chapter  6
56 Pages

From a Secular to a Postsecular and Post-Kemalist Turkey? The Neo-Ottoman (Democratic) Narrative and the Reconstruction of the Turkish Central Value System

A central issue considered in this book is the ongoing process of transition from a Kemalist understanding of secularism and national identity, to a post-Kemalist view of the place of religions and cultural differences at large in social and political life in contemporary Turkey. What is happening in Turkey today is not without deep contradictions and false moves, as is the effort of writing a new narrative, the making of a new post-Kemalist and postsecular national identity. Such efforts imply the reshaping of the collective consciousness, making hegemonic a new story of the Turkish past, present and future. I maintain that such efforts are selfprojected, that is, that specific social actors behave instrumentally at different levels to the writing of this new narrative. At the same time, social and cultural change happens also in less conscious and instrumental ways, in everyday practices. In this chapter, I consider three different levels at which social actors, some deliberately, some less consciously, are contributing in different ways to writing a new hegemonic narrative, which I call the neo-Ottoman (democratic) narrative.1