Industrial Islamism in Turkey

By Utku Balaban
Submitted to Session S6258 (Global Academy Event and Fellows Panel, 2020 Annual Meeting
Urban Studies;
Islamism thrived around the world following the crisis of developmentalism in the 1970s. Particularly in Turkey, Islamists challenged the political establishment only after they allied with small industrialists who played a pivotal role in the country’s increasing global economic connectivity in the 1980s. The political strength of this alliance derives from its capacity to deter its challengers from contacting the electorate in working-class communities.

In this presentation, I argue that this coercive strategy frames both the authoritarian character of Islamism and the political economic reflexes of Islamists in power. Thus, the secular-Islamist cleavage is only one overstated factor to explain the sea change in Turkish politics since the 1980s.

Keywords: Islamism, developmentalism, modernism, industrial relations, globalization, center-periphery, gender relations, urban sociology, religious movements