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Secularism in Turkey: Past and Present


Auteur : Doğu Ergil
Éditeur : Foreign Policy Institute Date & Lieu : , Ankara
Préface : Seyfi Taşhan Pages : 90
Traduction : ISBN :
Langue : AnglaisFormat : 155x235 mm
Code FIKP : Liv. Eng. Erg. Sec. N° 3288Thème : Politique

Présentation
Table des Matières Introduction Identité PDF
Secularism in Turkey: Past and Present

Secularism in Turkey: Past and Present

Doğu Ergil

Foreign Policy Institute

The Ottoman civilization was a mixture of institutions borrowed from the Turkish, Persian and Arab cultures, from the religion of Islam, from the Eastern and later Western civilizations. These institutions were never really integrated and never produced a harmonious system to provide the rationality and dynamism to sustain and improve itself in the face of the Renaissance, the Reformation and the ensuing Industrial Revolution.
The dominant religion of the Ottoman realm was Islam. Islam in principle draws no distinction between the religious and temporal spheres of life. Thus, the Muslim State is by definition religious.
However, the concept of rulership in the Islamic community had acquired different characters following sectarian and political divisions. But for all sects, şeriat (divine law) remained the highway of righteous life leading to God. It includes law, moral principles and the creed to which every Muslim ought to subscribe.
Șeriat differs from Western ...


Dr. Doğu Ergil is a Professor of Political Sociology at the Faculty of Political Science, Ankara University. He holds B. A. degrees in Sociology and Psychology from Ankara University. He has earned a M. A. degree in Sociology from Oklahoma University and a Ph.D degree in Sociology and Political Science from State University of New York at Binghamton. Dr. Doğu Ergil is a Fulbright Scholar and a fellow of the London School of Economics.



FOREWORD

Turkish secularism has been a most misunderstood concept both in the East and the West. A certain section of public opinion in the West consider the role of religion in Turkish socio-political and cultural life similar to those in the middle eastern countries and are tempted to see the future of Turkey in religious fundamentalism and dismiss social reforms that have been carried out in Turkey as ill-fitting attires.

Adversely, considerable section of the Middle Eastern public opinion, regard the supporters of secularism in Turkey, as "bad muslims", if not "infidels" and Turkey’s efforts to join the European Community as a near "betrayal" of Islamic religion and solidarity.

Yet, Turkey owes its democracy, economic development and social progress, to a great measure, to the secular nature of its state and tolerant character of its people. It is no wonder that a large number of young middle eastern scholars look on Turkish type of secularism as a precondition to achieve democracy and economic progress; hence, Turkey provides a paradigm to be emulated, especially because of religious reformation in Islam has never been welcome by anyone.

In reality, however, Turkish people are neither “atheists" nor "bad muslims". They share the Islamic belief and ethics and practice it. The separation of religion from state did not come about in Turkey as a fancy idea. It evolved into full-fledged concept and practice along with the decline and devolution of the Ottoman Empire and was turned into an immutable cornerstone of the Turkish Republic by our great leader Kemal Ataturk.

It is with the intention of helping to fill the gap of knowledge about the birth, nature and aim of secularism in Turkey that the Foreign Policy Institute has decided to publish Dr. Doğu Ergil’s study.

I believe Dr. Doğu Ergil has ably explained how the Turkish people which had in the past fought innumerable wars of conquest for Islam and defended Islamic lands against Crusaders, have in the end relin-guished Islam as the state religion, adopted the concept of secular state and put it into useful practice, without neglecting the challenges that secularism has been facing, and without relinguishing their faith and practice of their religion.

Seyfi Taşhan



Introduction

Secularism is an ethical system founded on the principles of natural morality and independent of revealed religion. Hence, it is based on freedom of thought and right to difference of opinion. Secularism "asserts the right to discuss and debate vital questions of moral obligation, the existence of God, immortality of the soul, and the authority of conscience (1).

Secularism is the aceptance that there is good, guidance and salvation in the present day and on this earth. What is import-antis that it does not negate alternative and often conflicting sources of mediums of goodness, guidance and salvation.

Furthermore, secularism embodies the spirit of reasoned inquiry: a sustained effort to construct a rational picture of the universe on the basis of scientifically established knowledge. In short, secularism is "a revolt against theological and metaphysical absolutes and universals, the same trend may be charted in the attitudes toward social and political institutions" (2).

The power of secularism in search of social justice and welfare in this world derives largely from its belief in and use of science.

With this definition in mind, let us follow the evolution of Turkish secularization in historical perspective.



History of Secularization in Turkey

Chapter I.

I. The Ottoman Era

I-A. An Overview

The Ottoman civilization was a mixture of institutions borrowed from the Turkish, Persian and Arab cultures, from the religion of Islam, from the Eastern and later Western civilizations. These institutions were never really integrated and never produced a harmonious system to provide the rationality and dynamism to sustain and improve itself in the face of the Renaissance, the Reformation and the ensuing Industrial Revolution.

The dominant religion of the Ottoman realm was Islam. Islam in principle draws no distinction between the religious and temporal spheres of life. Thus, the Muslim State is by definition religious.

However, the concept of rulership in the Islamic community had acquired different characters following sectarian and political divisions. But for all sects, şeriat (divine law) remained the highway of righteous life leading to God. It includes law, moral principles and the creed to which every Muslim ought to subscribe.

Șeriat differs from Western legal systems in two principal respects. First of all, it encompasses all spheres of life. While other legal systems only regulate a man’s relationship with his conscience and with his God. It is also concerned with man’s morality, dictating not only what man is entitled or bound to, but also what he conscientiously should or should not do.'The şeriat is not merely a system of law, but also of private and public activities" (3).

The temporal powers of the Caliphs gradually shifted to the Sultans and Amirs after the second half of the 10th century. They used the Caliph’s authority for legitimacy. This de facto differentiation of the temporal and religious authority in the Muslim world ended when the Ottoman Sultan Selim I took on the title and sacred relics (of Prophet Mohammad) from the Fatimite Caliph following his conquest of Egypt in 1571.

The values and institutions that were later purged as contrary to modern civilization, such as polygamy, the seclusion of women, their low status, fatalism and ascetism etc., were imposed upon the Islamized Turks, chiefly through the infiltration of the Middle-Eastern cultures into the fikh (Islamic Jurisprudence) …




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