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Contemporary Turkey in Conflict

Ethnicity, Islam and Politics

Tahir Abbas

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Explores ethnicity, politics and Islam in Turkey in the 21st-century

New perspectives on ethnic relations, Islam and neoliberalism have emerged in Turkey since the rise of the Justice and Development Party (AKP) in 2002. Placing the period within its historical and contemporary context, Tahir Abbas argues that what it is to be ethnically, religiously and culturally Turkish has been transformed. He explores how issues of political trust, social capital and intolerance towards minorities have characterised Turkey in the early years of the 21st-century. He shows how a radical neoliberal economic and conservative outlook has materialised, leading to a clash over the religious, political and cultural direction of Turkey. These conflicts are defining the future of the nation.

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List of Figures and Tables
1. Setting the Scene
2. Historicising Pluralism and Monoculturalism
3. Insights on Intolerance Towards Minorities
4. Perspectives on the 'Kurdish Issue'
5. The Gezi Park Awakening
6. Exploring Trust in Society and Politics
7. Conclusions
Appendix: Notes on Methods

About the Author

Professor Tahir Abbas FRSA is currently Senior Research Fellow at the Royal United Services Institute in London. He is author and editor of several books, including Islamic Radicalism and Multicultural Politics (2011).


‘Tahir Abbas’ interdisciplinary study Contemporary Turkey in Conflict: Ethnicity, Islam and Politics aims to explain this authoritarian drift, and as such it can serve as an ideal reference book for those who wish to understand the transformations and conflicts occurring in contemporary Turkey…Abbas elegantly explores the various nuances of Turkish politics over the last decade…overall Abbas’ study is a remarkable opus for an understanding of contemporary Turkey in terms of state-society relations…Abbas proceeds by means of a solid multidisciplinary approach combining sociological, political science, and sociohistorical points of views, making the book quite multidimensional overall. And lastly, the book is exceedingly well written, very readable, and lucid.'

- Ahmet Erdi Ozturk, New Perspectives on Turkey
'This work covers numerous contemporary issues, including minority rights and the Kurdish conflict as well the Gezi Park occupation protests and their aftermath. It also makes references to a history punctuated by conflicts and clashes between the center and periphery. At its core, the book is an inquiry into changes in Turkish society which, Abbas contends, is a composite of post-Islamism and post-Kemalism.’
- Furkan Halit Yolcu, Turkish Studies
‘In Contemporary Turkey in Conflict, Tahir Abbas diligently analyses the complex dynamics between ethnicity, nationalism and Islam in relation to neo-liberalism and conservatism. His original emphasis is on how issues of political trust and social capital have impacted citizenship and identity in Turkey since the rise of AKP, and to what extent the ethnic, religious and cultural dimensions of Turkish identity have changed … [He] provides a historically-conscious analysis of Turkish politics [and] explains the complex nature of Turkish politics through the lens of ‘exceptionalism’—due to Islam’s paradoxical relations with ethnicity and nationalism.'
- Ayla Göl, International Affairs

'Tahir Abbas surveys some of the major ideas and actors of contemporary Turkish politics and examines the social and economic transformation of the country. Ideal as a reference for understanding state-society relations in Turkey, Abbas' witty and penetrating analysis of Turkish politics is unique. This is a remarkable and a brilliant book.'

- M. Hakan Yavuz, University of Utah

'Tahir Abbas' study of contemporary Turkey systematically explores the nuances of ethnic relations and social conflict in the current epoch. It is an inspired sociological, political science and socio-historical contribution to existing research on this complex, fraught and multi-layered nation.'

- Ferhat Kentel, İstanbul Şehir University

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