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Transnational Turkish Islam DOI: 10.1057/9781137394224.0001

Transnational Turkish Islam

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Transnational Turkish Islam: Shifting Geographies of Religious Activism and Community Building in Turkey and Europe
Transnational Turkish Islam: Shifting Geographies of Religious Activism and Community Building in Turkey and Europe

Transnational Turkish Islam: Shifting Geographies of Religious Activism and Community Building in Turkey and Europe

Thijl Sunier

Professor of Anthropology, VU University Amsterdam, The Netherlands

and

Nico Landman

Associate Professor of Islamic Studies, Utrecht University, The Netherlands

Nico Landman Associate Professor of Islamic Studies, Utrecht University, The Netherlands DOI: 10.1057/9781137394224.0001
© Th ijl Sunier and Nico Landman 2015 Softcover reprint of the har d cover

© Thijl Sunier and Nico Landman 2015

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Contents Acknowledgements vii Introduction 1 1 Islam and Politics in Turkey 9 Introduction 10

Contents

Acknowledgements

vii

Introduction

1

1 Islam and Politics in Turkey

9

Introduction

10

Stage 1 (1923–1945)

12

Stage 2 (1946–1979)

15

Stage 3 (1980–2002)

22

Stage 4 (2003–present)

25

2 Turkish Organized Islam in Europe

29

Introduction

30

Turkish migration to Europe

31

Political culture, legal arrangements, and the Islamization of migrants

33

Organizational development: Turkish Islam

37

3 Diyanet

46

Introduction

47

Origins

48

To Europe

49

Organizational dimensions

51

Worldviews, goals, and agendas

54

4 Süleymanlıs

57

Introduction

58

Origins

58

To Europe

60

Organizational dimensions

61

Worldviews, goals, and agendas

64

DOI: 10.1057/9781137394224.0001

v

vi

Contents

5 Milli Görüş

68

Introduction

69

Origins

69

To Europe

73

Organizational dimensions

75

Worldviews, goals, and agendas

77

6 Gülen-movement (Hizmet)

81

Introduction

82

Origins

83

To Europe

87

Organizational dimensions

89

Worldviews, goals, and agendas

91

7 Alevis

95

Introduction

96

Origins

97

To Europe

101

Organizational dimensions

102

Worldviews, goals, and agendas

104

8 Other Movements and Organizations

107

Nationalism and Islam

108

Islamic radicalism: the Kaplan movement

112

Conclusions, Dynamics, and Tendencies

114

Bibliography

121

Index

134

Acknowledgements This book is the result of an analysis of primary and secondary sources on

Acknowledgements

This book is the result of an analysis of primary and secondary sources on Islam in Turkey and in several countries in Europe and beyond. In addition to these sources we have collected first-hand information about the current situation in a number of selected countries in Europe that are discussed in the book. In such a situation and with limited time at our disposal, it was absolutely vital, but first and foremost a great privilege, to have an extended network of colleagues and friends across Europe who were willing to provide us with the data we were after. Especially the network around the Journal of Muslims in Europe (JOME) and the rich source of data provided by the ongoing Yearbook of Muslims in Europe project were essential for our search. Special thanks are due to Dr. Kerstin Rosenow-Williams of the Ruhr University in Bochum, Germany; to Prof. Dr. Brigitte Marechal of the University of Louvain-la-Neuve; to Prof. Dr. Samim Akgönül of the University of Strasbourg; to Dr. Nadia Fadil of the University of Leuven; to Dr. Egdunas Racius of the University of Vilnius; to Prof. Dr. Göran Larsson of the University of Gothenburg; and last but not least to Prof. Dr. Jörgen Nielsen of the University of Copenhagen, the grand old man of studies on Islam in Europe and initiator of numerous joint scholarly projects, plans, and networks on this fascinating research field. They were all willing to help us out despite their busy schedule. It goes without saying that the final text of this book is completely our responsibility.

DOI: 10.1057/9781137394224.0002

vii

Introduction Abstract: The aim of the book is to give a state-of-the-art portrait of the

Introduction

Abstract: The aim of the book is to give a state-of-the-art portrait of the Turkish Islamic infrastructure in Europe and to analyse how the organizational landscape has developed and changed in the course of the last three decades. There are three main causes for change: the transformation of Turkish Muslims from migrants to permanent residents in European societies, the rooting of Islam in Europe, and the societal and political changes in Turkey in the past decades. By presenting an up-to-date portrait and discussing future trends, the authors critically take issue with the dominant integration paradigm in Europe that states that Islam should be ‘domesticated’, cut off from its roots, and adopt a ‘European’ format. They argue that organized Islam is embedded in a transnational social, cultural, and religious field and must be studied as such.

Sunier, Thijl, and Nico Landman. Transnational Turkish Islam: Shifting Geographies of Religious Activism and Community Building in Turkey and Europe. Basingstoke:

Palgrave Macmillan, 2015. doi: 10.1057/9781137394224.0003.

DOI: 10.1057/9781137394224.0003

Transnational Turkish Islam

From the time of the first waves of labour migration from Turkey to Europe in the early 1960s there have been initiatives to enable Muslims to fulfil their religious duties. However, the institutionalization of Turkish Islam in Europe really took off in the second half of the 1970s when Turkish Islamic movements became active in Europe. Although the start of organizational activities and the pace of institutionaliza- tion differed from country to country, most Islamic movements were firmly settled in countries with a sizable Turkish Muslim population by the early 1980s. Today the Turkish Islamic landscape is almost entirely covered by the major Islamic movements with roots in Turkey. Of all the Muslim communities the Turks have the most tightly knit organizational networks and structures, and in many countries in Europe they are in the forefront of advisory boards, of Muslim networks, and of political action. The aim of this book is twofold. We present a state-of-the-art portrait of the Turkish Islamic infrastructure in Europe and analyse how the organizational landscape has developed in the course of the last three decades. There are good and thorough monographs on specific Turkish Islamic movements, and we in no way pretend to redo the work of the authors and to reach their depth and completeness. We bring together the prominent players in the Turkish Islamic field and present a comparative picture. By doing so we set out some relevant lines and discuss some future trends with respect to Turkish organized Islam. Currently Turkish organized Islam is a topic of heated debates in all countries in Europe. Opinion leaders, politicians, and journalists seem to be rather puzzled about how Turkish organized Islam will develop, what its influence will be on the integration of people with a Turkish background into the host countries, and how the principal actors position themselves now and will do so in the future. In all European countries policy reports have been published in order to map out the organizational landscape and to get a grip on the field and to get answers to pressing policy questions. 1 There are plenty of indications to reconsider and explore the current Turkish Islamic organizational landscape to see where it stands and in what possible directions the principal actors move. There are three main reasons to do so: (1) the fundamental transformation of Turkish Muslims from migrants to permanent residents in European societies, (2) the rooting of Islam in Europe, and (3) the societal and political changes in Turkey in the past decades. These changes impact on the ways Turkish Muslims organize and how they relate to Turkey on the one hand and

Introduction

to their European environment on the other. This does not mean that the Turkish Islamic landscape has already been changed fundamentally

in the past years. It is a sociological truism that established and embed- ded organizational structures develop only very slowly. Vested positions and interests, long-term settlements, elaborate agendas, and, last but not least, sheer numbers make change slow and complex. And it makes change more difficult to trace. Yet, the changing circumstances have to be addressed and taken into consideration when analysing the current Turkish Islamic landscape. However, with a few exceptions Turkish Islamic organizations have hardly been assessed in scholarly work on Turkish Islam in Europe. There

is an impressive body of literature that addresses the developments with

respect to Islam in Turkey in recent decades, 2 but this has hardly led to

an exploration of Turkish organized Islam in Europe. In comparison to the early 1990s, there is even a decrease in scholarly attention for Turkish organized Islam. There are a number of good studies on particular cases of Turkish organized Islam in particular countries, but the vast major- ity of publications on Muslims in Europe do not address organizational aspects. 3 Most studies focus on issues of piety, everyday practices and convictions, or issues related to the legal position of Islam. This is remarkable since religious life of Muslims in Europe takes place in institutional and organizational settings. In political negotiations about the development of religious accommodation, organizations play

a crucial role. In all countries in Europe with a sizable Turkish Muslim

community there are debates and controversies that concern activities of organized Islam. Especially the cross-border activities of Turkish organized Islam worries policymakers because they run counter to what is envisioned for the place of Islam in society. A key feature of the dominant integration paradigm is the assumption that Islam should be ‘domesticated’, cut off from its roots, and adopt a ‘European’ format. In the course of the 1980s ‘Islam’ became the principal denominator with which the background of migrants could be understood and explained at the cost of other factors such as economic structure and social context in the host countries. ‘Muslim culture’ rendered an almost timeless character. In the early 1990s most governments in Western Europe were increas- ingly concerned about how to ‘integrate’ Muslims into their societies, each according to their own political frameworks (Bader, 2007, p. 879). It was already clear that most migrants would stay permanently and

Transnational Turkish Islam

that Islam would be a lasting element in the political and social fabric of society. An element that became more prominent in the 1990s was the strong emphasis on the juxtaposition of the perceived liberal and secular foundations of West-European nation-states and the religious tradi- tionalism that Muslim immigrants were said to carry with them. The public debates and policy measures that emerged in the 1990s included state neutrality, the governance of alterity, but also the perceived roots of European civilization. They all revolved around the same question:

how to deal with a new Muslim presence and how to defend ‘liberal’ accomplishments against Muslim traditionalism. The terrorist attacks in the past decade and the ‘war on terror’ have strengthened anxieties about global events and have led to a further inward turn of European nation-states, a process of ‘social closure’ (Geschiere and Meyer, 1998). The worries about young Muslims who joined radical Islamic organiza- tions in Syria and Iraq have made monitoring and security of Islamic activity top priority of European governments. The governance of Islam has become the fastest growing focus of research on Islam in Europe. The strong emphasis on the nation-state as the prime analytical format reinforced methodological nationalism and the equation of ‘society’ with the nation-state but narrowed down the analytical scope and rigour. 4 The exclusive focus on the nation-state over the past two centuries has defined the very concept of migration. Studies on migration processes have been narrowed down to the question of how nation-states integrate migrants. Consequently transnational flow as an inherent aspect of migratory cycles is also caught in a national paradigm (Wimmer and Glick Schiller, 2002, p. 324). Similarly, the study of Islam in Europe has implicitly become synonymous with studying how individual states, with their respective modes of incorporation and integration, national- ize Islam and integrate Muslims. Transnational networks of Muslims are considered temporal, at least undesirable characteristics of religious life in Europe. Muslims must eventually develop an individualized, ‘private’ Islam that is cut loose from its former roots. Private transnational networks and contacts abroad continue to pose a challenge for integration, but they are manage- able. The transnational activities of foreign states and organizations are, however, considered to be of a different nature and are generally met with suspicion and even outrage. The involvement of foreign states in the lives of their European subjects is a source of contention. This lays bare the inherent tensions that exist in all migratory cycles across the

Introduction

globe between sending states and migrants that seek to sustain transna- tional linkages as long as possible and receiving states that embark on

a domestication and integration program to turn migrants into citizens

(see Sunier, 2014a). In this book we critically take issue with this paradigm. There is a growing tension between ‘Muslim’ as a policy category, as it is applied in integration programs in different countries of Europe, and the experi- ences, contacts, and practices of Muslims. Migrants and their offspring can participate fully in the host society while being oriented towards the country of origin. We cannot fully understand what goes on in the lives of individuals when we take national boundaries as the only point of reference. ‘Migrants are often embedded in multi-layered, multi- sited transnational social fields’ (Wimmer and Glick Schiller, 2002, p. 326). There is an extensive body of literature addressing the dialectical relationship between the fixing and flow inherent in migration cycles. 5

This literature convincingly demonstrates that there is no contradic- tion between transnational activities and practices on the one hand and processes of local rooting on the other. Contemporary transnational

networks are not the undesirable remnants of an era of migration that will disappear eventually. They have rather become more important due to increased communication means (Bowen, 2004; Grillo, 2004; Grillo and Soares, 2005). The transnational Islamic organizational landscape must be approached as an inherent part of religious life of Muslims in Europe. We consider Islam as a dynamic field, a multi-dimensional and multi- perspective binding mechanism. Religion is a broad register that links emotion, affect, and ever-changing senses of belonging and binding of individuals to political and cultural projects of collective actors and states (Levitt, 1998; Vasquez and Marquardt, 2003; Werbner, 2002). As

a consequence of processes of globalization and international migra-

tion, nation-states have redressed their role as active cultural and social agents in continuously evolving discursive fields (see also Ferguson and Gupta, 2002). As Rose and Miller (1992, p. 177) have argued, ‘It is in this discursive field that “the state” itself emerges as a historically variable linguistic device for conceptualizing and articulating ways of ruling’. In that regard, a sharp distinction between the state as the domain of laws, rules, and institutionalized power and private initiatives as the domain of contingent, volatile, and personal exchange overlooks the entangle- ment and the societal embeddedness of both state and private transna- tional activity. The increasingly diversified transnational field includes

Transnational Turkish Islam

a wide variety of forms, practices, goals, strategies, and motivations

(Vertovec, 2009). This book deals with Turkish transnational (organized) Islam as a crucial component of religious life of Muslims of Turkish background in Europe. We focus on one particular ethnically specific section of the general Islamic landscapes in Europe. This is not a self-evident choice and should be underpinned. An obvious reason to do so is of course that the Islamic landscape in Europe is still ethnically fragmented. Turkish Islamic movements mainly focus on a constituency with a Turkish back- ground and Turkish identity and loyalty is an important source of organ- izational strength. But in addition to that we contend that the complex

dynamics at work among Muslims in Europe require an analytical frame beyond national perspective. As we argued earlier, a proper analysis takes on board the changing, but not disappearing, relations with countries of origin (including the active involvement of states) and the shifting characteristics of the transnational networks among Muslims. This book

is divided in three parts; one on the changing relation between Islam and

the Turkish state, one on the settlement of Turkish Muslims in European countries, and one on the main players in the Turkish Islamic field. The main players in the Turkish Islamic field in Europe are first the organizational network of the Turkish Directorate of Religious Affairs (Diyanet), a governmental body that is in charge of official Islamic activities in Turkey. It controls roughly two-third of the Islamic asso- ciations in Europe. Diyanet is not an Islamic movement in the strict sense of the word. In the early 1980s the Directorate decided to extend its activities beyond Turkish borders. It was the time when there was a growing need for religious services and accommodation. They were able to establish regular contacts with European governments. Today they send out paid imams to Europe, publish religious material, and organize all kinds of services for Turkish Muslims in Europe. But the extension of their services to Europe was also motivated by the concerns of the Turkish government about the growing influence of several Turkish

Islamic movements that were already active for some years, notably the Süleymanlı movement. The other major player in the field was Milli Görüş, an Islamic movement founded by supporters of an Islamic party that has been present in Turkish politics since the late 1960s. The current Turkish Islamic landscape is also shaped by a relatively new player, the Gülen-movement. Their history in Europe is somewhat different from that of the other organizational networks, and their

Introduction

activities also differ markedly from the regular religious services that the others offer. Their focus on relatively young, well-educated Muslims makes them an essential factor in today’s Turkish Islam. Most studies on Turkish organized Islam tend to focus exclusively on Sunni Muslims because they constitute the vast majority of Muslims in Europe. In the case of Turkish Islam the heterodox Alevi community should be included in any overview. Their numbers are estimated at 15–20 per cent of the Turks in Turkey and Europe, so a proper assessment of the Turkish Islamic landscape should pay attention to this important community. Apart from the major players in the field there are a number of smaller associations. These include two ultranationalist political parties that extended their network to Turkish migrants in Europe, communities of Turkish Shia Muslims, and a number of Sufi orders active among Turkish Muslims. We will briefly refer to them in Chapter 8. In Chapter 1 we present a historical account of the developments in Turkey with special focus on recent changes in the state-religion rela- tions and the position of Islam in Turkey. In Chapter 2 we address the establishment and institutionalization of Turkish Islam in Europe and the changes in the socio-economic make-up of the Muslim popula- tion in Western Europe in recent years. These two chapters constitute the backdrop of the second part of the book that deals with organized Turkish Islam in more detail (Chapters 3–8). It provides an analysis of transnational Turkish Islam along organizational lines in a number of European countries with a sizable Turkish Muslim population. Each of the relevant Islamic movements will be treated separately in order to understand their (changing) position in Turkey and in Europe. We have very deliberately chosen an account of each of the main collective actors, rather than an account of Turkish Islamic presence in various European countries. We see the advantages of an analysis of specific national contexts, but as we have argued we consider a focus on specific Turkish Islamic movements across national borders, a format that does justice to their dynamics.

