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ankara, essay, identity, resistance

Sincan, a Town on the Verge of Civic Breakdown: The Spatialization of Identity Politics and Resistance*


Contrary to the common argument that secularism is a by-product of the Enlightenment Project and a successor to religion, the recent arguments rather suggest that it in fact is a public practice that generates a perpetual relation to religion. It is also suggested that secularism constantly reproduces that unique relation so as to maintain its own position.[1] For this recent assumption, that dialectic is one nature of secularism and therefore, it should be examined relationally in order to understand how secularism positions itself and in what unique ways it is possible in the surrounding political contexts of institutional and everyday life. Therefore, what is needed here is not an inquiry into the genesis of secularism, but critical answers to those questions of how and to what extent secularism is effective at institutional level and in everyday life, and more importantly, how secularism should be studied through the elements of public sphere as a field of everyday practices, performances, images, and appearances. To put it in plain words for the sake of this chapter’s overall argument, secularism is an ideology, maintains its position in relation religion and sustains its political power in public sphere. There, everyday practices, performances, images, appearances are those of political apparatuses in use.

This chapter then questions a specific case in Turkey to problematize such intricate issues of secular ideology, practices of religion, and spatial politics in respect to those assumptions on public sphere. As part of Turkey’s modernization project, secularism has been an institutionalized political ideology; for the secular state elite, it was the founding ideology of the republic and that ideology must have also been reflected in public sphere, becoming a common ground to frame the norms and standards of public life. For this reason, the new Turkish state in its early years brought all religious activities under the state’s administrative control. Hence, the Islamic authority and practices were placed under the strict control of the secular state. That also brought a tight control of the public visibility of religion while official Islam was given a limited presence in the public sphere. By this way, the public sphere was redesigned as part of an ongoing state project with which the new secularist vision in relation to existing religious establishment firmly positioned itself, not only materially but also visually through images, displays and performances. As a result, the republican ideal of public sphere, for some, rather became a larger field of power relations through which secularism and religion mutually constituted each other.

In this context, Turkish Republic’s new capital city of Ankara makes the scope of this chapter in order to examine such intricate power relations in respect to its spatial politics: Ankara is in fact the city of real-and-imagined, material-and-metaphorical constructions by which the authority of secularism and the popular presence of religion coexist. However, the exercise of authority and its presence must be explained through the layers of public sphere. It is implicit that the possibilities for ample differences of subjectivities are all located in public and always initiate their unique spatial politics. According to the secular state elite, Ankara in its early decades was certainly a representation of power and its urban qualities should have been built and practiced accordingly. There, its urban fabric including boulevards, streets and squares, all constructed within Western standards akin to those of European examples (modern, hygienic, and rational) were believed to provide a modern urban environment for empowering Turkey’s secular everyday life. That was believed to provide a continual tendency away from the political influences of the old regime, which was always associated with Sultanate, Islam and its 600 year-of-capital, Istanbul.[2] The eminent power of Western urbanism here played a pivotal role: for the republican elite, contemporary qualities of Western urbanism and its social engineering were of significance as surely were the subsequent modern everyday practices. Along with the three consecutive planning attempts of the new capital, the overall construction of new state buildings all modernist in style and the cultivation of its vast open landscape for modern practices of recreation further signified the spatial transformation of Ankara for the revolutionary purposes of progress and change.[3] The ordinary people of Ankara could now be invited into those new urban spaces where a distinctly powerful secular identity as a representation of constructed reality was possible. In this representation, the secular identity was a social construct and the city’s urbanism as well as its modernist architecture seemed to be the best political means for further secular constructions.

The secular identity was regarded as a process of ideological positioning; almost a symbolic placement, so pre-arranged practices, spatial types and qualities were of significance as part of the most needed spatial politics. In parallel to that, the spatial politics were also important for the religious block in order for them to dismantle the state elite’s homogenizing secular urban environments; and thus, they reclaimed their urban spaces as manifestations of their possible public presence and visibility. For that reason, since the proclamation of Ankara as the new capital (13 October 1923) the city was drawn into a spatiality of power relations where conflicting subjectivities – the state elite, new national bourgeois, conservative politicians, moderate Islamists, as well as the local religious radicals – could coexist as they mobilized their spatial constructions, materially and visually. However, unlike the secular republicans, the spatial qualities of the religious block were the visual manifestations of religion itself against the pre-given secular orders and spatial constructions. That necessitated reconstructions and re-inventions of public spaces; and yet, because of the call for non-secular themes, events, and narrations, they had to be based on religious genealogies.

In this respect, this chapter explores the formation of Turkey’s secular and religious publics around the norms of modernity, state secularism and religion in respect to Ankara’s urban spaces. It examines how Turkey’s secularism empowers itself with modernist spatial politics and also examines how Islamic subjectivities utilize such spatial politics as part of their ideological presence and visibility, thereby challenging the authority of the secularism. Hence this chapter reveals that along with those of secular manifestations in space the spaces of subaltern groups are also possible and they are to widen the canons of overarching secular ideologies, simply illustrating religious public spheres. Ankara, in this respect, provides an urban environment in which the remapping of the city as the loci of non-secularism for recovery and un-orthodox religious practices are possible beyond the centered domain of the dominant social and spatial orders. As a result, the study suggests that the city’s secular sense of time and space, and its space-making mechanisms are now in challenge; so are the secular qualities of its identities. At this point, our principal aims are, first, to understand the role and the proponents of ideologies and their spatial politics in making the city as symbols of secular authority, religious resistance, and contesting identities; and, second, to reveal the fact that, despite repeated attempts of the republican elite to dominate Turkey’s urban spaces, its spatial politics have been shaped by much more complicated net of interactions and conflicting interests.

Power to Discipline; Power to Resist

On 04 February 1997, the shanty streets of Sincan, which is a suburban town of Ankara and not so remote from the city center (about 15 km.) were unexpectedly rattled by the mechanical sounds of roaring tanks and APCs, all lined up on its main boulevard. The nature of this modest town and its drastic engagement with the military then caused a national turmoil that politically devastated the whole country in the following days.[4] There, the first official explanation came from the military: according to the spokesperson of the Turkish Chief of the General Staff, ‘on its way to firing-field the military convoy suffered engine malfunctions and therefore stopped for some time in the town center.’ For political observers, on the other hand, this official statement was a complete disguise and the sudden presence of the military vehicles in fact meant further crisis to come. Shortly after the incident, it was understood that the convoy was not due to a pre-scheduled military exercise, and strangely enough, the state-owned news service, Anadolu Ajansı was already informed about the convoy’s original route prior to its mobilization.[5] This deployment of the army then received utterly different responses: a sarcastic reply in a Prime Minister’s press conference, for instance, was “much larger military convoys on national parades were of state routines”. According to the secular intelligentsia, on the other hand, that incident was rather the secular army’s legitimate reaction to recent developments. On 21 February 1997, however, the Second Chief of General Staff, Çevik Bir powerfully expressed their position without further hesitation; as declared in his speech for the annual meeting of the Turkish American Council in Washington D.C., “they [the army] in fact balanced the democracy in Turkey.”

