POLS Seminar: “Does Islamic Religiosity Constrain Democratic Attitudes?”, Zeki Sarıgil, 12:30Noon November 14 (EN)

“Does Islamic Religiosity Constrain Democratic Attitudes?”

Assoc. Prof. Dr. Zeki Sarigil
Department of Political Science
Bilkent University

Tuesday, November 14, 2023, 12:30 p.m.
A-130 (FEASS Building)

Regarding the nexus between Islam and democracy, we see two competing perspectives in the literature. For the first view, Islam is not compatible with democratic norms, while the second view claims that they can be in harmony. The existing literature provides increasing number of empirical studies testing these competing claims. However, many of those studies remain limited due to various data restrictions and measurement problems. Thus, this study revisits this classical debate and tests these competing claims by using novel data, derived from a Muslim-majority context (i.e., Turkey). Using observational data based on two nationwide public opinion surveys (2015 and 2022), this study examines Sunni-Turkish majority’s attitudes towards the demands of the largest ethnic and religious minority groups in the country (i.e., Kurds and Alevis respectively). The study addresses the following specific question: Are religious members of Sunni-Turkish majority more or less tolerant towards the demands of ethnic and religious minority groups? The study shares the empirical findings and provides a discussion of broader implications of the findings.

Short Bio:
Zeki Sarigil is an Associate Professor of Political Science at Bilkent University. His research interests include ethnicity, ethnonationalism, ethnic conflict; institutional theory (e.g., institutional change, path dependence, informal institutions); civil-military relations; and Turkish politics. He has published articles in such journals as European Political Science Review, European Sociological Review, Journal of Peace Research, European Journal of International Relations, Nations and Nationalism, Armed Forces & Society, South European Society and Politics. Dr. Sarigil has received scholarships, grants and awards from various institutions, including Fulbright, TUBITAK and the Science Academy of Turkey. He is also the author of the following books: 1) “How Informal Institutions Matter: Evidence from Turkish Social and Political Spheres” (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2023); 2) “Ethnic Boundaries in Turkish Politics: The Secular Kurdish Movement and Islam” (New York: New York University Press, 2018).