Transformation of the Turkish religious right with focus on the impact of state elites, globalization and Europeanization
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This dissertation is aims to analyze the change of Turkish religious right from National View parties to the Justice and Development Party in its goal and issue orientation in terms of the importance given to religion, and the influence of state elites, globalization and Europeanization in this process. This analysis will become possible with the help of a set of theoretical approaches offered to explain the causes and nature of party change particularly those of them examining the role of environmental changes in the change of party ideology or policy. Based on a detailed examination of the views and policies of relevant parties on issues of foreign policy and domestic politics, it is observed that Turkish religious right has evolved from a conservative religious movement with occasional radical tendencies to a moderate conservative one. The impact of state elites in this change is detected to be related with their secularist conception and applications which could be explained in short as opposition to the presence of religion in public life in substantial ways. Globalization and Europeanization, secondly, is explored to be associated with the process with the strong propensity and willingness they bring in to religious right towards the adoption and promotion of western political, economic and cultural norms, principles and institutions, and establishment of deeper and closer relations with the west. In foreign policy, the movement has shown a gradual shift from a substantially culturalist to a pragmatist and rational approach. While the National View parties followed a foreign policy program defending the necessity of establishing close ties with the Muslim world and minimizing relations with the West; the Justice and Development Party is with the idea of leading Turkey into a process of greater integration and cooperation with the west. The JDP has not turned its back to the Muslim world, but concerns for political, legal and social reforms have started to occupy a more important place in its Middle East agenda compared to traditional cultural concerns. In domestic politics, secondly, the most remarkable change is detected in transition from a succession of parties aiming to introduce Islamic norms and principles in public life to a party aiming to introduce rights and freedoms for its conservative electorate through the mechanisms provided by liberal democratic systems with clear detachment from the goal of introducing Islamic law and state.
Secularist State Elites
Turkish Religious Right
Religion and Secularism