One of the most pressing issues facing Arab societies, in view of the large-scale political transitions taking place in the Middle East, is the status of religion in the state. In this regard, Turkey, a Muslim democratic state, is often offered as a model to follow. The current piece demonstrates that despite the seeming appeal of the Turkish model, it is inadequate for Middle Eastern societies, in which religion plays a significant social role and is a core ingredient of individual and collective identity. This is because the foundations of the Turkish model were artificially imported from the Western experience, and forced from above onto the Turkish populace without much-needed contextual adjustment. This assertion is true not only for the original state-religion model in Turkey, but also for its modified present-day version, which bears to a large extent the burdens of the past. The article concludes by outlining some points that might serve emergent Arab democracies aiming to design a constructive and authentic model of religion and the state.
- Arab Spring
- Middle East
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Sociology and Political Science
- Political Science and International Relations