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What Religion are Turkish people?

Kurdish Activists Sense a Conspiracy

SAYGIN SERDAROGLU / AFP / Getty Images

A Kurdish protester clashes with Turkish police during a "Noruz" or "Navroz" celebration in Istanbul on March 18, 2012.

In a widely reported speech last month, Recep Tayyip Erdogan spoke about Turkey's seemingly perpetual problem with its largest ethnic minority, the Kurds. He insisted on the indivisibility of the country, describing it as "one nation, one state, one flag and one religion." Erdogan, whose Islamic-leaning Justice and Development Party (AKP) has ruled Turkey since 2002, would later insist that the religion reference was a slip of the tongue, that he did not mean to bring up religion. Many Kurdish activists drew a different conclusion. To them, the misstatement spoke clearly to the AKP's unspoken policy of using Islam to lure the Kurds into abandoning their struggle for additional rights and a measure of political autonomy. (Like most Turks, including Erdogan himself, the majority of Kurds are Sunni Muslims.)

Recently, the lightning rod for such suspicions has been the Gulen movement, the controversial religious group suspected of wielding considerable sway over the Turkish government, business community, and the media. (The movement takes its name from Fethullah Gulen, a Pennsylvania-based Islamic preacher.) The group, many Kurdish nationalists suspect, has been part and parcel of a new government strategy to pacify and assimilate the Kurds. "Someone comes here and tries to teach our people religion, " Ahmet Turk, a prominent Kurdish politician, said back in 2010. "And they say in the name of Islam, 'Yes, let us help you improve your belief but forget about your identity.'" Says Vahap Coskun, an assistant professor at Diyarbakir's Dicle University, "Together, the [Gulenists] and the government have been using religion to attain the objective they have in mind — to build the unity of the state."

The Gulen movement publicly eschews politics. Its main objective in Turkey's Kurdish-majority southeast, key Gulenists insist, is to focus on a long-neglected issue: education. For the region's Kurds, access to quality schooling has always been scarce. A raging 30-year conflict between Kurdish militants and the Turkish army has made things even worse. The Gulenists — who run some of the best university preparatory schools in the country — have gone a considerable way to address governmental neglect. As a Kurdish columnist at one of Turkey's largest papers — himself a graduate of a Gulen school — told me in Istanbul, "Most of the people from the southeast, if they're here [in Istanbul] and if they're successful, chances are that at some point they went through the Gulen system."

Monarch Books The Edge of Paradise: For the Love of the Turkish People ... And Those Willing to Die for Them
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FAQ

James
What are turkish trousers like to wear and what is their history?

There is no such a thing Turkish trousers.... but we've got trousers which village people wear and it's called shalvar. it's really baggy at the bottom and people wear them in the villages when they work on the field... But now it's like a fashion.. even classy women started to wear them. they produce it reall fancy now as well... they are comfortable but i wouldnt wear them coz it looks so baggy and sometimes like you shite yourself and have diapers :))

Kevin7
Can someone tell me about traditional Turkish clothing?

Turkish clothing is an important part of their rich culture. Like the Turkish culture which has become rich being influenced by several empires and their own set of practices, Turkish clothing has also a very rich and variegated tradition of its own. Apart from the natural difference between men and women clothing, there are several other differences in Turkish clothing which depends on several occasions.

Turkish clothing is also reflection of various socio-cultural aspects of Turkish life and history in general. In historical time the Turkish race made a very wide and vast kingdom…

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