Beyond Post-Islamism

Ихсан Јилмаз


With the increased international prominence of Turkey and its successful and internationallyrespected AK Party government, the Academia’s attention has focused on the Turkish Islamistexperience. Turkey had already been seen as an almost unique case as far Islam-state-secularismdemocracyrelations were concerned but the recent transformation of Turkish Islamism coupledwith the global turmoil in the post-9/11 world has made the Turkish case much more important.While Turkish Islamists’ recent transformation that has brought about their rise to the power hasbeen applauded at home and abroad, there are relatively very few studies that analyze theirtransformation by taking into account the unique experience of Turkish Islamism starting from the18th & 19th centuries’ Ottoman secularization, Young Ottomans of the 1860s and the Ottomanconstitutionalism and democracy. Moreover, some dynamics that affected the change in theTurkish Islamists’ Islamic normative framework have not been analyzed in detail. Thus, this studyendeavors to analyze the main factors behind the newly emerged tolerant normative framework ofthe AK Party leaders who were formerly Islamists. After showing that there are good historicalreasons arising from the Ottoman experience of secularism and democracy and arguing based on abrief theoretical discussion of the plurality of Islamisms, it argues that the Turkish Islamism hasalways differed from the other Islamist experiences. Therefore, in this study, a detailed evaluationof the Turkish Islamist experience starting from the Young Ottomans is undertaken. Then, thispaper attempts to show that Islamic groups’ physical and discursive interaction has been a crucialfactor in the Turkish Islamism’s transformation. Main premise of this paper is that the Gülenmovement has been the most influential factor that has helped the AK Party leaders to develop amore tolerant normative framework and to eventually jettison their Islamism. It is of coursedifficult to establish casual relationship between two social phenomena but one can underscorecorrelations. As the main hypothesis is that the Gülen movement has been the most influentialfactor in the normative transformation of the former Islamists’ mental frameworks and theirreligio-political worldviews, this paper provides a comparative discourse analysis betweenFethullah Gülen’s and Islamists’ ideas on several issues that have been relevant for both Islamismand newly-emerged post-Islamism. To identify these relevant issues (secularism, pluralism,democracy, rule of law, nationalism, state, исламизам, religiosity, the other, borders and dialogue),the paper provides a brief theoretical discussion of Islamism and post-Islamism that will also helpthe reader to understand the fundamental differences between Islamism and the Gülenian thought.

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  1. Adnan says:

    Interesting article. Another article, matter fact an interview with Gulen also offers interesting ideas with regards to state, democracy and

    here is the article

    Fethullah Gulen’s Thoughts on State, демократија, Politics, Terrorism and
    http://www.fethullahgulenforum.org/articles/12/fethullah-gulen-s-thoughts-on-state-democracy-politics-terrorism

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