Religion İn Turkish Modernization

ABSTRACT

This study aims to reveal Mustafa Kemal Atatürk’s religious thoughts and his approach to Islam, as well as the effect of his approach on the secularization process in Turkey. Secularization stands as the most significant feature of modernization in Turkey, which started during the Reform Era and continued at the time of the foundation of the Republic, and as the most influential factor in re-shaping the religious and political relationships in Turkey. With this study, the authoritarian governance style adopted by Atatürk has been analyzed, and the authoritarian regimes in Russia and Italy have been observed to play a role in adoption of authoritarianism by Atatürk. Authoritarian approaches by Abdülhamid II, the Committee of Union and Progress, and Rousseau have also been studied in terms of their influence on Atatürk. The religious life of Atatürk has then been analyzed to reveal that he embraced a secular life. Atatürk had a negative opinion of Islam due to certain activities carried out by some Islamists during the final days of the Ottoman Period and due to their anti-national preferences at the time of the War of Independence. He believed that Islam was standing in the way of progress. On the other hand, he used religion for his own political purposes. He was influenced by religious thoughts of Ahmed Rıza, Abdullah Cevdet and Ziya Gökalp, and he planned to use the spiritual power of religion by keeping it under government’s control. Atatürk adopted a belief that is similar to deism as he was influenced by thoughts of Religion of Nature. His belief and his religious preferences had an effect on his political preferences…Religion_in_Turkish_Modernization