Tag Archives: closure

Secular Turkish Journalist Argues Against Closure of AKP

The establishment of a modern secular Turkey nearly a hundred years ago marked an important turning point in the history of Middle Eastern Islamic practices. The Turkish constitution made clear that no party which endeavored to establish religious doctrine as the basis of Turkish law was to be allowed to exist. Turkey’s Constitutional Court is presently hearing charges levied by the Public Prosecutor to close down the Justice and Development Party(AKK) on grounds it has violated the constitution by its pro-religious efforts. Yush Kanli, writing in the Turkish Daily News who regards himself as a believer in secularism expressed his opposition to the effort to close down the AKP. “Some have gone to the extent of accusing me of ‘betraying the secular democratic Republic.”

He writes with passion, “Self-catering democrats, self-catering secularists, self-caterng supporters of individual rights and liberties may not of course comprehend the need to demand justice for all, equality of all in the need to demand justice for all, equality of all in front of justice, to oppose all anti-democratic moves without discrimination and e ven to be able to say, ‘if in principle I am against closure of political parties by a military junta or by by the Constitutional Court, I am against–in principles- the closure of the AKP as well through like many people I have very strong doubts that the ruling party has an agenda incompatible with the secular democratic Republic.”

Kanli raises the important issue of respecting the right of free speech of those you believe may well seek to destroy free speech. He believes the AKP is aware of past history in which other Islamist parties were closed down and will be careful to avoid angering secularist institutions such as the Army and the Constitutional Court. We hope he is correct and agree with his views on democracy for all viewpoints.

Turkey Struggles With Headscarf And Political Closure

The decision by the Chief Prosecutor to close down the Justice and Development Party(AKP) has resulted in a quiet shift from concern over issues regarding wearning the headscarf to those pertaining to the very fabric of a democratic society. Secular forces in Turkey believe the AKP and its support for allowing women to wear a headscarf in the university reflect a desire to establish a Muslim society in Turkey that would be centered around Sharia law. chief Prosecutor Abdurrahman Yalcinkaya’s decision to request a ruling by the Constitutional Court to close down the AKP came just after parliament voted to end the ban against wearing the headscarf.

Omer Faruk Grgenioglu, chair of the Association of Huma nRights and Solidarity for Oppressed People, termed both closure and refusing to allow women the right to wear the headscarf to be “a violation of human rights and freedoms.” His organization has been working to resolve the headscarf issue so it no longer is of concern to either secularists or those with deep religious values.

One can recognize deep concerns on the part of secularists in Turkey, particularly fears once the headscarf is allowed in universities, it will soon be followed by becoming the norm in high schools. This is a legitimate fear. However, people of good will can work through such issues without going the route of closing down political parties. It is time for a joint commission representing both views to come up with a solution that alleviates fears on the part of all parties.