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.