Tag Archives: Erdogan

Turkish Prme Minster Urges Conciliation

Prme Minister Recp ERdogan reached out to his secular political opponents in an effort to reach some form of agreement which would satisfy their concerns over his religious minded Justice and Development Party’s(AKP) actions. There is great concern in Turkey over attempts by secular minded leaders to have the Constitutional Court declare the AKP as an unconstitutional political organization which seeks to over throw the secular foundation of the Turkish nation. Erdogan said, “We will never make our people pay a price for this. Turkey cannot be turned away from its democratic path.” He promised his party will do its best to respect the secular democratic nature of the nation.

Erdogan is caught between the law case seeking closure of his party and Turkey’s neeed to make constitutional changes in order to meet requirements of the European Union. The EU demands ending laws which make criminal any critical remarks made about the government. The AKP has to assure secular minded Turks there will not be any attempt to impose shariah law on the people of Turkey or force religion to become part of educational or government institutions.

Turkish Prime Minister Voews To Defend Democrac

Prime Minister Recep attacked a decision by his nation’s top court to hear a case brought by the chief prosecutor which would declare the Justice and Development Party(AKP) to be an unconstitutional political organization because it threatens the existence of secular institutions in Turkey. “Attempts to weaken politics will not only hurt the nation but weaken the state as well,” he claimed. Erdogan emphasized Turkey is a stable democracy and the nation will not tolerate allowing the Constitutonal Court decide which political parties can stand for election.

Erdogan insisted actions by the court would not interfere with his government’s efforts to gain entry into the European Union nor to work toward ending the ban which forbids women to wear a headscarf while attending university. He also said that parliament would not be asked to change the constitution to forbid the court from rendering a decision. Many Turkish politicians claim the court has no right to even consider a ban on President Gul since once assumng that office he no longer is engaged in the political process.

Turkey is a stable democracy in which those of secular feelings enjoy all rights as guaranteed under the constitution. To argue that at some future date these rights will be abrogated violates all principles of democracy. The record so far is that Erdogan and his party have abided by constitutional principles. They should only be evaluated on actions not on what might happen in the future.

Turkey Faces Internal And External Issues

The Turkish government is endeavoring to deal with the problem of Kurdish rebels who are in Kurdistan without antagnizing the government of Iraq or that of the United States. At the same time, the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) is being challenged internally by both nationalist and moderate groups. Moderates fear the government of President Gul and Prime Minister Erdogan is trying to end the secular tradition of the nation by emphasizing Muslim attitudes such as ending the ban on headscarfs in universities. Moderates regard it as the opening salvo in a campaign to transform the nation into a fundamentalist center. Nationalists are angry at failure to continue the campaign in Kurdistan and blame American interference with ending the Turkish strike into northern Iraq.

The situation has been further complicated by a public prosecutor who has brought charges the AKP has become the center of anti-secular activities and thus is in violation of the Turkish constitution. Hasim Kilic, the Constitutional Court President is urging everyone to step back for a moment and consider what is best for the nation. He emphasized, “as long as the institutions are functioning in Turkey, no one should be worried.”

There is no question the Erdogan government is determined to push through an end to the ban on wearing the headscarf in universities. Hopefully, all sides can find a compromise that assures secularists their rights will not be compromised while allowing some leewayto Muslim women in universities.

Turkey’s Tense Political World Relaxes

President Abdullah Gul took steps to reduce tension in his nation by inviting several opposition political leaders to meet and dicuss issues that appear to divide the nation. In recent weeks, Turkey’s political world has been shaken by charges from virtually all ends of the political spectrum. Nationalist politicians charged the Turkish army invasion of northern Iraq to crush Kurdish rebels was halted due to pressure from the American government. The government’s decision to push for an end to the ban on wearing the Islamic headscarf in universities aroused the anger of liberals who fear it is the first step towards the implementation of an Islamc fundamentalist society. To top off the list of angry encounters, a public prosecutor called for closing down the AKP which is the party of President Gul and Prime Minister Erdogan.

