Secularism and islamic modernism in Turkey
Instituto Superior de Ciencias do Trabalho e da Empresa
85 - 96
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This paper focuses on the institutionalization of secularism in Turkey through the establishment of a Directorate of Religious Affairs as a state office, vested with full authority over Islamic thought and practice. It explores the ways in which the state promoted this Directorate as the only legitimate Islamic authority in Turkey and how, in the 1990s, alternative voices representing Islamic thought and practice gained salience and challenged the authority of official Islam. It is in such a context that the Islamic modernizers emerged as a new political movement around AK (Justice and Development) Party, which broke off from the former Islamist party Refah/Fazilet, and won a major victory at the 2002 general elections. The paper addresses the emergence of AK Party and its policy toward secularism, political Islam and nationalism.