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Broadly: After 7 centuries of Ottoman Empire and 36 Sultans/Caliph, many reforms are needed to alter the mentality that worships power

Reader comment on item: Who Lost Turkey?

Submitted by Lazman (United States), Jun 13, 2010 at 18:02

In the Islamic world, the biggest problem is lack of education and enlightenment. When Ataturk initiated his enlightenment revolution 80+ years ago, the illiteracy rate in Turkey was greater than 95%. It has improved over the decades but neither the quality nor the opportunities are going to improve further when PM Erdogan gives lectures for women to have at least 3 children in an environment where unemployment for the youth is greater than 25 %. It certainly will not be solved when the president of the Higher Education Board and one time Erdogan advisor thinks privatizing Quran courses is a priority.

Basically, the multi-party democratic governance is only 60 years old in Turkey and it's up against an archaic mentality. Unfortunately, an Islamic party in charge can reverse any previous advancements and trends to overcome this. The only liberal aspect of an Islamic party will be more "Freedom for Islam" and I believe we can all surmise what that means.

Unfortunately for Ataturk he was more optimistic and wishful for his people. Anyone who thinks democracy can function properly without enlightenment should think again about Churchill's lesser known quote about democracy "the strongest argument against democracy is a five minute discussion with the average voter."

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Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

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