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Ataturk - the ex-jihadist as a new born "secularist"

Reader comment on item: Turkey, Closest to Leading the Middle East
in response to reader comment: A moderate Islam in Turkey? I don't see it

Submitted by Ianus (Poland), Jan 25, 2013 at 01:42

Ron Thompson wrote :

"... Islam precludes dissent or modification. You either have to accept it in its entirety, or reject it entirely, even if your instincts as a human being reject its totalitarian elements.

I think Ataturk understood this and that's why he tried so hard to uproot it. Conversely, since he didn't defeat IT, now it is defeating him, which I think is Turkey's tragedy."

What you write about Islam is true but what you write about Kemal doesn't seem to me to be so. First and foremost because Kemalism itself is as a totalitarian system as Islam is and since it relies on modern social engineering and surveillance its effects are in many respects more nefarious than Islam's.

But leaving this point aside, to understand Kemal's conflict with Islam you need no metaphysics, just a few details of his biography. Imagine for a moment you're Kemal. You start a jihad against the Infidels recruiting your followers in the most backward and fanatical part of the Ottoman Empire.You exterminate Christan minorities, get the superb title of 'Allah's victorious holy warrior"-"Ghazi". You send a cable to your caliph with such words :

" May Allah keep your Sublime Majesty , the sole pillar of this great Allah-protected nation and of the Holy Caliphate , safe from any misadvantures in the face of the ordeal and tribulations that have befallen our country threatening with its partition. It is only a loud declartion of the existence of a national and holy force in the shape of your most Augustean Person that can save the fatherland , the independence of the state and the nation as well as Your great dynastywhose splendid history counts six and a half centuries. All are unanimously convinced of that".

But what you get as a response is a death fatwa from your holy caliph, a death sentence in absentia by a military Imperial court, and a bloody civil war with the Caliph's Army men slaughtering your own followers with cruelty worth the unspeakable Turk. Now what can you do ? You don't have many choices. It is either to seek refuge among the Christians whose genocide you have effected or take revenge on your holy caliph and tame the force he represents - Islam. Your army and your militarized Grand National Assembley which you have in time purged of its original 20% of imams,ulemas and Moslem scholars are sufficient tools to confront your personal enemy. What you add to it a decent and misleading excuse. So all of that you conduct under the ad hoc slogans of "secularism" and "republic" as you can't honestly say what the problem was in fact .

But the above historical facts Kemal's hagiographers ignore have one curious consequence. The caliph's curse that was valid for Kemal and motivated this former jihadist and master of Christian genocides to embrace willy nilly secularism has no application for all other Turks. Hence they have no real reason and motivation to imitate Kemal and with the weakening of totalitarian Kemalism they feel fewer and fewer constraints and fears to hide their real Mahometan identity, mindset and dreams.

I would never call this process "Turkey's tragedy" just as I would never call it tragic when a recidivist criminal returns to his old ways. What is tragic are rather the illusions so many have cherished about the faulty and transient nature of Kemalism, its fake claims and their inability or unwillingness to admit Turkey's inevitable Moslem recidivism.

Submitting....

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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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