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Ed Webb

Turkey, AKP Can Correct Mistakes - Al-Monitor: the Pulse of the Middle East - 0 views

  • On Sep. 19, the HEC issued a statement saying that the institution’s decision dated Aug. 15, 2013 — the one which curbed theology lessons along with other social sciences in the theology curriculum — was “suspended.” One reason, the HEC statement explained, was “the views and suggestions coming from the public.” In other words, criticisms from society had been effective in forcing a state institution to take a step back.
  • the AKP still has a reformist edge, and can see its mistakes and correct them
  • the AKP is on the one hand a democratic and liberalizing force, and on the other hand an increasingly illiberal and intolerant actor. (My explanation to this seemingly contradictory picture is that the AKP is very liberal when it comes to solving the problems created by the old regime — that of the Kemalists — but it can be very illiberal regarding the problems it creates with its own hands.)
Ed Webb

Turkey Seeks a Spiritual Leader's Secret Grave - NYTimes.com - 0 views

  • “The military rulers were afraid that Nursi would become a symbol of dissent, his grave a shrine to anti-Kemalism,”
  • Through his writings, collected in the “Risale-i Nur,” or “Epistles of Light,” and clandestinely photocopied and distributed by his students, Mr. Nursi’s ideas continued to resonate in Turkey, inspiring a uniquely Turkish Islamic identity and a powerful faith-based movement that shapes the country’s society and politics to this day.
  • a parliamentary commission investigating the coups has called for Mr. Nursi’s secret grave to be revealed at last
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  • Ahmet Er and Numan Esin, who sat on the 38-member junta and are now aged 85 and 83, told the commission that even they had not been privy to that information
  • “About half the Islamic movement in Turkey, meaning the pious, conservative segment of society, are literally direct followers of Nursi, while the other half also respects him,”
  • The hearings have triggered a popular quest for Mr. Nursi’s grave, with new witnesses coming forward in the media and contributing pieces to the puzzle.
  • Only Alparslan Turkes, a former junta member who died in 1997, had known
  • Even without the body, many thousands of pilgrims flock to Mr. Nursi’s empty tomb in Urfa, to the house he inhabited in Isparta, and even to the Urfa hotel room he died in, piously preserved in its original state by the hotel owner right down to the light bulb.
  • Modernity, science and rationalism play key roles in his teachings, as does the individual, distinguishing the Nurcu movement from other currents of Islam.
  • The Nurcu have traditionally steered clear of strident political Islam, rejecting Turkey’s late Islamist prime minister Necmettin Erbakan as too inflammatory, embracing a democratic and pluralistic political system, and hewing to the mainstream conservative parties
  • A year ago, the environment minister, Erdogan Bayraktar, became the first cabinet member to pray at the empty tomb
  • “Said Nursi has long been rehabilitated by the people, but his rehabilitation by the state nevertheless gladdens us, after all those years in which it was considered a crime to read his books,”
Ed Webb

Fiery Erdogan Slams Assad, Iran - Al-Monitor: the Pulse of the Middle East - 0 views

  • He questioned whether Syrian President Bashar al-Assad was really a Muslim, which will likely provoke Alawites inside Turkey and abroad
  • Erdogan denied interfering in Syria’s internal affairs. He launched an attack on Kemal Kilicdaroglu, leader of the opposition Republican People's Party, describing him as part of an anti-Turkey campaign. He said that “just like there is the Baath Party in Syria, there is the Republican People's Party in Turkey.”
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    Dangerous rhetoric, aligning not only the Kurds but the Alevis with identified enemies of Turkey. Electoral politics and foreign policy entwined with potentially awful results. Erdogan needs to step back from this kind of argument.
Ed Webb

New alcohol rules trigger call for sober assessment in Turkey - Hurriyet Daily News and... - 0 views

  • New restrictions on alcohol and drinks advertising have prompted sober damage control by the government following heated debate and confusion about how far new rules would go to curtail sale and consumption of beer, wine and spirits.
  • The ruling Justice and Development Party, or AKP, is a strong backer of the new regulations, which also restrict sports teams from using the names of alcoholic drink brands in their squad names. The public has expressed concern that this change may require the closure of the well-known Turkish basketball team Efes Pilsen, which was established by a major brewery firm and uses the name and logo of the company’s most popular brand of beer.
  • The Efes Pilsen Blues Festival, the first and only blues festival in Turkey and a long-running tradition for 20 years, will not be allowed to continue unless its name is changed so as not to contain any elements of the alcohol brand name.
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  • Guest - Kemalist Turk 2011-01-14 09:24:04   The AKP and the likes of the Green Crescent want to tell us what to drink and how to drink. To hell with them and to hell with their desire to turn our beloved Turkiye into an islamic republic. Who do they think they are? They want women to cover up; they want us to stop enjoying wine and raki; they want to ban art...when will it stop? Very soon, they will impose interest-free banking; they will force men to grow beards; they will choose only 'pious' muslims for top posts...very soon, they will impose their islam on us. Very soon, they will brand our country an 'islamic republic'. Why are we sitting down and allowing these fundamentalists to change our country and mould it into their own image? Why? No day passes by where we don't hear this ghastly government make pronouncements with islamic undertones. Everything, and I mean everything, is tainted with their islamic views. This is not my country. God help us all. TURKIYE IS SECULAR AND IT SHALL REMAIN SECULAR!!
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