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National Conceptions, Transnational Solidarities: Turkey, Europe and Islam

Dr. Zana Çitak

Date&Time: December, 8, Thursday, 16.00
Room: A130

This talk examines the interplay between the institutionalization of Islam in Europe and the transnationalism of Turkey’s Directorate for Religious Affairs, the Diyanet. Based on extensive fieldwork in Turkey and Austria, Belgium, France and Germany, it demonstrates not only the salience of the nation-state prerogative on the part of both European states and the Turkish state but also the tension between national conceptions of Muslim identity on both sides amidst transnational solidarities. It also argues that the European policies of de-transnationalization of the Muslim field in Europe also intersect, to a certain extent, with the Diyanet’s transnational politics vis-à-vis Turkish/Muslim immigrants in their common resistance to the deculturalization of Muslims in Europe. While European countries try to nationalize their respective Muslim communities into their cultural and juridical framework, the Diyanet endeavours to preserve a Muslim identity engrained in Turkishness. Hence the coexistence of both a tension and mutual accommodation between Europe and Turkey.

Bio: Zana Çitak is Associate Professor in the Department of International Relations at Midde East Technical University. She has a B.Sc. degree from METU, an M.Sc. from London School of Economics and a Ph.D. from Boston University. She was a Visiting Fellow at the Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies at the University of Notre Dame in 2011-2012. Dr. Çitak\'s research interests are nationalism, comparative state-religion relations and Islam in Europe. Her recent publications appeared in Middle Eastern Studies, Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies and Journal of Church and State.