An Inspiration for Democratization in the Middle East: Turkey
NAVAL POSTGRADUATE SCHOOL MONTEREY CA DEPT OF NATIONAL SECURITY AFFAIRS
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For many years, countless individuals have debated the compatibility of Islam and democracy. Some scholars argue that Islam and democracy are incompatible because of the nature of Islam and its core teachings, while others assert the idea of their compatibility by emphasizing democracys universality. Turkey, which is a predominantly Muslim, yet democratic, country, is an example of the coherence and compatibility of Islam and democracy. Recent historic developments, beginning in Tunisia and continuing with other Middle Eastern countries, have triggered a debate about the future direction of the political structure of these countries. The possibility of relatively strong fundamentalist-Islamist parties taking over after the collapse of existing governments has led to a reassessment of the potential for democratization in the Middle East. Because of Turkeys strategic location, its common history with the Middle East, its political and economic strength, and most importantly, its unique character as a predominantly Muslim, yet secular, democratic, and modern country, Turkey again is being reviewed as a potential role model for democracy in the region. After examining the compatibility of Islam and democracy and the core reasons for the lack of democracy in the Middle East, this thesis discusses Turkeys potential as a role model for democratization for predominantly Muslim countries in the Middle East. In addition, it discusses Turkeys historical experiences with democratization and what they can teach us about the process of attaining a democratic society, regardless of its religion.
- Government and Political Science
- Humanities and History