Several leading NGOs urged the nation’s leaders to come together in a spirit of good will and confront these divisive issues. Prime Minister Erdgan responded positively to the call: “I agree with the message’s content and welcome it…We are ready for the formation of common sense.”

Turkey has the opportunity to demonsrate to the Muslim world that an Islamic party can govern while allowing freedom for those who have secular beliefs.

Is Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan Defender Secularism?

Deniz Baykai of the Turkish Republican People’s Party, rebuked Prime Minister Erdogan for claiming to be a defender of the principles of secularism. He blasted Erdogan’ policy of ending the ban on wearing a headscarf at universities, and warned, “the Islamic headscarf will spread to high schools and state institutions if it is let free in universities.” A main issue of opponents is fear that religious extremists will force younger children to wear the headscarf since it would be more difficult for a young girl to resist peer pressure.

The ruling Justice and Development Party and the opposition Nationalist Movement Party hve agreed to a constitutional change that would guaratee the right to wear whatever clothes a person desires while attending a university. Bakyai is hoping the courts will slap down the change.

Erdogan Clahes With Secularist Opponents

FFresh from a visit to Germany where he angered Chancellor Merkel by urging German Turks to remain loyal to their native land, Prime Minister Erdogan defended his government’s decision to end the ban on wearing headscarfs in universities. He blasted secular newspapers for publishing photographs of scantily dressed women. “What discrimination have you seen so far from us? Aren’t you the ones who print pictures of naked women on your pages every day against this society’s moral values? Have you ever seen anyone obstruct you? Have we interfered wtih that?” Some secularist newspapers are upset at the angry tone of the prime minister, but Erdogan defended his right to speak in forceful terms.

Ertugrul Ozkok, editor-in-chief of Hurriyet, has become a main focus of Erdogan’s anger. “The fierce manner of Erdogan scares me,” said Ozkok. “If a prime minister begins to talk to media in this way in a society, there comes an end not optimistic.” Mr. Ozkok is absolutely correct. A prime minister must learn to accept criticism and has a right to respond to it, but the tone must be measured and aware that government has powers which can end freedom of the press. If Erdogan does not curb his anger, he will doom Turkey’s chance to enter the European Union.

There is something dangerous when a government official announces that printing pictures of scantily dressed women violates “society’s values.” Obviously, some people in Turkish society want to see such pictures. A majority might have certain values, but what about the right of a minority which has differing values?

Turkish Prime Minister Angers Europeans

Turkey’s Prime Minister Erdogan told a Cologne gathering of 20,000 people of Turkish background they should not assimilate into Germany but should retain their Turkish identify at all costs. He said: “Assimilation is a curse against humanity. I may be thinking differently from Merkel on this issue but I clearly say that nobody can dictate to the Turkish community to assimilate. We are ready to do whatever is necesary for their integration,” German Chancellor Merkel was furious at his remarks and noted “we will have to continue debating our understanding of integration issues with the Turkish Prime Minister.” His comments also aroused strong opposition from Kenan Kolat, a leader of the Turkish community in Germany, who argued Erdogan wants German Turks to remain loyal to their native land while supposedly being able to lobby for Turkey’s entry into the European Union.

The cries for opposing Turkey’s entry into the EU became louder as a result of the Turkish prime minister’s speech. German Social Union leader, Erwin Huber, angrily responded: “Erdogan has engaged in nationalist propaganda in German territory. This is an anti-European stance” and raises questions as to whether the EU wants such a nation.

Prime Minister Erdogan has seriously damaged his nation’s application for membership in the European Union by this ill advised tirade against Turkish assimilation into German society. No one is demanding Turkish Germans cease having an identify with their country of origin. Chancellor Merkel is merely urging becoming part of German society and all that entails such as language and understanding cultural and political issues. It is somewhat ironic that a Turkish prime minister is making political speeches in another country given that he previously claimed the United States and other nations had no right to make comments about the Armenian Genocide. On one hand, the rest of the world is to remain silent about an issue that happened in Turkey a hundred years ago, but he has the right to campaign in Germany and urge its citizens to behave in certain ways.

