Islamo-liberal iterations in Turkey: The lifecycle of a political alliance
Ankara’s recent illiberal turn has led many to question the compatibility of Islamism and liberalism in Turkey. Yet, a closer reading of the country’s two-century journey across political modernity reveals a recurring Islamo-liberal alliance which, for better or for worse, has driven major outcomes from late Ottoman modernization and the 20th century transition to multi-party politics to Turkey’s EU oriented liberalization in the 2000s. The talk will examine when and why the alliance coalesces—and collapses—with what implications for democracy in Muslim-majority polities like Turkey.
Nora Fisher-Onar is Assistant Professor in Global Politics at Coastal Carolina University. She also serves as research associate of the Centre for International Studies (CIS) at Oxford University, and as a non-residential fellow of the German Marshall Fund (GMF). Her research interests include IR and social theory, comparative area studies, political ideologies, gender, history/memory, and foreign policy analysis. She received her doctorate from Oxford and holds masters and undergraduate degrees from Johns Hopkins (SAIS) and Georgetown universities, respectively. She lived in Istanbul for over a decade and speaks five languages including fluent Turkish. Fisher-Onar is editor of the forthcoming volume, Istanbul: Living With Difference in a Global City (Rutgers UP, January 2018), and has published extensively in academic journals like Theory and Society, Women’s Studies International Forum, and Conflict and Cooperation. She also regularly speaks at policy fora like the GMF, Brookings Institution and Carnegie Endowment, and writes for platforms like Foreign Affairs, the Guardian, and OpenDemocracy.