1. was the guardian of Sunni Islam in

Historical background

The Ottoman period

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Ottoman Empire is one of the greatest empires in the history, especially in Asia continent. The growth of
this Empire to rule the majority of
Europe and Asia continents is a very significant story in history. In the 13th
century, the Ottomans controlled only one of a number of Turkoman territories,
which surrounded the corrupted Byzantine state in western Anatolia. Inside two
centuries, the Ottomans had established
an empire that covered not only the previous Byzantine state but also Hungary
and the Arab world. That empire was to experience in modern times (Stanford, 2001).

According to Sarwar (1949), in the early stage of Ottoman past, all of the authorities was determined in
the hands of the Sultan. But throughout the sovereignty of Suleiman,
decentralization had begun, and the power was distributed between the Grand
Wazir and the Army. Nevertheless, in Ottoman authorized theory, the main power
was the Sultan who was subject to the boundaries forced by the Sharia. The
Sharia was over the Sultan’s power, and therefore the Sultan similar to the
other Muslims was subject to it. However, in harmony with Islamic law, the
Sultan or Caliph did not have the influence to legislation. Though, the Caliph
was the initiator and protector of the ideologies of Islam, and responsible for
direction and justice. Therefore, the Caliph could pass laws for a correct act
of these responsibilities (Khan, 1958).

Consequently, the Muslims who were the majority of the native people of the empire was by no means
massive. The large portion went to the Sunni of Islam and according to the
Ottoman’s official ideology, the state
was the guardian of Sunni Islam in the world. Officially, it struggled to oppose Muslims even more strongly than it
did Christians (Zurcher, 2004).

Although the drop of the Ottoman Empire had started at the end of
the 17th century, Ottomans confronted the mission of determining which troubles
could be resolved and became a straight path concerning a better social,
political and economic conditions in the 18th century. Hence, after the
beginning of the eighteenth century, the
empire’s public administrators noted that their expectations were no longer complete
truths. Consequently, the Ottomans began to agree that they had been challenged
by a greater military power (Berkes, 1964). Afterwards, in the early of the nineteenth century, the Ottoman Empire adopted
the modernization from the western governmental institutions forced by western
economic, military and ideology pressures (Zurcher, 2004).

Conversely, the educational expansion at Abdulhamit’s rule period
shaped hundreds of enthusiastic educated doctors, bureaucrats, officers, and
authors to effort within the system. It also presented several Ottomans to the
liberal political beliefs of Western Europe. Similar to the previous young
Ottomans, they refused a basic principle of the Tanzimat, as completed by
Abdulhamit that correct modernization could be forced only by a leading class.
They maintained that substantial reforms were accountable to disappointment and
collapse unless they were complemented by essential political and social
reforms (Stanford, 2001).

The greatest common ideological power in the Ottoman Empire in
Abdulhamit’s period was Islamism, inviting for a return to the fundamental
values and ethnicities of the civilization where the empire was the most modern
appearance. While motivated and used by the sultan, this movement exceeded him
in time and scope. It started in the late Tanzimat period, mainly in response
to the style in which millions of Muslims were being preserved by the Russians
and the newly independent Balkan states (Karpat, 1972).

According to (Zurcher, 2004), several of the similar factors that
inspired Pan-Islam also directed to the rise of a developing Turkish
nationalism. That had been developed in the 19th
century, cannot have been rejected completely by Ottoman intellects. Yet
Ottomanism supported the idea of the homeland, with all matters, unrelatedly of
religion and race, identical before the law and faithful to the same Ottoman
family, the rejection of the marginal nationalists to admit that equality, the
victory of national union movements in Germany and Italy, and nationalist
desires of non-Turkish Muslim units in the empire directed to an improved
awareness of the Turkish identity and nearly enforced the development of
Turkish nationalism.

