Islamists and the state: changing discourses on the state, civil society and democracy in Turkey

Koseoglu T.

TURKISH STUDIES, vol.20, no.3, pp.323-350, 2019 (SSCI) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 20 Issue: 3
  • Publication Date: 2019
  • Doi Number: 10.1080/14683849.2018.1521281
  • Journal Name: TURKISH STUDIES
  • Journal Indexes: Social Sciences Citation Index (SSCI), Scopus
  • Page Numbers: pp.323-350
  • Keywords: Muslim intellectuals, Yeni Zemin, Turkish politics, civil society, Islamism, AKP, PARTY
  • Eskisehir Osmangazi University Affiliated: No


Once an oppositional ideology in the 1990s that united Muslim intellectuals around a radical critique of the state based on the ideals of democracy, civil society and pluralism, how has Turkish Islamism transformed into a state-centric and conservative world-view? This paper aims to document this transformation by scrutinizing the writings of a group of intellectuals in the context of (I) the 28 February 1997, military memorandum and the subsequent events which culminated in the AKP's first electoral victory in 2002; and (II) the series of trials that started in 2008 known as the Ergenekon trials through which the AKP gained the upper hand in Turkish politics. In so doing, the paper problematizes the prevalent narratives on the relationship between Islam, on the one hand, and democracy and civil society, on the other, that miss how formulations and articulations of Islamism evolve in changing political contexts.