Turkey: post 1980 coup Islamic concessions

sep 07

The truth is that Turkey, in the light of the civil rule, on the outside, and military rule on the inside, witnessed a major historical reconciliation between Atatürkism and Islam. Following the 1980 military coup, Atatürk's approach was amended and the rebels adopted a new ideology that emphasizes the religious dimension of Turkey's identity. They imposed on the low-ranked officers an Islamic book to point out a firm relationship between the Sunnite sect and nationalism. The book is quite an overstatement in that it contrives some kind of connection between the Prophet and Atatürk. To assert the Islamic nature of Turkey, the rebels founded schools for Imams and made religious teaching compulsory in public schools "to achieve a cultural solidarity of the national identity and loyalty to the state" (the researcher Hakan Yavuz). In other words, they reverted to the Islamic framework that binds nationalities and races in the age of the Ottoman empire. They went away with more than a thousand university professors that had secular leftist inclinations, and replaced them with professors rooted in Islamism.

In other words, the Turkish military institution is the one that paved the way for the rise of the Islamists. It succeeded in using them to fight leftism. In Turkey today, there are more than 700 religious schools funded by the private sector that is controlled by the Islamists.