13 March 2006
BBC on Islamic Calvinists

The public debate in Turkey on our report "Islamic Calvinists - Change and Conservatism in Central Anatolia" continued through February and March, raising some strong opinions both for and against the report.

Today, a BBC report on Kayseri notes about Kayseri:
"the new entrepreneurialism sweeping across the province is providing an unlikely catalyst for a remarkable religious transformation. A new form of Turkish Islam is emerging here, one which is pro-business and pro-free market, and it's being called Islamic Calvinism. …

Critics say it's a Western conspiracy to Christianise Islam, but others have passionately argued in its favour, holding it up as a model for how Islam and modernity can co-exist. One of its most prominent defenders has been Turkey's Deputy Prime Minister, Abdullah Gül, himself a native of Kayseri and the son of an entrepreneur. He sees no contradiction in the term and argues that Turkey can provide a lasting template for a new kind of modern Islam. "The most important thing to ask," he says, is what kind of modernism do we want? Are you living in this world, or are you dreaming? The people of Kayseri are no dreaming - they are realistic, and that's the kind of Islam we need."

The full story, entitled "The Return of Faith", was on BBC Radio 3's Night Waves in a week long series.

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Photo credits
Alan Grant is an Irish photographer who travelled extensively in the Balkans and other countries and regions of the world. Thanks to him, ESI is able to show fascinating pictures of the Balkans: the facades of Tirana, the painted mosques of Travnik, the fabulous old houses of Plovdiv and the spectacular blue of water - dark in the Bay of Kotor, emerald in the river valleys of Bosnia, deep blue in Ohrid, twinkling in the Aegean Sea and on the Bosporus.

You can find out more about Alan Grant on his websites:
Jonathan Lewis lives between London and Istanbul. He moved to London and spent many years studying photography and now specialises in photojournalism, documentary photography and commercial work for a wide variety of private and commercial clients in the UK, Europe and Turkey. His work has appeared in a number of magazines and publications and is used on the ESI website as well.

You can find out more about Jonathan Lewis on his website www.jonathanlewisphoto.com