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Posted by Aykut ARIKAN in Uncategorized.


This paper was presented by me. The detailed information is below.
I wish, 2010 will be a peaceful year for the earth.

Asst. Prof.Dr.Deniz Tansi

Deniz Tansi,“Moderate Islam: From Cold War to New World Order”, Sociology of Islam and Muslim Societies Symposium, Islam and Secularism in Turkey session (No: 83- 10:45-12:15), SOUTHERN SOCIOLOGICAL SOCIETY, April 11, 2008, Richmond/Virginia-USA

In Turkish modern history, using of religion for political objectives and opposition to progressive reforms are called ‘irtica’ since legislation form. (1839). After Republic, Islamist opposition became main opposition ground to modern Kemalist reforms. This behavior was also realized in Terakkiperver Cumhuriyet Fırkası (Progressive Republican Party), Şeyh Sait rebellion and Serbest Cumhuriyet Fırkası (Liberal Republican Party).
In this study, using of religion for political objectives will be analyzed after Second World War in the context of NATO concepts on the base of interim politics. Moderate Islam is evaluated especially with social economic infrastructure relations. We mean industrialization process which was developed rapidly in 1960’s, rising modern Islamic movement through small and middle size entrepreneurship and currently moderate Islam’s integration with global capitalism and Western countries. Also Turkish-Islam Synthesis headline is considered as a tool of US’ containment policy (Green Belt) to Soviet Union. Therefore US approach reflected to Turkish politics on the base of Turkish-Islam Synthesis and it is reverted to Moderate Islam in post cold war era.
In this context Turkey is used as an exercise area for moderate Islam after 9/11 by US, and we criticize this trend, why to underline secular, democratic Turkey Republic’s existence (Kemalist model) for a peaceful Middle East.
This study tries to indicate Turkish application of Moderate Islam’s domestic and global situation in the New World Order, its relations with pro-American Sunni axis in the region and effects to the Middle East.

