National conceptions, transnational solidarities: Turkey, Islam and Europe

In this article, I examine the interplay between the institutionalization of Islam in Europe and the transnationalism of Turkey's Directorate for Religious Affairs (Diyanet). Based on extensive fieldwork in Turkey, Austria, Belgium, France and Germany, I demonstrate not only the salience of the nation-state prerogative on the part of both European states and the Turkish state but also the tension between national conceptions of Muslim identity on both sides amid transnational solidarities. I also argue that, to a certain extent, European policies of detransnationalizing the Muslim field in Europe also intersect with the Diyanet's transnational politics vis-a-vis Turkish/Muslim immigrants in their common resistance to the deculturalization of Muslims in Europe. While European countries try to nationalize their respective Muslim communities into their cultural and juridical framework through reterritorialization, the Diyanet has increasingly deterritorialized its activities to preserve a Muslim identity engrained in Turkishness - hence, the coexistence of both a tension and mutual accommodation between Europe and Turkey.