Monday, March 31, 2008

Turkey Supreme Court seeks to dissolve ruling party

"The 11-judge court, a bastion of the secularist establishment, decided unanimously to hear a case calling for the closure of Erdogan's ruling Justice and Development party (AKP) as well as banning the prime minister and president from politics for five years on the grounds that they are trying to impose Islamic law in the overwhelmingly Muslim country of 70 million.

The decision followed a failed attempt by the country's military leaders to mount a coup by stealth last year against the prime minister and to stop Abdullah Gul, the former foreign minister, from becoming president and head of state."

Turkey's a strange place in that the Progressives, many of them at least, are the people opposing the secularists. Turkey became officially secularist during the reign of Attaturk in the early 20th century, combining it with a move to westernize Turkish culture and with military dictatorship. Besides destroying large parts of the cultural heritage of Turkey, which was the center of the Ottoman Empire, you could see the move by the Turkish ruling class as willingly selling out Turkey to the West. Muslim democratic politics, and even things like modernized forms of hijab, represent resistance to all this. To give you an idea of how obsessed Turkey is in making itself attractive to the west through official secularism, female university students in Istanbul caused a controversy by starting to wear rain coats, long sleeved shirts and head scarves.

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