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The role of secularization within the Turkish nation-state building process

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2004
Sarı, Özgür
The objective of this study is to analyze the role of secularization within the Turkish nation-state building process between the late 19th and the early 20th century; hereby an emphasis will also be on the relations between the state and religion. This study will consider the Religious Affairs Directory as the key institutional actor in this process. This institutional reflection of secularization will be studied as an interesting case of state controlled social change on and over religion in society. The state reproduces its legitimization and discourse over the Religious Affairs Directory, therefore some publications and khutbas of that institution in 2003 and 2004 will be analyzed. On the other hand, secularization was defined on 5th February 1937 in the 1924 Constitution with the law numbered 3115, as the separation of the state and religious affairs and the equal distance of the state̕s position towards all beliefs and believers. The contradiction between the state̕s definition and institutional application of secularization will be criticized. The first contradiction is the integration of state and religious affairs. The statist discourse legitimizes the state through the religious affairs and as it will be seen in the analyzed publications and khutbas of the Religious Affairs Directory, the statist and religious discourses overlap each other. Since this overlapping enables the integration of state and religious affairs through the Religious Affairs Directory as a constitutional institution, the applications of this institution contradict with the constitutional definition of Turkish secularization. The second feature of the Turkish secularization is that the state applies this practice over only one sect (Sunni-Hannifin) which is an obstacle for the state̕s position against all the religious beliefs. The legitimization of the state is being done through the