April 29, 2017

The Council has Spoken 092610

Be nice to people who
Are inferior to you
.
National Brotherhood Week – Tom Lehrer

In this week’s winning Council post,  Does Islam Tolerate Secularism?, The Razor draws on his personal experience and observes:

Nations in the Islamic world followed the pattern of growing secularism until the 1970’s when the Iranian Revolution of 1979 saw the overthrow of a secular regime by a religious one. This coincided with an effort by the Saudi regime to use oil money to build religious schools around the world to spread Wahhabism. Although Wahhabism and the Shi’a regime of Iran are religious enemies, the two did work together to undermine secularism in Islamic societies. Add in the massive corruption of the secular governments in these societies to the weakness and self-doubt promoted by the moral relativistic nihilism of “political correctness” doctrine espoused by secular western societies and the result is a “perfect storm” rolling back the separation of church and state in Islamic countries around the world.

This is nowhere more evident than Turkey. Under the Justice and Development Party (AKP) the Turkish government has become increasingly Islamicized, moving away from the secular ideals planted by its founder Kamal Ataturk. On September 12, Turkish voters approved 26 constitutional amendments proposed by prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. The most important of these allows the AKP to appoint judges to the country’s supreme court without a confirmation process. This completes the takeover of all three branches of government by the AKP, allowing it to rule without the checks and balances western societies take for granted.

In our time, Islam has been moving towards a more restrictive view of the world around it. Turkey, as the Razor, notes, is the latest example of this trend.

Caroline Glick’s non-council Winer, Who Lost Turkey?  looks at the latest developments in Turkey.

Aside from the chastened military, the only remaining outpost of secular power in Turkey has been the judiciary. In the past, the judiciary has overturned many of the government’s actions that it ruled were unconstitutional and illegal. The new constitutional amendments will work to end judicial independence by giving the government control over judicial appointments. The AKP’s justice minister will also have increased power to open investigations against judges and prosecutors.
Not surprisingly, Erdogan has praised the results of the plebiscite. As he put it, “The winner today was Turkish democracy.”
Now, with his constitutional amendments in hand, the only thing separating Erdogan from absolute power are next year’s elections. If he and his party win, with their new constitutional powers, they will have no obstacles to remaining in power forever. If they win, whether Erdogan declares it or not, Turkey will be an Islamist state with no effective domestic checks on the power of its rulers to do what they wish at home and abroad.
Interesting that Erdogan has followed in the footsteps of that other (though non-Muslim) Iranian ally and used the machinery of democracy to ensure his continued rule. Perversely, the editors of the New York Times hailed A more Democratic Turkey:
Turkey’s Army and its closely allied judicial establishment long considered themselves guarantors of the militant secularism preached by modern Turkey’s founder, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk. That claim cloaked a succession of repressive military coups — three in the past half-century. President Obama rightly hailed the vote as a tribute to Turkish democracy.
“Militant secularism?” Imagine that! Militant Islam is not a fear to the editors of the Times, but militant secularism is. (Except of course in this country, where right wing religious extremists reign.)
At least the Washington Post asked if Turkey was becoming more Democratic or less?
Mr. Erdogan’s constitutional reforms conspicuously did not include greater protections for freedom of speech and religion, or for the Kurdish minority. But the prime minister, who now is heavily favored to win reelection next year, has promised a more complete constitutional rewrite. If he still wishes to move Turkey toward the West, Mr. Erdogan will have to pursue those reforms while resisting the temptation to strip the judiciary of independence.
Still this concluding paragraph holds out a vain hope that Erdogan is acting in good faith. I think that boat has already sailed.

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