Turkey Constitutional Crisis Worries European Union

During the past few years, Turkey has been governed by the Justice and Development Party(AKP) which is based on Islamist principles. The Turkish nation for nearly a hundred years has been committed to secular ideas that derive from its founder, Ataturk. Prime Minister Erdogan and President Gul have aroused controversy by their efforts to end the ban on wearing a headscarf in universities which has become a symbol of secularism to those fearing creation of an Islamist state based on principles of Shariah law. A chief prosecutor brought action to close down the AKP on grounds it stands committed to ending the secular state of Turkey. The nation’s Constitutional High Court has agreed to hear the case. However, the European Union is deeply concerned that a democratically elected government could be closed down and its leaders forbidden to engage in politics for five years.

Ironically, Turkey’s secular leaders have welcomed membership in the European Union because they hope that would lead to maintaining the rights of secularism. However, the effort to close down the AKP is regarded by the European Union as a blow against democracy. The idea that a non-elected government body could drive from power an elected government violates every principle of democracy.

The issue of the headscarf is emotional and raises fears. One fear of many secularists is that once established in colleges, girls of all ages would be under pressure to adopt the hadscarf. Surely, the Erdogan government can make clear this will not be allowed to happen.