Notes

1 In Germany authorities regularly publish on certain Turkish organizations, especially Milli Görüş. Throughout Europe the Gülen-movement is subject

Transnational Turkish Islam

of public debates, and in the Netherlands already several reports have been published, commissioned by the government about Turkish organized Islam.

2

See, for example, Azak (2010); Çağlar (2013b); Gözaydın (2009); Turam (2007); White (2013).

3

Studies on the organizational dimensions include Akgönül (2005); Jonker (2002); Rosenow-Williams (2012); Schiffauer (2010); Seufert (2014); Yükleyen

(2012).

4

Methodological nationalism ‘is the all-pervasive assumption that the nation- state is the natural and necessary form of society in modernity; the nation- state is taken as the organizing principle of modernity’ (Chernillo, 2006, p. 6; see also Beck, 2000, 2002).

5

See Basch, Glick Schiller, and Blanc (1994); Vertovec (2009).

1

Islam and Politics in Turkey

1 Islam and Politics in Turkey Abstract: This chapter addresses the changing relation between Islam and

Abstract: This chapter addresses the changing relation between Islam and the Turkish state since the foundation of the republic in 1923. This is necessary information to understand the origins of Turkish Islamic organizations in Europe and the way they have developed since. Rather than reproducing the simplistic secular-religious dichotomies that characterize many historical accounts on Turkey, the authors approach the complex relation between state and Islam as a political struggle around the question, ‘What place Islam has and should have in society?’. It shows that the relationship among religion, politics, and economy changed fundamentally in each of the four historical stages to be distinguished. It reveals what issues were at stake; who the principal actors were; and how Islam was organized politically and socially.

Sunier, Thijl, and Nico Landman. Transnational Turkish Islam: Shifting Geographies of Religious Activism and Community Building in Turkey and Europe. Basingstoke:

Palgrave Macmillan, 2015. doi: 10.1057/9781137394224.0004.

DOI: 10.1057/9781137394224.0004

Transnational Turkish Islam

Introduction

Although the Turkish Islamic landscape in Europe increasingly develops according to its own dynamics, the significance of the Turkish context in co-shaping this landscape has not diminished; it has changed. The developments in Turkey in the past three decades, particularly those in the past years with the coming to power of the Adalet ve Kalkınma Partisi (AKP; Justice and Progress Party), have prompted existing Islamic organizations in Europe to reconsider their position vis-à-vis Turkey. But also the relative success of the Gülen-movement in recent years cannot be understood without a thorough assessment of the position of Islam in Turkish society, particularly the changing relation between Islam and the state. The Turkish context has become part of a larger transnational field that has transformed from a typical hierarchical migrant-configuration into a more horizontal network of exchange and interaction. In this chapter we will address the Turkish context and explore the relevant traits for the current situation. In much of the early literature on the foundation of the Turkish re-public in 1923 and the subsequent societal, cultural, and political reforms, the transformation has been depicted as a historically necessary and inevitable process of modernization in which the role of Islam has been relegated to the private sphere. The founder of the Turkish repub- lic, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, would build a modern, western nation-state on the ruins of the Ottoman Empire. 1 Turkey was often depicted as the phoenix rising from the ashes of more than 600 years of Ottoman rule. In the rather simplistic image of the Turkish republic that has been developed since then, the Kemalist revolution was depicted as a ‘total social and cultural revolution’. The Kemalist takeover had rendered an almost mythical status, a complete breach with the past. The Ottoman Empire was an Islamic empire; the Turkish republic was founded on secular principles. In this way the two societal models were juxtaposed as each other’s mirror image and found their way into political, educa- tional, and cultural programs. Islam with all its institutions, principles, and practices represented obscurantism, while the Kemalist state model represented progress and modernization. The emerging resistance against the rigorous and highly symbolic reforms initiated by the Kemalist government was explained as a struggle between traditional backward- ness and modernization, old and new, progress, and reactionary forces. As a political statement the image served the goals of the Kemalists, but

Islam and Politics in Turkey



analytically it is an obvious simplification, not least because it reduces the Kemalist reforms to anti-religious measures whereas the new govern- ment had a much more extended, predominantly economic agenda. It also implicitly assumes that the foundation of the Turkish republic in 1923 was the initial and decisive moment of societal reform and thus ignores the fundamental societal changes that took place in the mid-19- th-century Ottoman Empire. The foundation of the Turkish republic is a crucial, symbolically laden event in the development of the relation between the state and Islam of over 150 years. However, in terms of societal impact it is not more impor- tant than subsequent transformations of Turkish society and not least than those that took place before 1923. The political liberalization that took place after the Second World War, the economic transformations in the 1950s and those in the 1980s had in many respects a more trans- formative effect than the Kemalist revolution. As Turam (2007) argues, the growth of a civil society in the 1980s has been a crucial condition for the modernization of the political system in Turkey. Along with Turam and other scholars we contend that Islamic political actors, rather than resisting modernization, were decisive forces in that process. The victory of the AKP in the 2002 elections did not herald the end of the secular state model of the republic as some critics argue, but the integration of Islamic societal political and social actors in the secular state (Turam, 2007, p. 8). As Çinar (2006, p. 471) argues, the success of the AKP with its Islamic program has laid bare the democratic deficit of the Kemalist model. 2 The successive stages in the relation between state and religion in Turkey clearly show the dynamics of secularism as a political project and a social imaginary and demonstrate that it is far more complex than the ‘separation of religion and state’. To understand this we need to analyse the specific traits of Turkish secularism and trace its historical trajectory and its manifold manifestations. Four stages can be distinguished in this trajectory. The first stage (1923–1945) covers the heydays of Kemalist reform. In those years the state occupied a central role in the reconstruction of society. Many reforms were implemented top-down. The second stage (1946–1979) is characterized by political liberalization, the introduction of the multi- party system, and the emergence of Islam as a political pivot. In the last part of this stage, migration to Europe reached its peak. Most of the present-day Turkish Islamic movements and organizations in Europe arrived towards the end of the 1970s. They were a product of the fierce

Transnational Turkish Islam

struggle between ‘official’ state secularism and the oppositional religious field. From then on events took a different route in Turkey and in Europe. The third stage (1980–2002) started with the military coup d’état and is characterized by the emergence and extension of civil society. An important development in those years was the growth of a relatively wealthy middle class with an Islamic outlook. In this stage Muslims entered all segments of society and all spheres of public life. The fourth stage (2003–present) is marked by the coming to power of the AKP and its continuous political dominance. The political struggle in each of these four periods revolves around the question of the place Islam has and should have in society. It is a strug- gle about the very foundations of the Turkish state. An analysis of these four periods reveals what issues were at stake, who the principal actors were, and how Islam was organized politically and socially. We will show that each of these stages, rather than delineating sharp ruptures with the period before, provided the necessary conditions for each following stage.

Stage 1 (1923–1945)

Although the Kemalist state was modelled after the Western concept of people’s sovereignty, it was forced upon the population (Kieser, 2013; Lewis, 1968, p. 352). A national ideology was meant to provide the regime with political legitimacy to rule the entire population, irrespective of race or ethnic or religious background. Populism, one of the central creeds of the Kemalist doctrine, not only implied a certain equality of all people, it was also understood as ‘the people ruling the people’ (Shaw and Shaw, 1977, p. 378). Consequently, only one party was allowed according to the Kemalist regime: Cumhuriyet Halk Partisi (CHP; Republican People’s Party). This party would promote the new Turkish national identity. Organization on the basis of class, ethnic- ity, or religion was forbidden (Toprak, 1981, pp. 38–39). From then on state sovereignty was no longer based on divine legitimacy, but on the Kemalist conception of people’s power. There is a considerable similarity between the position of the Communist Party in the early Soviet Union and the CHP in that the party, rather than being the organization of a certain political loyalty, constituted the political vanguard that was supposed to lead the people.

Islam and Politics in Turkey



Reforms with respect to religion had a highly symbolic significance, but they were certainly not unique. The first series of reform measures concerned secularisation of state, education, and legal institutions. Many of these reforms were already initiated almost 75 years earlier during the so-called Tanzimat reforms and concluded during the rule of the Young Turks (1908–1918) (Zürcher, 2006, pp. 227–235). Mustafa Kemal belonged to the radical wing of the Young Turks who were in favour of a forced process of societal renewal. He considered Islam as a ‘natural’ aspect of the Turkish people, but it could never play any significant role in the building of the Turkish nation-state (WRR, 2004, p. 98). Religion, according to the Kemalists, not only had a dominant position in Ottoman state institutions, it was also thoroughly intertwined with Turkish society. Consequently it was the task of the state and party to ‘domesticate’ Islam according to Kemalist principles and to build a new secular state. The Directorate of Religious Affairs (Diyanet Işleri Başkanlığı), founded in 1924, was entrusted with the task of organizing religious services and of coordinating religious accommodation and religious instruction. Diyanet was reminiscent of the French Bureau Central des Cultes (Gözaydın, 2008, p. 218) and served as a format for similar institutions in the Soviet Union. One of the main goals was the total centralization and reorganization of religious life in Turkish society. In that respect the Diyanet model had more far-reaching consequences than the French institute. In 1931 all mosques were brought under the direct control of a separate institute, the Directorate for Religious Institutions. All mosques that were not part of this foundation were de facto illegal. Imams became employees of the Turkish state, and they were obliged to work according to strict regulations. The reforms explained here were a reorganization of Islam, rather than a separation of state and religion. The Turkish concept laiklik, generally translated as secularism, thus had a different meaning than the way it is applied in the West (Kinzer, 2001). The second series of reforms were aimed at secularizing culture, eradi- cating religious symbols from the public sphere, and transforming the dominant symbols in society. In 1928 the Arabic script was replaced by Latin alphabet, and the Turkish language was gradually purified from Arabic idiom. It was forbidden to do the call to prayer (ezan) in Arabic. A proposal to even turn Quran recitation into Turkish was not effectuated. The motivation behind the ‘turkification’ of religious rituals and practices was the idea that it would cut off the Turkish population from the Arab world. Many of these early reforms have been turned back in the course

Transnational Turkish Islam

of years. A more important aspect of symbolic secularization was the reconceptualization of history from a Turkish nationalist perspective. According to the Kemalists the strong link between Islam and the Arab world had caused a neglect of the historical links between the Turks of Anatolia and the Turkic people in central Asia. By emphasizing these ethnic roots they intended to provide their nationalist ideology with a firm historical basis. The abolition of the caliphate in 1924, the introduc- tion of the Gregorian calendar and Sunday as the weekly holiday, the introduction of family names, and the prohibition of certain clothing were all intended to turn the Turkish people away from the Islamic world (Toprak, 1981, pp. 40–46; Kinzer, 2001). The main goal of the secular reforms, however, was the complete control by the state over the religious field. Not only were the institutions and symbols of the republic being secularized, the Kemalists intended to develop a dominant religious domain that was completely subordinate to the state and subject to strict state control. In the large mosques only imams who were recognized by the state and trained by the Diyanet could be appointed. Imams who were not educated in the official institu- tions could only work in the smaller, more remote mosques. Later on all religious activity came under state control. Especially in rural areas the number of religious employees with sufficient knowledge of orthodox Islamic sources decreased. Religious education in schools was gradually abolished. An important consequence of this development was that for a large section of the urban population the role of Islam, even in private life, became less significant, while the lack of religious leaders in rural areas with a formal education resulted in the growth rather than the diminution of Islamic practices and convictions that were fully entangled with everyday life (Bruinessen, 1982, p. 177). While the role of orthodox Islam in politics and its influence on the state weakened, the influence of local ulama and şeyhs among the rural population further increased (Sunar and Toprak, 1983, p. 426; Sunier, 1996). This increased influence also had a socio-economic cause. In rural areas, the existing social, economic, and administrative structures which were closely intertwined with local religious leadership were largely left intact. Administrative and economic reforms hardly reached the societal periph- ery, but the countryside was indirectly affected by the economic reforms. The economic policies of the government were directed towards develop- ing a state-owned heavy industry, with the aim of becoming independent from the West. Industrial development focussed primarily on the already

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developed areas in the Western regions of the country. The industrializa- tion program was funded with revenues from the countryside and thus at the expense of agriculture (Smit and Velzen, 1982, p. 54). By neglecting the periphery, traditional power structures remained relatively unaffected. The side effect of these policies was a certain level of political stability in the periphery. Although the economic policies led to a widening of the gap between urban and rural areas, the political neglect functioned as a valve against protest and resistance. Apart from some incidents no major rebellions inspired by Islam have taken place. A major reason was the lack of organizational strength among Muslims in the peripheral areas. Most groups and brotherhoods (tarikat) had a local base and any mutual communication, necessary for massive protests, was hardly present. That does not mean that there was no opposition or protest. However, this resistance had a strong local character and was based on existing traditional organizational networks. It was primarily directed against specific measures of the regime. Most protests also had a messianic character. The arrival of Atatürk was taken as a sign that the end times had come (Bruinessen, 1982, p. 175). Yet also new organizational struc- tures emerged that sought to protect Islam against the regime. In many places they organized demonstrations. Many of these organizations were founded by leaders of the influential Nakşibendi-order. The most important major uprising in 1925 in south-east Turkey was led by the influential Nakşibendi şeyh Said. However, some observers argue that nationalist rather than Islamic motives were behind this relatively size- able rebellion. The insurgents were Kurds (Olson, 1989). The regime suppressed the uprising with a bloody attack. Subsequently a decree was issued that outlawed all the tarikats in the course of 1925. In this way a so-called parallel Islam emerged next to the official Islam monitored by the state (Dumont, 1984, pp. 364–375; Çakır, 1990). Within these parallel Islamic networks a wide range of religious services came into being to replace the atrophied official orthodox Islam in the cities. These networks constituted the organizational basis for the new organizations that developed in the period after the Second World War.

