Monday, March 24, 2008

Turkey's dogma's

The underlying charge in the chief prosecutor's indictment is that the AKP has been eroding secularism. But the origins of the current constitution, and its definition of secularism, are highly suspect.
Turkey's existing constitution was adopted in 1982 as a direct product of the Turkish military coup of 1980. The five senior generals who led the coup appointed, directly or indirectly, all 160 members of the Consultative Assembly that drafted the new constitution, and they retained veto power over the final document. In the national ratification referendum that followed, citizens were allowed to vote against the military-sponsored draft, but not to argue against it publicly.

As a result, the 1982 constitution has weaker democratic origins than any in the EU. Its democratic content was also much weaker, assigning, for example, enormous power (and a military majority) to the National Security Council. While the AKP has moderated this authoritarian feature, it is difficult to democratize such a constitution fully, and official EU reports on Turkey's prospects for accession repeatedly call for a new constitution, not merely an amended one.

With public opinion polls indicating that the AKP's draft constitution, prepared by an academic committee, would be accepted through normal democratic procedures, the chief prosecutor acted to uphold the type of secularism enshrined in the 1982 constitution, which many commentators liken to French secularism.

Yet the comparison with what the French call laicism is misleading.

Certainly, both French laicism and Turkish secularism (established by modern Turkey's founder, Mustapha Kemal Ataturk) began with a similar hostility toward religion. But now they are quite different. In Turkey, the only religious education that is tolerated is under the strict control of the state, whereas in France a wide variety of privately supported religious education establishments is allowed, and since 1959 the state has paid for much of the Catholic Church's primary school costs. In Turkey, Friday prayers are written by civil servants in the 70,000-member State Directorate of Religious Affairs, and all Turkish imams also must be civil servants.

No similar controls exist in France.

Similarly, until the AKP came to power and began to loosen restrictions, it was virtually impossible in Turkey to create a new church or synagogue, or to create a Jewish or Christian foundation. This may be why the Armenian patriarch urged ethnic Armenians in Turkey to vote for the AKP in last July's elections. Here, too, no such restrictions exist in France.

The differences between French and Turkish secularism can be put in even sharper comparative perspective. In the widely cited "Fox" index measuring state control of majority and minority religions - in which zero represents the least state control, and figures in the thirties represent the greatest degree of control - all but two current EU member states get scores that are in the zero to six range. France is at the high end of the EU norm, with a score of six.
Turkey, however, scores 24, worse even than Tunisia's authoritarian secular regime. Is this the type of secularism that needs to be perpetuated by the Turkish chief prosecutor's not so-soft constitutional coup?

What really worries some democratic secularists in Turkey and elsewhere is that the AKP's efforts at constitutional reform might be simply a first step toward introducing Islamic law, or sharia. If the constitutional court will not stop a potential AKP-led imposition of sharia, who will?
There are two responses to this question. First, the AKP insists that it opposes creating a sharia state, and experts say that there is no "
smoking gun" in the chief prosecutor's indictment showing that the AKP has moved toward such a goal. Second, support for sharia, never high in Turkey, has actually declined since the AKP came to power, from 19 percent in 1996 to 8 percent in 2007.

Given that the AKP's true power base is its support in democratic elections, any attempt to impose sharia would risk alienating many of its own voters. Given this constraint, there is no reason for anyone, except for "secular fundamentalists," to support banning the AKP, Erdogan, or Gul; and every reason for Turkey to continue on its democratic path. Only that course will enable Turkey to construct a better constitution than it has now.

A dogma tells one side of the story.

source: TheDaily Mirror

Who smiled really charming?


Finally a warm heart for a 'Bunny'...


Our enlighted God. But we missed his address...but no price for you this year.

Only Today! Watch out you infidels...


The tape, aired on Arabic television channel al-Jazeera, calls for organised resistance against invading "crusaders" in the Muslim world.
In addition to the US and the UK, the speaker singles out Australia, France, Poland, Norway, South Korea and Japan.
He says the countries cited took part in the invasion of Afghanistan, Iraq or Chechnya and gave Israel "means of survival".
Thank you, Sir.


Canada is often thought of as a land of bland consensus and multicultural harmony - the last place where you would expect to see a religious minority up in arms, and journalists accusing the state of gagging freedom of speech.
Yet in recent months, these have become fixtures of the country's public debate.
Read here.
Abu Bakar Bashir, spiritual leader in Indonesia, has likened non-Muslims to worms, snakes and maggots. Read here. He likes to smile when these snakes (Jews) worms (Christians) and maggots (Hindus and Buddhists) are crushed.
Reminds me about a movie last night, which I saw for the 5th time: Schindler's List.



There were around 30 attacks today by Muslim extremists...but for today, its enough.
Time for the OIC to DO something?
Enjoy your Holidays!!!

Day Opening - March 24


Plaster by Serge Roche.