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Haldun Gulalp ¨
G L O BA L I Z AT I O N A N D P O L I T I C A L I S L A M : T H E S O C I A L BA S E S O F T U R K E Y ’ S W E L FA R E PA RT Y
Political Islam has gained heightened visibility in recent decades in Turkey. Large numbers of female students have begun to demonstrate their commitment by wearing the banned Islamic headdress on university campuses, and influential pro-Islamist TV channels have proliferated. This paper focuses on the Welfare (Refah) Party as the foremost institutional representative of political Islam in Turkey. The Welfare Party’s brief tenure in power as the leading coalition partner from mid-1996 to mid-1997 was the culmination of a decade of steady growth that was aided by other Islamist organizations and institutions. These organizations and institutions included newspapers and publishing houses that attracted Islamist writers, numerous Islamic foundations, an Islamist labor-union confederation, and an Islamist businessmen’s association. These institutions worked in tandem with, and in support of, Welfare as the undisputed leader and representative of political Islam in Turkey, even though they had their own particularistic goals and ideals, which often diverged from Welfare’s political projects. Focusing on the Welfare Party, then, allows for an analysis of the wider social base upon which the Islamist political movement rose in Turkey. Since Welfare’s ouster from power and its eventual closure, the Islamist movement has been in disarray. This paper will, therefore, be confined to the Welfare Party period. Welfare’s predecessor, the National Salvation Party, was active in the 1970s but was closed down by the military regime in 1980. Welfare was founded in 1983 and gained great popularity in the 1990s. Starting with a 4.4 percent vote in the municipal elections of 1984, the Welfare Party steadily increased its showing and multiplied its vote nearly five times in twelve years. It alarmed Turkey’s secular establishment first in the municipal elections of 1994, with 19 percent of all votes nationwide and the mayor’s seats in both Istanbul and Ankara, then in the general elections of 1995 when it won a plurality with 21.4 percent of the national vote. Nevertheless, the Welfare Party was only briefly able to lead a coalition government in partnership with the right-wing True Path Party of Tansu Ciller. After its removal from power under pres¸ sure from the armed forces, the Welfare Party was closed down by a Constitutional Court ruling in early 1998 and has been replaced by the Virtue (Fazilet) Party. The
˘ ¸ Haldun Gulalp is Associate Professor in the Department of Sociology, Bogazici University, Bebek 80815, ¨ Istanbul, Turkey; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. 2001 Cambridge University Press 0020-7438/01 $9.50
434 Haldun Gulalp ¨ Virtue Party, however, has inevitably been more circumspect and appears eager to distance itself from the Welfare legacy, even though it inherited Welfare’s political cadres and most of its parliamentary seats. This situation has led to an alienation between the party and several of the institutions mentioned earlier that previously supported Welfare, as well as many of the Welfare Party voters. Confounding the left–right division, Islamism as represented by Welfare relied on a multi-class political movement that articulated its themes in religious terms. This phenomenon should be carefully distinguished from the seemingly similar liberation theology in Latin America. While liberation theology constitutes a novel interpretation of Christianity from a socialist perspective, Welfare’s Islamism focused on the question of cultural superiority or inferiority. Liberation theology is concerned with changing the social order and, for this reason, it expresses class interests through Christian terms and uses religion to mobilize people for class-related issues.1 Turkey’s political Islam, by contrast, was concerned with a cultural project and attempted to mobilize people by addressing their class interests in order to effect that project. In other words, Welfare used class-related issues as a vehicle to promote a project of change in lifestyle and to establish its own version of an “Islamic” society. The question, then, is: what kinds of classes or class segments subscribed to this project?
T H E A N A LY T I C A L F R A M E W O R K
Authors who identify the center–periphery relationship as a key social cleavage in Turkey have focused on “status”-related factors, such as lifestyles, culture, and ideology. They have observed that in modern Turkey, Kemalism has represented the center—hence, those who have been distant or opposed to the Kemalist state have suffered political, economic, and ideological exclusion and peripheralization.2 Rightly critical of modernization theory, which characterizes Islamism as a backward ideology that is doomed to extinction, this perspective presents political Islam as a movement of the “counter-elites” who are aiming for upward mobility in opposition to the secularist social actors privileged by their proximity to the Kemalist state and ideology. According to this perspective, “it is in this realm of ‘habitus’, cultural codes and lifestyles that the power struggle between Republican elites and Islamists is taking place.”3 It is true that Welfare successfully billed itself as the party of the “periphery” against the “center,” the party of “civil society” against the “state.”4 But this thesis is incomplete in two respects. First, the center–periphery perspective ignores the historical specificity of the current conjuncture. This cleavage, and consequent conflict, have their origins in the Ottoman Empire period and have continued, under transformed conditions, during the Republican period.5 Moreover, during the Republican period, elements of Islamism have often been incorporated into the ideology and practice of the Kemalist state.6 What, then, has made the Islamist challenge to Kemalism so formidable in recent years? Second, the “counter-elite” thesis focuses primarily, or even exclusively, on the professional middle class and university students. Thus, Nilufer Gole conceptualizes ¨ ¨ the use of Islamist symbols, such as the headscarf, as a vehicle of upward mobility.7 But this concept primarily applies to the professional middle class in its struggle for
Globalization and Political Islam 435 an assertion of identity that represents an alternative to the currently dominant one. This paper, by contrast, focuses less on this much-studied area8 and more on other social classes, and attempts to place the growth of the social base of political Islam in the specific historical conjuncture of the 1980s and 1990s. These two decades have been a period of global decline for nation-states. Modern states, which early in the 20th century had begun to regulate their national economies and protect the welfare of their citizens, now find their powers undermined by globalization.9 The 20th century has thus witnessed the rise and decline of the welfare state and, with it, the rise and decline of the community formed around it. The stage was thus set for the emergence of alternative forms of community with competing claims to identity, as well as for the “post-modernist” critique of modernism, the nation-state, and nationalism.10 Disenchantment with the nation-state globally has led to two seemingly conflicting but parallel tendencies: sub-national (e.g., ethnic or tribal) separatist movements and supra-national (e.g., religious or civilizational) revivalist movements. The argument of this paper is that the rise of political Islam in opposition to Kemalism can be linked to globalization and post-modernization (or the process of transition to the condition of postmodernity).11 This argument rejects the modernization thesis that religion will decline as a result of economic development and proposes, in a seemingly counter-intuitive manner, that political Islam is not necessarily opposed to globalization. As we will see later, political Islam in Turkey has actually flourished under conditions of globalization.12 It must be noted, however, that Islamism promised different things to different classes of people. In this regard, the Welfare Party fit the classic definition of a “populist” movement as the mobilization of the urban poor by the minority segments of the upper and middle classes into action against the status quo.13 These different social classes and class segments, with identifiable albeit mutually contradictory interests, nevertheless expressed their interests in a common idiom of opposition to the Kemalist state. Their differing interests were successfully assimilated by the Islamist movement in a discourse of opposition to Kemalism and the demand for an Islamic lifestyle.
