Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Storm Track Infiltration: Islamism and Turkey – The First Shoe Drops?

Ever since a party with deep Islamic roots has won a landslide victory in Turkey's elections we’ve wondered if the Islamists would try to re-establish a fundamentalist Islamic culture in Turkey’s secular society. Are we starting to see the first shoe to drop?

Turkey's Islamic-leaning prime minister called Wednesday for lifting a ban on women wearing head scarves in universities, a shift in position that is certain to alarm secularists who fear the government is moving to foist a Muslim agenda on the nation.

Recep Tayyip Erdogan's statement at a news conference that he wants a constitutional change to remove the ban comes just weeks after he scored a major political triumph: the election of his ally Abdullah Gul _ a devout Muslim _ as Turkey's president.

The opposition had vehemently opposed Erdogan's choice of Gul for the influential and highly symbolic post, saying it would open the way for the government to carry out an Islamic agenda.

Erdogan's comments Wednesday will raise suspicions he is taking the first step in that direction, particularly because it was a tempest over the head scarf worn by Gul's wife that galvanized opposition to the former foreign minister's presidential bid.

Gul and Erdogan have said they are not Islamic fundamentalists, citing their promotion of reforms to advance Turkey's bid to join the European Union. But they have also sought to improve ties with the Islamic world, including with hard-line nations like Syria.


Now tell me. Why would a country that seeks to join a democratic union like the EU want to strengthen ties with dictatorships? And Islamic or pseudo-Islamic states to boot.

The head of Turkey's Higher Education Board _ a well-known secularist law scholar _ condemned Erdogan's move to lift the head scarf ban.

"It is our mission to remind the public that any constitutional regulation that would abolish restrictions on clothing is illegal," Erdogan Tezic said.

But the prime minister insists that ending the head scarf ban would be merely a question of individual liberty. "We are talking about freedoms," he said Wednesday.


Right. And how long before the freedom to wear the burka will follow? How long before those that decide not to toe the religious line lose their freedoms?

A key factor in the new head scarf debate is how the military will react.

When Erdogan first proposed Gul for president in April, the military issued a statement that hinted at military intervention. The ensuing crisis forced Erdogan to call an early general election. The ruling party's landslide victory resurrected Gul's presidential bid and parliament voted him into the post on Aug. 28.


Things are not looking to good in Turkey when a large number of the population want to see creeping Sharia law in their country.

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2 Comments:

  • The two bestselling books in Turkey: the Koran and Mein Kampf.

    Shari'ah law moves my creeps, not usually by leaps and bounds.

    I can't see how Turkey should be admitted to the EU, both ideologically and practically.

    If Turkey is admitted, it will provide more opportunity for terrorists to enter European countries because the EU issues visas (if I recall correctly an article which I read quite a while back). I simply don't trust all the officials in Turkey to properly vet those seeking EU visas.

    By Blogger Always On Watch, at 2:13 PM  

  • "The two bestselling books in Turkey: the Koran and Mein Kampf."


    That is enough to ban Turkey from the EU. But the EU will be Islamic in a few generations so does it really matter in the end?

    By Blogger Richard, at 9:04 AM  

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