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Changes in Turkey (2:32) Excerpt from film "Turkey's Tigers", August 2006
A Turkish businessman working in the fashion industry is both devout and profit-driven.

Country: Turkey

middle east turkey map

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Guiding Questions
  1. What aspects of Islamic culture were evident in the clip? What aspects of secular culture were evident?

  2. Predict how the existence of both traditional and secular culture could lead to tension in Turkish society.

  3. Based on your knowledge of global cultures, identify another society that has experienced tension between traditional and secular aspects of its culture and describe the impact that tension had on the society.
Background Essay
Businessmen in Turkey represent a new face of Islam, both devout and profit-driven. Their role in Turkey's future is made possible by the interesting juxtaposition of a politically secular state with an increasingly pious population. This clip showcases a Turkish entrepreneur who makes fashionable clothing for conservative Muslim women. He explains the pursuit of business success in terms of the larger goals of Islam. For him, accumulating money is not in conflict with a life of piety rather, money can be the key to a more pious Muslim life.

Turkey is located in a part of the world that was once called the Near East. For centuries it was a link between Europe and Asia. Its main city, Istanbul (previously called Constantinople), was a trading, religious, and social hub. Both Christianity and Islam have had major influences on the development of Turkey's culture.

In the early 1900s Turkey experienced a period of rapid economic and social change. In 1923, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, a popular leader in Turkey's military, declared the establishment of the Turkish Republic. He launched an aggressive program to modernize and secularize the country, which brought about many changes. Turkey has modernized its economy and is poised to become a member of the European Union. Simultaneously, religious and political leaders are working to preserve traditional Islamic aspects of Turkey's culture while embracing some of the West's attitudes and practices. Turkey's future stability and growth will be determined by how well it can incorporate the rich heritage of its past into its goals for future.

One of the industries that is confronted with this change is the garment industry. Some women in Turkey choose to wear traditional Islamic garb, while many others choose to wear non-traditional Western attire. What does this mean for business leaders in Turkey? What does it mean for female consumers? In the Turkey that is evolving, will there be room for both the past and the future?

Turkey. A Muslim nation, secular by law, where piety is on the rise.

And businessmen are pursuing wealth, faith and fashion.

They represent a new face of Islam - both devout and profit-driven.

What kind of clothes are we going to see in the show today?

Mustafa Karaduman
It's a surprise.
You'll have to wait and see.

They're earning the name: Turkey's Tigers.

Mustafa Karaduman
Islam has five pillars. Three of them are about worship and the body. Two of them are about business. If you don't do business you can't go on your pilgrimage; if you don't do business, you can't give to charity. So you need to earn money in order to go on your pilgrimage and help others.

Mustafa Karaduman's business is the design and manufacture of women's clothing made according to a strict interpretation of the Koran.

Mustafa Karaduman
My wife, Zulfiye Karaduman.

Zulfiye Karaduman
He works outside and I take care of the children inside.

Mustafa Karaduman
When she's at home, she doesn't have to be covered. But if women go outside, they need to be fully covered in every situation. And that's why we exist, that's what I think.

Karaduman is making a business opportunity out of clothing for conservative Muslim women.

Mustafa Karaduman
I like Mercedes cars. It was my ideal and Allah allowed it, so I bought it.

Related Links
Turkey's Tigers on PBS.org

CIA World Factbook: Turkey

Turkish Cultural Foundation

BBC World Service: Religions of the World: Islam

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