: Immigration of Turkish guestworkers to Western European countries in the 1960s and 1970s laid the ground for the emergence of various transnational religious organizations. This paper examines transnational organizations of Turkish origin that gained major support and membership in their host societies. Drawing upon a case study on Turks in Belgium, it shows that in the last four decades these organisations went through various transformations depending on the dynamics in their respective immigrant communities, host societies and countries of origin. This essay captures the role and selfadaptation process of Turkish Islamic organisations vis-à-vis the changing environment both in their host countries and countries of origin. It focuses on two Turkish transnational organisations in Belgium: The Islamic Federation of Belgium (IFB) and the Turkish Islamic Foundation of Belgium (TIFB). This essay concludes that political structure in the countries of origin constantly induces transnational organizations to further adopt and position themselves according to changing circumstances.
  • Topic: Environment, Islam
  • Political Geography: Turkey, Belgium, Western Europe
  • Author: Elizabeth Shakman Hurd
  • Publication Date: 03-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: This article explores the cultural politics of European opposition to Turkish accession to the EU. It argues that the foundations of secularism-the powerful a prioris that structure the debate in Europe regarding religion and politics-make it difficult for Europeans to cope with what is often described as an "Islamic challenge" to Europe, both internally and externally. Turkish candidacy makes these stumbling blocks explicit, as Turkey has become the symbolic carrier of domestic European angst about religion, particularly Islam, and politics. Turkish candidacy highlights unfinished business in the social fabric of the core EU members, including what it means to be secular and how religion, including but not limited to Islam, relates to European identity. These sticking points are what the debate over Turkish membership is really about, and it is for this reason that it is culturally-in addition to economically and politically-so contentious.
  • Topic: Economics, Islam, Politics
  • Political Geography: Europe, Turkey
  • Author: Roberta Micallef
  • Publication Date: 03-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: This work's title Islamic Literature in Contemporary Turkey From Epic to Novel might give some readers the impression that this book is about different genres of Islamic literature available in Turkey today. It is not. Readers familiar with Bakhtin's essay, “The Epic and the Novel: Towards a Methodology for the Study of the Novel” will be better prepared for what is in this book. Çayır investigates Islamism and the changing compositions of Islamic identities in Turkey through a study of the Islamic literary fictions of the 1980s and 1990s. He explores the political and sociological processes of identity construction in the context of Turkey in that period. Instead of opting for breadth, the author examines Islamic novels in depth by focusing on two 'salvation novels' of the 1980s, Müslüman Kadının Adı Var and Boşluk, and two 'selfreflexive novels' of the 1990s, Halkaların Ezgisi and Yağmurdan Sonra, which have canonical status in Muslim circles and because they are the prototypes for the narrative structure for each time period.
  • Topic: Islam
  • Political Geography: Turkey
  • Author: Emad Y. Kaddorah
  • Publication Date: 10-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: Many actors have been interested in probing the approach that enabled Turkey to transform the country into a model of success within a few years. Ironically, this model is at the same time both a source of encouragement and apprehension for Islamic parties and the West. Although it presents an inspiration to Islamic parties and provides them with moral support and hope for change, this article investigates the considerations preventing them from reviewing their approaches to imitate the Turkish model. It assesses the Western interests and concerns over this model and discusses to what extent the West is interested in promoting such a democratic process elsewhere. Prior to analyzing these responses, it discusses the structure and elements constituting the Turkish model.
  • Topic: Islam
  • Political Geography: Turkey
  • Author: Carool Kersten
  • Publication Date: 10-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: This volume is the first monograph sized publication on the most important initiative towards interfaith dialogue between the Abrahamic religions in recent years, edited by two figures intimately involved in the A Common Word project and Book Reviews 233Insight Turkey Vol. 12 / No. 4 / 2010 the Christian reaction to this Muslim gesture. In fact, Prince Ghazi bin Muhammad of Jordan - a scholar of religion with doctorates from both Cambridge and al-Azhar and a close advisor to both former King Abdullah II and King Hussein - was the driving force behind the initiative, while the Croatian-born theologian Miroslav Volf played a leading role in formulating the "Loving God and Neighbor Together: A Christian Response to 'A Common Word between Us and You'".
  • Topic: Islam
  • Political Geography: Turkey
  • Author: Talip Küçükcan
  • Publication Date: 07-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: There are many institutions playing a role in weaving the ideals of democracy into Turkey's social fabric. Many political actors in Turkish politics, which include the leftists, rightists, liberals, and statists along with those who established the Republic with their military identity, all contributed to society's participation in the execution of the state affairs. They all had a stake in implementing universal democratic standards in Turkey in general, and within certain strata of Turkish society in particular. The reasons behind these actors' support for democratic ideals vary; some groups were Book Reviews Insight Turkey Vol. 12 / No. 3 / 2010 279 it can also play a role in persuading different religious segments of the society to accept democracy. Here, democracy can be perceived as a solution to many of Turkey's current problems, ranging from poverty to social injustices Movements, such as the Progressive Republican Party (Terakkiperver Cumhuriyet Fırkası), Free Republican Party (Serbest Cumhuriyet Fırkası), and Democrat Party (Demokrat Parti), have been instrumental in the consolidation of democracy as opposed to the authoritarian political system, which predominated the single party era of the Republic.
  • Topic: Islam, Politics
  • Political Geography: Turkey
  • Author: Menderes Çınar
  • Publication Date: 04-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: Turkey under the pro-Islamic Justice and Development Party (AKP) government has represented an opportunity to go beyond the Orientalist modernization framework and produce “value” by countering the culturalist arguments that foreclose the possibilities of democratization in modernizing Muslim countries. The secular opposition, however, has reproduced the logic of the February 28 process and has therefore immobilized and forced the AKP into a struggle to survive, both as a political party and as the elected government of the country. It is this power struggle that has come to epitomize the democratization debate and the democratization process in Turkey. In this context of an impoverished democratization debate, it remains to be seen whether and to what extent the AKP can accomplish the task of revitalizing the constitutive capacities of politics in Turkey.
  • Topic: Development, Government, Islam
  • Political Geography: Turkey
  • Author: Ahmet Yukleyen
  • Publication Date: 01-2009
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Insight Turkey
  • Institution: SETA Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research
  • Abstract: Turkey's membership in the European Union (EU) is contingent on economic, political, and cultural factors. Rather than a geographic area with a particular cultural and religious history, the EU defines "Europe" as a political project that espouses values such as human rights, pluralist democracy, and a liberal economy. However, Turkey's EU accession process highlights the cultural and religious dimension through which "Islam" and "Europe" may be mutually redefined. This article examines how Turkish Muslim immigrants in Europe have become an example of the compatibility of "Islam" and "Europe." It is concluded that opposing Turkey's EU membership based on essentializing arguments of cultural and religious difference is misleading and counterproductive, as it fails to address the shifting boundaries of Europe and of Islam.
  • Topic: Economics, Islam
  • Political Geography: Europe, Turkey