Thursday, February 16, 2006

Is Turkey a secular country?

They don't often act like it:

"Some people thought that with the cartoon crisis, Turkey's membership in the EU would be brought up once again as an asset and that opponents to Turkey's entry in the EU would see that Turkey, a Muslim and secular country, can play a role in the dialogue among civilizations. But is that really the case?
Turkey was among the 11 countries that protested about the cartoons to the Danish government early last October.
The Turkish secretary-general of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) focused on the cartoon issue during the OIC meeting in December instead of trying to cool the situation down.
The Turkish authorities' reaction to the murder of Father Santoro in Trabzon last week was very weak. Ankara's position on Iran, particularly on the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) file, is also very bizarre.
Hamas' recent election success and the Turkish government's attitude to this is also very strange.
The insistence on taking up religious issues and the stubborn policy to implement religious reforms is also a bad sign.
The lack of political will to implement EU reforms, and particularly those related to religious minorities, is also an indicator that should be kept in mind.
Therefore in Brussels some still think that Turkey could play a role in a dialogue among civilizations but that the ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party is unwilling or unable to assume this responsibility for many reasons.
EU-Turkish relations are entering a slow phase. In Brussels everybody has two questions in mind: Will there be early elections in Turkey, and if yes, when? And the second biggest question is who will be the next Turkish president? A secular candidate or not?"
The New Anatolian

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