Posts Tagged ‘Democracy’

Whence Turkey?

April 1, 2008

I find the latest news from Ankara both distressing and sad. The highest court in Turkey unanimously agreed to hear a case about banning the ruling AK party. The case purports that AK Party intends to turn Turkey into an Islamic republic.

The New York Times, The Economist, and most other respectable Western newspapers describe Turkish politics today as a moderately religious middle class standing up to and replacing an old, secular elite–who in turn are struggling to hold on to power. Petek has long been trying to convince me that the real situation is an Islamic government trying to uproot the foundations of secular Democracy on which Turkey was built.

Petek’s view unfortunately took a heavy blow today. If the secular elite were interested in Democracy, then their courts wouldn’t consider banning the popularly elected ruling party–the religious, middle-class Justice and Development Party. Unless one resorts to some sort of doublethink about destroying Democracy in order to save it, I just don’t see how Petek’s view is tenable in light of recent events. If the ban goes through (which the New York Times expects), the real verdict will be about Turkey’s elites.