In This Article Expand or collapse the "in this article" section Islam in Turkey

  • Introduction
  • General Overviews
  • Islam and Modernization
  • Islam, Globalization, and Turkey's EU Membership
  • Islam and Women

Islamic Studies Islam in Turkey
Ibrahim Kalin
  • LAST REVIEWED: 14 December 2009
  • LAST MODIFIED: 14 December 2009
  • DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780195390155-0090


Islam in Turkey has been the subject of various studies in such diverse disciplines as sociology, political science, anthropology, cultural studies, religious studies, international relations, and gender studies. The various expressions of Islam in Turkish culture and society have been studied in the context of such grand narratives as tradition, modernity, postmodernity, Islam-West relations, secularism, secularization, and religious revival and reform. Furthermore, the study of Islam in Turkey includes a wide range of issues, including Turkish modernization, the rise of new elites, religion and secularism, state and society, Islam and democracy, civilian-military relations, military coups, economic development, Sufi orders, Turkey's EU accession process, the Kurds, the Alevis, and other religious and ethnic identities. These diverse approaches and themes have led to a growing literature on Turkish studies in general, and on what one might call “Turkish Islam” in particular. The complex nature of Turkish society and the place of Islam in it require an interdisciplinary approach on the one hand, and a multidimensional framework of analysis on the other. Various field studies and discourse analyses examine trends and developments in specific areas such as migration, the Kurdish issue, and Islamic political mobilization.

General Overviews

Mardin 2006 looks at Turkish religious identity within the context of Turkish modernization, social stratification, and political development from the late Ottoman era to the Republican period. General histories of the late Ottoman Empire and modern Turkey including Shaw and Shaw 1977, Lewis 1961, and Zurcher 2004, all of which discuss aspects of religion, culture, and politics in relation to the modern Turkish Republic, modernization, and secularism. Howe 2000 provides an ethnographic survey of the societal and cultural dimensions of religion in modern Turkey.

  • Howe, Marvine. Turkey Today: A Nation Divided over Islam's Revival. Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 2000.

    An ethnographic study of the rise of political Islam in the 1990s and its impact on the perceptions of Turkish secularism. Based on interviews and personal profiles, the book studies the return of Islam as a social and political force and its relevance for such notions as democracy and religious minorities.

  • Lewis, Bernard. The Emergence of Modern Turkey. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1961.

    A historical survey of the demise of the Ottoman Empire and the rise of the new Turkish Republic. Lewis adopts the classical modernization framework to explain the new ideology and identity of the Republic. New editions of this work have been published, the latest in 2001.

  • Mardin, Serif. Religion, Society, and Modernity in Turkey. Syracuse, NY: Syracuse University Press, 2006.

    A seminal work that brings together Mardin's major essays on Turkish modernization and provides an extremely well-informed discussion of the dynamics between religion, civil society, modernization, and secularism in Turkey.

  • Shaw, Stanford, and Ezel Shaw. History of the Ottoman Empire and Modern Turkey. 2 vols. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1976–1977.

    One of the best histories of late Ottoman Empire and early modern Republic, with extensive analyses of social and political developments.

  • Zurcher, Erik. Turkey: A Modern History. 3d ed. London: I.B. Taurus, 2004.

    Zurcher provides a fairly comprehensive survey of social and political developments since the 1950s, when Turkey entered the multiparty system and sociopolitical actors begun to change and multiply. The book divides modern Turkish history into three Republican periods: the First Republic (1923–1960), the Second Republic (1960–1980), and the Third Republic (1980 to the present).

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