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Turkey, anti-secular protest, 1980–present

Özlem Tür


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In May 1980 worshippers in Istanbul's Fatih Mosque jeered and booed at the mention of Atatürk in a broadcast service, an open challenge to the secular order of Turkey. On September 6, at a mass rally in Konya, supporters of Necmettin Erbakan's Milli Selamet Partisi (MSP) refused to sing the national anthem and called for a return to Shari'a law. During the same period, clashes between leftist and rightist groups deepened social polarization. The growing instability at the time was seen as challenging the modernization project. Islamist forces and leftist groups were seen as a threat to the regime. Within the framework of the Cold War, the army was already conscious of the threat of a Soviet takeover and the leftist forces were seen as elements that could contribute to such a possible scenario. On September 12, 1980 the military carried out a coup and intervened in politics for a third time. After the coup d'état, in order to maintain stability and contain future protests, the military cadres tried to initiate a new framework that would secure the continuation of the Kemalist project . This new framework was designed in line with what some have termed the Turkish-Islamic synthesis (Türk-Islam Sentezi – TIS). The TIS was implemented as a policy to decrease the power of the leftist groups and glue society together. Nationalism and secularism were kept as the official ideological ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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