The securityness of secularism? The case of Turkey
Sage Publications Ltd.
593 - 614
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Secularism is frequently portrayed as a security referent in present-day Turkey. But, what is it that makes secularism a security issue? Where are we to locate the `securityness' of secularism? Against prevailing accounts that privilege the domestic dimension, this article argues that the securityness of secularism in Turkey should be located in both the domestic and the international. This is not to suggest that secularism can be reduced to security, but it is to suggest that efforts to portray Turkey's secularism merely as a constitutive principle and an outcome of the project of Republican transformation, or as a means of safeguarding a particular vision of transformation through controlling religion, or as an instrument of national economic development, while rewarding in themselves, nevertheless miss an important set of dynamics that help to explain secularism's centrality to Turkey's politics. The article locates this latter set of dynamics in the international realm and ultimately proffers the argument that secularism was in part a response to European/international society's ambivalence towards Turkey's `difference' and the insecurities this entailed. The conclusion suggests that the present-day centrality of secularism in Turkey's politics and the apparent securityness of such centrality could be considered as a response to particular remembrances of the past and interpretations of the present vis-à-vis such ambivalence.