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Open Theology

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God Is Dying in Turkey as Well: Application of Secularization Theory to a Non-Christian Society

Volkan Ertit
Published Online: 2018-05-17 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/opth-2018-0014


It has been stated in academic studies and popular media that Islam began its rise in dominance in Turkey with the accession of the Justice and Development Party (AKP) to power in 2002 under the leadership of Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. However, contrary to claims of societal Islamization, in light of quantitative and qualitative studies this study argues that despite the AKP and its leader Erdoğan being in power, the following evidence has been observed in Turkey: praying rates have decreased, extramarital sexual relationship has become prevalent, the number of mosques per person has decreased, the belief in virginity is a point of honour for fewer people, people‘s clothes have become more flatteringly formfitting and more attractive, including women’s head-scarves; secular experts rather than religious officials are being sought for help concerning problems in daily life, homosexuality has become more socially acceptable visible, traditional family structures has been shattered. Therefore, it is claimed that AKP (or Erdoğan) has failed in efforts to Islamize Turkey over the past 15 years (2002-2017) despite having all the governmental means and opportunities to do so. This study argues that the classical theory of secularization, which claims that modernization leads to secularization, can still explain not only the social transformation seen in historically Christian and Western European countries and their offshoots, but also the social transformation of Turkey, a Muslim-majority country that has been governed for the past 15 years by a political party with clear Islamic sensitivities.

Keywords : Secularization; Secularization of Turkey; Secularization Theory; Modernization; Secularization in Islam


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About the article

Received: 2017-12-17

Accepted: 2018-03-12

Published Online: 2018-05-17

Citation Information: Open Theology, Volume 4, Issue 1, Pages 192–211, ISSN (Online) 2300-6579, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/opth-2018-0014.

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© 2018. This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 License. BY-NC-ND 4.0

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