Aug 28, 2007

The last castle falls

Today will mark a historic turn for Turkey, Abdullah Gul of AKP is projected to become the 11th president of Turkey, despite the fierce opposition of the army and other secularist. The army regards itself as the protector of Kamal Ataturk's secular legacy and they accuse Abdulla Gul of having an Islamist agenda.

The presidency is the only remaining position controlled by secularists, the old berguasi, and surrendering this position to a former Islamist from Anatolia is understandably a difficult thing for them. To make matters worse for the secularists, women wearing headscarves are banned from official buildings including the presidential palace, that's until today when Gul's wife becomes the first lady.

Abdullah Gul is well qualified - if not over-qualified - for the job. His record as a foreign minister is impressive, in his four years in the position he was able to turn around Turkey's relationship with its neighbors Syria, Iran and Iraq as well as building stronger relationship with turkic-speaking Central Asian countries. As a president he will have the authority to appoint judges, university chancellors and sign off on legislation, positions historically controlled by secularists. The army will be reporting to him as well, at least in theory.

4 comments:

Peregrine said...

Walking through Istanbul with my Turkish friend last year, a secular woman, I watched as she was shunned by women with scarves who turned their backs on her.
The rise of the AK party is giving the more religious Turks the support and impetus to force the country into an Islamist state.
The election of Gul will only split the country further. He may be a moderate but he encourages and emboldens the more fundamental elements.
It could have the effect that the military will feel the need to step in again to change the government. Look at the harsh language in the warning the military issued just yesterday. That would be a disaster to their EU hopes and for the economy.
John G-
Brooklyn, USA

bishop said...

i think all this talk of turning Turkey into an Islamic state is hogwash. i think nothing will change. i think the guy will lead seuclarly as he says he will. the secularists should at least let him try. HE got the most votes... from ALL of Turkey!!!

Abdurahman said...

bishop,

I agree not much will change but soon a new constitution will be debated in the parliament which might change few things the secularists regard as important (i.e. girls wearing headscarves could get education like everyone else).

Peregrine,

We need to agree one what does it mean being an "Islamist state". What's been happening in Turkey is pittiful and has nothing to do with secularism. For example, girls wearing head scarves, a personal choice you would agree, aren't allowed to be citizens like everyone else; they can't go to university or work in government buildings - what do you call that?
The secularist are afraid of AKP giving equal rights to everyone and the rising middle class in Anatolia, basically a burguasi scared of losing their privilages.

The majority of the Turkish people have made it clear in this last election that they trust AKP and want Gul for president, that's what democracy should be about, don't you think?

Chus said...

This is what I think: The last castle