Islam and Democracy: A False Dichotomy
As the AK Party government struggles to keep the ‘EU dream’ alive, and as Kemalist ideocrats work to keep back the AKP’s dominion, lingering Turkish disputes about Islam and democracy resolve into new forms and disputing parties change their positions. More and more, the conservative Islamists of the past have taken on liberal, democratic, or pan-European stances, while some liberal democrats of the past have taken on a conservative, even reactionary discourse. Thanks again to the EU membership prospect, the relation between Islam and democracy is being transformed to the extent that the debate now focuses on the question of whether Islam and its societal dynamics are hindering or facilitating the formation of a democratic structure in accordance with EU standards. Nevertheless, the Islam “vs.” democracy debate has not yet been superseded, and the dispute seems far from being resolved. We suggest that there are now three intellectual groups with a stake in the discussion.
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