Of the many speculative statements, therefore, the view that this robust show-off was rather a meticulously executed ‘military ultimatum,’ soon became a widespread belief.[6] As some political observers have suggested, the military warning, in fact, not only came to Sincan’s pro-Islam local administration, but also targeted the religious outgrowth and its spatial expansion in all Turkish cities. Knowing the increasingly instrumental role of the military over Turkey’s political life since the 1920s, and, witnessing some anti-secular developments nationwide, particularly after the local elections of 1993 when pro-Islam groups enjoyed a massive victory in major cities including İstanbul and Ankara, even for some, the coalition government and the Fazilet Partisi (Prosperity Party) was now under serious threat. For some, Sincan case was, therefore, a mode of ideological maneuver between Turkey’s contesting historical blocks for power. And, apparently, the town itself was already designated for the spatial representation of this enduring struggle.[7] There, the Turkish armed forces, as the staunchly secular state’s legitimate apparatus on the one hand, and the growing communities with religious sentiments on the other, were presenting two separate worlds. More importantly, Sincan was both the object and the instrument of those worlds, not only representing the capacity of political power for control, authority, and discipline, but also possible public resistance and subversion.

Sincan was in fact an exemplary milieu to unfold Turkey’s puzzling issues, like secularism, religion, power, and political representation.[8] The two-fold nature of this particular incident, therefore, seemed to be vital in understanding the on-going war on cultural politics and political identity in relation to Turkey’s historical blocks and their specialized urban spaces.[9] Within this context, one might then suggest that Ankara’s spatial operations and performances encapsulate a powerful story for revealing the ever-changing qualities of contemporary Turkish society. And moreover, being located as the sites of constant contestation of such deeply structured identity politics, spatial performances can also formulate an intriguing narration for the ideological representation of Ankara’s urban spaces.[10] However, we must remember at this point that our position on identity politics falls not quite into “essentialism”, and yet calls for multi-layered temporal and spatial attributes in order to first foster a much comprehensive survey on identity; and to second make the problems of belonging or othernessand alikeness or difference more explicit in relation to Turkey’s discrete ideologies and their transforming urban spaces.

We believe that space is an important constituent of Turkey’s political relations and spatiality is an expressive constituent of separate identities. The spatialization of identity in the Turkish context, which will be discussed in detail, however, needs a larger scheme on representation, difference and negativity. Representation in sum is a symbolic construction and negativity is an important source of constitutive outside in making the qualities of subtle differences. Dependent upon various forms of representation, the very realm of difference, on the other hand, is an end product of such relational conceptions as belonging, othernessand alikeness, and at the end it is a collective ethos.[11] Accordingly, the capital city Ankara is an important representation of difference both for the modernist state elite, who is staunchly secular in nature, and the pro-Islam conservative groups. And its spaces are the imaginary stages where a distinctly powerful identity as a representation of reality rather than a simple reflection of reality is possible.

From the perspective of secular front, therefore, the Turkish Armed Forces, organized to defend and protect the so-called original Republican secularism was certainly manifesting its disciplinary power all through the streets of Sincan.[12] Drawing the political contours of spatiality for ideological representation, the streets of Sincan were no longer ‘neutral’ and the impetuous arrival of the republican cadre’s tanks and APCs was to restore the secular state’s order and authority upon them.[13] Literally maintaining a high course of speed and mobility, the ever-expanding faculties of the Turkish military were here incommensurably unquestionable: strategically stationed in the administrative hinterland of Sincan, and logistically supported by one of the most distinguished divisions of the Republican Army, the tank battalion was evidently superior in its concrete presence, mobility as well as its speed. The surveillance of streets and its incursion by the deployment of armored vehicles, in this respect, was to represent the secular Turkish State’s political identity that was certainly organized by an ideological grand-narrative. In summary, the identity, natural and man-made respectively, for the secular cadre, was a process of self-positioning; almost a symbolic placement, and thus, the locus of their ‘self’ had to identify itself with pre-arranged values, types, qualities, or simply significant objects. Seemingly, Sincan’s urban spaces were the material manifestations of all such ideological pre-arrangements.

Paradoxical as it may sound, however, Ankara was always drawn into a spatiality of inclusion rather than exclusion since its becoming the capital city of Turkey in 1923: conflicting subjectivities, including the state élite, the new national bourgeois, the conservatives, the moderate Islamisists and the radicals, were some active participants of this inclusive environment. Furthermore, contesting constantly with each other, all these subjects spatially divided up the capital and made their own differential spaces, either at the center or periphery, for further political confrontations.[14] Historically speaking, the modernist space for the élite, for instance, was first believed to provide a public sphere for constructing a new collective ethos and indicating a continual tendency away from the political influences of the old regime. Secondly, Modernism was also believed to enable them to have their own mythic spaces where authority and power could be publicly visible and legitimate. Power could best be presented via shared conceptions and learned experiences; and in this respect, the spaces of secular manifestations within urban environments were regarded as the necessary constituents of all ideological operations. However, unlike the republican spaces, others’ spatial imprints were the very material manifestations of resistance, transgression and of localization against the pre-given orders and spatial reservations. In other words, for these groups, working with counter-spaces also necessitated re-constructions and re-inventions, and yet calling for non-secular themes, events, and narrations, their representations had to be based on conservative, preferably religious genealogies. In this very context, therefore, the architecture of counter-representations came both to resist the power of the state élite’s identities and thus to weaken the secular authority’s blueprints on urban spaces. Deeply bounded by the iconography of partial and fragmented opposition, the architecture of counter-representations was certainly a part of Ankara’s ever-changing identities. There, the city of Ankara’s Kemalist façade was in constant challenge. So was the city’s secular sense of time and space; and in parallel to those constitutive routines to impose a Kemalist grand-narrative, the pro-Islam groups went into their own spatializations as they generated their representational motifs through the contours of secular spaces. As a result, for Sincan’s pro-Islam block, the whole process, but not the end-product of spatialization itself seemed to be an important instrument in increasingly transgressing the élites’ very own identity and re-claiming their lived-spaces as significant locales of possible insurgencies. Lacking such tenets as speed and mobility, however, the mode of opposition, struggle, and appropriation for them required asymmetric forms of spatialization that were in fact organized around their temporary presence on ephemeral spaces. Their resistance in space was rather designed in a way to temporarily violate the others’ territories. That was, in fact, nothing but a mode of transgression and it was perfectly known by Sincan’s pro-Islam groups that transgression of secular identities, and thus of social and political territories, could only retrieve its perpetual meaning on the very material properties of space, particularly in Sincan’s streets and squares. Religious rhetoric and its reflected iconographies as symbolic constructions for further spatial representations, in this process, were of extreme importance.

