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AuthorKayhan Delibas
PublisherI.B.Tauris and Co. Ltd.
Publication Date2/18/2015
EditorVesta Sarkhosh Curtis
Editor 2Sarah Stewart
Book DescriptionTurkey, officially a secular state, voted in an Islamist party in 2002, 2007 and 2011. How far does this reflect the trend which has seen the rise of political Islam across the Middle East? Does this indicate a growing tendency in the direction of Islamisation amongst the Turkish population? If not, what are the underlying reasons behind the electoral triumphs of the Islamist Justice and Development Party (the AKP)? Kayhan Delibas seeks to answer these questions through an in-depth examination of the appeal of this political party, exploring its ideology, the routes and motives which produce party activists and local party organisations. Concluding that the AKP's success has been built on its criticism of growing inequalities, widespread corruption, unemployment, poverty and lack of basic services, Delibas draws a nuanced portrait of modern Turkish society and the relationship between religion and politics. Delibas offers an explanation, based on research carried out amongst grassroots activists, for the rise of Islamic fundamentalism in Turkey.Islamic movements are often described as anti-modernist, thought to be supported by fundamentalist groups living in a bygone age, isolated from the rest of the modern world. In recent years, particularly since the events of 9/11, such movements have also been seen as a threat to the Western way of life. But Delibas argues that these movements, and particularly those in Turkey, did not arise out of religious fervour or hatred of Western civilisation, as is often claimed. Rather, they were founded, and have thrived, as a response to socio-economic and political conditions that have been aggravated by neoliberal economic policies, rapid urbanisation and the globalization of culture. By exploring the structural conditions in which an Islamic movement emerged and become popular in a seemingly secular state, The Rise of Political Islam in Turkey offers vital analysis for all those researching modern Turkey and the growth of Islamist politics throughout the Middle East and North Africa.
Editorial ReviewKayhan Delibas provides a unique study of the roots of Muslim politics in Turkey. Based on extraordinary direct observation, he offers compelling evidence that the imbalances resulting from a fragmented party system, urbanisation, and neoliberal economic restructuring provided the main impetus to grassroots activism. This is thus a powerful explanation for the rise of religious-leaning political movements in an avowedly secularist republic, as well as a much-needed rebalancing of perspective in the often ideologised debates over political Islam generally.' - James Piscatori, Professor of International Relations, School of Government and International Affairs, Durham Universit; 'An essential contribution to our understanding of the everyday workings of political Islam. An exemplary case study.' Frank Furedi, Emeritus Professor of Sociology, School of Social Policy, Sociology and Social Research, University of Kent; 'Kayhan Delibas has written an important book. He takes political Islam seriously and seeks to move beyond the simplistic accounts which place ideology as the central driver of a social movement. Without ignoring the ideological imperatives inherent in Turkey's political Islam, he demonstrates how rapid economic and demographic changes to urban Turkey, like Ankara, and by extension other parts of the Muslim world, like Tehran, have resulted in an increased perception of isolation from mainstream politics... Clearly a book to read for anyone concerned with security in the Middle East and the broader Muslim world.' Stephen M. Lyon, Senior Lecturer, Department of Anthropology, Durham University; 'The book makes an important contribution to literature over the last 25 years of the political life of Turkey. It is easy to read, grounded in the author's field research, and highly recommended to all researchers, readers, and students who are interested in Turkish domestic politics.'- Ramazan Erdag, Contemporary Review of the Middle East;

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