Saturday, July 16, 2005

Turkish Islam and Turkey's EU Membership

Some historical observations of the differences between Turkey and the rest of the Islamic World.

"While Turkey accelerated religious and political reforms with the founding of the republic in 1923, the rest of the Islamic world failed to follow suit."

"Another aspect of Turkish Islam is its worldliness. Even at times when religion demonstrated its effect on government most intensely, religious references were not the only factor determining daily life and politics."

"- Turkish Islam did not evolve in a conflict environment.

- Self-confidence towards the West is a striking characteristic of Turkish Islam.

- Turkish Islam is more critical. It is remarkably apt in seeing its own deficiencies at the root of its problems.

- Turkish Islam is more liberal in interpreting religious dictum.

- Turkish Islam has an embracing attitude towards other branches of Islam.

- Turkish Islam ruled over other religious groups in accordance with Islamic principles quite vividly and intensely until recently.

- Turkish Moslems do not equate Christianity with the West and Judaism with Israel. They have learned through experience that religion has a larger meaning than political factions. Since a significant proportion of the population was Christians and Jews during Ottoman times, these religions are not alien to Turkey.

- Turkish Islam does not interpret worldly affairs solely through religious dogma. The Turkish tradition is noted for its pragmatic and practical approach.

- Turkish Islam was the first mainstream Islamic interpretation to contact modernity.

- Turkish Islam was the first mainstream Islamic interpretation to witness the conflict between modern political thinking and religion.

- Turkish political life is demarcated from religion. While clerics do not intervene in politics, the latter views religion as a realm mostly to be respected and to be protected.

- Turkish Islam is not the result of a project. It is not artificial or fabricated by certain individuals or groups. It has evolved over a long duration and as a result of certain geographic and historic developments."
JTW Comment - Turkish Islam and Turkey's EU Membership

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