G L O BA L I Z AT I O N , E X P O RT O R I E N TAT I O N , A N D P O L I T I C A L I S L A M
The 1960s and 1970s were a period of economic boom in Turkey, based on importsubstituting industrialization (ISI). Widely pursued in Third World modernization during much of the 20th century, ISI was a model of state-led development. It consisted of an attempt to utilize a nationalist ideology by combining the basic principles of the welfare state with an emphasis on rapid industrialization. In practice, ISI was a process in which technology, capital goods, and inputs were imported, and the final product was locally manufactured to cater to the state-protected domestic market.14 During the ISI boom in Turkey, the Islamist opposition originated in the small independent businesses that felt threatened with extinction. The creation of the first Islamist political party in 1970 (the National Order Party, re-created as the National Salvation Party [NSP] after closure by the Constitutional Court) was an outcome of the conflict between the ISI-based, big industrial and other business interests in urban areas and the traditional, small to medium-size business sector in provincial towns. The constitu-
436 Haldun Gulalp ¨ ency of the NSP mostly represented conservative followers of religious orders and these provincial small-business people.15 Writers who predict the decline of political Islam in Turkey typically argue that, with further economic development and cultural secularization, its social base of support will wither away. Portraying it as primarily a conservative political movement, they talk of “Islam that functions as a protest ideology of small traders, small businessmen, and artisans, who often feel threatened by the increasing importance of the industrial economy as Turkey becomes integrated into the world markets.”16 Although this may have been an accurate identification of the social base of political Islam in the NSP period, it is now anachronistic. This sector of the economy is not dwindling; on the contrary, it is ascendant in the age of globalization. Unlike the traditional import-substituting industrial sector that developed in the protected environment of the statist period, this sector thrives on free trade and open markets. Within the current context of the world economy, this sector is flourishing in the Third World. The current context of the world economy can best be understood in terms of the global shift from Fordism to post-Fordism.17 “Fordism” refers to a particular mode of industrial organization with implications for the political and institutional structures of society. As industrial organization, it signifies the manufacturing of standardized products on a large scale, with rigid assembly-line technology. At the macroeconomic level, Fordism has denoted the combination of mass production with mass consumers’ markets, regulated by the intervention of the welfare state. Called by some authors the “capital–labor accord,” the welfare state has attempted to reconcile the economic interests of the working class with those of the business class and has supported stable economic growth.18 Globalization, however, has begun to undermine the power of individual nationstates. The nation-states can no longer independently maintain full employment, sustain economic growth, and preserve reformist welfare policies. At the same time, the internal contradictions of Fordism have led to a dismantling of rigid assembly-line technology and have given rise to flexible forms of capital accumulation. Prominent among these new forms is subcontracted production, which allows employers to bypass trade unions and circumvent restrictions in firing workers and lowering wages. Global trends toward these post-Fordist forms of “flexible accumulation” include a rise in smaller-scale manufacturing and self-employment. Self-employment had a tendency to decline in the advanced capitalist countries until the 1970s, but since then it has begun to grow again.19 Although this trend is partly due to the growth of the postindustrial service sectors, it can also be observed in traditional manufacturing sectors. The expansion of self-employment in recent decades appears to be an outcome of the rising trend in subcontracting. Subcontracting production to self-employed manufacturers, who are in effect workers in the guise of petty entrepreneurs, has become the chief method of achieving what is euphemistically called “numerical flexibility” and which in effect expresses the freedom to fire workers without suffering any consequences.20 The trends observed in advanced capitalist countries are even more pronounced in the Third World, where a significant share of world manufacturing activities has been relocated through the global organization of production. A dominant pattern of globalization uses trade-led networks whereby labor-intensive manufacturing takes place in
Globalization and Political Islam 437 decentralized and small-scale enterprises, which are located in the Third World and are linked to large, brand-name retailers based in advanced capitalist countries.21 These subcontracted firms often use primitive technology and may rely on the older methods of “domestic, artisanal, familial (patriarchal), and paternalistic . . . labor systems.”22 The global proliferation of these sweatshops undermines trade-union organizations and encourages the rise of “ideologies of entrepreneurialism, paternalism, and privatism.”23 Political Islam in Turkey has found a particularly fertile ground in this decline of traditional working-class politics and the rise of petty entrepreneurship. Small- and medium-scale manufacturing industries have experienced rapid growth in Turkey in recent decades. A recent survey of these industries in five provincial towns (Denizli, Gaziantep, Konya, Corum, and Edirne) reveals the following charac¸ teristics. More than 80 percent of the surveyed firms were established in the post1980 period, with almost half established after 1990. At present, the greatest number of new firms can be found in the area of textiles and garments. About half of these firms report that they are subcontracted manufacturers, where subcontracting links include both domestic and foreign firms. As an indirect indicator of their class origins, these small entrepreneurs report that around a third are elementary-school graduates, with another third middle- or high-school graduates.24 Government policy in the post-1980 period has encouraged this development by taking an active role in the construction of organized industrial districts for small and medium-size enterprises. By 1996, there were 36 such districts, housing several thousand establishments. Of these 36 districts, only 6 were built during the twenty-five years between 1962 and 1987, whereas thirty have been built since 1987. Many more are planned for construction at this time. Although establishments within these districts are given certain tax advantages, a common practice among these petty