The secular and the Muslim Turkey - YUSUF KAPLAN

The secular and the Muslim Turkey

Being authentic, in other words, sincerity is what will save us: approaching one another with sincerity and our sincere self-criticisms. Hence, those who fail to criticize themselves do not, and should not have the right to criticize others. The segment that has enough confidence to criticize themselves and has good knowledge of the other walks of society will be the one to pave the way for the country.


Though it is disturbing, the truth is that there are two Turkeys: one pretends to be secular, while the other pretends to be Muslim.

As they have no solid ground to stand on, both Turkeys think in the same manner: managing the situation and saving the day through pretending. In other words, the common denominator of both Turkeys is the act of “pretending.”

Instrumental rationality is something else the two Turkeys have in common: followers of the “secular Turkey” see no harm in instrumentalizing secularism, while the same holds true for “Muslim Turkey’s” constant instrumentalization of Islam.

The secularism of the “Secular Turkey” and the Islamism of “Muslim Turkey” are both simulative and virtual. Hence, both Turkeys have no clue what the struggle for existence and idea means. Therefore, both Turkeys are extremely talented at legitimizing power, the lack of conscience, origin and principle.

Turkey has been exposed to the traumatic consequences of the tensions and struggle between these two virtual sides for almost a century now: while the secularists instrumentalized secularism, Muslim factions instrumentalized Islam, and fanatics of these two virtual Turkeys saw no harm in consolidating their collective, personal and worldly interests.

Despite everything, Turkey was able to bring the people of this country to the present thanks to its in-depth civilization experience, the richness of its history, and vastness of its collective memory.

However, from now on, it will not be as easy to save the day in such an artificial manner. Turkey needs to make a leap and start another historical march, but this is not possible unless the two Turkeys are brought to order.

“Pretending,” managing the situation, saving the day cost us a century; it isolated us from history. For the last century, it has always been others who made history.


Secularism is not something we developed; it is something that originated from the West and was imposed on us by the Westerners in Lausanne. Turkey was solely allowed territorial independence in Lausanne based on the condition that we abandon our civilization claims and instead adopt secularism and enter the Western orbit. Thus, by getting Turkey to promise it would never lay claim to its history-making, game-changing civilization claims, they took control over the real Turkey, both internally and abroad, while we were given the mere role of a stand-in.

However, Turkey tried to embrace both secularism and Islamism by “pretending,” and thus, manage the situation until now. This virtual nature meant that we would not intervene in the history written by the West, that we would not stake a claim, that we would remain in their orbit.

Yet, time is now up. In a period which world maps are being redrawn, a new world is being built, we have reached a point where we can see that we can no longer maintain our existence, let alone manage the situation through “pretending.”

In order for us to rise to being a history-making actor again, we have no other option but to stop “pretending,” and abandon the virtual Turkey that has been forever producing ghosts and pitting us against each other, and reactivate and revive our deep civilization experience, the richness of our historical experience, and the vastness of our collective memory to return home from this long vacation in order to restore our global/universal claims.

Is it possible to commence a history-making journey with secularism? It is impossible. Because the only thing secularism achieved was to make us abandon our claims that had made it possible to write history and turn us into caricatures of the West.

Turkey is now on the verge of a crossroads: the world is looking to us, but we are yet to recover.

Turkey, the only place where truth, justice, fairness, conscience, horizon, all sorts of diversity can coexist, has no choice but to find ways to offer the civilization claims presented by Islam to humanity once again.


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