Stage 2 (1946–1979)

In 1946 Turkey, forced by the Allies, introduced a multi-party system. This had profound effects on the place of Islam in society and politics. Islam

Transnational Turkish Islam

became a crucial factor in political struggle not only to build up rank-and- file, but also to establish a new political agenda. In the 1940s 75 per cent of the population still lived in rural areas. They constituted an important electoral potential, not just because of their religious affiliation, but also in relation to the socio-economic situation. The rural areas hardly benefited from the economic fruits of Kemalist development. The parties that appeared in the political arena in 1946 not only challenged the monopoly position of the Republican Party (CHP), but also put the emphasis on economic development in rural areas (Öktem, 2011, p. 40; Szyliowicz, 1966; Mardin, 1989). Due to the poor infrastructural facilities, election campaigns hardly reached the rural population. Most opposition parties had no organizational base in the countryside. For that reason, by way of some sort of goodwill campaign, all parties, including the CHP, proposed to soften the legal and institutional restrictions on Islam. The CHP still won the first elections in 1946 with a majority in parliament, but in subsequent years and with the gradual opening up of the countryside their support diminished. In April 1950 the CHP-government decided to grant Diyanet a more autonomous status and transferred the management of religious accommodation back to the board of the directorate. A favourable side effect was that the growing dissatisfaction in the ranks of Diyanet about the control of the state waned and the prestige of the organization increased again (Gözaydın, 2008, p. 220). In May 1950 the CHP was defeated in the general elections by the Demokrat Parti (DP; Democratic Party). In the preceding years the party had worked hard to build up an electorate by acquiring support among local Islamic leaders and networks, particularly among support- ers of the Kurdish Islamic scholar and preacher Said Nursi (1876–1960). Nursi initially supported the Kemalist revolution, but became an import opponent in the 1930s. Unlike others parties which focussed almost exclusively on the urban population, the DP effectively made use of the electoral potential of the rural population. One of the first measures of the new DP prime minister Adnan Menderes was to allow the ezan, the call to prayer, to be done in Arabic again. Furthermore, religious education and the training of imams were expanded. In 1951 Imam-Hatip schools were established with a large religious curriculum designed for pupils who wanted to plan a religious career (Shaw and Shaw, 1977, p. 409). The sale of religious literature was liberalized (Zürcher, 1993, p. 274). A more significant development was

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the gradual marginalization and eventual closing down of the so-called village institutes, a heritage of the Kemalists. The educational institutes were primarily intended to teach the rural population the principles of the Kemalist secularism. Although these institutes played an impor- tant role in the literacy campaign in the countryside, in the course of the 1940s it was already clear that they did not have the desired result (Arayıcı, 1999, p. 277; Karaömerlioğlu, 1998, p. 72). Menderes remained in office for ten years. After the military coup of 1960, he was executed. He became known as the prime minister who had thrown Kemalist ideals for grabs, but although he had reversed some of the most radical measures of the Kemalists, he never questioned the secular foundations of the Turkish republic. In that respect, there is an intriguing parallel between the image that exists about Menderes and that of the current president and former prime minister Erdoğan. Both went against the grain of Kemalist secularism, took a series of measures in favour of Islam, and developed an authoritarian style of governing in the course of their reign. However, they left the secular order intact (Çarkoğlu and Rubin, 2006; Turam, 2007; Öktem, 2011; White, 2013). The DP wanted to reduce state interference in Islam. State intervention should be limited to constitutional matters (Zürcher, 1993, pp. 285–287; Yavuz, 2003, pp. 61–62; WRR, 2004, pp. 105–106). In addition to these measures with respect to religion, the DP initi- ated a series of economic changes that were downright radical and would fundamentally impact on the political landscape. The DP was founded by the new mercantile elite who opposed the centrally planned economic model of the Kemalists. The electorate of the DP was to be found predominantly among the farmers who felt themselves victims of this economic model. The DP had promised to bring about rural development. The economic policy of the DP aimed at increasing export-oriented agricultural production. Especially cereal produc- ers saw this as an opportunity to increase their production. Post-war Europe had a large deficit of food. It was also in line with the policy of the United States after the war. Through the ‘Marshall aid’ Turkey was granted loans to mechanize its agricultural production (Smit and Velzen, 1982, p. 68). An extensive road network was constructed to unlock the remote regions of the country. Furthermore, with US help, agricultural machines were imported and were deployed in a number of strategic regions, especially in central Anatolia. It soon turned out that the richer farmers benefited most from these measures. They were able

Transnational Turkish Islam

to receive the necessary loans for investments. The poorer farmers were driven out. Part of the landless peasants could get work as an agricultural labourer, but for a large part of the peasantry there was no source of income anymore. In the first half of the 1950s nearly one million people migrated to the cities in the hope of finding work there, but the developing industry could absorb only a small proportion of these migrants. Many ended up in the rapidly expanding informal sector and earned their living in retail or unskilled serv- ices. Mass unemployment would also give rise to the migration of workers to Europe at the beginning of the 1960s (Abadan-Unat, 1976; Paine, 1974). The massive migration to the cities had an impact on the place of Islam in society. At the outskirts of the big cities whole new neighbourhoods with migrants from the countryside emerged. The urban population, which until then formed only a small part of the total population, for the first time encountered those parts of the population for which Islam had always played a central and self-evident role in their life. In this context some have referred to this development as the ‘traditionalization’ of the cities. The rural population on the other hand was for the first time confronted with the major changes that had taken place since 1923. The massive urbanization changed both the self-image of the original and that of the new urbanites dramatically. Everyday routines and self-evident situations came under pressure and were problematized. The DP era, between 1950 and 1960, is one of the most dramatic periods in the social history of the Turkish republic. The changes that were initially socio-economic in nature led to a total transformation of the make-up of society. In the ten years that the DP was in power, the political, economic, and social landscape of Turkey was radically and permanently changed. The sharp dividing line between town and coun- try was blurred. Old differences between urban and rural areas in Turkey before the Second World War were characterized by socio-economic centre-periphery relations and not by ethnic, religious, and cultural differences. The new situation, however, rendered Islam a new meaning. The image of Islam had hitherto been associated with rural backward- ness and underdevelopment. The massive urbanization in the 1950s and 1960s generated new dividing lines but it also marked the beginning of the political and social emancipation of Islam in Turkey (Sunier, 1996). The changing nature of the socio-economic relations affected the nature of the political struggle and the modes of organization and participation. While before the war resistance against the regime was mainly initiated

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by local şeyhs who could deploy their personal networks and loyalties to provide grassroots for action, towards the end of the 1950s there was a shift towards more instrumental political motives (Yücekök, 1971, p. 222). The importance of the patron-client system typical of many rural politics diminished and new forms of political loyalty took shape. Hence new types of Islamic organizations emerged. These organizations, rather than being local, focussed on society as a whole and drafted political programs inspired by Islam that were oriented towards the country as a whole (Sunar and Toprak, 1983, p. 432). From 1965 onwards the conservative-liberal policies of the DP were continued by the Adalet Partisi (AP; Justice Party), led by Süleyman Demirel. He too applied a form of liberalization with respect to Islam without questioning the secular foundations of the republic. In the heydays of the Cold War the liberal conservatism of the AP together with Kemalist nationalism was regarded by the Western powers as a moral counterweight to communism and socialism. This contributed to the further integration of parties with an Islamist agenda into mainstream politics (Yavuz, 2003, p. 62; WRR, 2004, pp. 106–107 ). The liberal Constitution of 1961 made it possible to explicitly refer to Islamic principles as the basis of party politics as long as the secular foundations were not questioned. It goes without saying that this formulation left significant room for interpretation. In the course of the 1960s the use of Islamic rhetoric as a political tool became increasingly common and widespread. This made it increas- ingly difficult to distinguish between Islamic and non-Islamic parties or between secular and Islamic politics. The specific meaning of laiklik, the Turkish version of secularism, became a major political controversy. Parties would challenge each other’s take on the issue and the very principle of laiklik that the Kemalists always presented as an apolitical and neutral principle of statecraft, became a political pivot. The idea that Turkish politics evolved against the background of a neutral secular state has been increasingly questioned (Yavuz, 2006, p. 8; see also Mardin, 1989; Çakır, 1990; Turam, 2007). Between 1945 and 1980, a gradual change in the meaning of the Turkish version of secularism occurred. This shift is due to the changing role of Islam in society. While the Kemalists always regarded themselves as the bearers of modern civilization, towards the end of the 1970s, an increasing number of political parties considered Islam as a major social force for renewal that cannot be ignored. The Kemalists were accused of having brought Turkey into a state of moral void and ethical disarray.

Transnational Turkish Islam

A movement that thrived under these circumstances was Milli Görüş, a political-religious movement founded by Necmettin Erbakan, a professor of economy and president of the Association of Chambers of Commerce and Industry. Under his leadership a series of political parties had been established that have marked the political landscape since the early 1970s. Followers of this political movement in Europe became active in the begin- ning of the 1980s. The movement had an Islamist agenda no doubt, but the main focus was the struggle against the liberal economic policies that would harm peasants and small manufacturers. The Milli Nizam Partisi (MNP; National Order Party), the short-lived precursor to the Milli Selamet Partisi (MSP; National Salvation Party), was founded in 1970 by Erbakan. The MNP was a fierce opponent of the further internationalization of the economy and the growing dependence of Turkey on the West (Toprak, 1981, p. 98). Although the party thus clearly defended the economic interests of a particular sector, it also had strong and explicit views on the moral basis of society. From the beginning it was clear that the party had an Islamic moral agenda (Schiffauer, 2010). There has always been a discussion about the intentions of the move- ment and whether or not Erbakan was in favour of a state based on Islamic principles, but it is clear that adversaries of Milli Görüş considered them political Islamists with an anti-secular program. After the military coup of 1971, the MNP was banned for criticizing the secular foundations of the republic, but already in 1972, its successor, the MSP, appeared on the politi- cal stage. The MSP operated more cautiously than the MNP in order to prevent another ban. Too overt Islamist rhetoric was avoided as much as possible. At the party congress of 1973, the party unfolded the basic idea that would become the ideological foundation of the party. In Turkey, according to Erbakan, there are three major visions of society: a liberal vision that was represented by the AP, a leftist vision was represented by the CHP, and a national vision (Milli Görüş) propagated by the MSP (Sarıbay, 1985, p. 262; Kuru, 2005). Later on Erbakan would further elaborate his doctrine. He wondered how it was possible that the once great Ottoman Empire had totally collapsed. This, according to Erbakan, was primarily due to the fact that Turkey had not only adopted Western technology, but also copied the moral foundations of the West. This resulted in an alienation of the Turkish people from their indigenous cultural and religious roots. Turkey should not only work on industrial development and a fairer distribution

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of wealth, but also enhance spiritual development. Only in this way Turkey would be able to become materially and spiritually independent. Yeniden Büyük Türkiye (a mighty Turkey again) was the main slogan of the party. Historically the West owed much of its achievements to the Islamic world according to Erbakan. The MSP was a fierce opponent of Turkey’s membership of the European Union. This political position resulted in a very intriguing coalition government with the CHP in 1974. Both parties had adopted a very strong anti-European policy for differ- ent reasons. The MSP for motives mentioned earlier, the CHP because of the strong emphasis on economic independence of Turkey. In the private sphere, the MSP sought to strengthen the sense of community and a rethinking of the moral standards of families and indi- viduals. Economic progress in combination with a sound moral basis was more important than a legal restructuring of the state. Rather than theocracy the movement strived for a moral revival (Sarıbay, 1985, p. 289). The concept of ‘milli’ has two meanings. In modern Turkish it means ‘national’. It refers to the nationalist, nationwide party program that focuses on the entire society. The other, the religious meaning of ‘milli’ is derived from the Arabic ‘milla’ meaning ‘religious community’. By this the party emphasized that it focussed on all Muslims. The party is often wrongly portrayed as a traditional movement. The rhetoric of MSP was in a sense traditionalist; with their language and symbols they appealed to local Islamic and social traditions, but their anti-capitalist rhetoric and ideas about social justice were programmatic rather than reactionary. The party was critical both towards the excesses of traditional Islam in the countryside, and towards the excesses caused by Western economic and cultural domination. The success of the MSP can be regarded as a ‘revolt of the petit-bourgeoisie’. The movement combines specific moral characteristics of Islam with characteristics of the modernization process of the republic (Sunier, 1996, p. 50). With respect to explicitly religious matters the party advocated the improvement of religious facilities and the increase of budgets for Islamic institutions. The MSP and its successors are the products of the profound economic and social changes since 1950. The movement has been a crucial factor in the shift of Islam from something that is ‘lived’ and is associated with tradi- tions and local communities, to something that is about belief, conviction, and political program (Sunar and Toprak, 1983, p. 435). The MSP has played an important role in making politically legitimate religious claims (Toprak, 1981, p. 96). Schiffauer (1993) summarizes the Milli Görüş ideology as a

Transnational Turkish Islam

scriptural version of Islam, unlike Süleymanlıs and the Nurcu-movement, which, as we shall demonstrate, incline towards a more mystical version of Islam. As a movement Milli Görüş has sought to Islamize society through

a purposeful political strategy and participation in the political arena (Schiffauer, 1993, pp. 468–485; see also Schiffauer, 2010; Azak, 2010). The strong focus on political empowerment and the sometimes prag- matic, even opportunist, choices that Erbakan made to gain political influence have also met with criticism and a loss of votes. The party was accused of opportunism when it formed a coalition government with the Kemalist CHP in 1974. The MSP occupied a key position between the

two large political blocks in the 1970s and was able to acquire significant influence on economic and educational policies. This strategic position

is an important reason why an Islamization of state policies in the 1970s

and 1980s took place (Bruinessen, 1982, p. 183; Sunar and Toprak, 1983, p. 441). In electoral terms, the MSP was able to acquire 12 per cent of the votes in the elections of 1973. Although this percentage dropped in 1977 to 8.6 per cent, Milli Görüş continued to be a political factor well into the 1990s. The background of its constituency was quite heterogeneous and Islamic motives were not always the decisive factor (Çakır, 1990, p. 215; Sarıbay, 1985, pp. 270–287).

