Center Right, Conservatism, Islamism, and Turkey’s European Vocation
Turkey’s conservatism is primarily composed of two strands: center-right and Islamic conservatism. From 1946 until the birth of the pro-Islamic National Outlook Movement (NOM) in 1970, Turkey’s conservatism was primarily represented by the center-right parties, known for their pro-European and pro-Western views, largely due to economic interests. From the advent of the NOM to the beginning of the Justice and Development Party (AKParty) rule in 2002, the center-right social base and the Islamists separated. While the center-right constituency by and large continued with their pro-European/Western posture, the Islamists opposed Turkey’s European and Western orientation. With the AKParty’s uninterrupted rule, the center-right social base and the Islamists largely merged within the fold of a single party, which led both groups to reshape each other’s perception of Europe. Instead of categorical opposition or acquiescence, an events-based approach has become the hallmark of Turkish conservatives’ attitude toward Europe.