Islam, secularism, and democracy: insights from Turkish politics
Kalaycıoğlu, Ersin Islam, secularism, and democracy: insights from Turkish politics. In: Midwest Political Science Association's Annual Conference 2010, Chicago, Illinois, U. S. A. (Submitted)
In the 2000s the impact of the Islamic culture on the functioning of democracy has come to occupy the attention of students of comparative politics. Huntington, Barber, Norris and Inglehart, Tessler, Stepan and others have produced often contradictory statements, arguments and even findings on the issue of compatibility of Islam with contemporary democracy. One way to resolve the differences pertaining to the impact of Islam on democracy is to examine a society where a preponderant majority of Muslims lived under a political regime where democracy has been practiced. Turkey provides such an example, where democratic government seemed to persist in a society where Sunni Muslim lived in huge majority. In the first part of the paper through a literature review the irreconcilable arguments and hypothesis concerning the role of Islam in politics and democracy will be examined and new hypotheses amenable to empirical testing will be derived. The data from several nationally representative samples of Turkish voters conducted in the 2000s in Turkey will be used to test the hypotheses of the paper. A multivariate model that provides a chance to observe the relationships between religiosity (Islam) and democracy, with controls on the influence of alternative variables will be constructed and tested with the above mentioned survey data. Finally, the results of the Turkish case will then be compared with the findings of similar studies with such comparative survey data as the World Values Surveys and that of the ISSP.
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