We have followed the rapid decline of civil liberties under the authoritarian rule of Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in the past few years as well as his empowering of Islamic parties in the once secular state. When Erdogan first ran, he assured Turks that he was committed to the secular traditions and constitution of the country. He then did precisely the opposite in power by chipping away at secular laws, introducing Islamic governing principles, and assuming authoritarian power. Now,Turkish Parliament Speaker Ismail Kahraman has finally taken Erdogan’s policies to their natural conclusion and called for the dismantling of secular government and the creation of an Islamic state. Now, Erdogan is again saying “trust me” and, that secular values remain safe in his hand..
The call confirms what was long obvious about Erdogan’s true intent to eradicate civil liberties and secular government — destroying the original model of the founder of modern Turkey, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, after the collapse of the Islamic Ottoman Empire. Turkey was once the greatest hope among Muslim countries in maintaining a nation based of secular values. Then came Erdogan who sought to introduce Islamic law as well as authoritarian measures. This includes the arrest of Mehmet Emin Altunses, 16, who allegedly committed the crime of “insulting” Erdoğan. calling people who use birth control “traitors” and saying Muslims discovered America, you are not allowed to be disrespectful or insulting in discussing Erdoğan. Then there was the prosecution of model and former Miss Turkey Merve Buyuksarac, 26, for criticizing Erdogan for quoting a few lines from a poem called the “Master’s Poem” from weekly Turkish satirical magazine Uykusuz. Erdoğan’s totalitarian measures have earned him the nickname “Buyuk Usta” (the Big Master). Even a joking reference to Gollum and Erdoğan is enough to land you in jail today in Turkey.
Just as Erdogan has dropped any pretense of civil liberties, Kahraman wants to drop any pretense of secularism. He lamented that fact that the Constitution does not expressly name Allah and insisted that “[w]e are a Muslim country and so we should have a religious constitution.”
He added that “Secularism would not have a place in a new constitution.”
Kahraman is a member of the Justice and Development Party (AKP), which favors Islamic principles in government and is the largest political party in the country. His move reinforces the view by some that Islamic parties are naturally at odds with secular government and many civil liberties, particularly free speech and free exercise. His dubious legacy will be to add yet another Islamic state by destroying secular government in Turkey.