Stage 3 (1980–2002)

The third stage began with the military coup of 12 September 1980. Under the leadership of junta general Kenan Evren the entire political landscape was radically reformed. In addition a moral campaign was launched in which ‘Islamic values’ were given a central place. Turkish society was to sail on a moral compass in which Islam and Turkish nationalism were interrelated, the so-called Turkish-Islam synthesis (Yavuz, 2013, p. 38; WRR, 2004, p. 109). Islam was presented as an ‘enlightened’ religion open to science and technology (Evren, 1986, p. 221; WRR, 2004, p. 109). An important motive behind this moral rearmament was to occupy an ideological position to counterbalance ‘socialist propaganda’ on the one hand and ‘Islamic propaganda’ on the other. The central role of the state that decreased considerably in the 1970s had to be repaired and redressed according to the junta leaders (Yavuz, 2003, pp. 70–71). This new ideol- ogy should determine the new political landscape that the generals had

in mind.

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This new ideology was to be propagated mainly through education. Ethics and Islam became compulsory subjects (WRR, 2004, p. 109). Diyanet, the Directorate of Religious Affairs, had the task of introducing the Turkish- Islam synthesis ideology in their material and to teach it both in Turkish mosques as well as among Turkish migrants in Europe. In 1982 the budget

of Diyanet increased sharply. The personnel were expanded, and in several

European countries with large Turkish migrant populations community branches of Diyanet were established. They had the task to ‘protect Turkish

national identity’ (Sunier et al., 2011, p. 17). The MSP led by Erbakan, together with all other political parties, was banned after the coup. In 1983 a new party was founded, the Refah Partisi (RP; Welfare Party). Current president Erdoğan was a prominent member

of the party in those years. He belonged to the so-called new generation.

This generation wanted to push the party politics into another direction,

especially in the field of economic policy. Erbakan had in the eyes of these innovators focussed too long on the lower middle class and artisans who had been victims of the economic policy of the 1960s and 1970s. The emerging middle class, to whom also Erdoğan belonged, could not in any way identify with Erbakan’s viewpoints. In that same year also

a new centre-right party was founded, the Anavatan Partisis (ANAP;

Motherland Party) led by Turgut Özal. Özal had an ambitious economic agenda. He wanted to make a radical end to the protectionist economic policies of the Kemalists that had shaped political decision-making for decades. According to Özal protectionism had brought Turkey into an almost continuous state of economic crisis. ANAP won the general elec- tions in 1983 and Özal became the next prime minister of Turkey.

The significance of these developments can hardly be overestimated. Not only did it result in a radical break with the centrality of the Turkish state in economic policies, it also resulted in the emergence of the so-called Anatolian tigers, the nickname for a new generation of entrepreneurs who combined neo-liberal economic activity with a conservative Islamic worldview (Sunier et al. 2011, p. 20). It also resulted in the growth of a new middle class that no longer identified with Kemalism. In the 1980s and 1990s

a young generation of Muslim consumers became the focus of economic activity (Çağlar, 2013a). Their societal success made Muslims visible at all levels of society. As a consequence the old image that equates Islam with underdevelopment and deprivation was broken. In the 1990s the RP occupied a key position in Turkish politics. In 1995 they won the general elections and Erbakan became prime minister.

Transnational Turkish Islam

In 1996 the party formed a coalition with the Doğru Yol Partisi (DYP; Party of the Right Path), a neo-liberal centre party. Especially Erbakan’s decision to replace strong ties with the West with a diplomatic focus on the Arab world was seen by many as an attempt to turn Turkey into a ‘second Iran’. In February 1997 the army committed a ‘silent coup’ in the form of an ultimatum to Erbakan. Eventually he had to resign (Çağlar, 2013b). Shortly after the military intervention the RP was banned by the Constitutional Court. The successor of the RP, the Fazilet Partisi (FP; Virtue Party), was also banned in 2001. In the same year, the Saadet Partisi (SP; Felicity Party) was founded. This party was led by Erbakan until his death in 2011. The controversies within the Milli Görüş movement between the old guard around Erbakan and the new generation, led by Erdoğan, rose to a climax after the ban of the FP in 2001. Milli Görüş split into two groups, the ‘traditionalists’ around Erbakan and the reformists led by Erdoğan who founded the Adalet ve Kalkınma Partisi (AKP; Justice and Progress Party) in the same year. Tayyip Erdoğan who had built up his reputa- tion as a political leader when he was mayor of Istanbul became the new party leader. The AKP sharply criticized the Islamist and anti-Western policies of Erbakan, which according to the AKP had not only caused a lot of damage to the image of Turkey, but also put Islam in a bad light. It had strongly contributed to the image that Islam, modernization, and democracy do not match. In the general elections of 2002, the AKP had a landslide victory and won the absolute majority in parliament. In 2003, the party presented the new government. The AKP presented a program which emphasized that Islam and the secular order were not opposing principles, but rather mutually rein- forced each other. The party in fact introduced a new meaning of laiklik (secularism) by stressing that the secular state implies freedom of reli- gion. In a speech in 2006, Erdoğan used the term ‘negotiated democratic secularism’, thereby reintroducing secularism into the political arena. In response to the allegations of the Constitutional Court in 2008 that the party undermined secular foundations of the Turkish republic, the party reiterated that full democracy is not guaranteed by a strong state and a strong army, but by a well-developed civil society (Yavuz, 2009, p. 159). Civil democracy according to the party is a better guarantee for the continuation of the modernization project of Atatürk than continu- ous state control over religion. The party intended to transform the Turkish political system after the model of Western democracies. Recent

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developments, however, point in a different direction. In the last years Erdoğan has turned Turkey increasingly into an authoritarian political power in which democratic freedoms are in jeopardy (see Görener and Ucal, 2011; Adams, 2013).

Stage 4 (2003–present)

In the first period of the AKP rule from 2003 to 2007 a general euphoria prevailed in Turkey about the new political wind that was blowing. The government concentrated on urgent economic problems. In addition, the new leaders were trying to reconcile with the opposition to advert the huge political polarization that had developed towards the end of the 1990s. That was partly the reason why Erdoğan even enjoyed support in secular circles. Furthermore, the government embarked on renewed negotiations with the EU in 2005, but the broad support for the AKP was mainly due to the economic growth that the country went through in those years. The elections of 2007 brought another huge victory for the AKP. Now the party felt secure enough to pursue their other main goal: to reduce the power of the army and to put an end to the measures against Islam that were effectuated after 1997. The victory gave a huge boost to the confidence of the party, but it also meant that the political polarization between the CHP and the AKP increased, especially after the announcement by the government to lift the ban on headscarves in public buildings. In 2008 a majority in Parliament voted in favour of the lifting of this ban, but the Constitutional Court decided to turn this back. Only in October 2013, after the 2011 elections in which the AKP had a massive victory for the third time, could the ban be lifted. In the same month, the first female MP with a headscarf appeared in Parliament. According to some observers, the era of the AKP should be divided in the period before and after August 2007 when AKP’s former foreign minister Abdullah Gül became president of the republic. His predeces- sor Ahmet Sezer, a lawyer and former president of the Constitutional Court, was a very dedicated defender of the Kemalist secular model and a strong opponent of the government of Erdoğan. With his thorough knowledge of the Turkish political system, he managed to block various proposals of the AKP. With the presidency of Gül the AKP was released from its toughest adversary. In the years after 2007 the government

Transnational Turkish Islam

would gradually remove legal restrictions on the public confession of Islam, but it would also introduce restrictions on alcohol in public places, stricter rules of engagement between men and women, and other measures that have an impact on public life. Opponents of the current government regarded these measures as clear indications that the secular foundations of the Turkish republic gradually demolished. During local elections in March 2014 the AKP again had a major victory. Many observers expected a decline of the support because of the clash with Fethullah Gülen whose followers tended to vote for AKP. In August 2014 Erdoğan became the first president to be elected directly. Davutoğlu, a close associate of Erdoğan, became prime minister. Erdoğan intends to give the presidency a stronger and more powerful position in the Turkish political system. The electoral success of the AKP is based on three important constitu- encies: the rapidly growing conservative population in the poorer neigh- bourhoods in the big cities, the also rapidly growing new conservative middle class, and a part of the Kurdish population who see Erdoğan as the first politician to change the position of the Kurdish population. They all consider the AKP as the only viable alternative to the Kemalist CHP. Among these three sections of the population Erdoğan continues to be immensely popular. Although there is an unmistakable evidence of social change and measures to be taken in favour of the place of Islam in society, and although it is clear that the current government is increasingly operating in a very authoritarian way, it is important to access the changes prop- erly. The history of the relationship between state, society, and religion in Turkey always revolved around two issues: the interpretation and application of secularism and the role of the state (and army) in it. From the establishment of the republic in 1923 onwards, the state has always played a central role in the organization of society. One of the pillars of Kemalism was ‘etatism’ (devletçilik), which meant a central role to the state and the army. In the first three decades of the republic the state deeply intervened into the lives of Turkish citizens. After the Second World War, the relation between the state and the population continued to be a central theme in Turkish politics, but the relation shifted and changed its characteristics. Especially the state control on the institutional dimensions of religious life and the far-reaching state interference with the private lives of its citi- zens have encountered increasing opposition. This was the stake in the

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political struggle as it evolved from the early 1980s onwards. The AKP made the elimination of the state control over Islam and the establishment of a genuine separation of state and religion into their prime political goals. The abolition of the separation of church and state as the basis of the polity has never been questioned, but it is precisely the specific meaning attached to this separation that is at stake. The AKP argues that separation was never put into practice by Kemalists. On the contrary, the state strongly controlled religious life. Separation according to the AKP should imply non-interference just as in Europe. This principle should be further applied according to the AKP (Çarkoğlu, 2010, p. 209). One of the intriguing recent developments is the debate about the status of Diyanet. There is

a growing support for a much more autonomous status for the institute

that organizes religious life in Turkey and among a proportion of Turkish Muslims in Europe (Seufert, 2014, p. 139). After 1980 the societal basis was established for the gradual reduction of the dominant role of the state and the army and the emergence of what Hendrick (2013) has coined ‘post-political market Islam’ (p. 236). Civil society grew and diversified and acquired more influence over the political process. A conservative worldview and an Islamic lifestyle were publicly disseminated as a feature of the emergent affluent, self-conscious middle class. Many Muslims in the cities exchanged the poor neighbourhoods for the new suburban residential areas that fully meet the consumption needs of the new affluent conservative middle class (see also Saktanber and

Kandiyoti, 2002, p. 257; Fischer, 2011). This is an irreversible development that goes far beyond current political controversies. Two recent developments should be discussed here briefly because they bear relevance to the place of Islam in Turkish society. One is the clash between the AKP and the Gülen movement (see Chapter 6), the other is the war with IS at the southern border of Turkey. The followers of Gülen have largely contributed to the resounding victories of the AKP in the past decade. Recently, however, they have increasingly become highly critical of the policies of Erdoğan. The bomb exploded in December 2013 after police raids among close associates and political friends of Erdoğan who were suspected of corruption. The prime minister responded by accusations of the Gülen supporters. They were accused of infiltrating in government’s institutions and developing

a ‘parallel state’ backed by foreign intelligence. The Gülen movement

was also accused of instigating the so-called Ergenekon-affair in which senior military leaders were suspected of planning a coup against the

Transnational Turkish Islam

Erdoğan government (about that affair, see Cizre and Walker, 2010). In April 2014 Erdoğan asked the American government to arrest Fethullah Gülen, who resides in the United States, and to hand him over to Turkey. Gülen and his followers in turn argue that Erdoğan deploys all possible means to increase his political and legal power. When finalizing the manuscript for this book Turkey had decided to fight IS, partly under pressure of international public opinion. In the weeks before the Turkish government was accused of supporting the Sunni jihadist forces at the expense of the Kurdish population in the south-eastern part of the country. Turkey finds itself in a very complex position. On the one hand there is no reason whatsoever to assume that the AKP would support IS for ideological or even religious reasons. On the other hand there is the protracting Kurdish issue. The Turkish government started to negotiate with Kurdish movements, even with the incarcerated leader of the Kurdish PKK Abdullah Öcalan. This resulted in some sort of peace treaty in 2013. Under the present circumstances this fragile treaty is certainly in jeopardy.

Notes

1 In his biography of Atatürk, Kinross (1964, p. 503) pathetically exclaimed that Atatürk ‘had transported his country from the Middle Ages to the threshold of the modern era and a stage beyond’.

2 The current political unrest in the country and the growing critique on the autocratic measures of Erdoğan have to be taken seriously, but they do not refute the argument presented here.

2 Turkish Organized Islam in Europe Abstract: This chapter provides a picture of the historical,

2

Turkish Organized Islam in Europe

Abstract: This chapter provides a picture of the historical, social, and political circumstances under which Turkish Muslims arrived in Europe and how Islamic organizations came into being. This description builds on two characteristics. The first concerns the fundamental breach in organizational development before and after migration. Turkish Islamic movements are rooted in the political struggle in Turkey, but they have diverse origins ranging from state bureaucracy to mystical Islam. In Europe these organizations converged into typical migrant associations offering basic religious services. The second characteristic concerns the major demographic and socio-economic shifts that took place among the Turkish population in Europe. This shift also changed the orientation towards Turkey. In the course of time Turkish Islamic movements have developed their own niche in the Islamic landscape.

Sunier, Thijl, and Nico Landman. Transnational Turkish Islam: Shifting Geographies of Religious Activism and Community Building in Turkey and Europe. Basingstoke:

Palgrave Macmillan, 2015. doi: 10.1057/9781137394224.0005.

