Illiberal Secularism to Illiberal Democracy: Turkey's Evolving Laiklik and Its Implications on Muslim Politics
Abushanab, Fatima Gulhan
In an increasingly desecularizing world the discussions that surround the role of religion in public life continue to pose fundamental questions to the process of democratization in general and to the matters pertinent to civic engagement, rights discourse and equality, in particular. Turkey, in this context, heeds attention as a uniquely positioned secular Muslim democratic nation-state. This thesis questions both the secular and democratic traits of the Turkish state to show that it is neither secular nor democratic in the way that both of these concepts are widely accepted. The thesis first deconstructs the concept of Turkish secularism to show the illiberal nature it assumed over the decades. It goes on to explain how this particular take on secularism became the main leverage used for the state's existentiality, longevity and empowerment. The thesis argues that the very nature of secular illiberalism played an important role in Turkey's lingering democratization process giving way to the rise of an illiberal democracy.
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