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Islam and Democracy after the Arab Spring$
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John L. Esposito, Tamara Sonn, and John O. Voll

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780195147988

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195147988.001.0001

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Islam, Democracy, and Turkey’s Secular State

Islam, Democracy, and Turkey’s Secular State

(p.26) 2 Islam, Democracy, and Turkey’s Secular State
Islam and Democracy after the Arab Spring

John L. Esposito

Tamara Sonn

John O. Voll

Oxford University Press

This chapter discusses the development of Turkey’s secular state and the re-emergence of Islam in Turkish politics. For years, Turkey provided the only modern secular (though not completely democratic) state in the Muslim world, believed to be immune from any serious impact of Political Islam. Many saw Turkey as the model for Muslim-majority nation-states, adopting in 1928 the secular path necessary for modernization and development. However, the 1996 election of Dr. Necmettin Erbakan, leader of the Welfare Party (WP), as Turkey’s first Islamist prime minister, signaled a seismic political shift: the threat of a retreat from its secular past. Despite the influence and intervention of the military and suppression of the WP and its successor parties, 2002 witnessed the stunning election of the Justice and Development Party (AKP), whose leaders were former members of the WP.

Keywords:   Turkey, secularism, secular state, democracy, Turkish politics, Islam, Necmettin Erbakan, Welfare Party, Justice and Development Party, AKP

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