Reading Turkish Islamist Writers

Kısakürek, Bulaç, Dilipak

by Konstantinos Gogos (Author)
©2020 Monographs 106 Pages


The main purpose of this study is to contribute to the familiarization of the reader with the production of Islamist writers in contemporary Turkey, by focusing on the ideas and writings of Necip Fazıl Kısakürek, Ali Bulaç, and Abdurrahman Dilipak.
The reader is given the opportunity to read a number of representative writings of the above-mentioned writers; in addition, there is an introductory chapter with the purpose of placing the discussion of the emergence, role, and typology of Islamist intellectuals in Turkey in social theory terms and context.

Table Of Contents

  • Cover
  • Title
  • Copyright
  • About the author
  • About the book
  • This eBook can be cited
  • Table of Contents
  • Prologue
  • A Note on Pronunciation of Turkish Names
  • Introduction
  • The Importance of the Topic
  • Clarification of Terms and Concepts
  • Chapter 1 Islamist Intellectuals in Turkey: Introductory and Theoretical Observations
  • The Emergence of Contemporary Islamist Intellectuals
  • Turkish Islamist Intellectuals and Social Theory
  • Chapter 2 Necip Fazıl Kısakürek
  • Short Biography
  • Kısakürek’s Publishing Activities
  • Kısakürek’s political activity
  • Kısakürek’s Thought
  • Büyük Doğu
  • The Role of Intellectuals
  • Views on Turkish History and Islam
  • Text: “Our Crisis”
  • Text: “Line for Historical Periodization”129
  • The Relation between Islam and the Military
  • Conclusion
  • Chapter 3 Ali Bulaç
  • Short Biography
  • Bulaç’s Publishing Activities and Writings
  • Bulaç’s Islamist Thought
  • The Role of the Muslim Intellectual
  • Typologies and Classifications of Islam
  • The Islamist Movement
  • The Medina Document
  • Bulaç’s Writings
  • Text: “A Method of Conciliation in Tunisia”215
  • Text: “Europe Should Not Isolate Itself”216
  • Text: “What We Get from the West, and How to Use it”217
  • Text: “Role of Religion in Politics”218
  • Text: “The Codes of Politics”219
  • Text: “Islamist Κemalists”220
  • Conclusion
  • Chapter 4 Abdurrahman Dilipak
  • Short Biography
  • Dilipak’s Publishing Activity and Writings
  • Dilipak’s Political Activity
  • Dilipak’s Islamist thought
  • Dilipak’s Writings
  • Text: “The Three Modes of Politics in the Relationships between Religion and State (Secularism, Theocracy, and Byzantinism)”246
  • Text: About Islam, Faith and the Human Mind252
  • Text: On the Dominance of Muslims259
  • Text: “Is Democracy a Form of Islamic Governance?”
  • About the Method of Islamic Struggle
  • About the Turkish-Islamic Synthesis
  • On the Community of Fethullah Gülen
  • Conclusion
  • Epilogue
  • Bibliography
  • Index

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This book is the English translation of my latest book, which was published in Greek in 2016 (by Livanis Puplications) and was intended to be used as a textbook for my students at the Department of Turkish Studies and Modern Asian Studies, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens. It introduces the writings and ideas of contemporary Turkish Islamist writers, and offers a perspective on the intellectual aspect of the Islamic movement in Turkey, an aspect which is relatively unknown outside Turkey. My principal goal and purpose when conceiving and writing this book was to combine a practical approach with a more theoretical one: in other words, to offer in translation some representative texts of the writers under study, and to discuss, though in a limited manner, the role of Islamist intellectuals in Turkey (and the Muslim world) as an alluring and engaging research topic.

As said above, this book was initially published in Greek—under the title “The Islamist movement in Turkey: Contribution to the study of contemporary Turkish Islamist thought.” For the English-language version I have made only a few changes. Most of these changes concern the bibliography and quotations, as herein I use and refer to the original books published in English and not to their Greek translation or publication—as I did in the Greek version. On the other hand, it was necessary to translate into English (for the English-speaking reader) short or longer passages from the secondary Greek bibliography I used, something that was not needed in the Greek version.

Further, it should be noted that in the time that passed between the completion and publication of the original Greek-language book (in the first half of 2016) and the first months of 2019, when the English manuscript was completed, important political events and developments have occurred in Turkey that are related to at least one of the writers I refer to in the book. I have tried to refer to them and include them, when needed, in a synoptic and succinct way, without altering the structure of the book.