Contesting Histories of Transformation and Resistance

The overall transformation of Turkish society as well as the construction of the capital Ankara, for many, can be considered as one of the most successful models of a universally defined modernization process.[15] However, despite a broad range of views and political frameworks to discuss the history of Turkey’s modernity project, the central argument now comes to locate two distinct positions. Firstly, it is believed that the mode of Turkish Renaissance has revolved around the binary oppositions of modern-and-secular versus traditional-and-religious. Secondly, the evolving identity for a secular nation-state has simultaneously included both the patriarchal/authoritarian and the democratic/pluralist fashions. By establishing a new political and cultural cult, therefore, since the 1920s the Turkish project of modernity represents conflicting political strategies, ideological mappings, as well as unique spatialities. In light of the above findings, one may then draw a specific conceptual frame for the Turkish case: perhaps not quite unique in its ultimately secular and yet Islamic context of perpetual transformation, the modern Republic of Turkey has witnessed exhaustive challenges re-produced by its underlying political animosities. However, even though all these positions constitute broad generalizations, we believe at this point that one can find ample information about the profound complexities that underlay modern Turkey’s attitudes in making its identities. Hence, it is evident that implicit identities, in which the bourgeois-nationalism and the pro-Islamic conservative interpretations were both possible, have become politically significant instruments in the process of spatial transformations.[16] Here, our principal aim is therefore to first trace the imprints of this constant contestation in order to understand Turkey’s discrete ideologies and their spatial representations in making the capital as their symbolic constructions. Second, our aim is to reveal the fact that despite repeated attempts of the republican élite to dominate Turkey’s cultural landscapes, the spatio-political developments have been shaped by a much more complicated net of interactions and conflicting interests.

Political identity was unquestionably a long-lasting play of confrontation since the Tanzimat, the first-ever secular reforms of the Ottoman Empire in 1839.[17] However, it became more evident by the foundation of the modern Turkish Republic, called as the Turkish Enlightenment. In 1923, the Kemalist İnkilap, or Kemalist Revolution, was officially introduced to spatially separate Ankara from the existing world of traditional and religious display; and the state élite was so powerful in this intricate play that by carefully ordering artifacts, events, and even annotating their codes of conduct, the capital city was easily turned into a massive construction site.[18] Despite its worldly presence and authority, it was also very important for the élite that the identities of the Ottomans had to disappear, yielding a separate spatial context. Recognizing the fact that Modernist spaces in urban landscapes were one of the most significant components of a new spatiality, the élite’s order then captured a dramatic shift by which the pre-republican Ankara gradually came to a partial end.[19] In other words, modern urbanism was certainly a keen operation to construct a bourgeois identity, and thus it required further modernist urban images where spatial inheritances of the Islamic Ottoman tradition and its authority could be overwhelmed through the secular demands of the republican élite. The trilogy of identity, Turkish modernity, and western urbanism was then a major intellectual theme amid Turkey’s ruling power groups and the new urban performances together with their ceremonies were in fact quite effective in empowering their positions. It is also important to note here that in the early years of the republican period a distinctive image and service was given to Turkey’s new cultural and spatial faculties. Named after the founding fathers of modern Turkey, or some nineteenth century bourgeois themes like republic or national sovereignty; and particularly designed as the home of the non-clerical, non-patriarchal secular society, the new urban programs and their spaces were to represent the civic character of Turkey’s nationalist identity. Attached to these new environments, on the other hand, urban performances such as secular celebrations, festivities, and anniversaries were also dramatic re-enactments of citizen participation into building a nation-state.[20] Nationalist ceremonies, parades, celebrations, and protests mainly organized, directed, and even carefully policed by the state, helped the invention of independent and yet official-formal traditions, customs and codes of conduct, different and separated from their political and religious geneses. Hence, Ankara’s first civic urban spaces, for instance, witnessed the opening ceremony of the first National Assembly, the War of Independence, the declaration of the modern Turkish Republic, the abolition of şeriat (Islamic law), and even the proclamation of the secular state. In sum, all of these performances were joyful events not only for the in-pouring republican bureaucrats, but also for the local people for it was believed that modern urban spaces and such public performances could give way to the most needed collective identity. To put it more clearly, modern urbanism and public performances, distinctively secular and bourgeois in nature, were imperative first to create the wanted public spheres, and second, to fully use the new civic environments, Republican Squares and Boulevards for the material localization of the invented identity of modern Turkey.

On the other hand, the spatiality of counter-identities was simultaneously of significance too. Targeting the republicans’ inventions, it was thoroughly believed by the conservative groups that space was more of a powerful apparatus for cultural resistance. Parallel to that of Turkey’s initial politics and in relation to the republicans’ re-structuring processes, therefore, a similar mode of organization, developing amid conservative power groups and demanding their social and spatial enclaves since the early 1930s, was always in modern Turkey’s agenda. In particular, following Turkey’s transition to a multi-party system in 1946 and then after the national election in 1950, the conservative power block enjoyed major success. Consequently, the Kemalist İnkilap finally came to a partial end. As a result, the Cumhuriyet Halk Partisi’s (CHP, or Republican People’s Party) three-decade-long power, retained as the only legal political institution since the mid-1920s and associated with Western-oriented intellectuals, the secular military and the national bourgeois, were all now under serious threat. Counter-reforms, principally backed by the victorious conservative Demokrat Parti (Democrat Party), were now on their way to fully resist the Kemalist agenda. Believing that the political trajectory associated with Turkey’s shift from East to West, with all the ritualistic, symbolic, aesthetic, and spatial manifestations, was rather an ideological failure, the prominent ideologues of the conservative power block began to criticize the republican élite for their perception of Islam and the Ottoman heritage.[21] Amid a broad range of positions, however, the view that the Kemalist İnkilap and its single-party-regime constantly erased pre-republican memories and that the secular elite carefully confiscated the traditional Turkish identity, were the very core of their criticisms.[22] Consequently, the spatial politics of counter-identities began to retrieve an explicit milieu of exercise since then. Counter-reformists, conservative central governments and pro-Islamic local authorities found a vast political vacuum to transform the political and spatial landscapes of Ankara and create a culture of architecture that was, most of the time, organized around the retrospective images of the Ottoman heritage or a distinct Islamic ideology.[23]

