Islamic Social and Political Movements in Turkey

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Eren Tatari



In recent decades, political Islam has increasingly become a focus of political
science. Numerous branches of scholarship that analyze its dynamics
within seemingly divergent theoretical frameworks have emerged. Some
scholars have concentrated on international security threats stemming from
political Islam (what can be called the outcomes of this phenomenon),
whereas others have focused on the causes of religious resurgence in an
attempt to identify what has led to political Islam’s revival. This review
essay will evaluate the second branch of scholarship, which, I believe,
explores the core of the overarching issue and helps identify the causes, the
“how” and “why” of the matter, rather then providing a descriptive analysis
of “what” is happening.
How and why Islamic social/political movements (ISPMs) have
emerged, as well as what sociopolitical circumstances determine where they
are headed, is essential to studying political Islam effectively. To this end, I
will narrowly focus on the literature of ISPMs in Turkey,1 whose “secular”
identity makes it an intriguing and unique case in comparison to other predominantly
Muslim countries, presumably with the exception of Tunisia.
Thus, the emergence of strong Islamic movements in Turkey, how the interplay
between the state and these groups have unfolded, and the future
prospects have broader implications for social movements, civil society, and
democratization in numerous countries. Moreover, the academic work on
Islamic movements is highly dynamic, since current social and political
events continuously shape these movements, which affect the country’s sociopolitical context ...

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