Dramatic developments in Turkey, where
the constitutional court judges (the most reactionary part of establishment) in
union with Kemalists allied with the pro-American generals supported by Zionists
and the neo-cons staged a coup against Erdogan, a popularly elected moderate
friend to Russia and Iran. The article is by the wise Indian pundit, Bhadrakumar.
The enemies of democracy and our enemies are godless - and it makes us think
twice about plans of "a secular state", “medina chilonit” of Jewish anti-zionists.
Our friend Paul Eisen of London succinctly stated it: a "secular state" is
another form of Judaic rule. We observe it in Europe as well – the most secular
states, France and England, are the most heavily influenced by their Jewish
communities. The country heavily influenced by the Church, Greece, is the freest
from Judeo-American influence. Russia and Iran are non-secular. In Turkey,
secularism is another form of submission to Zion. Read more:
spreads over Turkey's troubles
By M K Bhadrakumar
The Turkish constitutional court's verdict last Thursday overturning the attempt
by the government in Ankara to create a legal basis to lift the ban on women
wearing headscarves from attending universities, sets the stage for a battle
royal between the ruling party of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and
Turkey's secular elite comprising the judiciary, military and the "Kemalists".
Erdogan's Justice and Development Party (AKP) is fighting a last-ditch battle
for survival within a year of its dramatic victory in last July's parliamentary
elections in which it secured an unprecedented 40% of the votes polled.
According to top political commentator Ilnur Cevik, "What we see in Turkey is a
coup attempt spearheaded by the judiciary and supported by the elite
secularist groups." Cevik forewarned a
few weeks ago, "In recent times [in Turkey] military coups have been replaced by
post-modern interventions where certain elite civilian groups are encouraged to
challenge the elected government and parliament and impose their will on the
But what is unfolding cannot be viewed merely as political skullduggery.
Profound issues are involved. The heart of the matter is whether the brand of
political Islam practiced by the AKP will be allowed to function within the four
walls of democratic principles and transform gradually, incrementally, as a
progressive force rather than being forced into the entrapment of radicalism.
The outcome of the struggle will be keenly watched in the Middle East and
wherever observant Muslims agonize over the state and religion. Needless to say,
growing political instability in Turkey will have massive international
repercussions at a time when the standoff between the US and Israel on one side
and Iran is nearing a fateful climax in the coming months.
It seemed for a fleeting moment that last year's elections in Turkey would lead
to engendering a balance between Islam, democracy, secularism and modernity. The
AKP secured its mandate as a party of religiously observant people and as a
party of the "average Turk" (to quote Erdogan), rather than as a party rooted in
The AKP insisted that its principal mission lay in integrating different
sections of society as a movement dedicated to "socializing" secularism. The AKP
challenged Turkey's brand of militant secularism as a one-dimensional concept,
which the Kemalists in Turkey uphold as the final stage of their society's
intellectual and organizational evolution. The AKP maintained that Turkey should
not remain transfixed and must instead move in consonance with modern democratic
societies' understanding of libertarian secularism, which provides scope for the
cohabitation of individuals with different beliefs and lifestyles in society.
The AKP's contention is that secularism cannot be projected as an alternative to
religion, as it is not the individual but the state that is secular. Arguably,
this approach is not quite at odds with the European-inspired secular
nationalism that provided the ideological underpinning for the Anglo-French
system of states in the Middle East that came about after the fall of the
Ottoman Empire in 1918.
But what is at issue is the reality that the nationalist regimes in the region -
including in Turkey - have increasingly lost their political legitimacy in the
past few decades, which in turn created a vacuum that Islamism increasingly
strove to fill in. The discredited secularist camp is unable to meet the
challenge of Islamism, which has shown tremendous skill in integrating
socio-economic grievances, couching it in appealing revolutionary idiom and
giving it the coloring of anti-Western nationalism that is widespread in the
To be sure, the post-September 11, 2001, world politics and the "Islamo-fascism"
that the US and Britain insisted be at the core of the "war on terror", provided
much boost to the platform of political Islam. Simply put, the Islamist forces
are frontally challenging the established currency of political power.
By resorting to populist methods such as forming neighborhood groups and by
their sheer ability to master the media, especially television, they have
reached out to large audiences to mobilize Muslim masses. In principle,
political systems, in order to be secular, need not ban religious parties.
Countries such as India, Israel and Germany have allowed an inclusive political
system that allows participation by religion or sect-based parties. The
yardstick ought to be that parties such as the AKP ought to abide by strong
norms of non-violent resolution of political differences. And as long as parties
exist, such as the AKP, which are committed to democratic principles and which
secure a mandate from the people to rule, they must be allowed to rule - and to
integrate into the system.