However, the spatial politics by the conservative power block came to a partial end on 27 May 1960 as a result of the first military coup d’é-tat – an organized attempt by the state élite, the military and the secular intelligentsia to control the ever-increasing power of the counter-reformists. Turkey witnessed another military intervention on 12 March 1971. However, the years between 1960 and 1980 gave way to a drastic civil disorder, and as a result, Turkey witnessed the third military intervention, creating almost a political vacuum for the above expectations: the third military coup d’é-tat to end the ever-increasing civil war since the late-1960s among the factions of leftist, ultra-nationalists, fundamentalists, and Kurdish separatists not only brought a temporary peace to the streets of Ankara, but also caused a substantial change in the nation’s political orientation as well as in its economy for the second time.[24] Under the strict direction of the new Junta’s three-year administration the remnants of the statist-protectionist policies of the original cadre drew to an end. Marking the full-implication of economic liberalism and decentralization, on the other hand, the Kemalist state élite began to lose its administrative authority. As a result, local governments enjoyed the upcoming financial and administrative autonomy more freely.[25] Accordingly, the electoral success of the pro-Islam power groups in March 1993 was of importance: many of the major Turkish cities, including İstanbul and Ankara, once regarded as spaces of the Kemalist İnkilap, were now in the hands of pro-Islam local governments. In parallel to the above developments, the year 1997 also opened a new chapter in the history of modern Republic because, in the first time, a pro-Islam party received the largest share of the whole casts. In addition, having the key posts in the cabinet, they actively took part in the coalition government.[26]

Once politically left in the margins, it was now believed that they could become the voices of popular resistance for insurgencies or subaltern identities. What was most needed to recover the past was therefore a calculated process through which a re-mapping of Ankara’s spatiality and its un-orthodox performances could be possible beyond the centered domain of the dominant social and spatial orders. As a result, conservative performances during the Holy Month of Ramadan and such communal services like free meals and shelter for the urban poor came more powerfully to dominate Turkey’s spatial practices as part of pro-Islam groups’ cultural façade as well as of the Islamisists’ social engineering. Hence, the urban scale special operations as non-neutral containers of such religious performances here are worth-mentioning: for example, constructing semi-closed public tents in squares and parks to house Ramadan festivities and having religious ceremonies under them, something never done previously, became very popular public events. Both the performances and such constructions, of course, provided the necessary means for ideological operations in a way both to recover radical identities and to evoke the most desired religious memories.

The town of Sincan in this intricate struggle was of certainly importance. Originally planned around the outskirts of the capital city so as to provide housing, retail, and small-scale social amenities for the growing proletariat, this suburban environment is currently one of the largest suburban areas for working class families as well as for communities with diverse economical, cultural, and educational classes. The town is in fact a backbone for Ankara’s fundamentalist population, who desire spatial and cultural enclaves through which their political sentience can thoroughly experience autonomy and privilege.[27] Sincan, for the conservative power block, is actually regarded as a strategic location for seeking counter and yet radical identities and its urban spaces are therefore the best political apparatus to cultivate them.

Remaking a Religious Locale for Resistance and Transgression

Upon his election as the new Municipal Governor of Sincan, Bekir Yıldız, a hard-liner of the pro-Islam Fazilet Partisi, carefully employed his town for the normalization of counter-identities. Exhibitions for religious publications, informal gatherings and meetings for solidarity as well as formal conferences were organized regularly to make Sincan an active milieu for an alternative culture. In other words, this suburban town, for the local government, was now de facto a religious community and a private locale for constant indoctrination in an attempt to fabricate a subaltern identity. Of the many executions to perform religious events and to foster their images, in this respect, an urban construction built by the governor deserves special consideration, for it became an important representation of Turkey’s final retreat in the 1990s, with which the republican grand project of secularism and modernism seemed to cease its original power in urban spaces. Planned to simulate a very sacred locale in Jerusalem, the Dome of the Rock (or the Qubbat Al-Sakhra as it is known to the Islamic world), and yet made out of regular plastic fiber, steel poles and wires, a construction was temporarily erected in the town center as a public service for Ramadan ceremonies. Along with this construction, religious meetings were as important as the construction itself. In fact, what triggered the military in the winter of 1997 was that construction and the following public events, deliberately designed, built, and conducted by Bekir Yıldız himself. On 31 January 1997, four days prior to, the so-called “military exercise”, the Municipal Governor Bekir Yıldız and the Iranian Ambassador to Turkey, Muhammed Rıza Bagheri, attended a special gathering, called as Kudüs Night (Jerusalem Night). Decorated by the colossal portraits and flags of some fundamentalist leaders and organizations like Hamas and Hizbullah (outlawed by the Turkish State) and of a huge painting of the original Qubbat Al-Sakhra, the construction was carefully designed to look like an ideological script in the very material particularities of this fraudulent yet quite effective divine emporium.[28] Followed by the provocative speeches of Yıldız and Bagheri, who both called for Islamic law and order, militant players in traditional garments performed, according to organizers, ‘a short drama’ about the ‘Israeli occupation of Palestine’, ‘their civic upheaval’ (known intifada to the Western world), and ‘the Palestinian people’s asymmetric resistance’ to machine guns, grenades, and armored vehicles. Not surprisingly, this very amateurish yet politically quite expressive performance was completed with a very dramatic scene in which stone throwing young Palestinian rebels were shot dead by the Israeli-look-alike troops. The play soon received an immense public response; the cheerful audience, estimated around 2,000 by some independent sources, was stagnant in tears, reciting religious verses and crying out-loud altogether: “Allahuekber – God is great, down with Israel, death to the oppressor”. Although the play was a very short theatrical representation of political turmoil and deadly confrontations between the opposing forces in the Middle East, it was also implicitly suggesting the century-long dispute between Turkey’s secular and anti-secular historical blocks. The Turkish army was somewhat portrayed as aggressor and anti-Islam; and consequently, the performance called for an Intifada-like civic upheaval against Kemalist ideology of ‘secularism and modernism’ and presented a very keen resemblance to what has been experienced for years in the Turkish context.[29] Simulating uprising, resistance and passive violence against ‘oppression, despotism, and domination’ the Kudüs Night, as a result, caused nationwide political turmoil.