entrepreneurs is to complain about lack of support from the government. This discontent finds expression in an anti-statist discourse, although, when questioned, the small industrialists reveal that they would certainly welcome state support and protection. Within the organized industrial districts there is widespread exploitation of child and women’s labor and almost no trade-union organization at all.25 Proponents estimate that the small- and medium-scale industries in Turkey are responsible for about a quarter of the country’s export potential.26 This sector, which has grown very rapidly in the 1980s and 1990s as a result of the export orientation of the Turkish economy, also seems to have absorbed large numbers of recent urban immigrants who were unable to find secure employment in the Fordist (i.e., formal industrial) sectors. The working conditions of these small employers “can have a great deal in common with manual wage workers,” and their activities may contain many features of an informal economy.27 An interesting example of the links between the informal economy and the global export markets is the way in which women’s domestic piecework and family-workshop production in some poor neighborhoods of immigrants in Istanbul are integrated with the global economy through several layers of subcontracting relationships. Product orders that come from outside the community—for example, for hand-knit sweaters—are met through the organization of family labor within the community by a local (male) entrepreneur. Labor relations between this man and the women (and sometimes children) who do the work “are euphemized as (actual or fictive) kinship,” allowing
438 Haldun Gulalp ¨ for the devaluation of productive labor.28 This devaluation may reach such proportions that, because of generalized reciprocity among the members of the community, no monetary payments may be considered necessary, regardless of whether the work is done at home or at a local workshop.29 Not all of these petty entrepreneurs, whether the small-scale industrialists in provincial towns or the intermediaries in poor neighborhoods of Istanbul, are necessarily Islamist, but the Islamist segment of the business class comes primarily from among this sector. This alignment can be better explained by looking at the relationship between the state and small capital. Even the most accomplished segments of the business class in Turkey, including the large holding companies that combine industrial and financial concerns, feel pow` erless vis-a-vis the state. They know that they owe their existence and continued fortune to reliance on the state.30 A bourgeois class did not exist at the beginning of the Turkish Republic; it was created with the help of the state.31 During the ISI period, “profit and accumulation depend[ed] to a much greater extent on policy than markets. . . . Consequently, [entrepreneurs] devoted more attention to interacting with bureaucrats and policymakers than trying to exploit market opportunities.”32 In the post-1980 period, ISI was ended as a strategy, and attempts were made to create the institutions of a self-regulating market economy. But still the state did not retreat. Clientalistic relations between the state and businessmen continued to be dominant, and, hence, the state retained its central position for the business class.33 But despite the continuity of this general orientation, there was a significant difference between the pre- and post-1980 periods. In the 1980s, the locus of decisionmaking shifted from the traditional bureaucratic elites to political elites.34 Decisionmaking power was centralized by the prime ministry, while the legislative, judiciary, and bureaucratic state institutions were weakened or undermined. This shift had significant consequences with regard to the relationship between the state and the business class. During the ISI period, the state intervented through routine bureaucratic procedures, and “rents” arising from government policy were distributed to businesses on the basis of relatively impersonal criteria. In the post-1980 period, however, even the distribution of “rents” was done highly selectively, on the basis of personalized criteria. There was constant and particularistic state intervention, despite the rhetoric of “freedom of enterprise,” “market liberalism,” and so on.35 The corruption scandals that have plagued the political scene in Turkey in recent decades are an outcome of this new situation, which partly explains the popularity of the Welfare Party during the same period. Welfare was seen by many as the cleanest of all major political parties, having stayed out of the ranks of the government throughout the 1980s and 1990s, until the 1995 election. Although nothing was ever proved in (or even taken to) a court of law, all other major political parties seemed to be involved directly or indirectly in some form of corrupt dealings while in power. More generally, this situation also explains Welfare’s claim that it was the only truly pro-private-enterprise party. Welfare was in effect voicing the position and the interests of the newly emerging, but still peripheral, industrialist class. This mostly provincial class of entrepreneurs was export-oriented, highly dynamic, and successful, but it was also distant from the sources of governmental power and felt unprotected by the state.
Globalization and Political Islam 439
A N I S L A M I C C A P I TA L I S T C U LT U R E
The division between the core and peripheral segments of the business class can also be seen by comparing the pro-Kemalist and pro-Islamist voluntary business associa¨ ˙ ¨ ˙ ¨ ˙ tions—TUSIAD and MUSIAD, respectively. TUSIAD (the Turkish Industrialist and Businessmen’s Association) was founded in the early 1970s by a small group of bigbusiness people who had continual close relationships with political authorities and were thus both able and encouraged to expand their enterprises. At present, most of ¨ ˙ the several hundred member companies of TUSIAD are large enterprises based in ¨ ˙ Istanbul.36 MUSIAD (the Association of Independent Industrialists and Businessmen), on the other hand, was founded in 1990 to unite the small- and medium-scale enterprises that proliferated rapidly in the 1980s and 1990s as a result of the export orientation of the Turkish economy, and were open to exploitation by large capital through subcontracting links and left unprotected by the state. These employers were unable to find any representation in the Chambers of Commerce and Industry or in the Cham¨ ˙ bers of Craftsmen and Artisans. MUSIAD was founded to organize them within the ¨ ˙ framework of a voluntary association. As the official pro-Islamist line of MUSIAD indicates, this new class of entrepreneurs has been an important supporter of the Welfare Party. ¨ ˙ MUSIAD, most of whose members have fewer than twenty-five employees, maintains that “its constituency has traditionally received unfair treatment from the state ¨ ˙ authority.”37 MUSIAD’s grievance