Initially, I translated the majority of the writings presented in the book from Turkish into Greek. For the English version the same writings have been translated into English. As far as Ali Bulaç is concerned, some of his writings were originally published in English and are therefore presented herein in their original form and style.

The difficult task of the English translation could not have been realized without the valuable assistance I received from a number of colleagues and ←9 | 10→professionals in the second half of 2018. I am deeply grateful to them; Sofia Bountouraki, who currently works as a translator at the Greek Translation Office of the EU in Luxemburg, translated major parts of the chapters dedicated to Ali Bulaç and Abdurrahman Dilipak; Maria Markopoulou, who is the Head of the Language Office of the International Award ‘Giuseppe Sciacca’ in Rome and a PhD candidate at the Sorbonne, translated the chapter dedicated to Necip Fazıl Kısakürek and copy-edited chapter 1; Anastassios Tsiropoulos, an English language teacher based in Athens, offered me his assistance in the translation of the Introduction and chapter 1; James Root, a recent MA graduate at the Center for Middle Eastern Studies, Lund University, Sweden, copy-edited the greater part of the manuscript and without doubt helped me to avoid mistakes and overcome difficulties in writing style and expression.

I must also thank my colleague Eylem Akdeniz Göker, Assistant Professor of Public Administration and Political Science at Altınbaş University in Istanbul, who read the introductory and theoretical parts of the manuscript and kindly shared with me her theoretical knowledge and perspective on the subject of intellectuals and society in Turkey. Her comments and remarks were crucial and fruitful. Last, but not least, I would like to thank my publishers for making this publication possible.

Needless to say I bear the sole responsibility for any mistake, inconsistency or misconception that may be found in the book, either in my argumentation and analysis or in the translation of the Turkish-language texts.

Konstantinos Gogos

Athens, March 2019

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A Note on Pronunciation of Turkish Names

Throughout the book, I have used the Turkish language when mentioning names of persons, titles of books, and occasionally some terms. To assist the reader not familiar with the Turkish alphabet, here are some indications on pronunciation.

c   sounds like the ‘j’ in job

ç   sounds like the ‘ch’ in church

ğ   soft g; not vocalized, lengthens the preceding vowel

ı   (dotless I) sounds like the ‘i’ in cousin

ö   sounds like the French ‘eu’; like the German ‘ö’

ş   sounds like the ‘sh’ in shop

ü   sounds like the French ‘u’; like the German ‘ü’

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The Importance of the Topic

The main purpose of this study is to contribute to the familiarization of the reader with the production of Islamist writers in contemporary Turkey, by focusing on the writings and ideas of three central figures in the Turkish Islamist movement: Necip Fazıl Kısakürek, Ali Bulaç, and Abdurrahman Dilipak.

All three belong to a circle of Islamist writers and intellectuals, a circle which plays a major protagonist role within the whole field of intellectual and literary production of contemporary Turkish intellectuals, as will hopefully become clear in the following chapters. Kısakürek was a prominent intellectual figure of the 20th century who engaged with various literary forms, history, philosophy, essay writing, as well as the publication of journals dedicated to the above-mentioned genres. The volume of his work, including that of religious or Islamist trends, meanings, and ideas, is immense. He can be classified as the pioneering Islamist and the intellectual father to the following generation of Islamist thought and activity in Turkey. It can also be claimed that Kısakürek, through his works, intertwines the late Ottoman Empire with the Turkey of the second half of the 20th century by bridging, spiritually and ideologically, the gap between the Ottoman intellectuals of the 19th century and contemporary Islamist intellectuals. On the other hand, both Bulaç and Dilipak are considered to be two of the most eminent and popular Islamist writers and intellectuals in present-day Turkey.


ISBN (Hardcover)
Publication date
2020 (November)
Turkey Islam Islamist thought Islamist movement Literary field Intellectuals Politics
Berlin, Bern, Bruxelles, New York, Oxford, Warszawa, Wien, 2020. 106 pp.

Biographical notes

Konstantinos Gogos (Author)

Konstantinos Gogos is Assistant Professor at the Department of Turkish Studies and Modern Asian Studies, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Greece. His research interests focus on Islamist thought in Turkey, History and geopolitics of the Islamist movement, Ideologies and politics in Turkey and the Middle East, Muslims and Islam in Europe.


Title: Reading Turkish Islamist Writers
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108 pages