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The Development of Secularism in Turkey

The Development of Secularism in Turkey

Copyright Date: 1964
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    The Development of Secularism in Turkey
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    eISBN: 978-0-7735-9450-0
    Subjects: History
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Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter (pp. iii-iv)
  2. preface (pp. v-vii)
    Niyazi Berkes
  3. Table of Contents (pp. ix-xiii)
  4. INTRODUCTION (pp. 2-19)

    A STEADY TREND toward secularization in traditional institutions is a feature of Muslim societies facing the impact of modern civilization. The Muslim peoples have different ethnic origins, geographic situations, historical backgrounds, and present-day conditions; the changes occurring among them differ in scope, intensity, and velocity. Still, one cannot avoid noting certain similarities in their experiences of social change.

    The disparity between the new and the old is perhaps to be found nowhere so clearly as in the lives of these peoples. Traditional patterns are in the process of dissolution, and new forms have not yet become established. There are cleavages...

  5. THE GLIMMERINGS 1718-1826
    • chapter 1 Silhouette of a Renaissance (pp. 23-50)

      THE EMERGENCE in the early eighteenth century of the idea that it would be necessary to reform the existing organization by introducing new methods marked a turning point and the beginning of the modern era in Turkish history. In this chapter, covering the fifty years 1718-68, we shall review the events that conditioned the emergence of the new attitude. We shall also consider certain economic, social, and cultural trends having relevance for the earliest reform efforts.

      The political and administrative disintegration observed by the seventeenth-century statesmen was basically nothing but a product of a gradual economic transformation bearing striking resemblance...

    • chapter 2 Reaction against Innovation (pp. 51-69)

      A SECULAR TREND, which made Turkey seem like a country experiencing a renaissance, was the dominant feature of the Tulip Era. Westernization was not inherent in it, any more than a drive towards the Orient was implied in the interest taken in Muslim civilization by the early secular minds of Europe. The Turkish reformists of the Tulip Era were basically as loyal to their heritage and institutions as the forefathers of European rationalism were to theirs. The reformists were only unfortunate in that their tentative excursions into the unconventional and unfamiliar were followed, in the second part of the eighteenth...

    • chapter 3 The New Order and its Fall (pp. 71-85)

      THE PERIOD of progressive reforms following the Treaty of Kaynarca was ended by a conservative reaction and another war with Russia in 1787. This war, in which (with the outbreak of the French Revolution) Turkey was entirely isolated, was ended in 1792. It was a major incentive for launching the reforms projected under Selim III, who had come to the throne in 1789. This ruler realized the necessity of making more comprehensive reforms. Modernization, it was felt, would require a thoroughgoing examination of the basic traditional institutions themselves. It came to be realized that a policy of innovation could not...

  6. THE BREAK-THROUGH 1826-78
    • chapter 4 Foundations of a Secular State (pp. 89-135)

      AFTER ITS BETRAYAL and downfall in 1807, the New Order was revived by the forces that had brought about its birth, only to suffer a mortal blow in 1809. Reformism then lay dormant until 1826 while Ottoman sovereignty itself lay in the balance. Never during these seventeen years were the reformers to manifest the attitudes of Selim’s time—these found expression, received their accolades, and met their test only in Mehmet Ali’s Egypt.

      The absence of an attitude of reform did not mean that changes having implications for reform did not occur. On the contrary, the events of two decades...

    • chapter 5 Tanzimat: the Economic and Political Impact of the West (pp. 137-154)

      THE DOORS TO THE WEST were thrown wide open in 1839. A new regime called the Tanzimat was proclaimed. The Turkish economic, political, legal, and educational institutions began to change in a way which involved basic social values for the first time.

      The promoters of reform in this period of about twenty years had, above all, to meet the economic challenge of the West in such a way as to insure progress. They had to build up a legal system to guarantee the freedom and equality of the people, to create a modern state machinery, and to facilitate economic progress....