While (Makdisi, 2002) argues that Ottoman reformers’ serious
awareness of the weakening of their empire moved them into repairing their
empire in the 19th century, Istanbul was not only imagined of as the
contemporary political midpoint of the empire, but also as the temporal peak point. In short, the spatial combination was necessary by and joined
temporal isolation. The expansion of Ottoman Orientalism can be comprehended
only as a primary pause with preceding notions of the period and royal organization that evident the pre-reform Ottoman
Empire. After, the imperial law was
grounded on a supposition of religious and national diversity but temporal

Subsequently, the 19th century had been governed by debates around
reform and Westernization. by the beginning of the 1900s, the most powerful rational militaries in the Ottoman Empire
were those that required reconstructing
the empire on the foundation of public acceptability built on Turkish
nationalism, Islam, or an integration of the two. By the early 1920s, the WWI
became a reason to the fall of the empire and the formation of the Turkish Republic; logically, this meant the authority
of the finest Turkish nationalism of Kemal Atatürk (Edelman et al. 2015).


The establishment of the Turkish state and its secularization policy

The establishment of the Turkish state

Creation of the Turkish Republic in 1923 is typically claimed to be
the result of such reform progression. Though the connection between the
modernization efforts in the Ottoman Empire and the Turkish Republic is emphasized, the latter is kept undeniably and
as a new establishment. This straight method stops from several causes, but the
idea or reflection that the reforms of the early Republican age were the
symbols of ‘new Turkey instead of old’. Accordingly, a certain disagreement
from the past is the central motivation for the evaluation of this period
distinctly (Seker, 2007).

According to (Bal, 1998) the significant entity that should be
emphasized here is that after the WWI and the establishment of the Turkish
Republic in 1923, Mustafa Kemal took the pro-western intellectuals into his
close ring who were pro-Western, and their existence aided him to quicken, and
in several circumstances to confirm the improvements which had already been
happening in the last times of the Ottoman Empire. Whereas, (Vali, 1971) argues
that after the global status of Turkey was established, Mustafa Kemal started
his core reforms. Kemal’s purpose was to change Turkey to a European state and
the Turkish individuals into a European society.

Subsequently, Turkey converted into a republic and Mustafa Kemal
developed its first head. The state was established on a severely secular
foundation. Therefore, the National Congress
recognized the new constitution on 20 April 1924. Additionally, this
constitution confirmed the Turkish republic and power belongs entirely to the
nation. The 1924 type of the constitution fixed stated that “the religion of
the Turkish state is Islam” (Kinross, 1993).


Turkish state secularization policy

Turkey has a unique position in the
Muslim world. While it is the only secular democracy among Muslim majority
countries. Hence, the foundations for its secularism were laid in the first
decade following the establishment of the Turkish Republic. Besides, the roots
of the secular movement go back to the mid-nineteenth century when the Ottoman
Empire began to modernize (Toprak, 2005).

In fact, works on secularization in
the political records of Turkey cannot discount the process of modernization
and westernization of previous Ottoman society. In the late Ottoman stage,
secularization was considered as one of the origins of development and, while
conflicting secular schools, secular rules, and additional secular institutions
been there alongside the theocratic ones (Deringil, 2002).

Accordingly, Turkish state’s idea of
Islam is informed by its understanding of secularism, as the only path to
modernity, progress, and a powerful state. This uniqueness of religion, in
general, and Islam, in particular, constitutes the meaning and role of the
secular in Turkey. Hence, this discourse of secularism, even more than the real
acts of Muslims, shapes the policies of the Turkish state and secularist elite
(Gellner, 1994). While the process of secularization state policy reveals one
of the dynamics of Turkish modernization and the Turkish nation-state building
project (others including unitary features of the Turkish nation-state building
like educational modernization, establishment of a national economy,
construction of a cultural homogeneity), secularization also points out to a
controversial issue of Turkish modernization as part of the Turkish
nation-state building project (Sari, 2004).

Therefore, in the Turkish Republic, secularization policy does not mean
just the separation of state and religion, as it does in most Western
societies. The Turkish Kemalist state, drawing on Ottoman practice as well the
French model of secular, insisted on the control of religion by state
institutions. The republic inherited the mechanisms for the monitoring and
regulation of religion that had been established by the Ottomans (Rabasa and
Larrabee, 2008).

Details of AKP, its establishment etc

Political Islam in Turkey

The transition to democracy in
Turkey had important consequences in terms of the struggle between the
secularists and the Islamists. The logic of revolutionary politics was replaced
with the logic of democratic politics. This required that post-1950 governments
had to take into account the demands of both sides. Hence, Turkey has never
been in serious danger of a change of regime from a secular-democratic to an
Islamic state. The Islamist movement in Turkey has been moderate and has not
been associated with the kind of violence that exists among similar movements in
the region (Toprak, 2005).

