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This study problematises Muslim women's role and place in the renewal of the new Muslim morality from the Muslim businessmen's point of view and it is based on interviews conducted during the late 1990s. Two waves of Turkish modernisation has been identified regarding the studies of Turkish/Muslim women's role and positioning in the modernisation process: In the first wave, modernisation is identified with a fast Westernisation trend while the second wave showed a much more indigenous/Islamic character of modernisation process in its nature. A renewed Muslim morality among some groups is a result of changing life conditions deriving from educational as well as economic opportunities for the people newly urbanized and for the people living in the periphery of the country. Yet, the study also includes some shared features of bath waves -representative of bath secular and Islamic. Among these shared features, the most distinctive is the socio-politically and publicly motivated nature of the demand, unlike the Western women movements that were stamped by economic/material problems of working fife conditions.
Keywords: Turkish Women, Muslim Women, Musiad, Islam. New Muslim Morality.
Bu calismada Turkiye'nin madernlesme surecinde dini gelenege bagli kadinin konumu ve oynadigi rol acisindan iki tayin edici asama bulundugunu ileri surulmeye calisisldi. Kendisini tarihsel kosullar geregi hizli ve radikal bir batililasma dalgasi biciminde artaya kayan ilk dalgayi daha yavas gerceklesen ve 1980'lerde belirgin hale gelen daha yerel ozelliklere sahip ve bu calismada belli cevrelerce modernlesme anlaminda tanimlanan ikinci dalga izlemistir. Modernlesmenin ulke capina yayginlasmasini mumkun kilan altyapisal ve egitsel yatirimlarin artmasi sonucunda kitlesel bir bicimde modern yasama katilma zorunlulugunun bit yansimasi olarak gelisen ikinci dalgaya damgasini vuran dini gelenege bagli gruplar arasinda gelisen Musluman kadin kimligi ve olusan yeni Islami etik anlayisi baglaminda oynadiklari rolun Musluman erkegin bakis acisindan irdelenmesi (1990'larin sonlarinda gerceklestirilen MUSIAD uyeleri arasinda yapilan bir alan calismasinin verilerine dayali olarak) bu calismanin ana dogrultusunu olusturdu. Bununla beraber, Musluman/yerel kadin modernlesmesinin elde ettigi ozgullukleri yaninda Turkiye'de genel olarak kadinin cagdas yasama katilimina damgasini vuran ortak naktalar da tartismaya dahil edilmeye calilismistir. Makalede, sonuc olarak Bati'da calisma yasaminin sorunlarindan kaynaklanan iktisadi/maddi talepleri ekseninde baslayip yogunlasan kadin hareketlerinin aksine, Turkiye'de kadin hareketinin her iki asamasinda da kamusal katilim kanallarinin zorlanmasina tekabul eden turden sosyo-politik, iktisadi olmayan taleplerin yonlendirdigi sekuler ve Islami olarak ayristirilan bu iki asamanin en temel ortak noktasini olusturdugu dusuncesine varilmistir.
Anahtar Sozcukler: Turkiye'de Kadin, Musluman Kadin, Islam, Musluman Kadin ve Yeni Musluman Etik
"The image of passive Muslim house woman cannot represent our wives. The truth is they are very active in public matters as well as in our lives." (From an interview with a businessman)
Ever since the Tanzimat, which represents the first wave of the project of Westernisation, (1) the place of women in urban areas of Turkey has been transformed by their emancipation from the 'private sphere' (Mardin, 1991a: 36). Gole (1991: 42-5) also concurs with this point and states that women were considered to be the main leaders of the project of the "new life" (yeni hayat). Of course, this only holds true for the urban centres of the country.
Yet the rural area, which contains the majority of the population in Turkey, has recently started to take more active part in of what I consider the "second wave" of the Westernisation process. While 'the first wave' managed to transform only a subgroup of the female population residing in urban centres, it seems more likely that this second wave, targeting the rural area, will be able to modernise a significantly larger portion of the Turkish female population. And in this sense it will be proper to call the second wave 'modernisation process' while to call the first one 'Westernisation'. Even though the target population is different, it is predicted that the same result would prevail and enable a shift from female lives centred in the private sphere towards publicly visible activities (See Caha, 1996: 94-106). Hence, both waves of modernisation shape a dynamic, active female figure (active both in her home and outside -in politics and in other public activities) who distinguishes herself by creating a 'new life' through traditional female roles.
In this article, (2) I argue that there is currently the second wave of modernisation occurring in the rural Turkey whereby women are leaving their private homes for the public sphere just like their urban sisters (or rather they are also urbanizing during the process). Yet I further assert that this second wave is not recognized as such, because of the limitations in our perceptions of women's movements solely in secular terms because it is the women with turbans or headscarves that are leaving the private and entering the public sphere. Therefore it is proving to be complicated for the social scientists to identify this significant social phenomenon. I present the study concerning these women based on my interviews with MUSIAD (Independent Industrialists' and Businessmen's Association) to demonstrate this argument.
Muslim Women and the Turkish Modernisation
It is interesting that in the case of Muslim women, their practices of veiling and leading community cantered lives have been long perceived by Turkish secular modernists as negative dimensions of the Islamic lifestyle in general and as obstacles to modernity in particular. As such, their practices have been interpreted not as something helpful but as hindrance to the modernisation process and emancipation within the context of urban life. Yet one should not forget that all revolutions and radical changes are characterized by an 'emancipatory spirit' where the traditional order, values and beliefs are questioned, criticized and replaced. Hence opposition toward the traditional order has a double meaning and functions and the 'emancipatory dimension' in the case of Islamic women is indeed quite complicated: The results of this study shows that Islamic women cannot be understood neither only with the indigenous traditional order nor the process created during the Westernisation period of the Turkish Republic. Therefore one can expect that they attempt to overcome the premises of both these orders in order to create for themselves a new morality and life order. If they fail to do so, they will either be expected to keep their place in the traditional order or going to be forced to move to the urban secular form of womanhood which is a cause for concern for them as the turban/headscarf is a port of the obligation for their community centred lives.
What would this 'new morality and life order' of Muslim women entail? These women need to be creative with both their traditional Eastern and Western heritages, a 'neo- modern' interpretation that is inclusive of the western way of thinking and action as well as the eastern/indigenous traditional one. The focus is not looking for the Western women to copy their roles but rather start from the realities of their own lives and adapt patterns of modernity that fit their lives. In this adaptation, however, they do not take as a maxim the classical patriarchal roles but mainly focus on creating new and more differentiated roles. Even though the Islamic religion may be an important component in this process of constructing a 'new life,' it is not the only one; Muslim women are also cognizant of the indigenous/local values and practices which they transform into new forms.
We can comprehend what is happening in this second wave only if we can contextualise it in its larger international and domestic contexts. At the time of the foundation of the Turkish Republic, there was, in terms of material and human 'resources', a powerful 'modernist/positivist' hegemony in Western Europe alongside very poor domestic conditions in Turkey. The first wave -in the sense of …