Vol.6, No.1 | [Articles] Civil Society Activities in Turkey: the “Hizmet” Movement and Arab Muslim Intellectuals’ Increasing Interest in the “Turkish Model”




The democratization and stability of the Muslim world are two of the most crucial issues facing the world, especially after so called “Arab Spring”. Turkey has been represented as a model of stability for Muslim societies in a transition process. This paper attempts to shed light on the efforts of the moderate and peaceful faith-based civil organizations in Turkey to develop the country through changing society by peaceful means, in general, and on transnational interaction of such groups with the Muslim Arabic world, in particular from the perspective of Arab intellectuals; and it seeks to answer the question, “How do Arab intellectuals see civil society in Turkey? As for the case of the social organizations in Turkey “the Hizmet (Service) Movement (HM)”, one of the biggest in the county, was chosen. The paper argues that Arab intellectuals have been paying attention to civil society activities not only since the Arab Spring but also before. They have been aware that the positive changes in Turkey resulted not only from the legislative activities of its political society but also, and more importantly, from the activities of its civil society institutions, such as HM, which is religiously credible, in terms of theory and practice, in approaching social problems with a positive and constructive attitude. Therefore, HM and its activities can serve as a model for Arabs, not only for solving their problems but also correcting their past mistakes.

Keywords : Turkish Model, Civil Society, Hizmet (Service) Movement, Arab Spring, Faith-based organizations