Turkey has adopted a tangible approach towards the blocks in the aftermath of the Second World War during which she performed a neutral attitude towards the fighting parties. Turkey’s Western choice is explained in connection with the Soviet demands which included bases on Straits as well as the territory of Kars and Ardahan provinces. The indicated Soviet demands could not be pronounced clearly. However, this perception determined Turkish domestic and foreign policy’s axis during the Cold War. USA enlarged her national security strategy to include Turkey and Greece with Truman Doctrine in 1947, therefore inter-block competition expanded to the Middle East geography. The USA deployed both of the countries to her own defending concept at once, since the Greek Civil War accelerated the process. USA concerned Greek Civil War may end up with a communist victory which would effect Greece’s choices towards Eastern block, facilitating the Soviet expansion to the Middle East, Mediterranean and Northern Africa. In this context, Turkey and Greece were accepted as members of NATO in 1952. NATO was founded in 1949. Turkey’s existence in NATO was perceived through its two main specialties. First of all, Turkey had the longest land border with the Soviet Union. Second, Turkey was the only member of NATO with a mostly Muslim population. These two items were formed in the context of the anticommunism axis with nationalism and religious fundamentalism. Provocation of the Turkic and Muslim communities in the Soviet Union and the strengthening of Turkish defense as a member of NATO were related with this context. The axis was shaped as Turkish-Islam Synthesis in Turkish domestic policy.
Tariqat of the Nur was protected since Democratic Party (DP) governments during the multi-party era. Tariqat of Nur was founded by Said-i Nursi whose real name was Said-i Kürdi. The word Nur means “holy light” in Arabic religious literature. From 1946 Imam-Hatip high schools were founded which trained religious men who leads prayers in Muslim mosques. The other point was that, according to Islam women can not serve and lead the community in the mosques. Why, did these schools accept girls as students ?
At the same period of time Komünizmle Mücadele Dernekleri (Organizations of Struggle Against Communism) were established. In the Organizations of Struggle Against Communism, nationalism which was related to anticommunism was provoked. Rightist ruling parties employed unprogressive (irtica) staff in bureaucracy and religious propaganda. The May 27, 1960 military coup administration ceased these developments, however Justice Party (AP) governments restarted to pursue the process of supporting them. They even extended the process by including the Tariqat of Süleymancılık and the others since the middle of 1960’s. Imam Hatip schools were launched as the pioneers of ‘moral development’ and religious education was provoked instead of abiding by the Educational Union Code and national-secular education. Another attribution of Said-i Kürdi was his sympathy to Kurdish movement. Şeyh Sait rebellion (1925) was analyzed in Uğur Mumcu’s book in the name of Kurdish-Islam Rebellion. Indeed, the fundamentalist movement legitimates Kurdish action with religious references. Kurdish political spectrum is more about Sunni religious structure than leftist approach. Currently Barzani movement has strong structural relations with the tariqat of Nakşibendilik. 1960’s were the starting point of the reactions to the leftist politics. In Turkey, some of the nationalist and religious political groups were built in the context of NATO axis, in opposition to the leftist movements. For instance, we can recall and underline the ‘Bloody Sunday’ in 1969. Religious groups attacked the leftist groups pretexting that they were criticizing NATO. The event took place in Taksim Square in İstanbul. The 1960s were hallmarked by industrialization perspective on the planned development strategy. According to Ahmet Yücekök, this new process fragmented the Great Right Coalition in the structure of AP. Liberal grand bourgeoisie preferred AP, Necmettin Erbakan leaded Milli Görüş (means National Opinion, but nation indicates Islamic nation) action on the axis of small and middle size entrepreneurs which resisted to the liberal capitalist integration to the West. Economic benefits were legitimized with religious discourse. Erbakan was the chairman of the Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges of Turkey (TOBB). TOBB represents the small and medium size enterprises. Milli Görüş (the National Opinion) criticized Justice Party (AP) with he slogans of “Mason, Comprador Bourgeoisie”. Nationalist Action Party (MHP) was built in Central Anatolia especially among the artisans since they were dissatisfied by the industrial development. MHP used the anticommunist-nationalist discourse in line with a paramilitary structure. But the fragmentation of Grand Right Coalition would not prevent the formation of the Nationalist Front (MC) coalition governments against democratic leftist Republican People’s Party (CHP) and other leftist groups. MC was formed with the idea of anticommunism. MC was a nationalist front on the axis of NATO. Erbakan’s National Salvation Party (MSP) was deployed in different coalition governments during 1970’s with CHP and MC (which included AP, MSP, MHP and the other small parties). But MSP continued to deploy religious partisan staff into the establishment and founded new Imam Hatip schools by using the cabinet power. MSP has gained power on the contrary to its vote proportion. September 12, 1980 military coup banned all of the political parties’ and NGO’s actions. Tariqats were deployed instead of the democratic organizations, capturing all living areas. Military Administration used tariqats against the leftist political spectrum. During the military administration era, MSP had used this process despite their situation in the courts and prisons. The other political groups and parties were consolidated but MSP and tariqats kept their position. Military administration protected religious groups against the Soviet Union’s invasion of Afghanistan. USA built the Green Belt in line with its containment policy around Soviet Union and Turkey was evaluated in this axis. Green Belt symbolized the pro-American Moderate Islam regimes against the Soviets. Iran Islamic Revolution had changed balance in the Middle East. Shah had to go abroad and Houmeyni founded the Islamic Republic with mullahs. Iran withdrew from pro Western Middle East organization which was called CENTO. Therefore, USA lost a castle in the region. Military administration restored Turkey in the US axis and adapted the Green Belt project into domestic politics by introducing Turkish-Islam Synthesis which meant nationalist and religious axis against communism. Synthesis became the formal ideology in this era.
After Cold War, Turkey lived low intensive conflict against the PKK which was structured on the basis of ethnic terror. Process included the years between 1984 and 1999. Unfortunately, PKK terror started in 2004 again. In 1992, National Security Council changed National Security Politics Paper. Separatism was accepted as the major threat to Turkey instead of communism. In the date of February 28, 1997, Council added reactionism (unprogressive ideology) which was called irtica in Turkish politics indicating religious fundamentalism. Cold War ended with the 1992 and 1997 decisions for Turkey. However, after February 28, 1997, establishment understood that, religious fundamentalism which was provoked in the axis of NATO against communism, captured bureaucracy, education, politics and many other living areas. Religious politics became a determiner. Center right parties used religious groups for their benefits. But currently they are marginalized in the structure of religious parties, namely the Justice and Development Party (AKP) which is called “the White Party” by its members and fans.