is confirmed both by the testimony of the small employers themselves, who complain that they all are “step-children of the state” because “state policy always favors the large firm,” and by official statistics showing that “credit given by state institutions and banks to small firms as a percentage of total credits has run at around three to four per cent in the last decade.”38 This is the case even though, based on figures from 1990, small firms constitute the vast majority (more than 90 percent) of manufacturing establishments in Turkey, and they employ more than a third of those working in the manufacturing sector.39 ¨ ˙ MUSIAD, as a voluntary association, attempts to provide to its members services that they would be unable to get from the state. These services include organizing conferences, publishing periodicals, and disseminating technology- and market-related ¨ ˙ information. MUSIAD organizes international fairs where members can meet foreign business representatives and establish import–export links; arranges trips to fairs in foreign countries; prepares research-based reports on matters of interest and submits them to political authorities and to the public; prepares reports on countries that ¨ ˙ MUSIAD members might consider doing business with and provides economic, legal, and practical information; organizes training and instruction for members in such areas as foreign languages, modern management techniques, foreign-trade procedures; and, finally, fosters feelings of solidarity and establishes networks among members.40 These networks may involve the creation of market niches or sources of investment. Thus, ¨ ˙ MUSIAD uses the Islamic identity at both the domestic and the international levels as a basis for cooperation among businesses.41 In short, it attempts to turn “peripheral” status from a disadvantage into a network of solidarity. ¨ ˙ According to the president of MUSIAD, Erol Yarar, the association had 3,000 members as of the first quarter of 1998, representing roughly 10,000 companies, which
440 Haldun Gulalp ¨ ¨ ˙ together employed approximately 500,000 people.42 Most MUSIAD member companies were established after 1980, in the post-ISI phase of Turkish development, and have constituted a dynamic force in the export orientation of the Turkish economy.43 After more than a decade of export orientation in Turkey, many enterprises that started ¨ ˙ out at a small or medium scale have been able to grow. At this point, MUSIAD also has numerous large-scale and growing companies among its members, but they all are very recently established and can be easily distinguished from the traditional big businesses in Turkey, which still rely on the state and support Kemalism. Thus, ¨ ˙ MUSIAD represents the new and peripheral segment of the business class that supports political Islam in Turkey. Apropos to this class base, the Welfare Party’s projected “just economic order” draws a utopian picture of an egalitarian petit-bourgeois society composed of individual entrepreneurs.44 In a recently published pamphlet (printed in Turkish and English), Yarar complements that picture with his own vision of a synthesis between Islamic values and post-Fordism. “Assessing from the point of view of industrial (that is, employer–employee) relations, it seems that the information society demands many characteristics of the pre-industrial, agricultural societies: family values, small and medium-sized enterprises, and non-profit voluntary associations.”45 In the same pam¨ ˙ phlet, MUSIAD’s president presents the Islamic version of Max Weber’s “Protestant Ethic.” “For a Muslim individual, the goal in this life is to get the consent of the Creator, Allah. . . . In this respect, economic development is not an end in itself, but simply a means to this end.”46 A constant theme in the discourse of all Islamist circles, including Welfare (now, ¨ ˙ Virtue), MUSIAD, and others, has been the conflict between the interests of “rentseeking” businesses that are close to the political establishment on the one hand, and the decent and hard-working entrepreneurs who have humble backgrounds on the other. Welfare blamed the “rentier” circles throughout its ordeal of being unable to ¨ ˙ secure power despite an electoral victory in 1995. Likewise, MUSIAD stated, in its report on the Turkish economy in 1997, that the “rentier” circles were responsible for the disruption of the democratic process, culminating in the removal of the Welfareled government, by creating the noise about the crisis of the secular regime.47 The same themes can be found in the articulate diatribe of the prominent Islamist econo¨ mist Mustafa Ozel against what he characterizes as the rentier circles who hide behind the shield of Kemalism and continue to exploit the people through state protection. ¨ According to Ozel, these circles, amounting to no more than a few thousand people, comprise the monopolists, the usurers, and the import-substitutionist pseudo-industrialists, all of whom are compradors exploiting the domestic market through the power of the state. He maintains that, by contrast, the truly competitive, export-oriented entrepreneurs, who serve the national interest, oppose the Kemalist ideology and support the “Islamic liberalism” of the Welfare Party.48 This discourse was the key to Welfare’s popularity among the working class, as well. As we will see in the next section, in the context of the collapsed welfare state, a worsening distribution of income, a continually high rate of inflation, and constant rumors of government corruption, the discourse that identified the exploiters as those who rely on the state and its Kemalist ideology won significant support from the working class. The populist appeal of political Islam successfully united around a
Globalization and Political Islam 441 politics of identity both those who lost and those who gained from globalization and from the “neo-liberal” restructuring of the economy in the post-1980 period.49 The findings of a survey conducted in 1993 indicated that small entrepreneurs, including those who were self-employed in the informal sector, combined Islamist tendencies in social and cultural matters with “liberal” attitudes in matters of government economic policy.50 The populist rhetoric of political Islam appealed to these small businessmen who were recent immigrants to the cities and seeking upward mobility from their humble backgrounds. The same survey also revealed that in Istanbul, popular opposition to the “status quo” (including that by the industrial working class) was channeled toward support for the Islamist party much more so than for the social democrats.51 Welfare, then, brought under one roof both the peripheral segments of the business class and people from the working class and attempted to unite them around a common Islamic identity. As we will see next, for the working class, the rise of political Islam represented the decline of social democracy and its replacement by a politics of identity.
