tion expressly to weaken its deeply rooted Islamic identity.In 2007, 50 percent identied themselves as Muslims and 18percent as Uzbek, reecting perhaps the pressure to disguiseone’s ideological rooting in Islam, but with little increasein the attraction o being, rst and oremost, an Uzbek.“Uzbekness,” that is national or ethnic identity, would thusappear to have shallow roots in the country, despite strongeorts by Uzbekistan’s authorities, while a pervasive Islamicidentity has ar more adherents.Uzbek leaders ear the radicalization o this Islamic identity.Consequently, ashkent’s policy has been to crack downhard on Islamic extremists or sympathizers. Tis has led,not surprisingly, to charges o human rights abuses, againstwhich Uzbekistan has little political ammunition. Uzbeki-stan’s political opposition is nascent and under constantpressure, censorship is commonplace, and democraticnorms are only poorly observed. Even when Uzbekistan hasa good case to make or its ght against Islamic extremism,or example its response to the Andijon attacks — conclu-sions supported by a number o Western observers — itslack o a vibrant civil society and democratic processreduces the state’s ability to ampliy its claims that Uzbeki-stan aces a real and growing Islamist threat.Tis ear o Islamic radicalization, and urkey’s potentialcontribution to it, color all other parts o the state-to-staterelationship. ashkent’s resentment o what many see asAnkara’s support or Islamization in Uzbekistan, particu-larly the role o Fethullah Gülen schools and the Nurcumovement, is strong. Whether this suspicion is groundedin reality is another question, but the notion is powered by the ruling Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) strongsympathies or the Nurcu movement, which is active inover 100 countries and whose presence is elt across urkishsociety, economy, and politics, leading some analysts toclaim that AKP and the Nurcu movement are in act joinedat the hip.Te troubles continue. On March 3, 2011, the urkish-owned ashkent shopping center, urkuaz, was surrounded
Uzbek leaders fear theradicalization of Islamic identity.
An attempt to revive relations occurred in December 2003when Karimov invited urkish Premier Minister Recepayyip Erdoğan to visit Uzbekistan. Te visit apparently achieved its goal o smoothing over some rough patches,but relations quickly oundered again. Following deadly terror attacks in Andijon in 2005, when armed gunmanattacked a police station, seized weapons, and then stormeda prison, only to be brutally put down by Uzbek security orces, Uzbekistan was accused by the United Nationso violating human rights. urkey backed the resolutioncondemning Uzbekistan. Reprisals rom the Uzbek sidewere swi. When urkish president Abdullah Gül soughtto visit Uzbekistan, Karimov reused to oer an invita-tion. Since then Karimov has reused to join URKSOYsummits, urkey’s eort to bring urkophone countriestogether to strengthen common cultural traditions andpromote the Latinization o Central Asia’s urkic languages.So much or urkic unity.Karimov’s pervasive and not unwarranted ear has beenthe prospect o Islamic radicalism gaining a oothold inUzbekistan, especially in its restive Ferghana Valley, and heappears to see urkey’s witting or unwitting complicity in thisproblem. His apprehensions o rising Islamic militancy areunderstandable. Aer independence, the Islamic Movemento Uzbekistan (IMU), allied since the summer o 2001 withAghanistan’s aliban government, launched a number o small, cross-border raids into Uzbekistan. Uzbek authoritiesattribute the 1999 attacks in ashkent, suicide bombings inMarch and April 2004, and the Andijon uprising in May 2005to the IMU and other splinter groups. Tey pointedly ignoredcalls rom Europeans and Americans or an independentinternational investigation into the last event, in particular.Karimov has sought to resist the pressures o growingIslamic inuence in Uzbekistan and simultaneously toinstitute unpopular austerity measures, a difcult balancingact. According to ofcial gures, in 2010 Uzbekistan hosted2,280 religious organizations o 16 dierent aiths. O these,92 percent were Muslim organizations boasting 2,035working mosques. Somewhat alarmingly, a public survey in 1998 revealed that 65 percent o respondents identiedthemselves as Muslims rst, while only 17 percent identi-ed rst as Uzbeks, a dramatic repudiation o decades o “nation building” begun in Soviet times and continued inthe post-Soviet period with the object o instilling strongnational identities in Uzbekistan’s mostly Muslim popula-