    • chapter 6 The Secularism of the Tanzimat (pp. 155-200)

      THE EXPERIMENTS of the Tanzimat reformers gave shape, under the impact of the conditions surveyed in the previous chapter, to a policy of secularism in the sense of bringing forth a differentiation between the “temporal” and “religious” in the Turkish-Islamic context. The developments in administration, law, education, and literature will illustrate the creation of a dual system, or a series of dichotomies that would eventually plunge the separationist or dualist secularism of the Tanzimat into the insoluble dilemma of the Constitution of 1876.

      The diverse problems of government were bound to become intensified during the Tanzimat. In view of its...

    • chapter 7 The Constitutional Movement (pp. 201-222)

      TO THE EXTENT that it failed in its economic Westernization, the Tanzimat regime showed to the Turkish people its lack of a genuine social substratum. Even its successes had increasingly deprived the Tanzimat of any of its possible supports. Ottoman sovereignty was no longer based upon Islam. It no longer meant rule over a number of subordinate theocracies calledmillets. It was not even a sovereignty sustained by a Turkish “nation,” as that did not exist either in the modern sense of nationality, or in the sense of religious community. And it was not based upon the interests of an...

    • chapter 8 Constitution of 1876 (pp. 223-250)

      THE YOUNG OTTOMANS’ constitutional ideas were brought to the test by the events leading to the promulgation of the Constitution of 1876. As the leading exponent of constitutionalism, Namik Kemal played an important role in the making of the Constitution. But the man who led the movement to the stage of implementation was an extraordinarily successful governor of non-Muslim and non-Turkish provinces, Midhat Pașa (1822-84). On 30 May 1876 Midhat succeeded in having Abdül-Aziz deposed and, as President of the Council of State under the new ruler Murad V, initiated the formal discussion for a constitutional regime.

      The seven months...

  7. THE REACTION 1878-1908
    • chapter 9 Constitutional Absolutism (pp. 253-288)

      EXTERNAL AND INTERNAL PRESSURES had produced the compromise of a constitutional experiment in which one of two conflicting elements in the Young Ottoman ideology emerged triumphant. The “constitutional absolutism” of Abdül-Hamid was the result of the constitutionalists’ attempt to solve inconsistencies created by the duality of state and religion in the Tanzimat regime; it was not a system imposed by a single man against the will of the people. Only after the Ottoman Empire had shown unmistakable signs of dissolution was Abdül-Hamid singled out as the man responsible for its collapse. Then different men representing irreconcilable interests—the spokesmen of...

    • chapter 10 The Reactions against the Reaction (pp. 289-322)

      THE HAMIDIAN PERIOD in its great days looked still on the surface, but its depths were boiling with the signs of a coming revolt. Between the conflicting pressures of conservatism and the Western penetration, the lines of thinking on cultural matters began to clarify and differentiate.

      When the intellectuals of the post-Tanzimat era had reflected upon the problems of cultural change after 187o, their opinions were confused by questions of political reform. Cultural issues had been viewed in terms of an amalgam of the traditionalist, reformist, and Western outlooks. The intellectuals had been able to see that there were aspects...

    • chapter 11 The Meșrutiyet (pp. 325-346)

      THE MAJOR POLITICAL and social issues of the new constitutional era called the Meșrutiyet and opened by the Revolution of 1908 were predictable from the differences among the Young Turk factions and the three schools of thought that were crystallizing in the years before 1908. In preparation for the discussion of the controversies and secular achievements of the Meșrutiyet (1908-18), we shall consider here the conditions affecting the reform policies, together with the identities of the three Turkish schools of thought.

      The Young Turk movement, together with the disputations of the new Westernists, had boiled down to two aspirations. These...

    • chapter 12 Three Proposed Roads to Reconstruction (pp. 347-366)

      THE CONTROVERSIES of the Westernists, Islamists, and Turkists may be reviewed best in terms of a list of problems drawn from the literature of 1908-18. The predominant issues were: (1) the quest for a revolutionary change; (z) the causes of the Turkish, or Muslim decline; (3) Western civilization and the scope for Westernization in the reforms; and (4) the reform of the institutions of state, religion, family, economy, education, and the complex of language, script, literature, and art. The first three issues will be discussed in the present chapter; the balance in Chapter 13.

