Recently I received an interesting email from someone who was interested in learning more about a topic related to my research area and found my email address from the University.
The question posed to me was quite simple; the gentleman wanted to learn about the “Turkish revival”. There are many people who believe that there is a Turkish revival (somewhere in Turkey) taking place right now and that it can be explained with relative ease. If only it was so straightforward and simple to explain…and then, would anyone, least of all me, do justice to the so called ‘revival’? There is no denying that Turkey is dynamic and growing - every second there is something ‘big’ happening that it is difficult to keep up with the pace of things.
So I needed some clarification, some specification and a slight narrowing down of the subject area to enable me to attempt a reasonably intelligent response. The enquirer, clearly keen to learn about the religious movements in Turkey, specified he wanted to know more about the Hizmet Movement, Nur Movements, Nakshbendis and other Sufi groups and their workings as they had become increasingly more visible over the last decade.
As joyous as I was to have been contacted by a fellow seeker of knowledge, I remained unable to respond via an email to this request as the issue remained huge and complex.
Having pondered over the email a few days later, I realised that though I was not able to provide a satisfactory answer in an email response, I could attempt to write (excerpts) from my thesis and elaborate on some of my thoughts occasionally. In this way, I may be able to answer some of the gentleman’s query and additionally, I will be able to consolidate my own research and knowledge by reminding myself of how the Turkish Revival is unfolding each and every day.
In this series of articles I will begin by providing a brief historical background of Turkey with regards to religion and politics in particular. I will try to explain the current political and religious situation and this may shed some light on why the “revival” took place in quite a different manner (if it took place at all) in Turkey. May be it will provide some mesn of comparison to popular “Arab Spring”.
I hope this journey of research, reading, writing and sharing will prove useful in some way...
All the best