G L O BA L I Z AT I O N A N D T H E D E C L I N E O F T H E W E L FA R E S TAT E
We have identified the 1980s as the critical turning point in Turkey’s new economic strategy and in the rise of political Islam as a populist movement. The link between the new socio-economic trends and the themes that political Islam has raised as an opposition movement can be observed in some social and economic indicators. Urbanization reached unprecedented proportions in the post-1980 period. The urban share of Turkey’s population in 1960 was only 32 percent. Within thirty years, however—that is, in 1990—59 percent of the population was living in cities. The share of the urban population surpassed the share of the rural population for the first time in the 1980s. The rural population actually declined in absolute numbers in the same time frame. The rate of urban growth from 1980 to 1990 was a staggering 70 percent.52 As suggested earlier, rapid urbanization led to the expansion of the informal sector and of the small manufacturing sector engaged in subcontracted work, but it did not bring about an improvement in the economic welfare of the working classes, which suffered a steady decline in real wages throughout the 1980s.53 The share of urban wages and salaries in national income (gross domestic product, or GDP) declined from 32.7 percent in the late 1970s (1974–77) to 20.8 percent in the late 1980s (1988– 91).54 In contrast, the increasing significance of “rentier” earnings in national income during the same period could be seen in the growing proportion of “interest” income to the GDP, which shot up from 1.9 percent in 1980 to 14.1 percent in 1988.55 Finally, the distribution of household income worsened during this period. In 1994, the top quintile of households received 54.9 percent of total income (up from 49.9 percent in 1987) while the bottom quintile received only 4.9 percent (down from 5.2 percent in 1987). The distribution was even more skewed toward the top. In the same year, the top 5 percent of the population received 30.3 percent of total income, and the top 1 percent received as much as 16.6 percent.56 These figures explain why a populist discourse of “justice” and “welfare” (the name of the Islamist party) and a critique of the “rentiers” would appeal to the poor and the dispossessed. The social democrats who could resort to the same kind of discourse
442 Haldun Gulalp ¨ could not prevail over the Islamists during this period because of the historical association of the social-democratic tradition in Turkey with Kemalist ideology as the advocate of a modernization and Westernization project from above. The Welfare Party’s rise signified the decline of social democracy as the bearer of the Kemalist legacy in Turkey.57 This can best be seen by comparing the Welfare Party’s electoral performance relative to the social democrats in the 1980s and 1990s with that of the NSP in the 1970s.58 In the 1970s, the level of development of the provinces had an inverse relationship with the relative strength of the NSP and a positive relationship with the relative strength of the social-democratic Republican People’s Party (RPP). With regard to the size of cities, too, the RPP was the clear winner in the largest ones, while the NSP did poorly in them.59 By contrast, in the 1990s, Welfare had been particularly successful in big cities. Welfare’s rise in the 1990s was at the expense of the social-democratic parties. Welfare’s voter base grew fastest in poor neighborhoods that lie at the periphery of large metropolitan centers—neighborhoods that were the solid source of support for social democrats in the 1970s.60 The Welfare Party spoke the language of socio-economic justice and equality in poor urban neighborhoods. Filling the void created by the collapse of statism and the ensuing crisis of modernist ideologies that were based on it, such as nationalism and socialism, Welfare represented a post-nationalist and post-socialist sense of “justice.” The Islamic sense of justice was not only manifested in the realm of ideology. More concretely, in the 1980s the functions of the defunct welfare state were taken on by local religious organizations and foundations working to help the poor in urban neighborhoods, thereby contributing to the popularity of the Islamist political movement. This was particularly instrumental in Welfare’s success in local elections.61 There was a class pattern of support for the Welfare Party. A recent survey revealed that a majority of Welfare supporters did not have much knowledge of Welfare’s program for creating a “just order,” but believed that it had something to do with creating an “egalitarian” and “nearly socialist” society. A majority of Welfare’s supporters were clearly motivated not by religious, but by political, demands.62
ISLAM IST CHALLENGE TO KEM ALISM AND THE PROFESSIONAL M I DDLE CLASS
Finally, we will address the Islamist professional middle class concerned with status issues. The recently growing group of intellectuals who support political Islam has manifested itself in the proliferation of Islamist publications in the 1980s and 1990s. The emergence of a segment of university students and upwardly mobile young professionals as active supporters of political Islam is a new phenomenon because, in Turkey, “intellectual” and “Westernized” have traditionally been identical. Turkish modernization was led by an “enlightened” bureaucratic elite, for whom modernization was synonymous with Westernization. With the global crisis of modernism and the rising challenges against the universal myths of Western civilization, however, the promises of the Kemalist project began to lose credibility. The deconstruction of the universal pretensions of European civili-
Globalization and Political Islam 443 zation, and the growing recognition of its character as a provincial culture with its own hegemonic project, allowed for alternative visions of civilization to gain currency. Just as in the West the crisis of ideologies based on modernism led to the rise of several post-modernist politics of identity,63 so, too, in Turkey the crisis of modernization led to Islamism. Islamist themes, such as anti-Westernism, championing the periphery against the center, and emphasizing the particularism of Islamic culture, began to find resonance among the post-modernist sensibilities of a new generation of students and other intellectuals whose counterparts in the West favored environmentalism and multi-culturalism as political projects.64 The post-modern condition, in other words, allowed for questioning of the unquestionable truths of Turkey’s Westernization project, hence contributing to the popularity of a movement that was hitherto unable to gain a widespread following. Like other post-modern identity politics, Islamism has both cross-class and crossnational claims. The (imagined) immutable quality of Islamic identity, perhaps paradoxically, originates from accepting the Eurocentric assertion of an essential difference between European and non-European cultures. In the post-modern age, those identities, such as class, that derive from modern social structures have been replaced by the defense of authenticity, and those cultural sources which are perceived as traditional are appropriated in the name of diversity. Many observers have noted the connection between the post-Fordist context and the increasing salience of “culture wars” at the expense of class struggles.65 These culture wars characterize what generally have been called the “new social movements” and seem to be unrelated to socio-economic issues. For example, unlike the Fordist compromise between labor and capital over the distribution of rewards that accrue from increased productivity, new social movements tend to reject the productivist deal and advocate post-materialist values, such as the protection of the environment.66 Despite this appearance, however, it is still possible to identify the class foundation of the “culture wars.” Middle-class professionals, unlike labor and capital, are not anchored in the capitalist relations of production; hence, they are primarily concerned with “status.” Cultural capital in general is a source of “social closure” that generates and maintains status stratification.67 The class interests of intellectuals and other middle-class professionals do not directly engender political projects involving the transformation of production relations, although intellectuals may individually attach themselves to the advocacy of the interests of other classes. Culture wars originating from the “status struggles” of (and within) the professional middle class have become more salient than class struggle because of the weakening organization and resistance of the working class due to the post-Fordist globalization process. Their salience, indeed, has become a marker of the post-modern age.68 In Turkey, status stratification within the professional middle class has primarily taken place along the lines of whether one has accepted the Kemalist ideology and internalized the Western lifestyle. Indeed, given the Kemalist identification of “Westernized” with “enlightened,” the now widely used term “Islamist intellectual” has until recently been considered an oxymoron (and now an unlikely, even exotic, phenomenon—hence the qualifier). Thus, the status struggle, which has become easier for the Islamists because of the post-modern weakening of Kemalism, is especially true for the middle-class professionals and Islamist intellectuals who have parochial and mod-
444 Haldun Gulalp ¨ est backgrounds but ambitions of upward mobility and empowerment. As Michael Meeker observes, “the Muslim intellectuals are not unwilling urban residents yearning to return to the security of the rural town or village where there was no need to think through who one was and what one was to do. They are very much creatures of the contemporary Turkish city, like their secular counterparts.”69 It was suggested earlier that the multi-class populism of the Islamist party could be seen in its ambiguous, often contradictory statements aiming to appeal to both the working class and the capitalist class. A similar situation can be observed between the “post-modernist” middle class and the accumulation-minded capitalist-class wings ¨ ˙ of political Islam. For example, MUSIAD’s president, Yarar, states, “We must embrace the motto ‘High Morality, High Technology’ in our scientific and commercial efforts.”70 But high technology is rejected by the post-modern philosophy of the leading Islamist authors. This divergence of views created a division within the Islamist camp with regard to Necmettin Erbakan’s policies when he came to power. One of Erbakan’s first acts as prime minister was to organize a trip to East Asia in order to set up economic and political ties with Islamic nations in the region and to present them as a model at home of how economic and technological development could be combined with “cultural authenticity.” The response to this move from the prominent Islamist theorist Ali Bulac, torn between the desire to oppose Erbakan’s policy and ¸ the commitment to support his government, was one of bitter resignation. “I, for one, believe that such concepts as modernity and development have destructive effects. But I also accept that the Muslim world, and Turkey in particular, have to swallow this bitter pill. Therefore, what needs to be done should be done right away.”71 This example also serves to illustrate another characteristic of populist movements in general—that is, their reliance on lower classes when in opposition and their willingness to serve the interests of upper classes when in power.
