Sunday, June 03, 2007

A Showdown In Ankara - Newsweek: International Editions -

"Yet Turkey itself is increasingly divided. The secular establishment is deathly afraid of losing more power to the AKP, which draws much of its support from poor, pious Muslims. Secularists despise the party, and are sure that, given the opportunity, it would use the state to promote Islam in all aspects of Turkish life.

I was confronted by such attitudes on a recent trip. One friend, a professor, insisted, "You simply miss the increasing pressures that religious elements are impinging on our daily existence." He and others cited a mass of anecdotal evidence: their children are being harassed, liquor is getting harder to come by, religion has become the key to promotion in public institutions, and many parts of Istanbul now look more and more like the Middle East—boys and girls separated in many public places and women covered from head to foot. "Is this what Ataturk fought for?" I heard over and over. A prominent mathematician said: "You Americans believe in moderate Islam. There is no such thing."
Worldview: A Showdown In Ankara - Newsweek: International Editions -

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