DOI: 10.1057/9781137394224.0005

Transnational Turkish Islam

Introduction

In this study we explore trends in Turkish organized Islam by giving an account of a number of Islamic movements as they settled in several countries in Europe. The present chapter consists of two parts. First we will address the political, cultural, and social context in which organi- zational developments took place in Europe. In the second part we will present a general picture of the trajectories of Islamic collective actors within, but also beyond, these social and political contexts. In most statistical surveys, demographic developments and distribu- tions are presented along national lines, relative to the total number of Muslims and to the total population. Most studies on migrant commu- nities and religious minorities also tend to follow a national logic in their analyses. There are a number of obvious arguments to do so. First of course is the fact that national states are still the prime political contexts in which migrants arrive. Organizational structures are embedded in national legislation. Specific state-church relations do not only impact on the formal position of Islamic organizations, but they also shape debates and stakes about Islam in particular countries. 1 Nation-states are political entities that have the power to arrange things in a way that fits national projects. The idea of a neutral state where religion and state are completely separated and that only grants religious freedom without interference in religious affairs is a myth (Bowen, 2004; Bowen 2014; Lemke, 2007; Sunier, 2014a). The very principle of neutrality requires a continuous monitoring, intervention, and regulating of religious activity by the state. Although an analysis at the national level in various countries is, there- fore, justified, we point to the relevance of local dynamics in regions, cities, towns, and even neighbourhoods. The way in which local Islamic organizations position themselves and become rooted in the local society is the outcome of a very complex and diverse multi-level process that is largely shaped by the political climate and social circumstances. There are important regional and local differences in the way arrange- ments are accomplished, even in highly centralized countries such as France. Constitutional principles and legislation are always binding, but the actual arrangements are much more than a blueprint of these legal principles. 2 In other words general legal frameworks tell us very little about the actual negotiations and position of individual organiza-

Turkish Organized Islam in Europe



tions. The only way to understand these processes is through thorough ethnographic research that is beyond the scope of this book. We will present a general account of the organizational activities of Turkish Muslims in Europe, by drawing on data from a limited number of countries with a relatively large Turkish population, notably Austria, Germany, France, Denmark, Sweden, Netherlands, and Belgium. These countries had bilateral agreements with Turkey to receive contingents of Turkish workers from the early 1960s onwards.

Turkish migration to Europe

Turkish migration to Europe started relatively late. In the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s migrants from southern Europe moved to the north to work in mining and heavy industry. Turkish migration took off in the 1960s when several European countries signed an agreement with Turkey to send batches of temporal labourers. Germany reached an agreement as early as 1961, whereas most other countries in Europe did so in the mid-1960s (Abadan-Unat, 2011, p. 11). Currently the number of citizens in the EU with a Turkish passport is almost 2.5 million. In addition, there are an estimated 1.6 million national citizens born in Europe of Turkish origin. When we speak of ‘Turks’ in this study, we refer to the broad category of people of Turkish descent regardless of their current nationality. Table 2.1 provides an overview of the countries with the larg- est number of Turkish citizens absolutely as well as relatively to the total population. 3

table 2.1

Countries with the largest number of Turkish citizens

Est. Turkish

population 2010

Population 2010

Est. Turkish

Country

(x1000)

(x1000)

population (%)

Germany

,

,

.

France



,

.

Netherlands



,

.

Belgium



,

.

Austria



,

.

Sweden



,

.

Denmark



,

.

Transnational Turkish Islam

table 2.2

Muslims in European countries

 

Est. Muslim

Est. Muslim

Turks as % of Muslim population

Country

population (1000)

population (%)

Germany

,

.



France

,

.

Netherlands



.



Belgium



.



Austria



.



Sweden



.



Denmark



.



Note: These figures are based on the 2012 statistical survey of Pew Research Centre in Washington, DC. They use demographic data and not religious affiliation. It provides us at least with some consistency, but the figures are certainly too high. In addition we made use of the recent version of the Yearbook of Muslims in Europe published by Brill (Nielsen et al., 2013). The Yearbook gives a much more accurate picture as far as religious affiliation and practice are concerned.

Source: Pew Research Centre (http://www.pewresearch.org/); Nielsen et al., 2013.

It is even more difficult to determine the relative size of the Turkish Muslim population as a percentage of the total Muslim population in the respective European countries. The figures presented in Table 2.2 are approximations based on a combination of data from immigration statistics, assumed percentage of Muslims in the countries of origin, censuses, and demographic surveys. 4 With all precautions to be taken into consideration, the table allow for some interesting observations. The number of Muslims as a percentage of the total population is similar in the countries included. The number of Turkish Muslims as a percentage of the Muslim population varies greatly, which gives them quite different roles in shaping the Islamic landscape locally. In Germany almost 75 per cent of all Muslims have a Turkish background. Not only do they occupy prominent roles in advisory boards and networks, the image of Islam in the country is predicated predomi- nantly on Turkish Muslims (see Rosenow-Williams, 2012). Although in Denmark and Austria the percentage of Turks is smaller, they consti- tute the largest ethnic group among Muslims (Jacobsen, 2012; Nielsen, 2013). In Belgium the Turkish Muslim community is smaller than the Moroccan community, and in the Netherlands Turkish and Moroccan Muslims are almost equal in size. In France the general image of Islam is first and foremost predicated on that of North African Muslims, and the number of Turks is relatively small (Akgönül, 2005; Kanmaz, 2003). In Sweden Turkish Muslims, together with those of Arabic backgrounds

Turkish Organized Islam in Europe



constitute the majority. Turkish Muslims do not have a very prominent position in advisory boards in the country.

Political culture, legal arrangements, and the Islamization of migrants

Although processes of settlement took a similar course in most European countries, there were also differences related to different political cultures and legal conditions. 5 In Belgium there is a constitutional system of official recognition of religious denominations. Islam has been formally recognized already back in 1974. Until the late 1980s the representation of Muslims was considered a diplomatic (foreign) affair. In the 1990s there were several attempts to elect a representative body, the Executive of Muslims of Belgium, and to let Muslims benefit from the constitutional provisions attached to recognition, such as the appointment of Islamic teachers in public schools, and Islamic chaplains. Although some teach- ers and chaplains have been appointed, the work of the Executive has been hampered by interventions of the security service, boycotts of its election, and accusations of fraud. The future of the Executive is unsure (Loobuyck et al., 2013, p. 70). In Germany there is a somewhat similar situation. Religious denominations can be recognized as corporation of public law, which goes with privileges such as the right to levy taxes from their adherents through the instruments of the state. Until today there are no Muslim organizations that have this status. A lower legal status is that of Religious Community, which is needed to obtain funding for religious education in state schools. Several Muslim organizations have obtained that status. Germany also has a federal advisory body, the Deutsche Islam Konferenz. However, since this board does not consist of representatives of Muslim communities, but of appointed members, it is hardly recog- nized by Muslim communities. In Austria Islam has been recognized already more than hundred years ago in 1912. In 1979 the Islamische Glaubensgemeinschaft in Österreich (IGGiÖ) was recognized by the govern- ment as the official representative body of Muslims. In Denmark Muslims can benefit from tax exemptions since 2012 when 23 different Muslim communities were officially recognized as religious communities. In Sweden a number of Muslim communities were granted recognition in 2012 which implied that they would get financial support by the Swedish Commission for Government Support to Religious Communities.

Transnational Turkish Islam

In France and the Netherlands formal legal recognition of any religion does not exist. In some regions of France there are legal arrangements for Jews and Christians on historical grounds. In both countries there are representative bodies for Muslims. In the Netherlands the remnants of pillarization grant Muslims the right to set up private schools with state subsidies. Turkish Islamic organizations have been active in the establishment of schools under these legal provisions. In France the Conseil Francais du Culte Musulman (CFCM) consists of individual representatives of local Muslim associations. In the Netherlands the Contactorgaan Moslims en Overheid (CMO) consists of representatives of Islamic organizations. In both countries these advisory boards have no formal legal status. Their influence fully depends on the extent to which governments are willing to take their advice. In all these countries the efforts to incorporate the Muslim organiza- tions into the national legal framework for religious institutions has inspired public debates about the existing systems. Comparison between the EU countries had become an important aspect in this debate, as both advocates of state recognition of religions and the protagonists of stricter separation between church and states point to neighbouring states in the EU-union to advance their own claims. The growing influence of the European Union has not, however, diminished the existing diversity in the institutional position of religions in general, and of Islam in particu- lar. Although certain religious rights are increasingly settled on EU level in EU treaties and decisions of the European Court of Human Rights, individual states have defended their own system of managing religious diversity as part of their sovereignty, and even turn it into symbols of their own national heritage to be defended against European harmoni- zation tendencies (Koenig, 2005, 2007). The position of Turkish Islamic organizations within these formally or informally recognized bodies varies, depending on their relative number and size, but also on negotiations. Thus, in France, Turks have negotiated a strong position within the CFCM even though they constitute only 8 per cent of the French Muslims. In Austria, by contrast, the IGGiÖ was set up regardless of ethnic background of the Muslim population, and the largest Turkish association challenged its monopoly, claiming that Turks were underrepresented in its organs. Government policies and legal regulations concerning Islam are not just shaped by the religion-state relation, but also by migration and inte- gration policies. Since the vast majority of Muslims in these countries

Turkish Organized Islam in Europe



have a migrant background, issues of integration, minoritization, and not least political and cultural controversies largely determine how political decision-making evolves and how religious freedom and reli- gious equality take shape. In that respect there are striking similarities in the way cultural and religious background were perceived and acted upon by all host societies. Until the end of the 1970s, the cultural and religious background of migrants did not play any significant role in debates about their position in society. Migrants were defined in terms of ethnic origin, but this had no political consequences. They were prima- rily seen as members of a temporary labour force who would return to their countries of origin. Policies across Europe were based on this idea of temporariness. The creation of religious facilities was therefore seen to be something that should be left solely to private initiative. No special policies were needed; it was believed to be a self-regulating process (Nielsen, 2004; Sunier, 1996; Rath et al., 2001). In situations where the majority of Muslims migrated from former colonies such as in the case of France and the United Kingdom, the situation is somewhat different. However, Turkish migrants across Europe have an intriguing feature in common: they have never been colonial subjects. 6 Towards the end of the 1970s important developments took place. The number of immigrants increased considerably, mainly due to family reunions. These families settled in the old quarters of the main town centres. Although for the vast majority of Muslims returning to their country of origin was still their intention, the actual return was postponed. Many migrants could not afford to return home. As a conse- quence, the need for religious facilities increased, especially the need for qualified religious personnel (Abadan-Unat, 2011; Landman, 1992). Towards the beginning of the 1980s governments acknowledged that the majority of the migrants would stay permanently (Castles et al., 1984). In some countries this resulted in elaborate programs to integrate migrants in the host countries; in other countries it was basically through general legislation that integration would take place. The gradual transformation from migrants to settlers also resulted in a stronger emphasis on the cultural backgrounds of these new settlers. Governments realized that migrants brought with them their cultural and religious background. Across Europe emerging Islamic organizations were increasingly perceived as organizations of migrants with traditional backgrounds. This was certainly not unfavourable for Islamic organizations. It provided them with the political leverage to accomplish an Islamic infrastructure.

Transnational Turkish Islam

At the same time, however, there was also a concern about the attitude of Muslims and their organizations towards the host countries. Dramatic events, such as the revolution in Iran and the assassination of the Egyptian president Sadat had their backlash in Europe as well. In 1986 Muslims in several European cities protested against the American raid against Libya following the attack on a discotheque in Berlin in that year. For many people in Europe it was the first time that they experienced Muslims in a way different from the general image of a conservative backward community, isolated from mainstream society. A new cultural category emerged in public discourse: ‘Muslim migrants’. For convenience’s sake, people with completely different back- grounds were lumped together under the heading of ‘Muslim culture’. The origin of this image can be related to the rural background of migrants. The image of Islam that made its way into public discourse was based on the idea that Muslims are the least integrated migrants. Muslims were perceived as passive, fatalist people who are turned inwardly and face difficulties catching up with the pace of modern society, and easily fall back on their faith (Rath and Sunier, 1994). Towards the end of the 1980s, mainly as a result of the developments in the Middle East and the Rushdie Affair in 1989, the image of Muslims as a powerless, conservative community started to shift and a new type of image emerged. This image links Muslims in Europe to the violence in the Middle East. Muslims are conceived as a fifth column that may be a threat to society. This has resulted in an ongoing debate about growing radicalization among migrants. Already in the 1980s there were worries about connections between Muslims in Europe and Islamist groups in the Middle East. In the beginning of the 1990s European nation-states were increasingly concerned with the question how to integrate Islam into their national projects (Fadil, 2011). It will come as no surprise, then, that the events of 11 September 2001 reinforced this image and made it a dominant one in almost all countries in Western Europe. These events caused not only a relative strengthening of this image, but also a shift in argumentation against Islamic institu- tions such as schools and mosques. Even parties who initially supported Muslims in attempts to build up a religious infrastructure now expressed deep worries about the presence of Islam (Fekete, 2004). 7 The position of Muslims in European societies and the place of Islam depend on a complex of factors, notably legal recognition of religion in the various countries, immigration policies, and the increasingly

Turkish Organized Islam in Europe



negative public image of Islam. However, in this field, Muslims are not just the passive objects of these conditions and developments, but are actively involved in the political process. Negotiations about rights and provisions require organizational and political skills. Turkish Islamic organizations have been actively engaged in these negotiations. We suggest that this is because they have a long experience in dealing with the legal complexities of secular societies.

