It is unsurprising that the world should be incredulous at the explanations given by the Turkish Government as to the origins, sponsors, and actions of the putsch which was attempted against it on the night of July 15-16, 2016. Indeed, the great difficulty is to avoid considering the “conspiracy theory” that the entire event had been orchestrated by President Reçep Tayyip Erdoğan himself.
The event was cut from whole cloth. It was too perfect, and the responses too complete. Its outcome could not have been more favorable to the president and his ambitions. Continue reading
- A deeper look into the history of Turkey reveals that, unfortunately, Turkey has never been either truly secular or democratic. In Turkey, freedom of conscience and religion is respected — but only if you are a practicing Sunni Muslim.
- The problem is that “modern” Turkey claims to be a “secular” republic; a secular republic is supposed to treat all people — Muslims and non-Muslims — equally. The objective of the Diyanet (Presidency of Religious Affairs), on the other hand, is to keep religion (Islam) under the control of the state, and to keep the people under the control of the state by means of religion.
- “Those who are not genuine Turks can have only one right in the Turkish fatherland, and that is to be a servant, to be a slave. We are in the most free country of the world. They call this Turkey.” — Mahmut Esat Bozkurt, Turkey’s first Minister of Justice, 1930.
When many Western analysts discuss the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) in Turkey, they rightfully criticize it for its religious intolerance, authoritarianism and lack of respect for secular principles and minorities. They also tend to compare the AKP to former Kemalist governments, and draw a distinction between the Islamist AKP and former non-Islamist governments.
They claim that Turkey was “secular” and somewhat “democratic,” until the AKP came to power.
It would not be an exaggeration to say Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is currently one of the world’s most charismatic leaders. Any conversation about Turkey always includes a reference to Mr Erdoğan – such is the growing cult of personality – and in a country which reveres great leaders, i.e. Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, it is not surprising either.
The 61-year-old Turkish president has taken Turkey forward economically, politically to an extent, and severed the power of the army within politics. It is not hyperbolic to say the military wielded too much power in Turkish politics. Continue reading
The Turkish government has plans to make a slight change to its laws to prevent coups. The contentious point in the constitution – Article 35 – has been used as justification by instigators of past coups.
Since 1960, there have been four military coups in Turkey that threw out elected governments. The last time a coup threatened the government in Turkey was 2007, when the military had a stand-off with Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Now, the government is considering a historic step: changing Article 35 of the Turkish military’s internal laws. This would be an attempt to avoid future military coups by passing an amendment that would remove the possibility of the military getting involved in domestic affairs. The change in Article 35 would make the military only responsible for “threats from abroad.” Continue reading