Independent and cutting-edge analysis on Turkey and its neighborhood

The paper examines some of the different ways ‘religion’ affected Turkish responses to the ethnic tensions and conflict that have occurred in South East Europe since the end of the Cold War, focusing on the conflicts in Bosnia-Herzegovina and Kosovo, and to a lesser extent on the case of relations with Macedonia.  It seeks to provide a corrective to the tendency to make vague and often misleading generalizations about ‘religion’ in Turkey and its relevance to study of Turkey’s relations with other states and peoples.  Religious factors are analyzed in terms of three connected yet distinct categories: (i) religious identity; (ii) the utilization and evocation of religious themes by political actors; and (iii) assumptions/worldviews that hold that religion is an important force in politics and international affairs. Was a sense of common religious identity with Muslim communities in South East Europe important to the Turkish reaction to the conflicts?  How were religious themes evoked or used by political actors with regard to the conflicts?  How important were worldviews that see religion as important in determining reactions to the conflicts? The article seeks to show why a full explanation of state and non-state reactions (and not just foreign policy outcomes) also requires attention to the various appearances of religious factors in reactions, to the intertwining of religion and Turkish national identity, and to the central place that the issue of religion occupies in politics over Turkey’s past, present and future...Please click here to read the text in full.

CONTRIBUTOR
Esra Bulut
Esra Bulut
From the Desk of the Editor Since the founding of the Turkish Republic, competing conceptions of Turkish identity have existed. Among many examples, the role of Islam has been contested, Kurdish and Turkish nationalisms have clashed, and various identity-based movements have ebbed and flowed, shaping political cleavages. National identity contestation has also spilled over into Turkey’s relationship with its Western...
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