Who stands behind the calls for Sharia law?

28 Şubat 2024 Çarşamba

The proponents of Sharia were again present at the Çağlayan Istanbul Courthouse yesterday. The anti-secular organization Hayırların Fethi Association (HAYFED) filed a complaint against lawyer Feyza Altun for her anti-Sharia statements and social media posts.

I saw the news about the incident on TV; speaking on behalf of the group in robes and turbans, Nusret Oktar occasionally spoke in Arabic, explaining how Muslims around the world are persecuted and blasphemed against their faith. He stated their demands as, "Just as there is a law protecting Atatürk, just as those who insult the president are imprisoned, we want laws to protect Allah, the messenger, our religions, and our values."

You would think that in Turkey, those who insult Atatürk are punished! Şevki Yılmaz, a person known for his insults towards Atatürk, roams freely as if his actions haven't caused public outrage.

You would think the constitution of this country doesn't state it's a secular state and hence, demanding Sharia isn't considered a crime!

At the beginning of his speech, Oktar claimed that this issue isn't about "Turkey is secular and will remain secular," only to contradict himself later by saying, "Is Turkey secular? It is. Will it remain secular? Only God knows. This country was governed by Sharia for hundreds of years."


How can such an action, clearly against the Constitution, take place in front of the courthouse without any intervention? While secular groups immediately intervened, how can Sharia proponents freely gather and make statements in the country?

Oktar provided the answer by repeating the distortion "Sharia equals Islam"; "Our respected president declared live on TV just two weeks ago that Sharia is Islam, it is the Quran!" he said.

The reason for the increase in demands for Sharia following the elections on May 14 and May 28 is directly due to the AKP and AKP's President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

While all this happens inside and in front of courthouses, it is appalling that not a single prosecutor uses their authority; it's one of the most striking proofs that the rule of law has ended in Turkey.

Because it is the public prosecutor's office, on behalf of the Republic, that should hold those who step outside the law at every level of the state accountable. It is shameful that those sitting in this office maintain their silence against those demanding Sharia, those committing a crime by wanting the application of Sharia laws in state governance and legal system.

In a country where even public prosecutors do not fully exercise their duties with full authority and responsibility, one cannot speak of a rule of law. If this office has been rendered dysfunctional, operating under the directives of a single individual, then there is a monarchy in that country.


The desire for Sharia among those nostalgic for the Ottoman monarchy is not a coincidence. In the 100th year of the Republic, secularism is, as it was in the founding years, the main battleground. Those who vacated this front for votes after Atatürk's death, those who compromised with sects and communities, and those who joined hands with the religious, are the ones empowering the cries for Sharia today.

Among them are politicians like Meral Akşener, who spoke about February 28, saying, "There was to be a women's rally, and they were saying 'Down with Sharia'. In my belief, Sharia means Islam. I would like to erase that night from my life. I felt an indescribable pain," and Muhsin Yazıcıoğlu, who during the discussion of the Sivas massacre in the Parliament on July 6, 1993, said, "Sharia means Islam," implying that the crowd that burned people in Sivas shouting "We want Sharia!" didn't want a Sharia system but were defending religion.

Behind today's cries for Sharia, there is the breath of all right-wing and religious reactionaries from Menderes to Demirel, from Erbakan to Özal, from Türkeş to Yazıcıoğlu, from Çiller to Erdoğan.

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