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Public Panel Discussion

10 December, 06 p.m., Humboldt University of Berlin, Senate Hall in the Main Building, Unter den Linden 6, 10117 Berlin 

Panel Discussion with 

Ceren Lord: The Case of Turkey's Ulema and the Struggle Within the State 

Markus Dreßler: Heterodox, Syncretistic, or Heretical? Epistemic Violence against Alevis in Modern Turkey 

Ertuğ Tombuş: Populism and Religion: Collision of Political Theologies in Turkey

Ayşegül Kars Kaynar (Chair)

The relation between religion and politics in Turkey is a complex issue that defies master narratives based on binaries such as secular/religion or center/periphery. Especially the political developments of the last two decades and the rise of political Islam have shown time and again that the relation between religion and the state needs to be explained beyond the misleading opposition between the authoritarian secular state and the democratic challenge of religious groups. Power relations beyond the structures of domination, practices of exclusion and discourses of otherness require a more complicated explanation.

As part of this attempt, the panel seeks to address the questions of how certain practices, discourses, and institutions (re)produce sacredness around the state and in politics. How can we understand the role of religion in the formation of state and political authority in Turkey? How does sacredness place particular identities and actors outside the critical public sphere? What are the consequences of the idea of the 'sacred state/nation' for minorities and heterodoxies in the society?

The panel will be conducted in English. There will be a reception afterwards. Please register via Mail at

The event is co-organized by the programme "Blickwechsel: Contemporary Turkey Studies", Network Turkey, and GeT MA, the German Turkish Masters Program in Social Sciences and funded by Stiftung Mercator.

*Please be advised that photographs will be taken at the event for the public outreach of the Blickwechsel programme. By entering the event, you consent to Blickwechsel photographing and using your image and likeness.