Needles to say, the search for an ideologically engaging iconography and its unique spatialization in Sincan’s town center needs to be discussed in relation to Turkey’s spatial politics. There, Sincan’s identity was thoroughly empowered with religious symbols for a distinct representation with which a constitutive outside and the notion of difference were now possible. Furthermore, the choice of a specific architecture for that construction was no coincidence but a practical reason: the identity of the original Qubbat Al-Sakhra was due to concrete experiences, for it was associated with specific spatio-temporal frameworks and its experience and remembrance was deeply implanted in its spatial qualities. Located in one of the most divine cities for three major world religions, in this respect, the original Qubbat Al-Sakhra dramatically captures a very distinct nemesis for the deeply committed Turkish people because of its long history under the reign of the Ottoman Empire. However, its memoir goes far beyond the Ottomans, for the building is regarded as one of the earliest examples of Islamic Architecture and even after 13 centuries it still retains its original function.[30] Built on top of the Sacred Rock, and still used as a place of prayer for thousands of year, the Qubbat Al-Sakhra with its octagonal shape, highly decorated façades and its colorful dome, marked, for some, the beginning of a Muslim era after its completion.[31] Today there remain many associations with the Sacred Rock, yet this object is considered the oldest Temple in Palestine and the construction of the mosque between 688 and 692 empowers its religious significance more than ever.[32] Identified with early, pure Islam and the Prophet Mohammed, the history of the Qubbat Al-Sakhra, on the other hand, includes a very significant epoch. In 1517, during the reign of Sultan Selim, Jerusalem fell to Ottomans and for more than four centuries its administration was in Ottoman hands. In 1918, Jerusalem was no longer a part of the Ottoman Empire, but under the British Mandate. However, with great respect to Islam and the apex of Ottoman classicism in art and architecture, the Turks have always praised the Qubbat Al-Sakhra’s great monumental effects befitting the first House of Islam.[33] The building, therefore, represents more than aesthetics for conservative Turkish people; it is rather an ideological commitment – a commitment that was to elevate the Qubbat Al-Sakhra’s very own vocabulary into a specific iconography that could mutually blend the representations of Islam and the classical Ottoman era.

Marking Spatially “The Other”: Displaced Public Spheres

The simulacrum of Qubbat Al-Sakhra, therefore, manifested a special quality for the pro-Islam Turkish power block; and following ordinary people’s political motives in this particular architecture, it is no doubt that the same longing for symbolic representation seemed to be of vital importance to Sincan’s local government as well. The act of mimicking the original building as well as the choice of Sincan’s town square, in this respect, was no coincidence. It was an intelligently driven act; restoring the very meaning of religious spaces and making them as detached possible as from modernist planning and architectural concepts, it rather encapsulated a long-lasting desire for political displacement. There, a different mode of identity was badly needed and its spatiality also required a theatrical stage to turn myths and symbols into ideological constructions for possible counter-representations. In this respect, the public performance and the simulacrum of the Qubbat Al-Sakhra as a non-neutral container were two constitutive elements in marking the very difference as well as making an ideological allegiance among the locals. In doing so, both the public performances and the construction itself made public subversion and deviance in the bare images of historically significant spaces possible. And, by re-enacting the codes of Islamic architecture and providing the necessary means for a collective memory, a sense of belonging, otherness, and alikeness was now more than possible.

In fact, the sense of otherness was drastically materialized on the 3rd ofFebruary. A TV reporter from an independent channel, who was making an investigation into Sincan’s fundamentalist communities and taking pictures of the simulacrum of the Qubbat Al-Sakhra, was brutally beaten, apparently by an Islamisist militant, right in front of the construction. The militant’s stubborn offense took place right in front of several passers-by, as well as photographers and cameramen, and the event was in the newspapers and on TV screens within the following hours. As one may expect, the contesting parties and the media backed up different views: for the secular papers, TV channels, and NGOs, the incident was outrageous, intolerable, and the state had to take the necessary measures to penalize this illicit act of violence. The daily Zaman, the semi-official voice of the pro-Islam Prosperity Party, on the other hand, seemed to be concerned, yet it was still eager to accuse the reporter for being provocative. However, a sarcastic response came from one of the most fundamentalist newspapers, Akit, which is known for its very aggressive tone and anti-secular sentiments: according to Akit, this offense was in fact a ‘legitimate civic response’ to outsiders who came to violate private religious rights.

The reporter’s misfortunate confrontation with the militant group was certainly important, for it was rather an unlawful yet self-referentially legitimate means of interplay to reveal the unspoken, the invisible, and the unrecognized. She, as a ‘secular professional woman’, was penetrating, by the channels of media, into something that she was not a part of: the sacred territory of the simulacrum of the Qubbat Al-Sakhra. Among other qualities, such as her profession and political orientation, the reporter’s gender certainly needs further attention.[34] Not quite having the same position with a man in traditional Islam, the reporter was in fact forcing the limits of religious tolerance for the secular woman, as she was transgressing the other’s spatial and political territories. On the other hand, not in traditional dress and manner, she was different and thus a major threat to the fundamentals of Islam. To put it more explicitly, not only the construction itself but also its un-drawn territory was no longer neutral,and any forms of its transgression could have been disciplined accordingly. In the eyes of pro-Islam groups, the reporter’s presence violated their political and spatial territories and her unauthorized act of entering represented an illegitimate act. It was perfectly known by those groups that the counter-transgression of space and thus of social and political territories had to be prevented through the help of space’s very material properties. The secular reporter’s disturbance as a form of transgression therefore needed the restoration of privacy, and consequently marking their spatial territory was of vital in any means necessary. Privacy could only legitimize itself through distinct rituals and codes of conduct as well as performances, and it could be empowered through the removals of all undesired public atrocities.

