ATV

On 18 January 2006, between 23:30 and 03:30, on Ali Kirca's widely followed Siyaset Meydani programme on ATV, the concept of "Islamic Calvinists" was debated - with ESI’s report serving as the basis. These are some excerpts from the intense and at times heated discussion:

Ali Kırca

Ali Kırca, Anchorman, Siyaset Meydanı, ATV:

"Important delegations from the European Union have been working on the relationship between Islam and aspects of modern life, stemming from the Kayseri example. Şükrü Karatepe apparently said "to understand Kayseri, one must read Max Weber".. This is what we will be discussing today."
Cuneyt Ulsever

Cuneyt Ulsever (Hurriyet newspaper, columnist):

"Within the same religion there are people who are adapted to capitalism and those who are not. The point is whether the way you interpret your religion can make you more efficient in your work. And it's true ... We are talking about the report of the European Stability Initiative. And what they say is that when people who produce in Kayseri are asked, they dont see a contradiction between their Islamic values and their productivity. In fact they say that their work is blessed in a sense. Employing people and not spending extravagantly are appreciated qualities in Islam. Saidi Nursi says the same. What the researchers are trying to say is that you don't have to make concessions from Islam in order to be a succesfull capitalist."
Hüseyin Hatemi

Hüseyin Hatemi (Profesor of Law, Istanbul University):

"If capitalism means working hard then Islam and capitalism are fine together. But if we mean one will rule over the other than there can be no harmony between the two. The 10 Commandments are also contradictory to capitalism."
Yaşar Nuri Öztürk

Yaşar Nuri Öztürk (theologian, Member of Parliament, leader of the People's Ascent Party):

"The Quran is not an economics book. Islam can not be interpreted to fit with capitalism."
Cengiz Çandar

Cengiz Çandar (columnist, Bugun Newspaper):

"Islam and economy are not unrelated. Islam is known as a religion of trade. Our prophet was in trade. Mekka was the center of trade. From the onset, Islam and trade have been related. And without trade there cannot be industry. I went to secondary school in Kayseri for four years. They have a mode of thinking which is very conducive to trade. Today they are a center of industry. And this is the base AKP relies on. A disharmony is out of the question."
Mehmet Ali Kılıçbay

Mehmet Ali Kılıçbay, Yeni Aktüel Magazine:

"Capitalism can not have a religion. Islam does not have an opinion on capitalism so it doesn't make sense to talk about the changes in the stance of Islam towards capitalism. Islam is neither against Capitalism or for it - Islam merely has to deal with the consequences of capitalism."
Ahmet Taşgetiren

Ahmet Taşgetiren:

"AKP did not come to power to change the system; they are working within the system. They are merely more responsive to Islam than the others. We cannot talk about these issues without being suspected of having ulterior motives. Others need to create the basis of the discussion in order for it to be debated in a healthy fashion."
Cuneyt Ülsever

Cuneyt Ülsever:

"Are you denying that since 1980 there has been a development towards the capitalist mode of production in these provinces? Maybe you are uncomfortable by the word ‘Calvinist’?. Maybe its not a word we are used to. We also might not be used to a relationship being drawn between religion and economy. However i am sure Karatepe was not betraying Islam when he gave this quote [Üllsever reads the quote from our paper]. This is a man imprisoned for his beliefs.. Do we question whether he is Islamic enough when he says that?"
Hüseyin Hatemi

Hüseyin Hatemi:

"We have to differentiate between what Allah wanted and the Islam that is being practiced currently. .. We disregard some of the prohibitions. We were not able to build and maintain a governance system that is in harmony with what Allah wants."
Cuneyt Ülsever

Cüneyt Ülsever:  

"What is important is that these people who produce in this town do not feel there is a contradiction between their beliefs and their business. This is the point. Whether there is total harmony or not is another issue. I want to talk about the women factor. When you look at the figures, the employment of women is very low. And most are in agriculture. They are not a part of the free market economy."
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