New Capitalism in Turkey
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New Capitalism in Turkey

The Relationship between Politics, Religion and Business

Ayşe Buğra and Osman Savaşkan

New Capitalism in Turkey explores the changing relationship between politics, religion and business through an analysis of the contemporary Turkish business environment.
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Chapter 2: The changing place of the economy and religion in Turkish society since 1980

Ayşe Buğra and Osman Savaşkan


Turkey's integration into the global market economy began with the coup d'état of 1980. This military intervention was the most ruthless in the history of the Republic and had the most enduring impact on Turkish society. Legal and institutional changes made during military rule were designed, first and foremost, to keep social conflict and social dissent under firm control. The military regime introduced a new constitution that significantly curbed democratic rights. Existing political parties were closed and their leaders were prevented from participating in politics. The 1983 elections brought to power the liberal Motherland Party (Anavatan Partisi, ANAP), which remained in power throughout the decade and became a junior partner in two coalition governments in the 1990s. Leaders of the parties banned by the military could not return to the political scene until a referendum at the end of the 1980s restored their political rights. While the leaders of the junta tried to impose a doctrine of authoritarian Kemalism on the society, the idea of a "Turkish-Islamist synthesis" emerged as an important ideological component of the political environment produced by the coup. The suppression of left-wing political activity opened a space for the emergence of formal and informal Islamist organizations. This chapter begins with a discussion of the economic developments of the 1980s and the 1990s, then examines the unprecedented rise of political Islam after 1980.

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