Does Erdogan want his own Islamic state?

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Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan leaves from the Ottoman-era Dolmabahce mosque after Friday prayers in Istanbul, Turkey, April 15, 2016. (photo by REUTERS/Murad Sezer) Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan leaves from the Ottoman-era Dolmabahce mosque after Friday prayers in Istanbul, Turkey, April 15, 2016. (photo by REUTERS/Murad Sezer)

 

Parliament Speaker Ismail Kahraman unexpectedly sparked controversy in Turkey when on April 25 he declared that Turkey’s new constitution should forgo mention of “secularism” and instead be a “religious constitution” referencing God. His words reignited Turkey’s always tense “secularism debate,” which has been amplified since 2002 when the Justice and Development Party (AKP) came to power. Kahraman’s remarks led to protests in a number of cities, a call by the main opposition leader for him to resign and allegations by secular pundits that the Speaker had shown the AKP’s “true face,” its “real intentions.” Because Kahraman is a known confidant of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, many also suspected that his statement was part of a scheme being orchestrated by Turkey’s leader. Continue reading

Revealed: How President Carter supported the Iranian Revolution

From 1941 to 1979, Iran was ruled by Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi, better known as the Shah (meaning “king”). Pahlavi’s modernization and anti-Communist policies won the backing of many Western countries, which saw oil-rich Iran as a valuable ally in a tumultuous region. At the same time, though, his secularism and suppression of political opponents left him strongly disliked domestically.Pahlavi’s regime was ultimately overthrown in the 1979 revolution, led by Ayatollah Sayyid Ruhollah Mūsavi Khomeini. Continue reading