I have no religion, and at times I wish all religions at the bottom of the sea. He is a weak ruler who needs religion to uphold his government; it is as if he would catch his people in a trap. Mustafa Kemal Ataturk
By Dr. Can Erimtan: He is an independent scholar residing in İstanbul, with a wide interest in the politics, history and culture of the Balkans and the Greater Middle East. He tweets at @theerimtanangle
Russia Today: As Turkey is now slowly approaching the first centenary of the Republic’s foundation on 29 October 1923, some critics appear to fear that the country has assumed an outlook most incongruous with the legacy of Atatürk.
And it is true that ever since the Justice and Development Party (AKP) assumed the reins of power in the country, Turkey has moved into a distinct post-Kemalist era. Following decades of Kemalist indoctrination and a seeming hostility towards Islam, the nation is now going through a “process of completing its normalization,” as voiced by Taha Özhan, the Director General of the Ankara-based non-profit research institute SETA (or Foundation for Political, Economic, and Social Research).
“Kemalism” is the “ideas and principles of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the founder and first president of the Turkish Republic.” From The Oxford Encyclopedia of the Islamic World
Özhan sees the overtly Islamic AKP as a political power that is forcibly taking Turkey into new waters, where a pious population is made to feel at ease with the government machinery that had previously appeared to be in direct opposition to the population’s deep and heartfelt attachment to Islam and its values. As such, throughout the 1920s and 30s “the ideological position of Turkish nationalism in the guise of the political doctrine of Kemalism was meant to replace the religion of Islam as the binding force fashioning a unitary and homogeneous state.”