      Even before 1908 there were those...

    • chapter 13 Reforming the Institutions (pp. 367-410)

      WESTERNIZATION, Islamization, and Turkification were, as we have seen, the competing bases for the reformation of the major social institutions—state, religion, family, education, and economy. The present chapter will survey the way in which the upholders of these three policies viewed the reforms needed in the several institutions.

      The Turkish state appeared to all three schools of thought devoid of a sound basis and in need of a real fulcrum. While the political regime of the new era was not considered secular by the Westernists or national by the Turkists, so also it was not felt to be Islamic...

    • chapter 14 The Secularism of the Meșrutiyet (pp. 411-428)

      ALL OF THE CONTROVERSIES over the institutions of state, family, education, and economy were concerned with the social transformation (içtimaî inkilâp) so universally desired at the opening of the Meșrutiyet era. In their demands for programs of action, the Westernists and Islamists constituted polar opposites on almost every issue. The Turkists were between the two, sometimes representing a synthesis, and almost always gaining strength and influence.

      The liberals brought nothing new to Tanzimatist secularism. But Islamist pressure for a reform which would be nothing but the implementation of an Islamic state forced the Turkists to tackle the problems of Tanzimat...

    • chapter 15 The Birth of a Nation under Fire (pp. 431-460)

      PAN-OTTOMANISM, pan-Islamism, and pan-Turkism collapsed together with the Ottoman Empire on October 30, 1918. Westernism, Islamism, and Turkism re-emerged after a short period of eclipse and confusion, but with important modifications. The simple reason was that the Ottoman Empire had vanished and a Turkish nation had arisen from its ashes.

      The central issue around which the Turkish transformation took shape in the adoption of complete secularism has often been obscured by the dramatic political, diplomatic, and military events surrounding the rise of the Turkish Republic. The early phases in the nation’s formation were conditioned by two important international opposing forces,...

    • chapter 16 The Kemalist Reforms (pp. 461-478)

      THE TRIUMPH of the idea of a Secular state over the idea of an Islamic state produced a series of secularizing reforms within legal, educational, and cultural institutions. The first phase of these reforms was opened with the abolition of the Caliphate. Two more bills, one abolishing the Ministries of Ștria and Evkaf, the other closing themedreses, unifying education under the Ministry of Education and abolishing the religious orders (tarîgas) and their cloisters, were passed together in the next breath. It ended with the secularization of the Constitution on November 3, 1928. The second phase lasting from then until...

    • chapter 17 The Secularism of the Kemalist Regime (pp. 479-503)

      TWO MYTHS have sprung up and become established concerning the nature of the secularism emerging from the Kemalist Revolution. One is the belief that this secularism meant the separation of religion and state after the fashion of French laicism; the other is the belief that it was a policy of irreligion aimed at the systematic liquidation of Islam. In this chapter we shall examine the nature of this secularism together with these two contentions concerning it.

      If we take Kemalist secularism as the expression of the separation of religion from state, implied in the absence of a state religion and...

  10. CONCLUSION (pp. 506-510)

    THE TRANSFORMATION of Turkey from a traditional to a secular state illustrates the complex relations between economic and technical changes and political and religious changes. For this reason it presents a valuable case history.

    Since World War II, the fate of those countries which have lagged behind the West in economic development has become a matter of world-wide concern. But the problem is rarely seen in historical and cultural perspective. Economists and policy makers too often assume that such countries can develop economically through external aid while their traditional cultures remain unchanged. Yet the economic developments envisaged will be conditioned,...

  11. glossary (pp. 511-515)
  12. author index (pp. 517-521)
  13. subject index (pp. 523-537)
  14. Back Matter (pp. 538-538)