Mukaddesatcilik: A Cold War Ideology of Muslim Turkish Ressentiment


INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF MIDDLE EAST STUDIES, vol.55, no.1, pp.84-105, 2023 (SSCI) identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 55 Issue: 1
  • Publication Date: 2023
  • Doi Number: 10.1017/s0020743823000545
  • Journal Indexes: Social Sciences Citation Index (SSCI), Scopus, IBZ Online, International Bibliography of Social Sciences, Periodicals Index Online, Geobase, Historical Abstracts, Index Islamicus, Linguistic Bibliography, Linguistics & Language Behavior Abstracts, MLA - Modern Language Association Database, Social services abstracts, Sociological abstracts, Worldwide Political Science Abstracts, DIALNET
  • Page Numbers: pp.84-105
  • Keywords: Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Islam, Necip Fazil Kisakurek, mukaddesatcilik, populism, ressentiment, Turkish nationalism, TURKEY, NATIONALISM, EMOTIONS, POLITICS, RELIGION, ISLAM
  • Eskisehir Osmangazi University Affiliated: Yes


This paper introduces mukaddesatcilik as a Cold War ideological position that reconciles Turkish nationalism, religious conservatism, and Islamist revivalism. Mukaddesatcilik channels senses of disempowerment and alienation among people with Islamic and nationalistic sensibilities to a sense of ressentiment against the Turkish modernization process. The paper analyzes mukaddesatcilik's ideational and emotional components based on the writings of Necip Fazil Kisakurek. In addition to being the name-father of the concept, Kisakurek was distinguished from other Islam-inspired conservative intellectuals by his appeal to popular mobilization around mukaddesatci ideology through his eloquent and powerful speeches and poems. The paper argues that Kisakurek's mukaddesatcilik reconstructed Muslimness as the political identity of the popular masses, who are the supposed victims of the Turkish modernization process, to mobilize them against the so-called Western-minded modernizing elite. Mukaddesatcilik informs the current populist policies of Recep Tayyip Erdogan's government that seek to maintain the divisive polarization between religious and secular identities.