The Kudüs Night as well as the reporter’s incidence in the following day, in this sense, amplifies the fact that the construction in fact presents the fall of the secular public sphere and the rise of religious visibility into seductive communal settings, which are manufactured by self-sustaining social groups and their spatial territories. Along similar lines, the public sphere in Sincan calls for a radical detour in which the secular public now becomes irrelevant and the religious spaces into fragmented private spheres locates the whole issue into an urban question. Almost fabricating a forceful discrimination and division between ‘us and other’, ‘in and out’, or ‘he and she’, in this sense, Sincan’s own Qubbat Al-Sakhra stresses on fragmented and yet fragile social cohesiveness and identities. As clearly manifested in this artificially built, mosque-like pseudo-divine locale, the religious community of Sincan is only tangible, material, and visible within their religiously confined public spheres. Hence, their identity is also exclusively legitimate through privately defined spatial enclaves that are designed and specialized in unique differences. Clearly enough, Sincan’s spatiality also works with a net articulation of difference, which in fact calls for otherness as the most determining category of all to make such an increasingly effective distinction between ‘us and them’. Thus, it might well be suggested at this very point that the question of identity is one of social power and its articulation requires more than individuals, as difference is primarily inscribed upon historical categorizations such as religion itself.[35]

Sincan’s new religious sphere actually works as an interface for autonomous, self-referential, and disobedient events, rituals, and festivities. Cultivating their own autonomy and reference systems, the mode of disobedience here, for some, is a legitimate resistance and insurgency. As paradoxical as it sounds, however, Sincan’s resistance seems to locate its moral and emancipatory faculties in relation to Turkey’s secular context. This act of religious recovery forcefully stresses privacy and community, and seems to be a repositioning of secular public sphere in respect to such religious canons. There, the spaces of Islam practically relocates the original building and its iconographic representation into a fetish object, a passionate idée fixe to meet a long lasting desire, hope and aspiration in the process of making a religious public sphere. In other words, the end product is certainly a spatialized commodity made for its prospective believers’ constant consumption. With a series of fragmented information in its contemporary setting, as a result, the construction is an important repertoire for schizophrenic experiences, relying upon retrospective images and delusive architectonic vocabularies. However, by bringing the two domains of religious identity together, privacy and community, Sincan in fact exemplifies post-industrial Turkey’s political landscape since the early 1990s.[36] The empowerment of religious identity captures a massive part of this political re-orientation, and desperately needs its spaces via imaginary procedures within which privacy locates the entire public domain.[37] Hence, the confrontation between the secular reporter and the Islamisist militant should be discussed within the above setting. Representing two distinct groups, one identified with secularism and the bureaucratic nation-state’s codes of conduct, and the other with the teachings of Islam and the authority of God, their self-realizations are built upon the conflict of interests. The construction, for the reporter, was an architectural piece. According to the fundamentalist militiaman, however, it was a replica of the mighty authority of his God, all-visible in the very essence of material space, and therefore an ideological imagining for him, and the violation of its privacy should be disciplined on the basis of his collective identity.

Finale: The Confrontation as it Was

The inescapable disillusionment of secular space into age-old pastiche, traditional cliché, and religious conviction in other words, was an important effort to retrieve an explicit milieu of political exercise within Turkey’s political context and to provide necessary means for resistance and radical transgression in public sphere. Therefore, for the secular block, the resistance must have been overpowered and the transgression had to be disciplined accordingly – the military intervention of 4February 1997 was unavoidable. Once supported by the pro-Islam Fazilet Partisi’s ideologues, Municipal Governor Bekir Yılmaz was abandoned by his comrades shortly after the arrival of military units and dismissed from his position after the Interior Minister’s military-backed order the next day. He was then taken into custody by the National Police on the 5th of February and detained on 13 February until sent to the National Security Court. He was sentenced to more than four years imprisonment on the 15th ofOctober, accused by the Republican Prosecutors as separatist and anti-revolutionary. The short drama that took place in the construction also faced the court: the players were sentenced to imprisonment for insulting the Turkish Army. In the following days, by the backing of the secular media and the public, the Turkish Government was forced to declare the Iranian Ambassador to Turkey and the Iranian Counselor in Istanbul as persona non grata and both were invited to leave the country.

In fact, the year of 1997 became an interesting arena for further political insurgencies. Through the influences of the West Study Group (11 June 1997) – a military committee organized by the Turkish General Staff to pinpoint and investigate the nationwide fundamentalist growth and its geographical enclaves – the effective intrusion of the Turkish Army into politics was about to change the entire course of the pro-Islam government. The increasing tension between the Army and the government came to an end on 18 June 1997 by the resignation of Necmettin Erbakan, the Prime Minister of the coalition government, and the President of the Prosperity Party.

This brief historical account in fact proves that Turkey’s public sphere should also be viewed not only as a realm of dialogue and debate, but as a larger field of power relations. Mutually constituting each other, both secularism and religion are active domains where the official public sphere in Turkey is formed around the principles of secularism that is institutionalized as a state control over the public presence and practice of religion. As such spatial politics and ideological representations were commonly used as the main apparatuses with which the state empowered its founding ideology. However, the religious challenge to secularist discourse since the 1920s has also been part of Turkey’s public sphere and similarly used the elements of spatial politics to defy the authority of secularism. It is no doubt that public constructions, performances, appearances, and images became an effective means of giving public presence and visibility to religion in the way to subvert the authority and power of secularism. It should be noted here that public sphere in Turkey was and still is under the strict surveillance of the state, and yet such religious confrontations prove that the public presence of Islam and its visibility is widely possible. However, our case study also proved that public presence and visibility is not necessarily a means of dialogue and debate for all subjectivities as suggested by Habermas.[38] Contrary to his accounts, public sphere of Turkey is rather a larger field of power relations through which the state can mobilize its apparatuses so as to maintain its founding ideology. Emancipatory ideals attributed to the public sphere, in this respect, falls quite short in explaining how particular subjectivities can obtain their political liberties and also at the same time, yield to the power of discipline and punishment.

To sum up, a final word is still needed: by providing the necessary means to challenge the secular establishment and its spatial politics, the case of Sincan in fact seemed to defy what the original republican ideology had done over time in Turkey. The case of Sincan, in this sense, not only presents a complete challenge to Turkey’s secularist ideology, but also becomes the very simulacrum of its social contradictions and confrontations. As part of its underlying power relations all these contradictions and confrontations should be viewed as a sheer representation of how Turkey’s public sphere has been constructed, sustained, and maintained in time, not only in material sense but also in images, performances, and simulations. Therefore, Sincan draws our attention to Turkey’s contesting ideologies and their spatial politics. It is evident that the city of Ankara as well as the suburban town of Sincan have always reflected and still reflect a wide spectrum of ideological positions in order to formulate a decisive resolution. What gave shape and meaning to this particular development, of course, is Turkey’s inherently powerful antagonisms that ceaselessly imagine the nation as an authentic cradle of varying subjectivities. However, it should be suggested at this very point that the spatial politics of religion is now in a form of partial and fragmented resistance. Once symbolizing secular ideology and public sphere, as a result, the cities of Turkey nowadays rather completely represent a total war of position, and thus become the very places of contesting parties.


