This article examines the ideological worldview of Sezai Karakoç (1933–), an influential but overlooked Islamist intellectual in Republican Turkey. Through an analysis of Karakoç's writing, the article situates post–WWII era Islamist thought in Turkey in relation to politics of the Cold War competition, global intellectual trends, and decolonization movements. In this context, the article focuses on the Islamist appropriation of Arnold Toynbee's ideas on civilizational relations in world history and how Toynbee's writings were utilized in critiques of modernization theory and westernization movements in postcolonial Muslim societies, as well as the Cold War superpower competition in world politics. Finally, the article reflects on the long-term legacy of the civilizational thinking of Islamism for the post–Cold War clash of civilization discourses and contemporary debates on Turkey's relationship with the European Union.

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