I was raised in Turkey in a practicing Muslim family dedicated to fighting against the Kemalist secular ideology of the state, and attended a public school where this official ideology was taught with a passion. I quickly learned to keep my critical comments about the regime to myself. At school, Kemal Ataturk was depicted as a brilliant commander of the national war of independence, who had saved the country and fashioned Turkey into a modern Western republic. At home, my beloved grandfather would speak about the manner in which “that apostate (kafir)” betrayed the only true Islamic state, the Ottoman Empire.
This opposition was vivid in my mind as I read Esra Ozyurek’s Nostalgia for the Modern: State Secularism and Everyday Politics in Turkey.