*Originally published in: Güven Arif Sargın, “Sincan, A Town on the  Verge of Civic Breakdown: The Spatialization of Identity Politics and Resistance,” Visualizing Secularism and Religion — Egypt, Lebanon, Turkey, India, Edt. Alev Çinar, Srirupa Roy, and Maha Yahya, University of Michigan Press: Ann Arbor, 2012: 258-280.

[1] For further reading, please see: Talal Asad, Formations of the Secular: Christianity, Islam, Modernity (Cultural Memory in the Present) (California:Stanford University Press, 2003).

[2] In other words, in the saga of Turkish modernization, the dominant perception of space and associated cultural codes have surfaced as modern as a result of both specific policies and the state elites’ social constructions. Embracing and internalizing all the cultural dimensions of the European Enlightenment, Modernity was there regarded as a total project to support Turkey’s nationalist fabrications. In this specific framework, the social structure had to be re-constructed around the well-formulated and protected institutions and shared notions, values, and ideals that were believed to constitute the necessary instruments for social change. Güven Arif Sargin,“Displaced Memories, or the Architecture of Forgetting and Remembrance,” Environment and Planning D: Society and Space, Vol: 22, No: 5, (2005): 659-80.

[3] H. Jansen and J. Brix were professors of urban design in Berlin whereas L. Jauesseley, famous in his Barcelona and Paris plans, was the head architect of the French government. Formally invited by the government to develop plans for the new capital, the Turkish government’s decision went finally for Jansen whose work was relatively modest in its scale and style. Seemingly that fit quite well to the central government’s expectations as well as the limited national budget.

[4] Feridun Aksın, Cumhuriyetin 75. Yılı. Cilt 31(İstanbul: Yapı Kredi Yayınları, 1999).

[5] Established on 6 April 1920 under the directives of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk and organized by two prominent nationalist writers, Halide Edip Adıvar and Yunus Nadi, the “Anatolian Agency” is today considered as one of the first national institutions.

[6] William Hale, Turkish Politics and the Military (New York: Routledge, 1994).

[7] Frederick Jameson, “Architecture and the Critique of Ideology” in Architecture, Criticism, Ideology, ed. J. Ockman, (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1985): 51-87.

[8] Following the first military coup d’é-tat, led by the state elite, the military and the secular intelligentsia to control the ever-increasing role of the counter-reformists, Turkey’s political history came to a partial end on May 27, 1960. Turkey witnessed another military intervention on March 12, 1971, which was quite effective on both the leftist intelligentsia and the pro-Islamic growth. However, the years between 1960 and 1980 gave way to a drastic civil disorder; as a result, the reorganization of the pro-Islamic indoctrination into a more radical fundamentalism was surely in Turkey’s political agenda. That led the third coup d’é-tat in September 12, 1980, which lasted three years under the effective administration of military junta.

[9] Gramscian theory suggests a subversive practice of cultural politics and specialized public spheres for the growth of “opposition” and “resistance”. Antonia Gramsci, The Modern Prince and Other Writings (New York: International Publishers Co., 1959).

[10] Kevin Hetherington, Expressions of Identity: Space, Performance, Politics (London: Sage Publications, 1998).

[11] Henri Lefebvre, The Production of Social Space (London and New York: Blackwell Publishing, 1991); Michael Keith and Steve Pile, Place and the Politics of Identity (London and New York: Routledge, 1993).

[12] The Army as the political domicile of nationalist officers since the abolition of the traditional military system by Sultan Mahmud II’s order for the Ottoman Empire’s ever first reformist military school in 1834 played a crucial role not only in the Turkish War of Independence, but also in modern Turkey’s decades-long modernization project. As a leading graduate of the Turkish War Academy on 10 February 1902, Mustafa Kemal also devoted himself to Turkish nationalism and the Western mode of secularism throughout his career. To see Kemalist Ideology as reflected upon the Turkish Armed Forces. Mehmet Ali Birand, Shirts of Steel: An Anatomy of the Turkish Armed Forces. (New York: IB Tauris & Co Ltd., 1991).

[13] For Virilio, a traumatic intercourse between urban spaces, their ideological representations and such occupations through militaristic interventions were all possible. Paul Virilio, Speed and Politics (New York: Semiotext(e), 1986).

[14] By the end of the World War II, Turkey underwent serious transformations. First, the transition into a multi-party system circa 1946 meant an explicit representation of the growing political contestation between the modernists and the conservatists. Second, staunchly effective statist policies, concentrating extensive controls in the state bureaucrats, ceased to exist, and new conservative governments since then gave way to economic liberalism as the sole successor of all economic formulations. Finally, a massive population influx from the poorer periphery into metropolitan areas, including the capital city, also became a major event that eventually changed Turkey’s demographic maps.

[15] Modernity in the Turkish context also signifies a project of total transformation, needing new social and spatial orders based on the principles of “reason”, rather than Islamic canons: e.g., abolition of the monarchy-Sultanate, 1 November 1922; declaration of the foundation of the Republic, 29 October 1923; abolition of the Islamic Caliphate, 3 March 1924; abolition of religious courts, 18 April 1924; abolition of religious orders (şeriat), November 1925; acceptance of the civic and penal codes, 4 October 1926; secularization of the State, 10 April 1928; acceptance of Latin Alphabet, 1 November 1928. See: Bernard Lewis, The Emergence of Modern Turkey (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2001); İlhan Tekeli, Modernite Aşılırken Kent Planlaması (Ankara: İmge Kitabevi, 2001); Sibel Bozdoğan, Modernism and Nation Building, Turkish Architectural Culture in the Early Republic (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 2001); T. Kili, Atatürk Devrimi, Bir Çağdaşlaşma Modeli (Ankara: Türkiye İş Bankası Kültür Yayınları, 1983).

[16] Guven Arif Sargin, Ankara’nın Kamusal Yüzleri: Başkent Üzerine Mekan-Politik Tezler, ed. Guven Arif Sargin (İstanbul: İletişim Yayınları, 2002).

[17] Tanzimat literally means “re-organization” and “comprehensive program”. New regulations in several fields were described in a document called the Hatt-i Serif (Noble Edict of the Rose Chamber): a new administrative system, new codes of commercial and criminal law, a standardized system of taxation, a new conscript system based upon Prussian patterns, a guarantee of racial or religious freedom, a new secular school system, and a guarantee of security of life, property and honor were some of the key initiatives that took place.