Organizational development: Turkish Islam

The developments sketched in the previous section constitute the back- ground against which Turkish (and other) Muslims have tried to gain foothold in European countries. In the first half of the 1970s, organi- zational development among Muslim migrants in Europe had a fairly straightforward character. The first forms of cooperation were local initi- atives and were mainly focussed on the establishment of temporal places of worship. This cooperation occurred across ethnic dividing lines. The arrival of Turkish religious-ideological movements in the second half of the 1970s implied a new turn in organizational developments. Ideological contradictions were transplanted from Turkey. Turkish Islamic organi- zations were engaged in an ideological struggle and looked for ways to increase their rank-and-file to reach potential adherents of their movement among the Turkish migrants in Europe. The establishment of mosques and the provision of Islamic accommodation for the migrants were obvious means. These provisions became an essential feature of the mutual competition between the different movements. It added an important dimension to organizational development and accelerated the process. Relatively spontaneous and minimally structured processes of organizational development of the first stage of migration were deployed and transformed into focussed and planned build-up of organizational networks. In short, organizational developments, methods, and strate- gies were motivated by political controversies imported from Turkey (Sunier, 1996). As we have indicated in the previous chapter, it was the time when Turkey was caught up in a fierce political struggle. The reasons for Turkish organizations to transfer activities to Europe were manifold and differed from organization to organization. Oppositional groups tried to escape state repression and the ever stricter measures on dissident

Transnational Turkish Islam

religious activity. The state controlled Islam responded by also invest- ing in European activities. Others simply saw in the growing number of Turkish migrants in Europe a field to increase influence. The largest actors were the Süleymanlıs, the Milli Görüş, and the Directorate of Religious Affairs (Diyanet), but Turkish nationalist parties also became active in the European scene. These actors struggled for control over the existing mosque associations and invited them to join umbrella organizations established by them. This often led to fusion and fission adding to the dynamics of organizational development (Akgönül, 2005; Canatan, 2001; Kühle, 2012; Landman, 1992; Maréchal and Asri, 2012; Yükleyen, 2012). The Nurcu-movement, and one of its offshoots, the Gülen-movement, also extended its network to Europe, but rather than competing with the others over mosques, they focussed on creating informal study groups. Although this process took place in many countries in Europe, Germany, not very surprisingly, became the organizational hub from early on due to its relatively large numbers of Turkish migrants. The initial organizational landscape that emerged among Turkish Muslims in Europe constituted a crucial impetus to the organizational development in subsequent years. We must realize that movements in Europe could ensure moral and material support and know-how from their Turkish counterparts. In the 1980s local mosques were increasingly incorporated in this organizational landscape. The number of new places of worship increased at a very high pace. Current Turkish mosques in Europe are almost all part of one of the Turkish movements that are represented at national level by so-called umbrella organizations (Nielsen, 2004; 2012; Rath et al., 2001; Yükleyen, 2012). The strength of these national umbrella organizations vis-à-vis other Muslim organizations, and their relation with the authorities, differs from country to country. The rapid institutionalization in the 1980s along religious and ideological dividing lines caused a considerable organizational fragmentation. The structure of religious institutions was not only a reflection of the religious needs and desires among the Muslim population in Europe, it was instrumental in the competitive struggle between movements. However, the new social and political context within which these movements in Europe were operating constituted a major change. The beginning of the 1980s was the advent of

a new phase in the place of Islam in Turkish society. This set in motion

a process of gradual divergence of the organizational developments in Turkey and those in Europe.

Turkish Organized Islam in Europe



Although the logistical support from Turkish sister organizations was crucial for the dynamics of organizational development in Europe, the circumstances in which religious and ideological movements must operate in Europe differed substantially from those in Turkey. As we have indicated, the Turkish authorities suppressed Islamic movements that were considered a threat to the secular principles of the republic. Legal opportunities for Islamic organizations were limited because many activities such as the administration of mosques, the appointment of imams, and the running of Quran courses were either the monopoly of state institutions, or under their control. In Europe Islamic movements such as the Süleymanlıs and Milli Görüş not only benefitted from the greater religious freedom guaranteed by European constitutions, it also enabled them to open mosques and appoint their own imams. Diyanet, which had a monopoly position in Turkey, became an equal partner to the other movements in many respects. Other movements also empha- sized their independence from Turkish state control, which later on would give them a relatively beneficial image in Europe when the role of the Turkish state in religious affairs in Europe became a point for concern of governments. The opportunities in the European context led to an intriguing shift in the activities and the institutional settings of the movements. The Süleymanlıs in Turkey are actually a network of religious schools set up by the founder of the movement Tunahan (see Chapter 4). Only in Europe they started to open mosques as a base for their activities. Milli Görüş in Turkey is primarily a political movement, but in Europe they also built up their organization around mosques and Islamic centres. When the Directorate of Religious Affairs established European branches they basi- cally provided the same services as in Turkey. Diyanet required a favourable position only because they had agreements with national governments to provide imams from Turkey (Sunier et al., 2011). Only in the case of the Gülen-movement is there organizational continuity in that they extended their educational networks to Europe. There was also an important difference with regard to the potential rank-and-file among Muslims in Europe. A significant part of Turkish migrants in Europe came from rural areas, where they were only very indirectly confronted with the political struggle in the cities. Socially and economically Turkish migrants in Europe constituted a very specific segment of Turkish society. With some exaggeration it could be argued that the various movements had to build up their rank-and-file

Transnational Turkish Islam

virtually from scratch. In Europe Turkish Islamic movements actually went through a process of ‘ruralization’. It is obvious that the means and strategies applied reflected this shift. This transformation has often been ignored in studies dealing with Turkish Islamic movements, thereby assuming organizational continuity. It was obvious that the creation of new places of worship was the most appropriate means to start with. It was one of the most pressing needs among Muslims in Europe. They neither had the necessary means nor the know-how to accomplish this. The shortage of accommodation and trained religious personnel gave the Süleymanlıs, who were the first to become active in Europe, a powerful position as early as the late 1960s. In Europe a concentration and a fragmentation of religious activity took place. Religious activities and services that took place in various settings in Turkey now were concentrated and controlled by various organizations. While it was quite common in Turkey that an individual Muslim visits an official Diyanet mosque, sends his children to a Quran course of the Süleymanlıs, and votes for a party related to Milli Görüş, these options rendered an ideological charge in Europe as the Islamic movements were in fierce competition over the same potential clientele. As a result, gradually all practicing Muslims were incorporated in these organizations. The often fierce competition between the movements had less to do with doctrinal differences than with a battle for the grassroots. In this process, organizations profiled themselves more rigorously along ideological lines. To the daily users of their services, however, they all looked the same. It is thus incorrect to assert that organizational devel- opment in Europe was simply a matter of accommodating ‘sympathiz- ers’. Only a small portion of the visitors to local mosques did so out of deliberate ideological motives. The majority visited the ‘mosque around the corner’ for practical reasons (Sunier, 1996). All in all the local Turkish Islamic associations developed into typical organizations for the large group of first-generation migrants who had left their home country to earn money to be able to return home and to build a better life. The need for religious accommodation was inextrica- bly linked up with a strong orientation towards the country or region of origin. Most workers lived in boarding houses. Their lives were organ- ized around a future in Turkey. Permanent stay in Europe did not occur to most of them; they felt in no way part of the host society. Mosques and other Islamic institutions were considered ‘pieces of homeland’ in a society that was not theirs. Going to the mosque implied meeting

Turkish Organized Islam in Europe



compatriots. The extension of non-religious services was meant to cater to these needs. There were shops and other facilities and places where visitors could meet each other and chat. In short Islamic organizations jumped at the right time in this ‘gap in the market’. 8 Within these organizations a type of leadership emerged that was able to assist migrants during their stay in Europe. They primarily acted as intermediaries between migrants and society (Rath et al., 2001; Sunier, 1996). Most of them belonged to the early migrants who lived in the host country for a relatively long time; they knew the host society quite well and had acted as an intermediary between Muslim migrants and soci- ety. They were entrepreneurs rather than ‘ideologists’, and they aimed at mobilizing as many resources as possible. They successfully made use of their contact with policymakers and institutions, and they were able to fine-tune negotiations according to the local political dynamics (Rath et al., 2001). They emphasized that Islamic organizations must be considered as the main forms of ‘self-organization’ among migrants. These leaders increasingly took part in discussions about the position of migrants. As opinion leaders, they gained influence and they represented the Muslim populations and articulated what needs existed among Muslims. They also articulated what it means to be a Muslim in a non- Islamic society. By stressing the ‘foreign’ character of Islam as something that is part of the cultural heritage of a specific group of migrants, they were able to convince policymakers that certain facilities were required (Sunier, 1996). The strong focus on Muslims as migrants resulted in an increase of non-religious activities that could justify their status. It also contributed to the image that they were dedicated to the integration of Muslims into the host society. Over the years, these activities became an inherent part of the local organizational structure which constituted the basis for the specific characteristics of the Turkish Islamic organizational landscape across Europe. In the 1990s new developments took place. There was an increas- ing concern about the place of Islam in European nation-states and about the orientation and involvement of Muslims in Europe with the developments in the Islamic world. This required a new strategy. Until then the ‘foreignness’ of Muslims constituted an important political asset of Islamic organizations, but this turned out to be increasingly counterproductive. Muslim organizations were faced with the essential choice of whether or not they should orientate on their place in the host

Transnational Turkish Islam

society. This choice was partly invigorated by the increasing numbers of young Muslims in organizations. Within most organizations of Turkish Muslims heated debates broke loose about the priorities and agendas for the near future. At a local level the debate revolved around the question of whether strong ties with the Turkish counterparts would be gradually replaced by a strategy that focussed on the building of stronger ties with the local community at the neighbourhood level, expanding local part- nerships, and greater attention to social issues from an Islamic perspec- tive and a stronger focus on the position of Muslims in the host society. Those in favour of change were convinced that their organizations were too much perceived in society as the representatives of a marginal and economically weak segment of the population in society. They argued that organizations of Muslims should primarily be concerned with the place of Islam in the host society and that they should contest the image of being marginalized and alienated. Keywords were increased ‘profes- sionalism’, ‘interaction’, and ‘integration’. While in the 1980s Muslims ‘as migrants’, as ‘outsiders’, constituted a crucial feature of organizational strategies, the emerging new leadership in the 1990s was looking for a new legitimation basis for their existence. As long as organizational development was seen as a sign of failing inte- gration by the wider society, it would lead to a dead end. Now emphasis was put on Muslims as full members of the host society. The aim was the recognition of Islam as a full-fledged religion in society. Also after 2001 when the general climate towards Islam deteriorated seriously, recogni- tion continued to be the basic strategy in all Turkish Islamic movements. However, the way in which this goal should be accomplished, with what means, and how the relation with Turkey should develop, increasingly diversified. In the 1980s Muslim organizations were basically converg- ing towards the mosque-based model; in recent years Turkish Islamic organizations are each developing their own niche within the organiza- tional landscape. Two seemingly opposing crucial trends can be observed. The first is the basic demographic, economic, and social transformation that is currently taking place among Muslims in Europe. The proportion of Muslims who were born and raised in Europe is growing very fast (SCP, 2012). The social and socio-economic diversification among Muslims has increased tremendously. The proportion of Muslims with higher education has also increased. This has not led to a decline in religiosity, but to a diversification in the ways in which Muslims experience their

Turkish Organized Islam in Europe



life in European societies. Old family networks of the early stages of the migration have lost their naturalness and emotional underpinnings. Economically and socially the majority of inhabitants of Europe with a Turkish background see their future in Europe rather than in Turkey (Abadan-Unat, 2011). Rooting in the local community has become a rule rather than an exception. The other trend is a seemingly opposing development. As a result of globalization, the rise of modern media and socio-economic upward mobility of the former migrants and their descendants and the relations between Turkey and Turks in Europe have not diminished but have rendered a more egalitarian form. Turkey is no longer the pivot point in the organizational development, but part of a multipolar transnational field. For the first generation of migrants religious orientations were inextricably linked up with family ties, regional affiliations, and dreams of return. This naturalness has increasingly come under pressure. Orientation on Turkey now has a different content and significance. Religiosity and migratory affiliations with the country or region of origin cannot be conflated anymore. The religious movements that will be addressed in the following chapters are a part of this increasingly complex landscape. Because of these socio-economic and social developments the Turkish Muslim communities in Europe can no longer be seen as simply an extension of those in Turkey. Over the years, the Islamic landscape in Europe has developed its own dynamics that has increasingly been disentangled from the traditional migration patterns. Not only the Turkish Islamic movements, but also the Turkish state face this new reality and act upon it. Attempts to maintain redefine and revive these ties, both by Turkish Islamic movements and by the Turkish state, must be understood against the background of this new reality. Thus of the approximately four million citizens in Europe with a Turkish background a large part has a Turkish passport. For a long time it was not possible for Turkish political parties to operate outside the country. Moreover, it was not possible to vote outside Turkish territory. Those restrictions have recently been lifted. As a result, the political struggle in Turkey clearly resonates among Turks in Europe, not just among Muslims, but across the whole political spectrum. In recent years the Turkish state has developed an active policy to bind and sometimes control Turks in the ‘diaspora’ and to give the ties with Turkey a new meaning. In 2010 the ‘Ministry of the Turks living

Transnational Turkish Islam

abroad and related communities’ (Yurtdışı Türkler ve Akraba Toplulukları Başkanlığı, YTB) has been established. The Ministry states that the purpose is to assist Turks living abroad in many areas with advice and assistance. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Diyanet have their own agenda when it comes to their involvement with Turkish nationals abroad. The YTB ministry is involved in organizing meetings in various countries in Europe and elsewhere about issues that affect the Turkish communities directly. 9 As we will describe in the following chapters, each of the Turkish Islamic movements develop their own policy and agenda towards Turkey. Although they are the product of the Turkish history of secularism, the arrival in Europe marked a break with the past in several respects. The trajectories they follow, goals they pursue, and the networks they build are predicated on this essential shift. In some cases a fundamental change has taken place in the way they locate themselves within the Turkish Islamic landscape.

Notes

1 Brill publishers in Leiden started a project, called Annotated Legal Documents on Islam in Europe, with the aim to collect primary legal sources for the respective countries, in their original language, with English summaries. The project will cover the 28 member states of the European Union (including Croatia), Norway and Switzerland plus the European Union and the European Court of Justice.

2 Rath et al. (2001) have provided an analysis of the complexities of this process in a number of countries in Europe.

3 The figures we present here are collected from several sources and should be observed with maximum precaution. The total number of citizens with a Turkish background, the potential rank-and-file for Turkish Islamic movements, is hard to grasp. Statistics in different countries apply different criteria. The figures we presented in Table 2.1 concern citizens with a Turkish background, including those with a Turkish passport and those with a national passport, or both.

4 In a recent Dutch survey on religiosity it turned out that 4 per cent of the Turks in the Netherlands do not identify as Muslim. A much higher percentage of them, 25 per cent, did not follow any religious prescription. Almost half of the population frequents a mosque ranging from occasionally to daily (SCP, 2012). We have no reason to assume that figures elsewhere in Europe are considerably different.

Turkish Organized Islam in Europe



5 Much of the information in this chapter is based on the Yearbook of Muslims in Europe (Nielsen et al., 2013).

6 The Turkish Cypriots in the United Kingdom are an exception to this rule, but they are not included in this study.

7 See, for example, Kepel (2006); Marchand (2003).

8 The mosque as part of the local societal texture was also a break with the past. Under Kemalist rule mosques in Turkey developed into formal places of worship with a sharp dividing line between strict religious functions attributed to the mosque and the society outside. In 2009 Diyanet in Turkey designated 200 so-called pilot mosques that would develop into community centres, much in the same way as the mosque in Europe (Sunier et al., 2011,

67).

