The Belated Quest for Religious Tolerance
Since Turkey became a democracy in 1950, the hajj has blossomed into an emotionally charged symbol of conflict between a Muslim society and a supposedly secular state. Ongoing debate over the hajj illustrates the malleability of Turkish secularism and its endless capacity to divide the nation. Because of hostility from hard-line followers of Ataturk and bickering among right-wing politicians, Turkey created one of the most volatile pilgrimages in the world–and one of the most politicized. A series of pro-Muslim governments led by S\'fcleyman Demirel, Necmettin Erbakan, and Turgut \'d6zal transformed the Directorate of Religious Affairs from a state watchdog over Islam into a powerful interest group dispensing benefits to voters and businesses in key constituencies throughout Anatolia.
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