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By Ayhan Kaya (auth.)

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From these resources, it is possible to infer that there are three main discourses, which are: the importance of Turkish culture as it pertains to the notion of the ‘cradle of civilizations’, the locations of the existing institutes as they were within the Ottoman territories and the importance of the Turkish language, which is also reflected in the name of these institutes. In the Yunus Emre bulletins, there is repeated reference to the cultural heritage of Turkey. The common theme is the notion that Turkish culture is a reflection/amalgamation of several different cultures and civilizations.

This chapter also argues that the ongoing binary opposition between laicism and Islamism has blocked the resolution of the headscarf issue, and framed the issue as a challenge to the security of the state. One can see the fact that the attempts to discuss the issue with reference to the right to education, the right to public space, the right to the city and the right to equal pay for equal labor have failed. This ongoing binary opposition has also misled the politicians, scholars, journalists and community leaders into perceiving both sides of the binary opposition as homogeneous entities: laicists versus Islamists.

The so-called ‘moderate Islamic state of Turkey’ was praised by the contemporary Western political elite in a way that also embraced the ruling party (Justice and Development Party, AKP) in Turkey. The instrumentalization of Turkey as a model for other Muslim countries in the Middle East and elsewhere was also welcomed by a majority of the Turkish political elite. Prime Minister (PM) Recep Tayyip Erdo˘ gan and several other politicians, as well as academics, played with this new role, expecting that it would bring Turkey into a more favorable position in the European integration process.

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