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Ataturk Declared Islam Was the Enemy of Turkey. Today Islam Is the Enemy of the World.

Reader comment on item: A Critical Moment For Turkey

Submitted by Domenic Pepe (United States), May 16, 2007 at 05:22

As Dr. Pipes stated, Ataturk "imposed a dizzying array of changes" upon Turkey. I suggest everyone click on the link Dr. Pipes provided to read what those changes were.

I list here some of those radical and revolutionary changes that relate to prohibitions of islamic traditions, practices, and religious activities. Ataturk forcibly removed all islamic power and influence from turkish political and social spheres. He enforced the separation of islam from the secular law and state going as far as abolishing islamic sharia law. Ataturk understood something about the evils of islam that President Bush, our political leaders, and other islamic apologists refuse to admit. Ataturk understood that islam was Turkey's enemy. Islam today must again be declared the enemy in order to win this "war on islamic terrorism."

1922 Sultanate abolished.
1924 Caliphate abolished. Traditional religious schools closed, Sheriat (Islamic Law) abolished.
1925 Dervish brotherhoods abolished. Fez outlawed by the Hat Law. Veiling of women discouraged; Western clothing for men and women encouraged. Western (Gregorian) calendar adopted.
1926 New civil, commercial, and penal codes based on European models adopted. New civil code ended Islamic polygamy and divorce by renunciation and introduced civil marriage. Millet system ended.
1928 New Turkish alphabet (modified Latin form) adopted. State declared secular ; constitutional provision establishing Islam as official religion deleted.
1933 Islamic call to worship and public readings of the Kuran required to be in Turkish rather than Arabic.
1934 Women given the vote and the right to hold office. Sunday adopted as legal weekly holiday.

On assuming office, Atatürk initiated a series of radical reforms in the country's political, social, and economic life that aimed at rapidly transforming Turkey into a modern state. For him, modernization meant Westernization. On one level, a secular legal code, modeled along European lines, was introduced that completely altered laws affecting women, marriage, and family relations. On another level, Atatürk urged his countrymen to look and act like Europeans. Turks were encouraged to wear European-style clothing. Atatürk personally promoted ballroom dancing at official functions. Surnames were adopted: Mustafa Kemal, for example, became Kemal Atatürk, and Ismet Pasha took Inönü as his surname to commemorate his victories there during the War of Independence. Likewise, Atatürk insisted on cutting links with the past that he considered anachronistic. Titles of honor were abolished. The wearing of the fez, which had been introduced a century earlier as a modernizing reform to replace the turban, was outlawed because it had become for the nationalists a symbol of the reactionary Ottoman regime.

The abolition of the caliphate ended any connection between the state and religion. The religious orders were suppressed, religious schools closed and public education secularized, and the Sheriat (Islamic rule) revoked, requiring readjustment of the entire social framework of the Turkish people. Despite the protest that these measures provoked, however, Atatürk conceded nothing to the traditionalists.


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