9 http://www.ytb.gov.tr/.

3 Diyanet Abstract: This chapter deals with Turkish official Islam. In most European countries the

3

Diyanet

Abstract: This chapter deals with Turkish official Islam. In most European countries the Turkish Directorate of Religious Affairs (Diyanet) runs the majority of local Turkish mosques. Diyanet has long been the instrument of the Turkish secular state to control Islam at home and abroad. Most national umbrella organizations of Diyanet in Europe were founded in the early 1980s partly as a reaction to the growing influence of rival movements among Muslims in Europe. Even though Diyanet in Turkey is still a state organization with a broad network of organizations in Europe, its position has been affected by developments in both Turkey and Europe. Today Diyanet branches in Europe present themselves as service centres of all Turkish Muslims rather than as representatives of the Turkish secular state.

Sunier, Thijl, and Nico Landman. Transnational Turkish Islam: Shifting Geographies of Religious Activism and Community Building in Turkey and Europe. Basingstoke:

Palgrave Macmillan, 2015. doi: 10.1057/9781137394224.0006.

Diyanet



Introduction

The Directorate of Religious Affairs (Diyanet İşleri Başkanlığı; abbreviated:

Diyanet) is the department of the Turkish state that regulates the prac- tical aspects of religious life in Turkey. Diyanet is oriented exclusively on Islam on the grounds that the Turkish population is predominantly Islamic. The small Christian and Jewish communities in the country have their own institutions. In addition to practical issues, Diyanet is also directly involved in the interpretation and the teaching of religious doctrines and practices. The existence of an Islamic institution in a state that considers secular- ism as one of its founding principles is remarkable and has often puzzled observers. As Rumpf (1987, p. 10) has put it, the presence of Diyanet in the Turkish republic shows that secularism was not understood as a rigorous separation of religion and state, but as an attempt to bring Islam under state control. Whereas Rumpf interprets this in terms of tolerance of Atatürk towards religion and in terms of continuity with the Ottoman past, others have suggested a more antireligious motive behind the Kemalist brand of secularism and compared it to the Bolshevik Revolution and its attempt to bring the Orthodox Church under its control (Toprak, 1981, p. 36). As an institution of the secular state, however, Diyanet has always had a complex relation with the other actors in the Turkish Islamic field with whom it had to compete over the hearts and minds of the Turkish Muslims. With the changing role of Islam in Turkish public life in the post WW-II period, the relations between Diyanet and other Muslim organizations have also altered. Also in Europe, where Diyanet has become an active player, its close attachment to the Turkish state puzzles observers and policymakers. Since the late 1970s, Diyanet has sent imams to Turkish mosques in Europe. Sometimes, this involvement of the Turkish authorities in the life of the European Turkish Muslim community has been welcomed as a contribution to stability and to the promotion of a moderate form of Islam. Others have expressed concerns about the influence of a foreign state on the life of European immigrants (Binswanger and Sipahıoğlu, 1988, p. 75). In this chapter, we will address the emergence of Diyanet as a major player in the Turkish Islamic field, its changing interaction with various Muslim groups in Turkey, and the way its role in Europe has developed.

Transnational Turkish Islam

Origins

The foundation of the Turkish republic in 1923 led to a program of secu- larization, but the founders of the republic also intended to monitor and control religious life. For this purpose, they established the Directorate of Religious Affairs as a successor of the Ottoman Ministry for Religious Affairs and Pious Foundations (Şeriye ve Evkâf Vekâleti). But unlike its predecessor Diyanet was merely a bureaucratic institution designed to carry out a limited number of tasks. The official task given to Diyanet when it was established in 1924 was threefold: (1) to administer the affairs of the Islamic faith and the principles of its worship and morality; (2) to illuminate the public about religion; and (3) to administer places of worship. This last task was transferred to another institution, the Directorate General for Religious Foundations, in 1931, but it was restored to Diyanet in 1950. Diyanet is mentioned briefly in the constitutions of 1924, 1961, and 1982. The 1982 Constitution states that Diyanet is part of the General Administration, the Ministry led by the prime minister. It should function in accordance with the principle of secularism, staying out of all political ideas and opinions and identifying national solidarity and unity as its primary aim (Sunier et al., 2011, p. 32). Diyanet can be considered the office of ‘official Turkish Islam’ (Dumont, 1984, pp. 364–375) and has been used by the state to prevent Islam from becoming an oppositional force in Turkish society. As such, it is an important component of the secular system in Turkey (Gözaydın, 2009, p. 286). In its role as employer of all the imams and Friday preachers in the mosques of Turkey, Diyanet is entitled even to prescribe what is to be preached. For a long time, Diyanet has issued centrally drafted Friday sermons and only recently started to decentral- ize the responsibility for the content of sermons to regional offices and to local imams (Sunier et al., 2011, p. 52). The task to illuminate the public about Islam and simultaneously advocate the secular and national principles of the Turkish republic led to a sometimes curious mix of religious and nationalist practices and formal policy measures. It also shaped the relations with various non-official Muslim institutions and organizations in Turkey which are sometimes lumped together as ‘parallel Islam’ (Dumont, 1984). Islamic scholars have sometimes challenged the legitimacy of Diyanet because of its strong alliance with the secular regime (Dilipak, 1990, p. 183). Diyanet officials have justified its position by claiming that leaving religious life

Diyanet



to society would inevitably lead to sectarian struggle and to attempts to create a theocratic state (Sunier et al., 2011, p. 37). Notwithstanding this opposition between Diyanet and the representatives of ‘parallel Islam’, there are many ties as well. Adherents of Islamic movements such as the Süleymanlıs have been appointed as imams. The writings of Said Nursi, founder of the Nurcu-movement, have found their way to Diyanet magazines and are sold in Diyanet bookshops. As we explained in Chapter 1, the role of Islam in the Turkish social and political life has changed considerably in the recent decades. The coming to power of the AKP, whose leaders originate in the Milli Görüş movement, is the major result of this change. Consequently, the opposition between Diyanet’s official Islam and the parallel Islam of the various religious movements has softened considerably. Senior officials of Diyanet speak far more positively about these movements than they did 20 years ago (Sunier et al., 2011, p. 113). Especially the controversy between Diyanet and Milli Görüş has lost its fervour (Akgönül, 2005). With regard to the relation between Diyanet and the Alevi community the situation is different. Representatives of the Alevis argue that Diyanet propagates the Sunni branch of Islam and marginalizes the Alevis by refusing to recognize them as a religious minority. The importance of Diyanet for the Turkish state can also be illustrated by its sheer size. Apart from its headquarters in Ankara, Diyanet has offices in all Turkish provinces and towns to supervise the mosques and their imams. In 2008, Diyanet had 83,033 employees, most of them imams. Its budget surpassed that of the Turkish Ministry of Education (Çitak, 2010, p. 262). In some fields, the activities of Diyanet are supplemented by the Türkiye Diyanet Vakfı (TDV; Turkish Foundation for Religious Affairs), established in 1975 by senior Diyanet officials. Because the TDV is not a part of the Turkish state, it has greater flexibility in the acquisition and spending of resources than Diyanet itself. The TDV has sponsored the construction of mosques both in Turkey and abroad, published many books, including the prestigious Turkish Islam Encyclopaedia, and runs book shops.

To Europe

The Turkish authorities started to engage with the religious life of Turkish migrants in Europe, in the late 1970s by sending some imams

Transnational Turkish Islam

during Ramadan (Landman, 1992, p. 102). However, a more systematic effort to extend Diyanet’s activities to Europe was made after the military coup of 1980. The repression of religious movements, in particular Milli Görüş, by the military regime induced some of their leading figures to escape to Europe where they helped to organize European branches of their movements. Tayyer Altıkulaç, the Diyanet president at that time, visited the Turkish immigrants in Europe, and upon his return to Turkey he recommended to President Kenan Evren to launch a counter- offensive to Turkish Islamic movements that according to him ‘exploited the religious needs of the Turkish migrants and mobilized them against the interests of the Turkish republic’ (Landman, 1997, p. 220; Yükleyen, 2012, p. 51). This counter-offensive consisted of sending paid imams to the European mosques and encouraging local mosque associations to become part of a hierarchical organization under the supervision of Diyanet. If these local associations owned the buildings that they used as mosques, these properties were to be transferred to the central organiza- tion. Many of the local associations that were targeted by Diyanet were under the influence of the rival organizations; others were independent. The intervention of Diyanet, therefore, led to a fierce competition over the control of these mosques. The offer of a full-time salaried imam was a trump card that made Diyanet a strong player in the field. In Germany, the Diyanet İşleri Türk-İslam Birliği (DITIB; Turkish Islamic Union of the Directorate for Religious Affairs) became the largest umbrella organization for mosques in the country, with 896 member organizations, which is more than the other movements together. 1 The situation in Austria is somewhat different. The Islamische Glaubensgemeinschaft in Österreich (IGGiÖ) had been recognized by the state in 1979 as the official representative of the Muslim community. By virtue of this recognition, IGGiÖ has special corporate rights, such as the control over Islamic religious education in Austrian public schools and the appointment of religious teachers. The IGGiÖ is oriented towards all Muslims in Austria regardless of their origin, and most local and national Muslim organizations cooperate with it. When Diyanet extended its network to Europe, however, it refused to recognize the monopoly of the IGGiÖ, claiming that Turks were underrepresented in the IGGiÖ bodies. The Austrian branch of Diyanet, Avusturya Türk İslam Birliği (ATİB; Turkish Islamic Union in Austria), controls about 58 of the 250 mosques in the country (Sezgin and Rosenow-Williams, 2013). ATİB is the largest Muslim organization outside the IGGiÖ. 2

Diyanet



In France, Diyanet operates under the name DITIB and controls a considerable part of the local Turkish Islamic associations. In 2005, this network included 50 per cent of the Turkish mosques (Akgönül, 2005). By 2010, the number had risen to 210, whereas its closest rival Milli Görüş has 70 mosques. Although the Turks in France are by far outnumbered by the Muslims of North-African descent, DITIB France became a major interlocutor of the French state, in the framework of the French Council for the Muslim Religion, in which Milli Görüş also is represented (Conseil Francais du Culte Musulman, CFCM) (Çitak, 2010). In the Netherlands, Hollanda Diyanet Vakfı (Diyanet Foundation Netherlands, Islamitische Stichting Nederland, ISN) succeeded in becom- ing the largest mosque-organization in the country, controlling 143 of the 220 Turkish mosques (Sunier et al., 2011, p. 54f). In Belgium, Diyanet (Belçika Türk Islam Diyanet Vakfı) controls 65 mosques. 3 In Denmark, the Danish Turkish Islamic Foundation runs 27 mosques and is the largest Turkish Muslim organization. 4 Half of the Turkish population in this country are members of the funeral trust founded by Diyanet (Jacobsen, 2013). In Sweden, the Diyanet network seems to be more modest in size and less uniform than in most other countries. This may be due to the more limited number of Turkish Muslims and the ethnically very diverse composition of the Muslim population. In recent surveys about Islam in Sweden, Diyanet is not even mentioned. Diyanet does, however, send imams to 9 Swedish mosques and has funded a mosque. 5

Organizational dimensions

More than any other Turkish Islamic organization, the Diyanet network is structured hierarchically. The Diyanet centre in Ankara has a depart- ment that is responsible for the activities outside Turkey, which covers not just Western Europe, but also the post-Soviet Central Asian republics, Australia, and the United States. This ‘Directorate for External Relations’ selects, trains, and sends imams to Western European countries. This office is also involved in international inter-religious dialogue activities (Sunier et al., 2011, p. 40). According to the Diyanet website, its offices abroad are either associated with embassies, in which case the highest local Diyanet official has the status of a counsellor of the embassy, or with consulates, where the Diyanet official is an attaché. However, to operate effectively in foreign countries, associations and foundations have been

Transnational Turkish Islam

created according to the legal requirements and opportunities of the respective nations (p. 42). In most cases, this has led to the establishment of a foundation at the national level with local departments running the mosques. The official tie between these national foundations and Diyanet depends on the circumstances and legal conditions in the respective countries. It is common practice, however, that these foundations are chaired by Diyanet officials at the embassies. The president of DITIB in Germany is the councillor for religious affairs in the embassy in Berlin, the president of the ISN in the Netherlands holds a similar position in the embassy in The Hague, and their confrère in the embassy in Paris presides over the French DITIB (Çitak, 2010, p. 262; Sunier et al., 2011, p. 58; Yükleyen, 2012, p. 52). For this office, Diyanet selects highly educated theologians. This obvious institutional link to a Turkish state institution is not appreciated and accepted everywhere. The DITIB France joined the efforts to establish a representative body for French Muslims, the French Council for Muslim Religion, that was set up in 2003. This council was designed as an intermediary institution between Muslims and the state. However, because the diplomatic status of DITIB was seen as an obstacle to reach Muslims, a separate organization, the Coordination Committee of Muslim Turks in France (CCMTF), was created. In practice, the names DITIB and CCMTF are used simultaneously. Also in the Netherlands, the Diyanet network has two organizations on the national level, one of which is firmly under the control of Turkish state officials. When Diyanet started to reach out to Turkish migrants in Europe in the early 1980s, there was already a Federation of Turkish Islamic Cultural Organizations (TICF) that wished to cooperate with Diyanet and to apply for imams. According to statutory regulations, TICF is an independent organization. When Diyanet set up its own, more centralized organization in the Netherlands, TICF could not be ignored. The two organizations clearly delineated their responsibilities: the TICF focussed on social, cultural, and socio-economic interests of Turkish Muslims in Dutch society, whereas the ISN was to supervise religious activities. However, this division of labour has become blurred. The ISN is increasingly engaged with the lives of Turkish Muslims and positions itself as the representative of all Turkish Muslims in the Netherlands and has successfully marginalized the TICF (Sunier et al., 2011, p. 58). However, this horizontal engagement does not imply a fundamental change in the hierarchical structure of the organization. In all countries,

Diyanet



the Diyanet institutions have strengthened their relation with local mosque associations (Rosenow-Williams, 2012). Also on websites of local associations the link with Diyanet is apparent because they carry the logo of Diyanet. In organizational regulations, the formal responsi- bilities are meticulously stipulated. 6 Sending imams has been one of the major instruments for Diyanet to extend its influence in all European countries. The imams are selected by the Diyanet Directorate for External Relations in Ankara, and their work is supervised by the Diyanet officials in the European embassies and consulates. They are usually deployed for four or five years in a European mosque, after which they return to Turkey. In individual cases, Diyanet imams stay on in Europe, but to do so they must resign. It is not uncom- mon that they are hired by rival organizations. This system of circulation of imams prevents them from becoming locally rooted. It is often argued that the short term of their assignment also hinders them from getting acquainted with the local language and culture or from building long- lasting relations with their environment. The same can be said about the officials who were sent out to coordinate and supervise their work. These officials are highly educated, they are familiar with local customs and manners, but they too tend to be replaced after some time. Yükleyen (2012) considers this as a major weakness in the Diyanet network. Especially in Germany and in the Netherlands, but also in other European countries, Diyanet has made a considerable contribution to the construction of new mosques. Constructing mosques is not a formal task of Diyanet itself. In Turkey, local Muslim organizations collect money to build mosques, after which Diyanet takes over the management and appoints imams. The Diyanet Foundation, however, is involved in mosque construction. Turkish mosques in Europe also need funding by local communities, but since Diyanet has sufficient means, they often provide loans for building initiatives. As a result, the Diyanet organizations have become the largest mosque builders in Europe. Of the 162 newly constructed mosques in Germany, 130 belong to DITIB. The architecture of these mosques expresses the wish to create large and representative buildings in a somewhat traditional Turkish style (Roose, 2009, p. 131f). The attitude and strategies of Diyanet organizations towards the other Turkish Islamic organizations in Europe is very different from that in Turkey. They have no monopoly position, but because of their sheer size they actually dominate the Turkish Islamic landscape to a large

Transnational Turkish Islam

extent. After the AKP came to power in Turkey, relations with the other Islamic movements have improved. The causes for this development are manifold, but a possible one might be the desire to transform Diyanet into a representative body of Sunni Muslims. An indication for this is the creation in 2012 of the Coordination Committee of Franco-Turkish Associations, in which DITIB joined forces with Milli Görüş and the nationalist Turkish Federation of France. 7 Moreover, in countries where Turks constitute the largest Muslim population, they have claimed a leading position in representative bodies.