[18] By the turn of the century, Ankara was a small town of 20,000 with a very poor urban quality. Being far from Istanbul, the Ottoman Empire’s capital city since 1453, and having no industry, agricultural significance, administrative power, and even municipal organization, the town in fact lost its all primacy by the 19th century as a result of substantial economic transformations in the Anatolian peninsula. The choice of Ankara was therefore certainly political, both to initiate the Turkish War of Independence, 1919-1923, and to enable the élite to erase any remnants of the old regime.

[19] İnci Aslanoğlu, Erken Cumhuriyet Dönemi Mimarlığı 1923-1928 (Ankara: METU, Faculty of Architecture Press, 2001); Renato Holod and Ahmed Evin, Modern Turkish Architecture (Pennsylvania: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1984); Afife Batur, “To Be Modern” in Modern Turkish Architecture, ed., Renato Holod and Ahmed Evin (Pennsylvania: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1984): 68-93.

[20] İnci Yalım, “Ulus Square as a Representational Form of Collective Memory” (Ms. diss., Middle East Technical University, 2001).

[21] Şerif Mardin, Türk Modernleşmesi; Makaleler IV (İstanbul: İletişim Yayınları, 1991).

[22] The Democrat Party’s counter-reformist discourse that for 27 years the former regime had restricted traditional values, including the right of religious practice and its spatial organizations such as mosques and masjids, became a nation-wide theme amongst the conservative population. Şerif Mardin, “Modern Türkiye’de Din ve Siyaset”in Türkiye’de Din ve Siyaset, trans. M. Erdoğan (İstanbul: İletişim Yayınları, 1993): 114-145.

[23] Guven Arif Sargin, “The Architecture of Displacement: Notes on Monuments, Memories, and Identities of a Nation-Capital: Ankara” (paper presented at he 4th International Other Connections Conference, Sites of Recovery, Lebanon, Beirut, 1999): 339-348; Cana Bilsel, Guven Arif Sargin and Belgin Turan “Islam, Modernity, and the Politics of Public Realm in Turkey: the Kocatepe Complex of Ankara” (paper presented in The ACSA European Conference Proceedings, Berlin, Germany, 1997): 451-54.

[24] Kemal Karpat, Social Change and Politics in Turkey: A Structural Analysis (New York: Brill Academic Publishers, 1997).

[25] Soner Yalçın, Hangi Erbakan: Milli Nizam’dan Fazilet’e (İstanbul: Su Yayınları, 1999); Korkut Boratav, Türkiye İktisad Tarihi: 1908-1985 (İstanbul: Gerçek Yay Yayınevi, 1998).

[26] The electoral success of the pro-Islamic Fazilet Partisi (The Virtue Party) and its warm appreciation by the urban poor was again no coincidence: the Fazilet Partisi was not a new political establishment, but a continuation of the extreme conservative indoctrination since the 1950s. The Turkish Constitutional Court banned the Fazilet Partisi on 22 June 2001 on the basis of its anti-secular views.

[27] Murat Güvenç, “Ankara’da Statü/Köken Farklılaşması; 1990 Sayım Örneklemeleri Üzerine “Blokmodel” Çözümlemeleri” in Tarih İçinde Ankara (Ankara: METU Faculty of Architecture Press, 2001): 17-34.

[28] The posters included Fetki Şakaki, Yahya Ayaş, Abbas Musavi, and Musa Sadr, who were known as the leading members of Hamas and Hizbullah, which are listed by the US Federal Government as well as many of the European countries including Turkey, as the most radical terrorist organizations.

[29] The players were not carrying any significant insignia or any other identification badge that could resemble that of Turkish Armed Forces, neither were their uniforms the same with the standard issue that of Turkish army personnel. They also claimed that the play in fact had no specific association with any nation or time period.

[30] The Qubbat Al-Sakhra is part of a larger holy precinct in the eastern part of old Jerusalem, where the temples of various religions, from the Temple of Solomon to Hadrian’s Temple of Jupiter, from Christian’s Templum Domini to Caliph Umar’s first masjid of the Dome of the Rock, have succeeded one another with fascinating iconographic shifts. This holy district is today known as al-Haram al-Sharif to Muslims in which one of the most respectful religious buildings, Masjid al-Aqsa was also built. Haram al-Sharif, the Noble Sanctuary, is second only to Mecca for the Muslim pilgrimage. Its importance, on the other hand, comes from the fact that it is also emphasized in Qur’ân: according to Islamic legends, it is where the Prophet’s Night Journey to God, the Miraaj in 622 A.D, is believed to have taken place.

[31] The Sacred Rock has an almost-square cave, of which each side is four meters-fifty centimeters and the overall height is three meters. Having an octagonal shape, on the other hand, in the Qubbat Al-Sakhra, “the length of each side being twenty meters-ninety five centimeters, or 167.60 meters in all; and nine meters-fifty centimeters in height, above which is a parapet two meters-sixty centimeters high”. Volkmar Enderlein, “The Holy City of Jerusalem: The Dome of the Rock” in Islam Art and Architecture, ed. Markus Hattstein and Peter Delius(Cologne: Könemann, 2001): 64-79; A. El-Aref, A Brief Guide to the Dome of the Rock and Al-Haram Al-Sharif (Jerusalem: The Supreme Awqaf Council, 1964): 4.

[32] The Qubbat Al-Sakhra is associated with the Umayyad period: Aldul-Malek Ibn Marwan, or Abd al-Malik, the Umayyad Caliph of Damascus was believed to give the order to build the first Masjid over the “Sacred Rock” (688-692). A. El-Aref, A Brief Guide to the Dome of the Rock and Al-Haram Al-Sharif (Jerusalem: The Supreme Awqaf Council, 1964): 10-31.

[33] Yıldırım Yavuz, “The Restoration Project of the Masjid Al-Aqsa by Mimar Kemalettin (1922-1926)” in Moqarnas An Annual on the Visual Culture of the Islamic World (London: Leiden-E.J. Brill, 1996): 149-164.

[34] Nilüfer Göle, The Forbidden Modern: Civilization and Veiling (Ann Harbor: University of Michigan Press, 1996)

[35] Lawrence Grossberg, “Identity and Cultural Studies: Is That All There is?” in Questions of Cultural Identity, ed. Stuart Hall and Paul du Gay (London: Sage Publications, 1996): 87-107.

[36] Oğuz Işık, Melih Pınarcıoğlu, “Sultanbeyli Notları” in Birikim, Kentte Yarılma (Ankara: İletişim Yayınları, 1999): 47-52.

[37] David Hummon, Commonplaces: Community Ideology and Identity in American Culture (New York: State University of New York Press, 1990).

[38] Jurgen Habermas, The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere (New York: Polity Press New York, 1992).


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