by Diana Muir Appelbaum*
Supersessionism refers to the belief that Christians have superseded Jews in a new covenant with God. Islam, too, sees itself as superseding all previous divine revelation but, unlike Christianity, which canonized the Old Testament embedding long centuries of pre-Christian history into the Christian narrative, Islam freely erases history itself. But Kemalist Turkey appeared to offer a revolutionary break with Islamic tradition when it established a secular republic on the ashes of the Ottoman caliphate. For decades it has been held up as a model of a modern, westernized, Middle Eastern democracy, that happened to have a Muslim majority. Closer examination, however, reveals substantial “continuity between the late Ottoman Empire” and the republic as Turkish treatment of religious and ethnic minorities exposes an unacknowledged streak of Islamic supersessionism.