Thus, there can be no two opinions that the AKP passes the litmus test of being
a political party functioning in accordance with democratic norms. But the catch
lies elsewhere. Recent opinion polls have shown that the AKP continues to ride a
wave of popularity. In January, its rating rose to 54%. (In comparison, the main
"Kemalist" party, the Republican People's Party, or CHP, has a rating of about
The economy and political stability have been key factors of the AKP's
continuing popularity. Clearly, as Turkish columnist Tahya Akyol of the liberal
Milliyet newspaper wrote recently, "CHP isn't greatly influenced by social
developments. It moves around a stable and constant vote basis ... The AKP's
high but unsteady support shows its sensitivity to social trends. The fact that
CHP support is low but stable shows that it isn't so affected. So, millions of
small businesses, farmers and unemployed people have problems, and calls for
democratization in society are rising, but these millions of people don't see an
alternative [to AKP] in the CHP ... It [CHP] isn't a party of social needs, but
an elitist and ideological one.
"The CHP's elitist and ideological structure, inflexible and insensitive to
social requests, keeps it from being a mass party of average Turks ... An
average Turk rejects a theocratic state, but wants respect for religion;
believes in democratic secularism, but wants the headscarf ban to be lifted; and
places importance on a non-problematic course of things. Obviously, this Turk
usually votes for the AKP, to which there is no alternative because
unfortunately we lack a social democratic party supported by millions of average
citizens from the whole of Turkey."
Significantly, the Turkish military leadership has lost no time in endorsing
last Thursday's ruling by the constitutional court. The military leadership has
kept a low profile since the AKP's massive electoral showing in last July's
Last week, it lifted its head above the parapet. The military supremo, Chief of
Staff General Mehmet Yasar Buyukanit, has regained his lost elan. He thundered,
"The Turkish republic is the only country in the Islamic world with a secular
structure. There are those who want to destroy Turkey's secular structure or
attach epithets to the country's name. The judicial bodies will never allow this
to happen. There is no power strong enough to overthrow the republic and its
The general was condemning any foreigner who would dare visualize Turkey as a
"moderate Islamic" country. He added, "Turkey is a secular, democratic, social
state ruled by law. It is impossible to change these characteristics. This is
not a comment; it is statement of the obvious."
Last Thursday's ruling is bad news for Erdogan. A separate case filed by the
public prosecutor is pending, which brands the AKP for its anti-secular behavior
and forbids 71 of its prominent leaders - including Erdogan and President
Abdullah Gul - to be members of any political party for a five-year period. Most
Turkish observers visualize that Thursday's verdict makes the court's closure of
the AKP a foregone conclusion. (The court's verdict is expected by September or
October.) Turkish authorities have a long tradition of banning political
parties. There have been more than 20 such instances in the past.
But the AKP's closure would have serious implications. The fact remains that the
AKP is the only truly national party in Turkish politics. And, despite whatever
aberrations of political conduct in recent months, Erdogan still remains an
immensely charismatic politician. His only "fault" has been that he has led a
movement that poses a serious threat to the entrenched elites who pass as "Kemalists"
and self-styled torchbearers of Kemal Ataturk's legacy as the founder of the
modern Turkish state.
True to past practice by banned political parties, the AKP in all probability
could always re-emerge under a different banner. Erdogan, even if banned from
active politics, might still remain an influential player on the political
chessboard. But that isn't the whole point. Turkey loses heavily. Its image
takes a beating internationally. Ankara's claim to European Union membership
almost certainly would suffer. The mainstream forces of Islamism that are
moderate - be it in the Levant or in Palestine or Egypt - would draw conclusions
about the limits to inclusive participation that democratic life offers.
Israel and its neo-conservative supporters in the US might heave a sigh of
relief that the AKP government is at long last removed from the region's
political landscape. They watched with abhorrence Turkey's re-entry under the
AKP's stewardship into the Muslim world. Turkey's growing closeness to Iran, its
openness towards Hamas in Palestine and Hezbollah in Lebanon, its rapport with
Syria - all these were anathema to Israel.
The sense of relief in the neo-conservative camp in the US is palpable. Michael
Rubin of the American Enterprise Institute sees Erdogan as less an "aggrieved
democrat" and more as a "protege" of Russian Prime Minister (and ex-president)Vladimir
Putin, who has widened the gap between Islam and the West "by encouraging the
most virulent anti-American and anti-Semitic conspiracy theories".
The problem, evidently, has to do with the Erdogan phenomenon. What do you do
when someone with extraordinary political acumen like Erdogan appears as the
figurehead of Islamism, and you have not even a remote match for him? The
despair is apparent in Rubin's words. He offers a useful guideline for the
Middle East's democratic charter: "Electoral success should never put
politicians above the rule of law. That Mr Erdogan won 47% in the last election
heightens the tragedy, but should not buy immunity ... Mr Erdogan may aspire to
be Mr Putin, but he should neither have US nor European support for his
Israel will invariably agree with Rubin - especially as it ratchets up
belligerence toward Iran, Hamas and Hezbollah. Yet, the million-dollar question
is what Democratic Senator Barack Obama, if elected US president, will think of
charismatic Muslim statesmen like Turkey's Erdogan.
M K Bhadrakumar served as a career diplomat in the Indian
Foreign Service for over 29 years, with postings including India's ambassador to
Uzbekistan (1995-1998) and to Turkey (1998-2001).