The social base of political Islam in Turkey, then, can be conceived of as a vertical bloc comprising segments of different socio-economic classes. Although they have different concerns and motives for supporting political Islam, these different segments of society are united in their common opposition to Kemalism and their expression of political will through the assertion of an Islamic identity. The Welfare Party successfully managed to keep these diverse forces under one roof and emerged as a powerful opposition movement to the status quo. Welfare’s vertical bloc of support included the following class segments:
1. The peripheral segment of the capitalist class, consisting of small- and medium-scale, and mostly provincial, businesses. The interests of this segment have been opposed to the interests of the mostly Istanbul-based big capital, which has grown in cooperation with the state. In recent years, however, taking advantage of the export orientation of the economy, Islamic capital has also grown, leading to the foundation of some holding companies that have reached the size and economic power of many units of “core” capital. 2. The professional middle class, whose peripheral segment has consisted of those university graduates who have a conservative and mostly provincial background and who have begun to challenge the “core” professional elite who are the fundamental mainstay of Kemalism
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in Turkey. In recent years, taking advantage of the trends toward asserting authenticity, this segment has established itself as a legitimate category of “intellectuals.” 3. The working class, whose peripheral segment has consisted of the recent immigrants to the cities who have mostly been unable to find secure employment and have engaged in marginal activities. Unlike the established and organized working class, which is close to the “core” through formal links with the state, this segment of the dispossessed has been prone to be swayed by non-mainstream political movements. The efforts of the Islamist political party to mobilize a mass-based movement through populist propaganda has been directed mostly toward this social segment. But political Islam has also won support among the more established working class.72
In recent years each of these groups has been growing numerically and as a social or economic force. This opposition began to challenge the state, whose welfare and developmentalist ideology and practices entered a declining phase due to a weakening associated with processes of globalization and post-modernization. The weakening of the protectionist practices of the state left its oppressive character more apparent than before and created an opportunity for waging an assault on its founding ideology of Kemalism. This set of conditions resulted partly from the relative strengthening of some peripheral groups and partly from the weakening and consequent politicization of others. Globalization has strengthened peripheral capital and peripheral professionals while it has adversely affected the working class. With its radical rhetoric in the face of the failures of Turkey’s Westernization project, the Islamist movement hence was able in the 1990s to broaden its base of support by appealing to a wider range and greater variety of disaffected social segments.
Author’s note: This paper is based on a report originally prepared for the project on “Muslim Voices in the European Union,” funded by the European Union and coordinated by Dr. Pandeli Glavanis at the University of Manchester. I am grateful to the editor of this journal and the anonymous readers of this article for helpful comments on earlier drafts. 1 See Phillip Berryman, Liberation Theology (New York: Pantheon Books, 1987). For the English translation of one of the original programmatic statements of liberation theology, see Gustavo Gutierrez, “Liberation, Theology, and Proclamation,” in The Pope and Revolution, ed. Quentin Quade (Washington, D.C.: Ethics and Public Policy Center, 1982). 2 Serif Mardin, “Center–Periphery Relations: A Key to Turkish Politics?” Daedalus 102 (1973): 169–90. ¸ 3 Nilufer Gole, “Secularism and Islamism in Turkey: The Making of Elites and Counter-Elites” Middle ¨ ¨ East Journal 51 (1997): 52. See also idem, “Authoritarian Secularism and Islamist Politics: The Case of Turkey,” in Civil Society in the Middle East, ed. Augustus Richard Norton (Leiden: E. J. Brill, 1996), 2: 20–25. 4 See Yael Navaro-Yashin, “Uses and Abuses of ‘State and Civil Society’ in Contemporary Turkey,” New Perspectives on Turkey 18 (1998): 1–22. 5 Mardin, “Center–Periphery Relations.” 6 See Binnaz Toprak, “Religion as State Ideology in a Secular Setting: The Turkish–Islamic Synthesis,” in Aspects of Religion in Modern Turkey, ed. J. M. Wagstaff, University of Durham, Center for Middle ¨ ˘ Eastern and Islamic Studies, Occasional Paper Series, no. 40 (1990); Umit Cizre Sakallıoglu, “Parameters and Strategies of Islam–State Interaction in Republican Turkey,” International Journal of Middle East Studies 28 (1996): 231–51. 7 Nilufer Gole, The Forbidden Modern: Civilization and Veiling (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan ¨ ¨ Press, 1996). 8 See, for example, Michael Meeker, “The New Muslim Intellectuals in the Republic of Turkey,” in Islam
