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Iran Paper Slams Turkey's Curbing of Islamism

By: iStockAnalyst   Saturday, July 19, 2008 11:53 AM

 

Text of editorial by Sa'dollah Zare'i headlined : Artillery exercise in Turkey published by Iranian newspaper Kayhan website on 15 July

There are multi-sided efforts under way in Turkey to weaken the position of the Islamists and it seems that the removal of religion from official ties is the most focused objective of these measures.

In order to study the recent events in Turkey, it is necessary to revise certain pieces of news.

At the end of Bahman last year (9 February 2008) the government of Rajab Tayyip Erdogan presented a bill to this country's Parliament and requested that three clauses from the country's constitution be amended so that Moslem Turkish girls are allowed to continue with their education and keep their Islamic hijab.

This bill was approved with 80 per cent of the representatives' votes and cooperation between the representatives of the Justice and Development and Nationalist Movement parties and was presented for final approval to the President (Abdollah Gul) and was also signed by him.

Following the approval of this law, the Republican People's party, under the leadership of Deniz Baykal, presented a complaint to the constitutional court of this country.

This party only holds 8 per cent of the seats in the present Parliament and despite its two-decade history of ruling the government and Parliament, does not enjoy any particular status in Turkey's political and official scene.

Nevertheless, the constitutional court which consists of 11 judges appointed by the former president - Ahmad Najdat Sezeir - announced the bill approved by government and Parliament to be in violation of the second article of the constitution which supervises the protection of the laic regime in Turkey and declared it void with 9 votes in favour and 2 against.

The annulment of the amendment to the constitution met with strong protests by the people of Turkey and led to wide-spread demonstrations in Turkey's different cities and Ankara was witness to the most numerous public demonstrations.

However, the laics persisted with their opinion and refused to accept the amendment. But this was not the end of the story!

The constitutional court and laics stressed punishment for the Justice and Development Party and placed its dissolution on their agenda.

The dissolution of parties by the laics in Turkey has a 40-year history but in the last 10 years, the dissolution of parties in Turkey has been limited to the dissolution of Islamist parties such as the Welfare party.

The threat by the constitutional court to dissolve Turkey's ruling party which holds 47 per cent of the government and parliament seats, is not an easy thing to accomplish because it will lead to political chaos and will suspend Turkey's political mood - meaning government and parliament - but by insisting on their demands, the laics have shown - or pretended - that they welcome chaos and suspension and do not place any importance on political prestige and the national interests of the people.

In opposing the girls' hijab in academic societies and universities, Turkey's laics are relying on certain clauses of the constitution that have lost their credibility among Turkey's citizens and if they are put to a referendum - at least - 90 per cent of the people will vote against the continuation of these clauses.

Accordingly, punishing the Islamist Justice and Development Party can in fact be considered a punishment of Turkey's citizens who during the past 10 years have preferred the Islamists to the laics as shown by their decisive votes; to such an extent that at the moment, the Republican People's Party only holds 8 per cent of the votes despite its wide-spread economic influence and its enjoyment of western support. What is significant here is the unimportance of the people's votes - or according to westerners, democracy - in the outlook and actions of a group which despite being the minority, have ruled Turkey for tens of years by relying on the power of the army and the west's support.

But alongside efforts by Turkey's constitutional court to dissolve the Justice and Development Party which is the prelude to political chaos, some retired army generals along with some present holders of rank in the army and in coalition with a political group of laics and their parties, have repeatedly emphasized the necessity of a coup d'etat against the Islamists during the past five months and have forced armed groups to assassinate high ranking government officials - including the prime minister - and have initiated a series of bombings against important political and economic centres and even people's demonstrations which has led to the martyrdom of tens of people in this country.

They have tried to join the belief confrontation with the Islamists to social confrontation and this issue needs great deliberation.

Several days ago, the Turkish newspaper Taraf which is published in Ankara revealed the plan for a military coup d'etat known as the plan for action which key elements in the Turkish army had planned with the support of the judiciary and connections with a group of prominent laic journalists and counselling with certain western countries and wished to initiate a coup d'etat and through the dissolution of the organizations which had emerged through the election, they wanted to hold the power in Turkey for at least another 10 years. During this time of activity, another group which also consisted of retired army personnel, journalists and certain judiciary elements and was led by Ergene Kan, was discovered and 60 of their members including the head of the Ataturk Belief Society were arrested; this group was responsible for planning a coup d'etat entitled eldiven- meaning to beat with a glove-.

In this same respect, certain laic figures - including Sener Eruygur, former Head of the Turkish Gendarmerie- revealed that other coup d'etats - known as Sari Kiz [yellow girl] and Ay Ishfy- have been planned so that in case of the failure of one plan, another one will be put into execution.

To speak of consecutive coup d'etats that have all formed with a combination of the military, judges and journalists, brings to mind yellow coup d'etats - known as velvet revolutions - with the only difference being that in yellow coup d'etats, westerners resort to pseudo-elections but in Turkey where elections cannot turn the cards in favour of the laic and the West, political unity and using laic organizations which are non-democratic have been pursued.

The double standpoint of Europe in this respect is worth deliberating upon. On the one hand, Europe continues with its strong relations with Turkey's former ruling party - Republican People's Party - and like them condemn the approach towards hijab in Turkish society and call it the most important obstacle against Turkey joining the European Union and at the same time they condemn the dissolution of the Justice and Development Party and warn Turkey's laic organizations - the constitutional court and the army - against the consequences of this dissolution! Why?

European countries know well that in practice the laics are not in a position to be the source of upheaval in Turkey. They can neither have a coup d'etat because a coup d'etat against the people is not possible and nor can they use legal tools because the majority of the legal tools are under the control of the ruling Islamist party, Even these same judges are appointed and dismissed by the president and if Turkey's Islamic presidents so wishes, he can immediately replace all or most of the members of the constitutional court but so far Abdollah Gul has been a pragmatist and refrained from such an action.

The use of the elections by the laics- and the issue of early elections which is used in yellow coup d'etats - is also over because more than 90 per cent of the public, even those who are not particularly religious, will vote for the Islamist parties. Therefore, the Europeans know that changing the present system in Turkey and its Islamist government is neither possible through legal tools nor illegal ones.

Originally published by Keyhan website, Tehran, in Persian 15 Jul 08.

(c) 2008 BBC Monitoring Middle East. Provided by ProQuest Information and Learning. All rights Reserved.tracking

Story Source: BBC Monitoring Middle East

http://www.istockanalyst.com/article/viewarticle.aspx?articleid=2413356

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