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Instrumentalizing Islam in a ‘secular’ state: Turkey’s Diyanet and interfaith dialogue

journal contribution
posted on 01.01.2020, 00:00 authored by Ihsan YilmazIhsan Yilmaz, James BarryJames Barry
This paper analyses how interfaith dialogue was interpreted by the Turkish state’s Directorate of Religious Affairs (Diyanet) over several administrations. Mirroring changes in attitude within the state, the Diyanet began promoting interfaith dialogue in mid-1990s. The Islamist-inspired AKP administration continued this stance after its election in 2002. However, as the AKP leadership adopted a more authoritarian and anti-western tone after 2011, they changed their policy on interfaith dialogue. Through a political analysis and a content analysis of Diyanet texts and Friday sermons, this paper will discuss policy on interfaith dialogue to show how Islam has been used for social engineering by the nominally secular Turkish state. This paper contributes to literature on secularism by examining how an aggressively secular state has instrumentalized religion to meet its political needs.

History

Journal

Journal of Balkan and Near Eastern studies

Volume

22

Issue

1

Pagination

1 - 16

Publisher

Taylor & Francis

Location

Abingdon, Eng.

ISSN

1461-3190

eISSN

1944-8961

Language

English

Publication classification

C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal

Copyright notice

2018, Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group