The Turkish Constitutional Court is currently deliberating over charges brought by the Public Prosecutor who believes the ruling Justice and Development Party(AKP) intends to end the secular nature of the nation and institute a Muslim sharia law mentality. At this critical time in the history of his nation, Dengir Mir Mehmet Firat, deputy leader of the AKP decides to give an interview to the New York Times in which he attacks the revolutionary goals of Ataturk, who created the modern Turkish nation as one founded on secular values. Naturally, M. Firat is backtracking and claiming he was misunderstood, but his words have allowed critics to claim the deputy leader was merely revealing to the world, the true nature of the Justice and Development Party to end secularism.
Perhaps, Mr.Firat was misunderstood, but it also reflects a weakness of the AKP which has failed to clearly articulate its goals in such a manner as to reassure secular leaders in Turkey there is no intention to impose religious law. Leaders of the opposition Republican People’s Party and the Democratic Left Party have used his words to challenge the stated goals of the AKP.
An unknown factor is the reaction of Turkish military leaders to these words.