69 million page views

Turkey and Shariat

Reader comment on item: Is Turkey Going Islamist?

Submitted by David Mac Artain (Czech Republic), May 27, 2006 at 23:32

First, may I congratulate Dr. Daniel Pipes on having the courage to admit that he was not in full possesion of the facts. As I think John Maynard Keynes put it "When the facts change, I change my opinion."

I started to live in Turkey nearly 10 years ago. I have spent most of that time in Ankara, and have met and dealt with a wide range of people. I also lived and worked for three years in Konya, which is the religous centre of Turkey. Most of my Turkish friends define it as being like Saudi Arabia but without the charm.
One of the big problems about information about Turkey is that everything is filtered through Istanbul, and to a lesser extent, Ankara. There is a lot going on in Anatolia which does not make it into either the Turkish or international media. Check "Enjeu/Les Echos" for May 2006 (No. 224) for a different view.

I think that the chances of Turkey going Shariat are small to vanishing. First, in survey after survey, support for Shariat has never risen above 4%, Secondly, radical Islamism is a substitute for failed nationalism(s) in the Arab world. Turks have a very strong and well defined sense of their nationality, and tend to regard Arabs and the Arab states with genial contempt. Their attitude to alcohol is summed up as follows; "True, the Prophet said Muslims should not drink alccohol, but He was talking to Arabs. Everyone knows Arabs can`t hold their drink. We`re Turks, so what`s the problem?" Finally, the AK party is a very broad church indeed, and could not maintain the support and disipline needed to dismantle the entire apparatus of the Kemalist state.

I arrived here in 1996, and it is safe to say that the present government has done more to advance Turkey`s EU membership hopes in a few short years than the political elite did in 40. Which is one reason why the same political elite is so resentful......... On a more serious note, all the changes have caused resentment, and and there is a major counter reaction (See `The New Anatolian` May 23rd 2006).
The present government got into power because the people were utterly fed up with the corruption, general incompetence, and petty personal squabbling of the mainstream parties. It is also safe to say that the established parties were hoisted on their own petard (the 10% barrier ). To prevent any kurdish party getting into the Turkish parliamant (TBMM), theyagreed to raise the minimum share of the national vote in general elections required to get any seats from 5% to 10%. As it turned out none of the parties in the previous government got over the barrier.
Thank you,


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".

Follow Daniel Pipes

Facebook   Twitter   RSS   Join Mailing List

All materials by Daniel Pipes on this site: © 1968-2023 Daniel Pipes. daniel.pipes@gmail.com and @DanielPipes

Support Daniel Pipes' work with a tax-deductible donation to the Middle East Forum.Daniel J. Pipes

(The MEF is a publicly supported, nonprofit organization under section 501(c)3 of the Internal Revenue Code.

Contributions are tax deductible to the full extent allowed by law. Tax-ID 23-774-9796, approved Apr. 27, 1998.

For more information, view our IRS letter of determination.)