27 April 2016

Secularism is the key for democracy in a Muslim society

Reactions poured in on April 26 after a statement by Turkish Parliament Speaker Ismail Kahraman late on April 25, in which he said he believed secularism should not be included in the new constitution, which is still being drafted by the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Parti).

“As a Muslim country, why should we be in a situation where we are retreating from religion? We are a Muslim country. So we must have a religious constitution,” Kahraman said during a speech in Istanbul at a conference titled “New Turkey and New Constitution.”

As a veteran of Islamist politics in Turkey, Kahraman was enlisted in the AK Parti for the 2015 elections and was suggested by President Tayyip Erdogan to the AK Parti as a candidate for parliament speaker.

.... Until a few years ago, the Turkish example had been presented as a success story, until the narrative was spoiled by the winds of the Arab Spring. President Erdogan’s desire for a shift to a presidential system, which could enable the concentration of executive power in one hand, as well as Parliament Speaker Kahraman’s recent suggestion, should not overshadow this.

Secularism is the key for democracy and state of law in a Muslim society, and it is also the best cure for radicalization. [Hürriyet Daily News] Read more