For Americans, whose view of Islam and Islamic politics is, to put the matter politely, less than complex, it's worth being reminded of just how complex, how unexpected, politics (religious or otherwise) can turn out to be anywhere on this planet. With that in mind, Dilip Hiro, Tomdispatch regular and author most recently of Blood of the Earth: The Battle for the World's Vanishing Oil Resources, turns to a country that Tomdispatch has (to my regret) seldom focused on -- Turkey -- and a situation, balanced between democracy and autocracy, in which secularists and Islamists don't come down in the obvious, comfortable places....
The present confrontation between the AKP and the secularist establishment, with the military at its core (originating with the founding of the Republic in 1923), is rooted as much in political power and class differences as it is in Islam.
On one side is an affluent, university-educated, westernized elite, popularly known as "the White Turks," which dominates the military, the bureaucracy, the judiciary, and the Education Ministry; on the other, a coalition of the urban underclass and a rising group of prospering entrepreneurs from (Asian) Anatolia, which covers 97% of Turkey. Both groups are devoutly Muslim and socially conservative. Both have come to value democratic rights and governance.
Friday, May 11, 2007
TomDispatch : By Dilip Hiro, Head-Scarf Politics in Turkey: