Religion, Ethnicity, and Transnationalism: Turkish Islam in Europe


Location: Hesburgh Center, Room C103

Zana Citak, assistant professor of international relations, Middle East Technical University (Ankara, Turkey); Kroc Institute visiting research fellow

Since the late 1980s, religion has emerged as an instrument of immigration policy in Europe. This has led to various trajectories of the institutionalization of Islam in European countries. At the same time, the Turkish government has extended its use of the Diyanet—the Directorate of Religious Affairs—as a domestic instrument of control over religion and as a means to consolidate national unity among indigenous or immigrant Turkish communities beyond its borders. The transnational dimension of this use of religion replicates almost exactly the Diyanet’s domestic mission and activities. In Europe as in Turkey, the Diyanet aims to provide religious services and to enlighten people about “true religion,” that is, an Islam compatible with democracy and modernity. It also promotes a version of Islam that is still rooted in Turkishness.

While the Diyanet has been actively engaged in various processes of institutionalization of Islam in different European countries, its aim of promoting “Turkish Islam” in Europe creates a dynamic of tension when faced with official governmental efforts to create European Islam(s).

In this talk, Citak will address the role of the Diyanet in Austria, Belgium, France, and Germany.

This lecture is free and open to the public.