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in Modern Turkey, ed. Richard Tapper (London: I. B. Tauris, 1991), 189–219; Binnaz Toprak, “Islamist Intellectuals: Revolt against Industry and Technology,” in Turkey and the West: Changing Political and Cultural Identities, ed. Metin Heper, Ayse Oncu, and H. Kramer (London: I. B. Tauris, 1993), 237–57. ¸ ¨ ¨ 9 James Mittelman, ed., Globalization: Critical Perspectives (Boulder, Colo.: Lynne Rienner, 1996). 10 David Harvey, The Condition of Postmodernity: An Enquiry into the Origins of Cultural Change (Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1989); Arif Dirlik, “The Postcolonial Aura: Third World Criticism in the Age of Global Capitalism,” Critical Inquiry 20 (1994): 328–56. 11 For further discussion of this concept, see Stephen Crook, Jan Pakulski, and Malcolm Waters, Postmodernization (London: Sage Publications, 1992). See also Harvey, Condition of Postmodernity. 12 Understanding the link between globalization and the rise of political Islam may also help account for the more general phenomenon noted in recent literature as the seemingly contradictory union of “McDonaldization and tribalism”: see Benjamin Barber, “Jihad vs. McWorld,” Atlantic Monthly (March 1992), 53–63. 13 Torcuata Di Tella, “Populism into the Twenty-first Century,” Government and Opposition 32 (1997): 187–200. 14 The classic work on ISI is Albert O. Hirschman, “The Political Economy of Import-Substituting Industrialization in Latin America,” Quarterly Journal of Economics 82 (1968): 1–32. 15 Ahmet Yucekok, Turkiye’de Din ve Siyaset (Istanbul: Gercek Yayınları, 1983); Turker Alkan, “The ¨ ¨ ¸ ¨ ¨ National Salvation Party in Turkey,” in Islam and Politics in the Modern Middle East, ed. Metin Heper and Raphael Israeli (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1984); Binnaz Toprak, “Politicization of Islam in a Secular State: The National Salvation Party in Turkey,” in From Nationalism to Revolutionary Islam, ed. Said Amir Arjomand (Albany: State University of New York Press, 1984); Ali Yasar Sarıbay, Turkiye’de ¨ ¸ ¨ Din ve Parti Politikası: MSP Ornek Olayı (Istanbul: Alan Yayıncılık, 1985). 16 Faruk Birtek and Binnaz Toprak, “The Conflictual Agendas of Neo-Liberal Reconstruction and the Rise of Islamic Politics in Turkey: The Hazards of Rewriting Modernity,” Praxis International 13 (1993): 199. See also Binnaz Toprak, “Islam and the Secular State in Turkey” in Turkey: Political, Social and Economic Challenges in the 1990s, ed. Cigdem Balım, et al. (Leiden: E. J. Brill, 1995); Ahmet Yucekok, ¨ ¸ ˘ ¨ Dinin Siyasallasması: Din-Devlet ˙liskilerinde Turkiye Deneyimi (Istanbul: Afa Yayınları, 1997). I ¸ ¨ ¸ 17 See Ash Amin, ed., Post-Fordism (London: Blackwell, 1994). 18 Samuel Bowles and Herbert Gintis, “The Labor-Capital Accord,” in The Transformation of Industrial Organization, ed. Frank Hearn (Belmont: Wadsworth, 1988). 19 George Steinmetz and Erik Olin Wright, “The Fall and Rise of the Petty Bourgeoisie: Changing Patterns of Self-Employment in the Postwar United States,” American Journal of Sociology 94 (1989): 975–1007. 20 Crook et al., Postmodernization, 177–90; Anna Pollert, “Dismantling Flexibility” Capital and Class, 34 (1988): 42–75. 21 See Gary Gereffi, “Capitalism, Development and Global Commodity Chains,” in Capitalism and Development, ed. Leslie Sklair (London: Routledge, 1994), and idem, “Global Production Systems and Third World Development,” in Global Change: Regional Response, ed. Barbara Stallings (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1995). 22 Harvey, Condition of Postmodernity, 152. 23 Ibid., 192. 24 ¨ ¨ Sevil Kisoglu, A. H. Kose, A. Oncu, and G. Cakar, “Anadolu Sanayisi Arastırma Raporunun Sunul¨ ¸ ˘ ¸ ¸ ması,” in 1997 Sanayi Kongresi, ed. Makine Muhendisleri Odası (Ankara, 1997), 1–90. ¨ 25 ˘ Oguz Oyan and Aziz Konukman, “Esnek ˙sgucu Piyasaları, Anadolu Kaplanları ve Sendikalasma,” in I¸ ¨ ¨ ¸ 1997 Sanayi Kongresi, 233–38. 26 ¨ ¨ ˙ ˙ Mustafa Sahin, “Turkiye’de Kucuk ve Orta Boy ˙sletmelerin (KOBI’lerin) Onemi,” MUSIAD Bulteni, I¸ ¨ ¸ ¨ ¨¸¨ no. 20 (Nisan–Mayıs [April–May] 1997), 35. 27 Theo Nichols and Nadir Sugur, “Small Employers in Turkey: The OSTIM Estate at Ankara,” Middle Eastern Studies 32 (1996): 250. 28 Jenny White, Money Makes Us Relatives: Women’s Labor in Urban Turkey (Austin: Texas University Press, 1994), 105. 29 Ibid., 105–31. 30 ˘ Ayse Bugra, State and Business in Turkey: A Comparative Study (Albany: State University of New ¸ York Press, 1994), 4–5. 31 See Caglar Keyder, State and Class in Turkey (London: NLB, 1987). ¸ ˘
