This book edited by Ahmet Kuru and Alfred Stepan provides an important contribution to the understanding of the nexus between democracy and democratization, religion and secularism in the context of Turkey, arguably the most stable Muslim-majority democracy in the greater Middle East. The volume features a select group of scholars and policy makers and is a product of two conferences held at Columbia University with the subsequent meetings and a thorough review and revision process. Among the contributors to the volume is Ergun Özbudun, the head of the academic commission for the new constitutional draft, whose chapters problematize the conflict between the pluralist nature of the Turkish society and monolithic state as well as the dynamics of the legal constitutional developments in the country. Prominent Ottomanists Karen Barkey and Şükrü Hanioğlu from Columbia and Princeton Universities, respectively, examine the origins of the state-sanctioned multiculturalism in the Ottoman lands and its applicability to the current milieu of the Turkish Republic as well as the origins of Kemalism. Ümit Cizre, a leading specialist on the Turkish Armed Forces (TAF), in her essay argues that TAF is currently switching its emphasis from the top-down to a bottom-up tactical approach in order to secure its role in the society. In other words, TAF applies its efforts on mobilizing the civil society of the urban secular stratum of the Turkish population, which have enjoyed a privileged modern lifestyle, rather than relying on state institutions. Joost Lagendijk, formerly a Dutch Green Left member of the European Parliament, head of the Delegation of the EU-Turkey Joint Parliamentary Committee and currently a columnist for a Turkish daily, examines the progress of the Turkish accession to the European Union and, especially, the benefits and challenges that this process has faced during the rule of the Justice and Development Party (AKP). Stathis Kalyvas, a prominent political scientist and expert on Christian Democratic parties claims that the process of political Islamists' moderation in Turkey is not a unique experience. Rather, it is a continuation of a broader process of democratic inclusion of, and expansion toward, those factions of the society who initially oppose democratic ideals, which had started in Western Europe in the mid-1800s.
"Democracy, Islam, and Secularism in Turkey,"
International Dialogue: Vol. 4, Article 9.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.unomaha.edu/id-journal/vol4/iss1/9