Worldviews, goals, and agendas

The strong institutional ties of European member associations with Diyanet in Ankara enable the organization to exert their influence in a number of issues. Apart from formal and material regulations described earlier, Diyanet conveys guidelines for life in accordance with Islamic principles. This is a sensitive issue because Diyanet is bound to the secu- lar principles of the Turkish republic. The religious guidance provided by Diyanet is a balancing act between religious traditions on the one hand and the limitations imposed by the Turkish state on the other. In their instructions concerning contemporary moral issues such as birth control, in vitro fertilization, organ transplantation, teaching sexuality in schools, and monogamy, Diyanet theologians tend to hold moderate views, commonly accepted by the majority of the Turkish population (Sunier et al., 2011). According to Diyanet, religious life is inextricably linked with Turkish national identity and history. This connection is part and parcel of its constitutional task to contribute to national harmony and solidarity. It is reflected in sermons and written texts that purport the love for the fatherland as an Islamic virtue. The celebration of Turkish historical victories and national holidays belongs to the standard activities of Diyanet associations, even in Europe. Thus, on the website of the Belgium Diyanet branch it is stated that ‘teaching our children the Muslim Turkish culture and national and spiritual values [constitute one of the essential activities]’. 8 The language of the Friday sermon continues to be Turkish (Sunier et al., 2011, p. 83). Diyanet considers this combination of religious and national values not in contradiction with the integration of the Turkish Muslims in the

Diyanet



European societies. With their emphasis on the spiritual dimensions of Islam and on the mosque as a place of peace and contemplation, Diyanet wants to convey a message of peaceful coexistence between Turkish Muslims and their European environment. Training imams in Europe and recruiting candidates from among the Muslims living in Europe has not been a priority of the Diyanet. Instead, they use the vast pool of imams trained at Turkish high schools for imams and preachers (imam hatip lisesi) and at theological faculties. The argu- ment often put forward is that the long educational trajectory in Turkey guarantees a qualitative degree that European training institutions cannot provide. However, the increasing criticism to be heard among European Muslims and European politicians prompts Diyanet to take issue and engage with the negotiations about the setup of imam training facilities in Europe. Thus, the German DITIB was one of the four participants in the Coordination Council of the Muslims in Germany (Koordinationsrat der Muslime in Deutschland, KRM) for the chair of Islamic theology in Münster. The current president of Diyanet, Mehmet Görmez, stated in 2012 that he had no principle objections to imams trained in Europe but that he doubted about the quality of European imam training programs. 9 Rather than creating programs in Europe, Diyanet has invested in programs that prepare the Turkish imams for their assignment in European countries by providing language courses and courses on the history and culture of the host countries. For Germany and Austria, these courses are provided by the Goethe Institute in Istanbul. During their stay in Germany, the Diyanet imams are encouraged to participate in a program developed by DITIB and the Bundeszentrale für politische Bildung (Federal Centre for Political Education) to improve their capaci- ties to communicate with their German environment (Sunier et al., 2011, p. 86; Bundesregierung, 2006, p. 12). In recent years, the Dutch Diyanet branch ISN recruited 23 candidates from among the Dutch Turkish youth to go to Turkey for a theological study. Three of them now work as assistant-imams in Dutch mosques. Another field in which European Diyanet organizations have invested is the funeral trusts, which cover the costs of transferring the mortal remains of its members to Turkey to be buried there, including travel costs of one or more family members. This also is an indication that Diyanet invests in relations with Turkey. The transnational networks that Diyanet maintains differ in several respects from those of other organizations in that they predominantly

Transnational Turkish Islam

concern activities in which the Turkish state plays a central role. The interference of Turkey with Turkish people abroad is certainly not unique. All national states have transnational agendas (Lafleur, 2011). Brand (2008) shows how Morocco, Tunisia, Jordan, and Lebanon try to maintain links with their subjects abroad and thus extend their sovereignty across national borders. The current extent of the Diyanet network makes it unlikely that the role of Ankara will dwindle in the near future.

Notes

1 Rohe (2013) and Yükleyen (2012, p. 50) estimate the number of DITIB mosques in Germany at 740 against 323 for Milli Görüş and 274 for the Süleymanlı-movement.

2 See http://www.atib.at/. The site mentions 63 member organizations.

3 http://www.diyanet.be/Kurumsal/CamilerveDernekler.aspx. Manço and Kanmaz (2009, p. 39) and Fadil (2013, pp. 105, 109) state that the Diyanet network includes two-thirds of the 140 Turkish mosques in the country. This is substantially more than those listed on the Diyanet website.

4 http://www.danimarkatdv.org.

5 Email communication with Göran Larsson, author of the chapter on Sweden in Yearbook Muslims in Europe (2013). The website of the Scandinavian Diyanet organization, http://www.isvecdiyanetvakfi.org, mentions 10 associated organizations in Sweden.

6 See, for example, http://diyanet.nl/wp-content/uploads/standart/pdf/2013/

HDV_SUBELER_YONETMELIGI_2012.pdf.

7 http://www.zamanfrance.fr/article/le-rC3A9veil-citoyen-de-tous-les-turcs-

de-france.

8 http://www.diyanet.be/Kurumsal/CamilerveDernekler.aspx.

9 http://www.haber7.com/guncel/haber/906590-gormez-avrupaya-imam-

destegi-verebiliriz.

4 Süleymanlıs Abstract: Süleymanlıs belonged to the first Turk migrants in Western Europe who established

4

Süleymanlıs

Abstract: Süleymanlıs belonged to the first Turk migrants in Western Europe who established religious organizations, provided Islamic education for children, and created facilities for ritual prayer. They paved the way for other movements to follow. As followers of the Turkish teacher Süleyman Hilmi Tunahan, they understood the importance of providing religious service to migrants, even if they would be in Europe temporarily. In the first decades of migration the movement was rather closed to the outside world. Today they have successfully created their own spiritual, quietist niche in the Turkish Islamic landscape. They continue to focus primarily on educational activities. The younger generation who is now in charge in most of the local organizations is generally well-educated and more ready to engage with the surrounding society.

Sunier, Thijl, and Nico Landman. Transnational Turkish Islam: Shifting Geographies of Religious Activism and Community Building in Turkey and Europe. Basingstoke:

Palgrave Macmillan, 2015. doi: 10.1057/9781137394224.0007.

DOI: 10.1057/9781137394224.0007

Transnational Turkish Islam

Introduction

Followers of the Turkish Nakşibendi Sufi şeyh Süleyman Hilmi Tunahan (1888–1959) were among the first Turks in Europe to organize religious life of Turkish migrants in the 1970s. They were active in local mosque initiatives and created their own infrastructure at national and European levels. In Turkey the movement is primarily organized around educa- tional institutions, in particular dormitories for students of high school and university. External observers and critics of the movement in Turkey would call them Süleymancı (‘supporters of Süleyman’), a name the movement rejects as derogatory. They refer to themselves as ‘the pupils of Süleyman Efendi’, or simply as students. 1 The name ‘Süleymanlı’ (belonging to Süleyman’s community) is often used in academic stud- ies. It was accepted by Kemal Kaçar, the former leader of the movement (Landman, 1992, p. 85). In Turkey the movement has hardly been the object of study. Turkish authorities would use the words tarikat (religious sects) or gericilik (reaction- ary forces) to denote Süleymanlıs. 2 One of the few descriptions of the life of the founder and the origin of his movement is a chapter entitled ‘Those Who Recently Have Suffered Persecution for Their Religion’ in a book (Kısakürek, 1988). It was first published in 1969 by the editor of an Islamic magazine who had known Tunahan personally. More recently a small monograph was published in Turkish, titled ‘Süleyman Hilmi Tunahan from Silistre in the Light of Archival Documents’ (Akgündüz, 1997). Also in Europe attention for the Süleymanlı-movement has been minimal compared to other movements. This lack of interest may be explained by their focus on spirituality and their closed sectarian image. The tone in European academic literature and in the media was predom- inantly negative (see, e.g., Binswanger and Sipahıoğlu, 1988; Lemmen, 2000). One of the reasons may be because they were the first to set up religious infrastructure among Turkish Muslims in Europe. Today the movement is an important player in the Islamic landscape in Europe and has a relatively small but stable rank-and-file.

Origins

Süleyman Hilmi Tunahan, the founder of the movement, was a master in the Nakşibendi Sufi Order, an order that emerged in the 12th century

Süleymanlıs



and spread over a large part of the Muslim world, in particular India and the territories of the Ottoman Empire. Tunahan followed the doctrines of the Indian şeyh Ahmad Sirhindi (1564–1624), whom the Turks call Imam Rabbani and who is considered by his followers to be the ‘Reformer of the 11th Islamic century’. In the Turkish republic, the order was abolished in 1925 together with all Sufi orders, but it survived underground and its leaders continued to

play a significant role in Turkey, sometimes as imams hired by the Turkish Directorate of Religious Affairs (Diyanet) and sometimes through their own informal networks. One of them was Tunahan. As an imam and preacher in Istanbul, Tunahan was arrested several times by the secular authorities. In 1943, he was deprived of his permission to preach and his activities were curbed (Akgündüz, 1997, p. 56f; Kısakürek, 1988, p. 135). Later he was able to travel through the country and to build a network

of informal and private Quran schools led by his pupils. About 1,000 of

such institutions existed when he died. 3 Tunahan did not publish books or articles. He was a teacher in the

literal sense of the word, who functioned best teaching situations. The only documents he left were a seven-page instruction for teaching the Quran and a number of letters, some of which were later collected in

a booklet in Ottoman characters called Letters and Some Important

Questions, discussing some matters of law and mysticism (Akgündüz, 1997, p. 97). As a result, the only information available about his life and ideas is produced by his followers. After his death in 1959 his son-in-law Kemal Kaçar became the leader and organizer of the movement. In 2002 he was succeeded by Tunahan’s grandson Ahmet Arif Denizolgun, the current leader. As the Süleymanlı network was mainly organized around Quran courses, a new law in 1971 that brought all informal Quran schools in Turkey under the authority of Diyanet was a major blow to the auton- omy of the movement. In reaction to this law, the movement created alternative legal forms to conduct their activities. They provide courses and educational support and, first and foremost, organize student dormitories. At the national level the movement had operated under several names such as Federation of Quran Course Associations. Since

1980 they call themselves Kurs ve Okul Talebelerine Yardım Dernekleri Federasyonu (Federation of Student Support Associations) (Landman 1992, p. 90). The dormitories house high-school and university students and offered religious lessons in the evenings and weekends. Later on,

Transnational Turkish Islam

homework support and preparation for university entrance exams were added to the service. Reliable numbers of the size of this network are not available. Based on a journalistic source it has been claimed that the movement ran 450 dormitories in 1986, with a total of 100,000 students. This implies a rather high average of 222 students per dorm (Gökalp, 1990, p. 430; Jonker, 2002, p. 90). Although the movement has always been labelled as a Sufi Order, there are important differences with traditional orders. Most importantly, Sufi orders have a living spiritual leader, the şeyh, who is connected to and can communicate with his deceased predecessors. Tunahan has always refuted this status. He did not appoint a successor, which is an indication of his stature and the uniqueness of his religious authority. He himself was considered part of the doctrine and the devotional practices of the movement (Jonker, 2002, p. 75f). Adherents, though, do observe religious practices and beliefs pertain- ing to Sufi traditions, such as contemplative remembrance of God (zikr), either individual or in prayer groups (halqas). They hold the conviction that specific spiritual knowledge was transmitted from the prophet Muhammad to the founder of the movement through a chain of trans- mitters (silsila) whose names are part of the doctrine. The Nakşibendi order recognizes a ‘chain of gold’ (silsilat al-dhahab) connecting a line of exceptional spiritual leaders (Trimingham, 1971, p. 150). In the writings of Süleymanlı preachers, Tunahan is called the 33rd and the last of this chain of gold (Landman, 1992, p. 92). 4 In addition, the movement applies an initiation rite and a clear distinction between initiated members who have access to esoteric knowledge of the doctrine and the uninitiated ones (Yükleyen, 2012, p. 97f). The idea that the chain of gold ends with Tunahan is associated with the eschatological expectations of an approaching end of the world. He is considered to be spiritually in charge of his community (Yükleyen, 2012, p. 100). His grave in Istanbul is an informal place of pilgrimage (visitors come in small groups in order not to attract too much attention), and his image is used in meditation (Jonker, 2002, p. 207f).

To Europe

Followers of Tunahan belonged to the first Turk migrants in Western Europe who established religious organizations, provided Islamic

Süleymanlıs