Πέμπτη, 27 Ιουνίου 2013

Is secular Turkey dying?


The protests in Istanbul may be the swansong of brutal government by elite in Turkey. But their reign may well still be better than what could come after.

By Kapil Komireddi

Is secular Turkey dying? To approach answering this question, compare the protests that 
have been raging over the last fortnight in Istanbul with the demonstrations that took place
 in the Turkish capital, Ankara, six years ago. In 2007, when Abdullah Gul was nominated for
 the presidency of Turkey, hundreds of thousands of Turks marched in protest. Gul is a devout
 Muslim, and his wife, Hayrunisa, wears the hijab. Turkey’s secularists, feeling endangered, 
demanded the withdrawal of Gul’s candidacy. “Turkey is secular and will remain secular,” they 
chanted, brandishing posters of Kemal Ataturk.
Six years later, Abdullah Gul is the president. His Justice and Development Party is the most 
popular political party in Turkey. And its leader, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, is not merely the prime 
minister: Denounced in 1997 as an Islamist and banned from participating in politics, he can now 
claim to be the most powerful leader in modern Turkey’s history since Ismet Inonu, Ataturk's successor.

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