Melodies of resistance: Islamist music in secular Turkey

Hakkı Taş (2014) ‘Melodies of resistance: Islamist music in secular Turkey,’ Social Compass 61 (3): 368-383. Full Text

Abstract: Since the mid-1980s, music has become a site of resistance and political mobilization for Turkish Islamists. Based on interviews with prominent Islamist musicians and analyses of a cross-section of their albums, this paper examines the development of Islamist music in secular Turkey. In order to elaborate upon the power struggle between the secular state and Islamist groups in the realm of music, it first focuses on how the founding elite of Turkey treated music as part of its secular nation-formation project. It then locates Islamist music as a form of protest music and analyses its development through the 1980s and 1990s, in concert with the growing visibility of political Islam in other arenas. Thereafter, the paper demonstrates how Turkey’s fourth military intervention in 1997 led to the decline of Islamist music. The final section is devoted to a discussion of the strategies of survival employed by Islamist musicians in response to government repression.

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