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The modern Ayatollah of Turkey

BY: Nuray | Category: Politics | Post Date: 2009-12-28

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The background of the conflict in Turkey is about Islamizing Turkish society by making the independent High Court and the Higher Education Council answerable to Erdogan's agenda. The Islamizing of the secularist Turkish Republic threatens Turkey's domestic and external policies. When Erdogan in 1994 was mayor of Istanbul, he did not hide his agenda by saying: -We will turn all our schools into Imam Hatips. (religious schools)- He also said regarding democracy: -Democracy is like a street car. You ride it until you arrive at your destination and then you step off.- In other words he was set to bring about an Islamist revolution in Turkey

Already to pick an Islamist President, Erdogan rather than following the tradition where Parliament selects the President based on consensus by all major political party leaders he used his Party's (AKP) majority to impose a candidate. The President has many important functions among which he could mobilize Turkish Armed Forces, appoints chief of General Staff, proclaims martial law, and appoints members of Higher Education Council.

Women were never prohibited from wearing veil in public. Now the issue has been politicized. Separation of religion and government is not radical secularism nor is Turkey anti-religion. According to retired Brigadier General in the Turkish Army, E. Haldun Solmazturk, the secularist government only sought to forbid the use of religion for political ends. Erdogan is doing exactly what Solmazturk warned against, using religion for his own political ends.

Under the AKP debt doubled and corruption is rampant. Finance Minister Kemal Unakitan has made arrangements ranging form the sale of real estate to special case import tax regulations that profit his family and investigations were halted because of his close association with the Islamist government.

Islamists seek to alter the system itself to promote education as Erdogan sees fit to promote political Islam. He promised to establish 15 new universities that would enable him to hand pick rectors sand fill their boards with his political allies. He replaced nearly every member of the banking regulatory board with officials from the Islamic banking sector.

The political analyst, Michael Rubin indicated that rule of law is the basis of democracy which Erdogan is increasingly undermining. Erdogan has in fact since 2005 launched a series of lawsuits against Turkish political cartoonists who criticized him and his party.

Since June 2008 the Turkish Islamist government began a drama called the Ergenekon plot (The word Ergenekon comes from a Turkish mythical place located in the inaccessible valleys of the Altay Mountains , where Bumin Khan is supposed to have gathered the Turkic people) in which it claimed to have discovered a crate of grenades in an Istanbul slum linked to ultra-nationalist conspirators who plotted a series of terrorist attacks throughout Turkey and depose the AKP and in cooperation with all sort of terrorist groups. The timing of this alleged plot came weeks before parliamentary elections for the Presidency so that the government is able to distract public attention and put one of its men in the post.

The Ergenekon is fictitious, an excuse for the AKP to arrest its critics. It is beyond logic to believe that Eregenekon is as powerful wide-ranging and wicked as the government claims. The detainees come from various and opposed background. The elderly communist editor of a left-wing newspaper has been detained even though prosecutors claim that Ergenekon was behind bombing of that very same newspaper.

In the process these McCarthy Turkish trials extended to Mehmet Haberal, head of Baskent University in Ankara who was detained after police searched his home. Two former college heads were arrested in Samsun and Malataya. Police also searched the house of Mustafa Yurtkuran, acting chairman of a secularist group known as the Ataturk Thought Association. The group's offices across Turkey were being searched by police. Many government critics say the Ergenekon was the Islamist government's revenge for a failed 2008 lawsuit to ban the AK Party on the grounds of anti-secular activities.

As Erdogan's government becomes increasingly authoritarian, has persistently defended the Iranian elections as democratic, embraced indicted war criminal President Bashir of Sudan, and sided with Hamas against both the Israelis and the Palestinian Authority. Erdogan has pursued these policies with the aim to pursue leadership of the Islamic world. AKP has been conspicuously silent on Muslims' suffering in the northern Caucasus while collaborating with the Kremlin in promoting the South Stream pipeline at the expense of the Nabucco project that would connect Azerbaijan to the West. According to Soner Cagaptay, director of The Washington Institute's Turkish Research Program The AKP's foreign policy is shaped by - econo-Islamism ,- a blending Turkish business interests with a religio-political world view. Cagaptay indicates that Turkey's rapprochement with Russia, Sudan Iran, and Hamas had been considered neo-Ottomanist - a -secular- attempt to project Turkish power within the realm of its former empire. However the price of achieving such a leadership is at the expense of democracy, secularism and a balanced foreign policy.

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