The Turkish elections are happening now. A big rally for secularism (as the BBC reports) took place about a month ago. The most popular prime minster, Gul, is too religiously inclined for their secular Turkey, the protesters protest. As one of my Turkish friends told me Gul owes his popularity to his amazing performance in office, mainly his budget -related successes. The elections end some time in June, I think, so we will see the outcome. But what’s more interesting are the principle of the protests.
Freedom of speech on religiously related topics (even if it only pertains to politics) within a Muslim society is, at the very least, intriguing and totally unexpected. Don’t you wish that such attempts to separate religion and politics are made in all countries, Muslim or not? Unfortunately, I don’t foresee countries in need of such change following the Turkish lead anytime soon. Let me explain why Turkey is truly unique in doing this.
Turkey is a perfect battle ground for Secularism versus Fundamentalism. Secular is due to its recent history, since it was declared officially secular owing Kemal Ataturk’s founding the republic in 1923. Fundamentalist is unquestionable due to its Muslim majority and heavy Muslim heritage, once being the center of the Ottoman Empire.
And more recently, Turkey’s hopes and efforts to join the EU has without a doubt impacted its politics and the political inclinations of the Turks. And I am sure that Muslim extremists regard this as Western-ing (Westernizing maybe) and of course as that it is also regarded as evil. It will be really interesting to followhow things unfold in the Turkish near future.