Will Turkey become the new Pakistan?

Epigraph:

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

Istanbul: Meeting of Europe and Asia, the East and the West

Istanbul: Meeting of Europe and Asia, Religion and Secularism, the East and the West

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

Anıtkabir (literally, "memorial tomb") is the mausoleum of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the leader of the Turkish War of Independence and the founder and first President of the Republic of Turkey. It is located in Ankara

Anıtkabir (literally, “memorial tomb”) is the mausoleum of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the leader of the Turkish War of Independence and the founder and first President of the Republic of Turkey. It is located in Ankara

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.”

More:

Additional Reading

5 Reasons to Be Religiously Literate

Kripkean Dogmatism: The Best Metaphor to Understand Religious Debates

2 replies

  1. In “The West and Islam”, Philosopher historian, Arnold Toynbee had named two countries of the Muslim World – Pakistan and Turkey – which he termed as progressive. At the time he wrote that both Pakistan and Turkey was expected to keep the “state” and “mosque” separate. And had explained how “Islam” will infiltrate the Western Civilization. At the head of that “cultural ray” will be the “Ahmadiyyas”.

    That was way back in 1954.

    Studying the events from that point on wards, one can notice how Islamic extremism has gradually gained ground in the Muslim World. Pakistan was the first victim, the second being Iran and now it is Turkey.

    MAV
    Sweden

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