Let Them Speak Turkish-Then German, Says Erdogan!

Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan during a trip to Germany urged the nation’s Chancellor, to create Turkish medium high schools and universities which would deal with education issues related to the 2.7 Turkish immigrants in Germany. Erdogan argued if an individual was first fluent in the Turkish language it would be easier for that person to learn German. “The German government should have no problem with that, whatever needs to be done for integration, should be done.” He also wants German high schools to hire more Turkish teachers who he believes will do better with German-Turkish students. Chancellor Merkel’s initial reaction was one of surprise and she noted that a good teacher should be able to interact with any child.

Prime Minister Erdogan was visiting Germany in connection with a recent fire in Ludwigshaven which some Turkish immigrants claim was caused by neo-Nazi elements. So far, no evidence of arson has been uncovered. It is interesting that Prime Minister Erdogan is offering advice to other nations regarding education considering he rejects any advice from those of Armenian background concerning their ideas on educating Turkish children about the Armenian Genocide. Chancellor Merkel is correct, a good teacher is able to interact with any child. Focus on teaching and excellent curriculum.

Turkish Women Demonstrate Against Headscarf

More then 100,000 demonstrators flocked to Anitkabir to express their opposition to the government’s headscarf proposal which is tearing apart the Turkish nation. The meeting was led by several women’s organizations which intend to fight new efforts by the Justice and Development Party and the Nationalist Movement Party which have agreed on new wording to the constitution which allows women to wear a headscarf while attending university classes. The demonstration came a few days after a large number of academic and university leaders claimed the change would result in extreme conflict and disorder in universities. The Republic Women’s assocation and the Association in Support of Contemporary Life flocked to the mausoleum of the Republic’s founder, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk in a symbolic demonstration that drew upon the Ataturk policy of secularism.

There were demonstrations against the headscarf in many areas of Turkey where speakers argued the Erdogan government is damaging the secular reforms which marked the birth of the current Turkish government. Prime Minister Erdogan complained protestors were attempting to divide the nation.

There must be a compromise solution which could satisfy the aspirations of both groups. One fear undoubtedly is that once the headscarf is in place at the universities, its use will spread to lower grades. Erdogan should find a solution which avoids such a process. That might dampen anger and opposition.

Turkish Headscarf Issue Continues Dividing Nation

The proposal by a commission which is revising Turkey’s constitution to insert a one sentence statement that would allow women to wear a headscarf while attending universities continues to arouse strong passions. The opposition Nationalist Movement Party offered a compromise that might avoid tearing the nation apart over the one sentence statement. Under its proposal, the fourth clause of Article 10 of the Constitution would be amended to read: “the state organs and the administration units must abide by the equality before the law principle in introducing and utlizing public services.” The MHP argues this could then be interpreted to allow women to wear a headscarf while attending a university.

Prime Minister Erdogan of the Justice and Development Party, which has a strong Muslim orientation, is under pressure from his grass roots supporters to end the ban on headscarves. He indicated willingness to go along with any solution that ended the ban regardless of how it was worded. However, secular opposition groups insisted the ban must be kept in order to ensure Turkey does not fall under rule of an Islamic group that would impose its version of the Muslim religion upon the entire nation. The outside world may well be confused about the intense emotions aroused by the headscarf issue. For secular Turks it is a bedrock issue because they fear pressure being exerted on secular Muslim women to wear a headscarf. It appears, in one way or another, there will be an end to the ban. The issue illustrates the genius of those who wrote the American Constitution. They avoided getting into too many specifics. Does the issue of the headscarf belong in the Constitution is a question Turks may well wonder about.