Between 'Turkish Islam' and 'French Islam': The Role of the Diyanet in the Conseil Francais du Culte Musulman

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Çıtak Aytürk Z. A.

JOURNAL OF ETHNIC AND MIGRATION STUDIES, vol.36, pp.619-634, 2010 (SSCI) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 36
  • Publication Date: 2010
  • Doi Number: 10.1080/13691830903421797
  • Journal Indexes: Social Sciences Citation Index (SSCI), Scopus
  • Page Numbers: pp.619-634
  • Keywords: Turkey, France, Diyanet, CFCM, 'Turkish Islam', GERMANY, ROOTS
  • Middle East Technical University Affiliated: Yes


This article discusses the role of the Directorate of Religious Affairs in Turkeythe Diyanetin the French Council for Muslim Religion (Conseil Francais du Culte Musulman or CFCM). The Diyanet-linked Cordination Committee of Muslim Turks in France (Comite de Coordination des Musulmans Turcs de France, or CCMTF) was one of the constitutive federations of the CFCM, confirming its status as 'the' interlocutor for the French state in its relations with the Turkish Muslim community. I argue in this paper that this is mainly for two reasons. First, the Turkish government uses the Diyanet as a foreign-policy instrument, promoting 'Turkish Islam' as a moderate and rational religion, compatible with modernity and as a model for 'European' or 'French Islam'. The Diyanet presents itself as the legitimate representative of Muslims of Turkish origin in France, excluding other organisations as radicals. Secondly, the Turkish Muslim community in France still displays loyalty to Turkey in terms of social organisation. The paternalistic attitude of the Turkish state, the immigrants' search for protection of the country of origin, nationality divisions within the CFCM and the long-standing habit of the French state to deal with its Muslim community through foreign governments help to explain the continuing importance of the Diyanet for the Turkish Muslim community and in the CFCM.