Neo-conservative Islam and Transition of Secular Education in Turkey

Ismail Guven


This article analyses the impact of neo-conservative Islam as an ideology on secular education across different periods of Turkish history, but particularly the past two decades. First, the role of religion in Turkish society is discussed, then, the effects of religion on the educational system during the past 70 years is examined, with examples given of how secular education has been eroded over time. Neo-conservatism emerged after 1990 and has since been infused into Turkey’s educational system, with successive conservative governments having changed the structure and curricula at every level. This newly emerged Islamic tendency, called “neo-conservative Islamic Ideology,” has become a discourse in education. As a result, it has influenced the very structure of school curricula, as well as the national educational policy and its implementation throughout Turkish society, causing much heated and widespread debate. Neoconservative policies have caused the emergence of a dual education system in Turkey, with one Islamic-oriented and the other secular. 


neo-conservatism, Islam, education, curriculum

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