After a while reviewing the Honduran constitutional crisis, I have chosen to test another example of a state where the constitution has generated controversy: Turkey. Although I think Turkey has turned out to be a success in bridging Islam and the West, I need to be clear that Turkey isn’t a country with no faults. Its refusal to take responsibility for the Armenian genocide during World War 1 is deplorable. Also, Turkey’s suppression and tried forced assimilation of its Kurdish citizens and their civilization is inexcusable.
Notwithstanding both of these issues, Turkey represents an Islamic country that’s a modern secular democracy, fully inclusive of woman’s political rights. Atatürk is the father of the nation and his legacy remains in full force now.
Turkey is incorporated with the west being a member of such organization as NATO, the G20 and the OECD. The country is a parliamentary representative democracy with three branches of government such as, executive, legislative and independent judiciary. Turkey has good relations with the West, and is currently reaching out to other areas of the world. 1 interesting truth that distinguishes this country from the majority of the Islamic world is its relationship with Israel.
A significant controversy surrounding the Turkish democracy is that the military’s involvement in government. The Turkish army has taken on the role of the guardian of secularism and the constitution. The nation’s present ruling party, the AKP, has been carefully treading towards a more Islamist stance. In response to the AKP’s politics, the army issued a statement in 2007 that made it clear it’s still a power broker. The statement entailed the army is going to be a celebration in all discussions over secularism and cautioned they are prepared to perform their responsibilities to protect the features of the Republic. This suggestion was annulled by the constitutional court and led to the AKP getting a fine.
Although controversial, there are many people who claim this profoundly instituted secularism and contemporary approach has led in Turkey’s financial success, considered both a”developed” country and a regional power. This issue is divisive within the nation, with many claiming that the present system of army enforced secularism is anti-democratic. If the country compromises on its secularism, could that be the first step towards a spiritual state? If so, is the current alternative not preferable to a model like the theocracy in Iran? At least under the present model democracy and personal freedom exist provided that religious based laws aren’t changed or instituted? On a comparative basis, in spite of its own issues, is the Turkish system not preferable to a lot of other people in the middle east? My hope is that these questions fuel constructive conversation around the search to improve coexistence among nations and religions of the world.