• Islam in Turkey as shaped by the state, its founder and its history: Insight through Baptist eyes and three key Muslim figures.

      Weller, Paul; University of Derby (Baptist World Alliance, 2015)
      This book chapter originated in a presentation made to the Muslim-Christian Relations Commission at the 2014 Baptist World Alliance Gathering in Izmir, Turkey. Turkey is the modern day country which covers the geography of what was known as Asia Minor and which the early Christian Church had a strong presence, but where the contemporary Christian (and even more so the Baptist Christian) minority is very small. The chapter seeks to provide some insight into and explore key aspects of Turkish history and society by reference to the founder of the modern Turkish state, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk (1881-1938) as well as to three significant Turkish Muslim figures who have contributed to the religious inheritance of Turkey and beyond – namely Jalāl ad-Dīn Muḥammad Rūmī; Said Nursi (1877-1960); and Muhammad Fethullah Gülen (1941-). The chapter highlights some aspects of Baptist Christian tradition that the chapter argues resonates with aspects of this Turkish inheritance in ways that might be of constructive help to contemporary (especially Baptist and Christian) understandings of Turkey, of Muslims of Turkish heritage, and of Muslims and Islam more generally. In doing so it explores some historical Baptist Christian perspectives on Turkish Muslims; discusses the question of whether “Anatolian Islam” has a distinctive "flavour"; traces the historical development from the multi-ethnic Ottoman Empire diversity to modern nationalism in Turkey; explores the cleavages and fractures of Left and Right, and issues of human rights in modern Turkish history, including the country's history of military coups. Finally it particularly discusses Fethullah Gulen's thought and actions in support of dialogue and against “Islamism” in a way that the chapter argues is resonance with a “Baptistic” vision of Christianity.