As the first two groupings were partially influenced by discrimination, they produced ghettos of various sizes over time. For some time, this prevented the migrants from integrating with the city’s culture. Religious communities undoubtedly softened strong traditional elements to ease assimilation. Yet, in the final analysis, they are completely voluntary emerging social groupings. While there do exist certain internal problematic relations, they have followed certain social trends to blend into society, ensuring the socialization and urbanization of the migrants. In short, it can be argued that voluntary religious communities are a new form of socialization, unique to our society. These forms, at the same time, represent major social and civilian opportunities to join the city as new members.
The Turkish political scene is considerably indebted to religious communities and political Islam, as these communities kept religious groups away from violence and terrorism despite relentless pressure and difficulties and they ensured that these groups express their demands within the ambit of the legitimate political sphere. This is the foundation of the enrichment and reinforcement of the Turkish democracy and the expansion of the civilian sphere in the country. The Sunni practice of moderation and self-possession, followed diligently by Muslims in Turkey, plays a major role in ensuring that coup attempts are today brought to light and the country can be purged of its legacy of coups.
The problems migrants face in integrating with urban life have not ended. And the evolution of politics is under way as well. It seems that the form of change is radically transforming the form of culture. This causes huge damage to historical and social traditions. Yet, as it is impossible to design a society without traditions, this new society is building a new tradition. And it is hardly possible to carry all of the rural traditions and customs of the old society to the city. As no one has the luxury of raising a cow on the balcony of his apartment, he will have to buy milk, yogurt, cheese and butter in packaged form from a supermarket.
The impact of change on religion, religious perceptions and religious life is an important issue. In the 19th century Europe saw similar changes. Previously extremely religious societies quickly introduced secular lifestyles. Yet, in Turkey and across the Muslim world, we see that people continue to express their demands for new forms of settlement and lifestyle that are compatible with the essence of religion; they attach importance to their distinguishing religious identities and they voice civilian, social and political demands to this end.
There are no serious conflicts between generations, but those who first came to the city and their children who were born there diverge considerably in adapting themselves to the transforming power of communication, knowledge, education and technology. Human beings are capable of quickly adapting to the physical and social environment. Yet, their capabilities may differ considerably. Our fathers had not known how to use computers, but we do. And our children will probably be able to use more sophisticated equipment and improve their capacity to make sense of the world.
If a more individualistic and self-centered culture comes out of this, then it may lead to alienation between generations. Above, I argued that traditions received heavy blows from this process. Yet, I must note, traditions cannot be destroyed completely, and people tend to reproduce them as the values that make complicated relations between people possible. If one has sound references and foundations on which he can base his efforts to build a new culture and traditions and if he can benefit from the fundamental constituent values of his past, then he can maintain his life without experiencing any alienation from his past.
The social change specific to Turkey produces novel issues and pushes us to develop new “forms of reading.”