Is Turkey still secular?

23 Şubat 2024 Cuma

The release of lawyer Feyza Altun under judicial control, following her criticism of presenting Sharia as the law of Islam, has reignited that dreadful question: "Could Turkey become like Iran, and could secularism in Turkey be dismantled?"

Let's start here: Could Turkey become like Iran?

This question and others like it have been frequently asked. Later, people were content with the "no" response and comfortably ignored the issue.

Yet, Turkey could fall into the grip of Sharia not by becoming Iran but through its unique path. That's exactly what happened. Repeating "Turkey will not become Iran" led to an era under an anti-secular government. Now, the judicial decision regarding Feyza Altun proves that Turkey has fallen into the hands of anti-secular forces.

No matter what assurances are given, Turkey is now a country ruled by those opposed to secularism. Secularism is being penalized, in violation of the law, with anti-secular forces dominating the judiciary, executive, and legislative branches. Turkey only appears secular on paper, and this constitutional guarantee has no real value.

- Social life is being shaped according to religious rules.

- The judiciary sometimes, and in some places often, operates according to Sharia law.

- Our youth in national education is left to the hands of religious sects and communities, which work in coordination with the state's religious affairs authority, Diyanet.

- People can impose their beliefs and opinions on others.

- The national army can brazenly wear robes that symbolize opposition to secularism over their uniforms. In this context, questioning whether Turkey will deviate from secularism is absurd.


Turkey is no longer a secular country.

The only consolation is that society has not yet fully surrendered and continues to resist.

But how much can those who seized the state's powers through a civil coup retreat in the face of secular forces?

What needs to be done?

First and foremost, our experiences to date have shown that the path followed until now is invalid. Merely stating that anti-secular moves are against democracy and the Constitution and reacting to them is not enough. It's necessary to exercise the right to democratic resistance.

Secular order is crucial for production models where production is paramount. With it, democracy and sustainable development are attainable. Those who make religious rules the dominant force in state governance, on the other hand, are non-productive, plundering, and pillaging systems. Know that they always go hand in hand. Attacks on secularism should be addressed together with the plundering and pillaging system. The collaboration of reactionaries, landlords, comprador bourgeoisie, and imperialism attacking and pushing back secularism is a legacy of the post-World War II NATO period. Do not be deceived by the "nice democracy" produced by this collaboration. There was no democracy or freedom in that period. The "nice democracy" was like making monophonic music seem polyphonic. The striking force of the powers mentioned above has launched a total attack to seize all positions gained by political Islam in 22 years.

As we approach the local elections on March 31, it's essential to clearly see the true face of this vote.

Yes, there's no point in comforting ourselves with vain dreams. If we want Turkey to remain secular, we must engage in a vigorous struggle that goes beyond mere words, free from amateur passions, similar to that of the Nationalists (Kuvvacılar).

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