In spite of the fact that the “National Opinion” politics had flourished in the context of petit and middle-sized bourgeoisie, the Islamic capital flaws began to grow larger as a result of the encouragement of MC governments and the sphere of maneuver they gained during the September, 12 era. While Turkey was shifting its economic model from import substitution to market economy, the aforementioned change was legitimized through the Turkish Islam synthesis which was supported by the September 12 administration and the subsequent ANAP governments, exploiting the nationalist and religious sentiments of the masses. The Islamic capitalists which are known as “Anatolian Tigers” globalized in line with the globalization of the Turkish economy. Within this framework, they learned foreign languages, got familiar to information technologies, and began to visit and get to know not only the Arab states but also the US and European states as a part of their jobs although their religious sensitivities continued in their private lives. They became familiar with concepts such as the stock market, global movements of capital, multi-national companies, IMF, and the EU just in line with the advances of Turkey. In the meantime, some tariqats organized themselves in education, insurance and media sectors and preferred to develop organic cooperation with the US. They received high consideration as much to come together with the Pope and other religious leaders. The dramatic enrichment of tariqat leaders and the transformation of tariqats into economic and political power holders have traumatized the sensible segments of the Turkish society in the post-Cold War context, since the disappearance of inter-block struggle uncovered the religious politics. As a result of the aforementioned bourgeoisification and globalization process, the second generation of Milli Görüş stood against the traditionalist elite of the party and started the internal struggle in Refah Partisi- (Welfare Party). After the closure of Fazilet Partisi (Virtue Party) the new generation founded AKP while the traditionalist Saadet Partisi (Felicity Party) held onto the Milli Görüş line.
AKP has paid special attention to the relations with the USA and the EU as well as the formulation of its policies in harmony with IMF since it came to power in 2002. The demands of the globalizing Islamic Anatolian capital are behind these developments. At this point, the government is contentious with the fundamental institutions of the Republic.

The US is conceiving a Sunni axis under her tutelage. The moderate Islamic regimes which were a part of the Containment policy against the Soviets since 1950s became a doctrine with the Green Belt project in late 1970s and 1980s. In this context, an Islamic project is developed according to the demands of globalization. Turkey’s structure which is based on secular republic and its founding elite is battered. A global understanding of Islam based on ethnicity is imported and indoctrinated in order to replace the simple-hearted Anatolian Islam tradition.
The Moderate Islam scenario which was prepared in the NATO kitchen since 1950s has constituted the main ground for the decomposition (localization) and globalization of the “Greater Middle East” in the Post-Cold War period.
While the Moderate Islam was developed in a pro-American axis, the climate of distrust which is set forth by a number of fundamentalist organizations in the context of asymmetric war -since they acquired a wide ground of maneuver after the invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan- should be analyzed. On this portrayed surface, it is inevitable that moderate Islam converts into radical Islam just like the incident of Pakistan. The policies of Evren in Turkey and Ul Hak in Pakistan tried to make the society more religious and substitute the democratic mass organizations and political parties with tariqats. By this means, moderate Islam advanced to establish an “ultimate regime of truth” -to make a Gramscian analysis. While the superstructure was acquired in terms of education, politics and bureaucracy, a new social texture was also introduced. At this point, history, daily life and values are almost redefined.
As mentioned in Neuman’s theory of “spiral of silence”, the fundamental values begin to be perceived as common values.
While the Vahabi-Selefi interpretation declared war on modernity, the moderate Islam continued its takeover operation excluding modernity and giving priority to modernization by taking advantage of loopholes.
Moderate Islam project is against Kemalism in terms of modernity. As far as Turkey is concerned, the unity of liberal segments with moderate Islam in opposition of authoritativeness has ended since the paradigm of moderate Islam captures all the grounds of society and creates its own elite and bourgeois, turning a deaf ear to the criticisms of the rest of the society.
This process results in a new and authoritative understanding of politics and society. On a particular ground, ethnic and religious distinctions trigger decomposition with the impact of globalization, while moderate Islam negates the theory of democracy through democratic tools. Even by receiving the support of groups which claim to defend democracy…



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  • Bieler, Andreas and Morton Adam David. “A critical theory route to hegemony, world order and historical change: neo-Gramscian perspectives in International Relations”, Capital & Class, Spring 2004, Issue 82, p.90-91.
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