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¨ ¸ ˘ ¸ Ziya Onis, State and Market (Istanbul: Bogazici University Press, 1998), 244. ¨ ¸ ˘ Bugra, State and Business, 264; Onis, State and Market, 253. 34 ¨ Onis, State and Market, 255. ¸ 35 Korkut Boratav, 1980’li Yıllarda Turkiye’de Sosyal Sınıflar ve Bolusum (Istanbul: Gercek Yayınları, ¨ ¨ ¨¸¨ ¸ 1991), 92–97. 36 ˘ ˘ Bugra, State and Business, chap. 5; Ayse Bugra, “Class, Culture, and State: An Analysis of Interest ¸ Representation by two Turkish Business Associations,” International Journal of Middle East Studies 30 (1998): 521–39. 37 ˘ Bugra, “Class, Culture, and State,” 525. 38 Nadir Sugur, “Small Firm Flexibility in Turkey: The Case of OSTIM Industrial District at Ankara,” New Perspectives on Turkey, 16 (1997): 99–100. 39 Nichols and Sugur, “Small Employers in Turkey,” 231. 40 ¨ ˙ MUSIAD Publicity Pamphlet, n.d. 41 ˘ Bugra, “Class, Culture, and State.” 42 Interview on the television program 32.Gun, 14 April 1998. ¨ 43 ˘ Bugra, “Class, Culture, and State.” 44 Necmettin Erbakan, Adil Ekonomik Duzen (Ankara, 1991). For a critical assessment, see Haldun Gulalp, ¨ ¨ “Political Islam in Turkey: The Rise and Fall of the Refah Party,” The Muslim World 89 (1999): 27–28. 45 ˙ Erol Yarar, A New Perspective of the World at the Threshold of the 21st Century (Istanbul: MUSIAD, n.d. ), 8. 46 Ibid., 45. 47 ¨ ˙ MUSIAD Bulteni, no. 22 (Agustos–Eylul [August–September], 1997), 7–11. ¨ ¨ 48 ¨ Mustafa Ozel, Refahlı Turkiye (Istanbul: ˙z Yayınları, 1997). I ¨ 49 ¨ ¸ Ziya Onis, “The Political Economy of Islamic Resurgence in Turkey: The Rise of the Welfare Party in Perspective,” Third World Quarterly 18 (1997): 743–66. 50 ˙ Korkut Boratav, Istanbul ve Anadolu’dan Sınıf Profilleri (Istanbul: Tarih Vakfı Yurt Yayınları, 1995), 104. 51 Ibid., 94. 52 State Institute of Statistics, Statistical Yearbook of Turkey (Ankara, 1996). 53 Boratav, 1980’li Yıllarda, 37. 54 ¨ ˘ ˘ ˙ Hasan Kirmanoglu, “Refah Partisi’nin Yukselisinin Ekonomi Politigi,” Istanbul Bilgi Universitesi Aras¸ ¸ ¨ tırma Merkezi, mimeo (1997), 18. 55 Boratav, 1980’li Yıllarda, 55. 56 State Institute of Statistics, Income Distribution (Household Income Distribution Survey Results) (Ankara, 1994). 57 In this context we may also recall the commonly heard argument that the growth of political Islam was due to the support provided by the generals during the military regime of the 1980s in their attempt to ˘ suppress the left. See, for example, Toprak, “Religion as State Ideology,” and Sakallıoglu, “Parameters and Strategies.” Although it may be true that the generals supported the Islamists against the leftists, this argument ignores the crucial facts that traditional left-wing politics declined in a process not even fully understood (let alone engineered) by the generals and that, in the same time frame, not only Islamism but also other sorts of religion-based political movements began to sprout around the world. 58 For a more detailed analysis, see Gulalp, “Political Islam in Turkey,” 29–32. ¨ 59 Sarıbay, Turkiye’de Din ve Parti, 155–70. ¨ 60 ¨ Aydın Koymen, Necat Erder, and Ahmet Kardam, “TUSES Arastırması, Secim Sonucları ve Sosyal ¨ ¸ ¸ ¸ ¨ ˘ ¸ Demokrasinin Krizi Uzerine,” Sosyal Demokrat Degisim, no. 1 (1996); Erol Tuncer, “24 Aralık 1995 Genel ˘ Secimlerine ˙liskin Sayısal ve Genel Bir Degerlendirme,” ibid.; Gulgun Tosun and Tanju Tosun, “27 Mart I ¸ ¸ ¨ ¨ ˘ 1994 Yerel Secimlerinden 24 Aralık 1995 Genel Secimlerine: Siyasal Cografyaya ˙liskin Gozlemler,” Amme I ¸ ¨ ¸ ¸ ˙ Idaresi Dergisi 29 (1996). 61 Rusen Cakır, Ayet ve Slogan: Turkiye’de ˙slami Olusumlar (Istanbul: Metis Yayınları, 1990); Mustafa I ¨ ¸ ¸ ¸ ˙ Haki Okutucu, Istikamet Seriat: Refah Partisi (Istanbul: Yeryuzu Yayınları, 1996), 76–84. ¨ ¨ ¸ 62 ARAS, Refah Arastırması (Ankara, 1994), 24–27, 34. ¸ ¸ 63 Pauline Marie Rosenau, Postmodernism and the Social Sciences (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1992). 64 See Haldun Gulalp, “Postmodernism and Islamism,” Contention 4 (1995): 59–73; and idem, “Globaliz¨ ing Postmodernism: Islamist and Western Social Theory,” Economy and Society 26 (1997): 419–33.
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See, for example, Scott Lash and John Urry, Economies of Signs and Space (London: Sage Publications, 1994); Robert J. Antonio and Alessandro Bonanno, “Post-Fordism in the United States: The Poverty of Market-Centered Democracy,” Current Perspectives in Social Theory 16 (1996): 3–32. 66 George Steinmetz, “Regulation Theory, Post-Marxism, and the New Social Movements,” Comparative Studies in Society and History 36 (1994): 192–94. 67 On the concept of “social closure,” see Jeff Manza, “Classes, Status Groups, and Social Closure: A Critique of Neo-Weberian Social Theory,” Current Perspectives in Social Theory 12 (1992): 275–302. 68 See, for example, Scott Lash, Sociology of Postmodernism (New York: Routledge, 1990), 4. 69 Meeker, “New Muslim Intellectuals,” 217. 70 Yarar, New Perspective, 47. See also Erol Yarar, “Tekno-ekonomik Paradigma ile Satranc” Cerceve 15 ¸ ¸ ¸ (1995): 7. 71 Yeni Safak, 22 August 1996. ¸ 72 There is also a fourth group of people who have supported Welfare but who cannot be identified in terms of class position: Kurds who were disaffected by the Turkish government’s handling of the Kurdish issue but were unwilling to support the PKK. The origins of the Kurdish movement and Kurdish support for Welfare lie beyond the scope of this paper. For a treatment of Welfare’s Kurdish policy, see Hamit Bozarslan, “Political Crisis and the Kurdish Issue in Turkey,” in The Kurdish Nationalist Movement in the 1990s: Its Impact on Turkey and the Middle East, ed. Robert Olson (Lexington: University Press of Kentucky, 1996); Haldun Gulalp, “Islamism and Kurdish Nationalism: Rival Adversaries of Kemalism in Tur¨ key,” in Islam and the Question of Minorities, ed. Tamara Sonn (Atlanta, Ga.: Scholars Press, 1996).