The modern nation of Turkey was formed from the dying Ottoman empire about 89 years ago when a soldier named Ataturk decided to lead a movement that would end a world of corruption and create a modern society based upon secular principles. I am not arguing that he wanted to create a democratic nation, but he did desire to end religious power. His followers are known as Kemalists and they reject the concept that religion should be the basis of modern life. Turkey for decades was based upon this principle of secularism. But, with the advent of the Justice and Development Party-AKP-Turkey has taken a new turn-and it is not for the better. Instead of military leaders the people of Turkey are now confronted with President Erdogan who believes a modern society requires strong religious values. I am not arguing that he suppresses those of different religions, but his government slowly, but surely is instituting more and more religious values–Muslim that is–into all aspects of society. In addition, he is slowly, but surely, eroding the democratic desires of a high percent of the population.
It has reached the point when Kemalists seeking to honor Ataturk are now accused of fostering violence. All they want to do is celebrate the work of a great Turkish leader. Something is very wrong in Turkey these days and religious freedom is being threatened. Erdogan is to Turkey what the Tea Party and our religious right are to America.