While (Cagaptay, 2007) argues that
secularism is embedded in Turkish society, it has faced a formidable challenge
from the Islamists in the 1990s. Turkey’s Islamist opposition dates back to the
National Order Party (MNP) of the 1960s and the reincarnation of that party in
the form of the National Salvation Party (MSP) of the 1970s. These parties and
their subsequent reincarnations are identical; they were set up by the same
people, including Necmettin Erbakan, MNP and MSP leader and the doyen of
Islamist politics in Turkey. During the 1970s, the MSP served as a homeschool for Turkey’s current ruling cadres,
including the AKP leader and Turkish prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who entered
and rose in politics, the MSP’s youth wing.

Nevertheless, in the 1960s,
Necmettin Erbakan emerged as a crucial conduit of the Muslim Brotherhood into
Turkey. Erbakan was a former professor of engineering who had studied in both
Turkey and Germany, winning election to parliament in 1969 as an independent
from religiously conservative Konya. (Rabasa and Larrabee, 2008) argues that
economic and political liberalization during the administration of Turgut Özal
facilitated the development of a “religious market” in Turkey. Nak?ibendi
orders, the Fethullah Gülen movement, and the political National View movement
of Necmettin Erbakan competed over the meaning and proper role of Islam in
Turkish society.



The AKP’s Rise and Victory

The key founders of the AKP, former
Istanbul Mayor Recep Tayyip Erdo?an, former Welfare Party spokesman and
minister Abdullah Gul, and former parliamentarian Bulent Ar?nc¸ had all shaped
their political identities and careers within Erbakan’s Milli Gorus¸ movement
and his political parties. The AKP was more a broad movement than a unified
party. Erdo?an, Gul, and Ar?nc¸ each represented separate currents within
Erbakan’s wing. Erdo?an had the support of the Naqshbandi’s as well as
connections to international movements like the Muslim Brotherhood; Gul
represented the moderate wing of the Welfare Party, which sought coexistence
with Turkey’s secular authorities; Ar?nc¸ had deep connections with the Gulen
movement, and represented more aggressively anti-Kemalist elements among
Erbakan’s followers.

Consequently, Justice and Development
Party, AKP was born from the coming together of an exceptional assembly of
founding members. AKP completed its organization in all 81 regions only a few
months after its founding. It created its internal party administrative
structure with a democratic insight previously unseen in Turkish political
history (AKP, 2015). Besides, the AKP leadership emerged from the cadres of the
first organized political representative of Islamism in Turkish politics which
was known as the “national view movement” (Dagi, 2008).

While, (Turunc, 2012) argues that
despite the founding leaders had come
from banned Islamist parties, the AKP reject the label Islamist and define
themselves as a conservative democratic party; they likened themselves to
Christian Democratic parties in Western Europe. Indeed, the ban on the use of
religion in politics has led to a politics of camouflage. Pro-Islamic or
pro-ethnic parties are obliged to develop an areligious or non-ethnic language
in the political sphere (Yavuz, 2009).

Nevertheless, Yavuz claims that Islamic
ideas and an Islamic worldview are still included in the identity of its
leadership and might also be included in the AKP’s deep-seated philosophy, but the AKP never uses the explicit
language of political Islam, and certainly often feels compelled to stress that
it is not an Islamic party.  Hence,
(Dagi, 2008) argues that after the AKP won the November 2002 elections, Erdo?an
declared that his priority was economic stability and EU membership, however,
the reconfiguration of Turkish politics in the AKP’s first five years in office
raises the question of whether the AKP represents a new synthesis in Turkish

According to (Yavuz, 2009), the AKP officials argue that the AKP
does not have an Islamist agenda. Moderately it seeks to maximize its seats in
parliament to enhance its political power, but it does not seek to institute
Islamic law in the political and social sphere or make political claims on the
basis of religion. The AKP is, yet, deeply involved in Islamic social ethics
and cultural norms, and stresses the religious values and interests of its
pious electorate.

Accordingly, in order to survive, the AKP expanded its
electoral base, and to avoid state oppression, it internalized its adherence to
democratic norms. When the party was voted into office in 2002, it even took
unexpected steps to compromise with the Kemalist establishment to maintain its
domestic and international legitimacy (Kalyvas,