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  • Cited by 61
Cambridge University Press
Online publication date:
November 2018
Print publication year:
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Book description

Since the elections of 2002, Erdogan's AKP has dominated the political scene in Turkey. This period has often been understood as a break from a 'secular' pattern of state-building. But in this book, Ceren Lord shows how Islamist mobilisation in Turkey has been facilitated from within the state by institutions established during early nation-building. Lord thus challenges the traditional account of Islamist AKP's rise that sees it either as a grassroots reaction to the authoritarian secularism of the state or as a function of the state's utilisation of religion. Tracing struggles within the state, Lord also shows how the state's principal religious authority, the Presidency of Religious Affairs (Diyanet) competed with other state institutions to pursue Islamisation. Through privileging Sunni Muslim access to state resources to the exclusion of others, the Diyanet has been a key actor ensuring persistence and increasing salience of religious markers in political and economic competition, creating an amenable environment for Islamist mobilisation.


'A captivating book and a welcome addition to a growing genre of critical scholarship on secularism in Turkey.'

Sinem Adar Source: EuropeNow

'… [Religious Politics in Turkey] makes an important point that should revise our understanding of Turkish politics.'

David C. Unger Source: Survival: Global Politics and Strategy

'… rich with ideas and detail …'

John Waterbury Source: Foreign Affairs

‘… Religious Politics in Turkey enables the reader not only to overcome the superficial struggle between authoritarian laicism deriving from state elites and conservative sensitiveness stemming from society, but also to provide a multidimensional framework to comprehend state-religion relations in Turkey.’

Mehmet Ertan Source: New Perspectives on Turkey

‘Religious Politics in Turkey is a meticulously argued and empirically rich case study … Its general analytical framework makes the book highly relevant to students of nationalism, democratization, and social movements as well as students of religion and politics.’

Yesim Bayar Source: Political Studies Review

‘… emerges as a new piece of research, claiming to discuss a new dimension of this intricacy, beyond the classic readings of religion, law, and politics in Turkey … Lord’s book stands out as a fine study of Turkish politics, Turkish religiosity, and Turkish secularism and is a work at which everyone concerned with these issues should at least take a look.’

Ahmet Erdi Ozturk Source: Journal of Law and Religion

‘Ceren Lord’s Religious Politics in Turkey: From the Birth of the Republic to the AKP is valuable for the light it casts on the intertwined and often complex relationship between state, religion and society in Turkey.’

Elizabeth Bishop and Victoria Elizondo Source: Immigrants & Minorities

‘… Lord’s book is a great contribution to the growing field of critical scholarship on secularism in Turkey for its analytical meticulousness and the use of a unique data set on the institutional history of the Diyanet.’

Ömer Faruk Koç Source: Politics, Religion & Ideology

‘… every statement made is consistently supported by sound evidence and a broader theoretical framework that makes sense. The level of detail in the information provided and the extent of clarity and consistency makes this book not only a reliable read but also a distinguished example of the post-positivist outlook in Turkish studies.’

Durukan Imrie-Kuzu Source: National Identities

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