A different story of secularism: the censorship of religion in turkish films of the 1960s and early 1970s
European Journal of Cultural Studies
70 - 88
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This article extends the discussion of Turkish secularism from political history to cultural history. It examines censorship of religious elements in Turkish films of the 1960s and early 1970s based on the reports of the Central Film Control Commission in Ankara, responsible for inspecting domestic films from 1939 to 1977. The article argues that the censorship commission, as an extension of the state, functioned as a guard of Kemalist secularism and a 'true' Islam (a private, enlightened, apolitical, national and Sunni Islam). This ambivalent attitude towards religion underlines the complexity of Turkish secularism, which distinguish it from western models of secularism. The article concludes with a discussion of two inspection cases in 1970, which point to a significant shift in the commission's attitude towards religion in films and prove that the founding principle of secularism and its later politics in the 1960s did not distance the country from its Islamic heritage.