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Recent Political Changes in Turkey and Its Impact on Missions

  • Muslim-Christian Encounter
  • Abbr : MCE
  • 2017, 10(1), pp.61-98
  • DOI : 10.30532/mce.2017.03.10.1.61
  • Publisher : Torch Trinity Center for Islamic Studies
  • Research Area : Humanities > Christian Theology > Mission Theology
  • Received : February 3, 2017
  • Accepted : March 9, 2017
  • Published : March 31, 2017

Kim, Sung Woon 1

1고신대학교

ABSTRACT

This paper examines the validity of the claim that in the future Turkey will transmute itself into a fundamentalist Islamic country that makes missionary work become difficult in the country. In order to forecast this scenario, the paper examines a series of events that occurred in the past six months in the country since the failed coup d"état on July 15-16th, 2016. The military coup could be seen as a power struggle between the two main Islamist groups in Turkey: Justice and Development Party (Adalet ve Kalkınma Partisi, AKP) and Fetullah Gülen Cemaati because each one revolves around Prime Minister Tayyip Erdoğan and Fetullah Gülen respectively. Since the military rebellion was decisively reduced to a stump, Erdoğan’s popularity surged, giving him opportunity to change the laws of the constitution to extend his presidency until 2029, and to transform the Turkish government from its current secular system into a Sharia-based Islamic nation. Based on various observations, current political changes may temporarily bolster Erdoğan and AKP’s power. On the other hand, ongoing armed conflicts against various Kurdish insurgent groups, Syrian civil war, and the complex relationship with the European Union are all powerful mechanisms that can favor Fetullah Gülen Cemaati and undermine the legitimacy of Erdoğan’s power. Hence it is conjectured that social tensions and worries may hinder the missional activities in Turkey for a while, but they will not be detrimental enough to warrant a change of trajectory of missions to Turkey under the current framework.

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