Book cover of From Religious Empires to Secular States: State Secularization in Turkey, Iran, and Russia by Birol Başkan

From Religious Empires to Secular States: State Secularization in Turkey, Iran, and Russia

In the 1920s and 1930s, Turkey, Iran and Russia vehemently pursued state-secularizing reforms, but adopted different strategies in doing so. But why do states follow different secularizing strategies? The literature has already shattered the illusion that secularization of the state has been a unilinear, homogeneous and universal process, and has convincingly shown that secularization of the state has unfolded along different paths. Much, however, remains to be uncovered. Baskan’s book provides an in-depth comparative historical analysis of state secularization in three major Eurasian countries: Turkey, Iran and Russia. To capture the variation in state secularization across three countries that have been analyzed as separate studies, Birol Başkan adopts three modes of state secularization: accommodationism, separationism and eradicationism. Focusing thematically on the changing relations between the state and religious institutions, he brings together a host of factors - historical, strategic and structural - to account for why Turkey adopted accommodationism, Iran separationism and Russia eradicationism. In doing so, Baskan expertly demonstrates that each secularization strategy was a rational response to the strategic context the reformers found themselves in.

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