Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Islamist AKP chooses Gul for President

Just as it was predicted earlier, it has now come to pass:

AKP's Long Awaited Decision Comes: It Is Abdullah Gul For President
Turkish news agencies are announcing that during the AKP’s Central Executive Board (MIK) meeting that just ended, it was decided for FM Abdullah Gul to be AKP’s candidate for president.

Tomorrow Gul will visit opposition leaders to seek their support. After his round of visits with all the opposition parties, Gul will officially announce his candidacy.

CHP, MHP and DSP have declared their opposition to Gul’s candidacy for president and have been demanding that PM Erdogan keeps his promise to find a compromise candidate that would be acceptable to all the parties.

Source: Hurriyet, Yeni Safak, Turkey, August 13, 2007

Turkish Columnist Ozdemir Ince: Gul's Presidency Violates Democracy, Secular Nature of Public Space
Hurriyet columnist Ozdemir Ince wrote that he has nothing to say to the Islamist writers and media who passionately campaigned for Gul’s presidency because their goals are clear: They want an Islamist republic and they want to take their revenge from [on] the secular state that they are opposed to.

But to those who tried to connect Gul’s presidency with democracy, Ince says that public space is neutral as described by the constitution. Nobody can carry his faith that is in his private domain to the public space. Public space belongs to everybody equally but is not owned by anybody. It cannot belong 47% to AKP, 20% to CHP, 14% to MHP and so on. Even if a political party gets 99% of the vote it cannot claim the public space as its. The 1% - believer or non-believer - is equal to the 99% in the public space. Bringing one’s own private religion and its political symbols to the public space that should essentially be neutral, is against democracy, against equality, secularism and the law.

Source: Hurriyet, Turkey, August 14, 2007

(bold emphasis mine). Gul's candidacy is one of the major contention points that led to the call for new elections. This is sure to make a lot of people angry.

Many people maintain that devout Islamists know how to play the multi-culti game, by pretending to be respectful of views different of their own, even making promises they have no intention of keeping, until such time as they can take power and enforce their own views. Is that what we are seeing here?

More on why this matters: A Synopsis of Turkey's Political Situation.

1 comment:

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