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LOCAL > More secular, green Turkey wanted: Poll

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A recent survery shows that a majority of Turkish people want secularism to be included in the country’s new charter, adding that the new charter should be in line with Atatürk’s principles

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DAILY NEWS photo, Hasan ALTINIŞIK

DAILY NEWS photo, Hasan ALTINIŞIK

An overwhelming majority of Turkish people want secularism to be included in the country’s new charter, a recent survey conducted by KONDA for the Turkish Economic and Social Studies Foundation (TESEV) has revealed.

Almost 90 percent of survey participants said the country should be defined as secular in the new Constitution. Some 50.6 percent said the definition of secularism should be kept as it is, and 40.7 percent said secularism should be “redefined to keep an equal distance from all religions.”

Secularism demanded

Only 8.7 percent of the participants said the new charter should not include secularism, with 18.9 percent of the participants defining themselves as “Islamists” when asked about their political orientation.

The survey was conducted through face-to-face interviews with 2,699 people of various ages and social groups across 29 provinces on Sept. 22 and 23.

The new Constitution should also be in line with the principles of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the founder of the modern Turkish Republic, a majority of those surveyed said. Some 82 percent agreed that the charter must include “Atatürk’s principles and revolutions and Atatürk nationalism,” as it currently does.

However, the number drops to 68.8 percent when asked if Ankara should be kept as the capital city, with almost 30 percent saying it is not a must.

HDN When asked about the official language and language of education, 70.9 percent of participants said both the official language and the language of education should be Turkish.

Just over 14 percent said the official language must be Turkish but other languages could be used in education, while 14.9 percent said different languages could be both official and used in schools.

The participants also said the Religious Affairs Directorate should remain as a constitutional institution to regulate religion, however, 84.1 percent believe that the directorate, which has been under constant criticism for catering to the needs of Sunni Muslims, should be of service to all religions and sects.

Turkish people are almost equally divided on the issue of compulsory religious lessons in schools. Half of the participants said the classes should be mandatory, while 46.3 percent said they should be elective and 3.6 percent said religion classes should be completely abolished.

Consistent with previously conducted surveys, the top issues that Turkish people want the new Constitution to emphasize are “justice” and “equality.”

November/23/2012

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READER COMMENTS

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Mike Newman

11/23/2012 8:14:32 PM

Secularism is an essential part of democracy, and basic human rights and freedoms. Secularism is the separation of state and religion. Secularism is also equality of all religions and the individuals who do not practice any religion. Islamists in Turkiye (and all over the world), want superiority of their version of Islam, and rule the country with Islamist Shari law just like they did under the system of Ottoman oppression as a first step toward establishing a Neo-Ottoman state.

Nadiri Başaran

11/23/2012 7:43:38 PM

I know nothing about KONDA or the Turkish Economic and Social Studies Foundation (TESEV). Surveys can be biased is it possible that the survey is not truly representative. Yes Turkish people believe in a secular society but they are also 'religious' so they are more than likely to vote for the AKP, especially when the opposition is a joke.

Tekion Particle

11/23/2012 6:10:29 PM

Even the practicing Muslims do not want to astray from secularism and want to live in a secular and a democratic Turkey where law and justice is equal for all. So why the new sultan insist on changing it? I cannot wait till the next election day to see AKP going from absolute majority to absolute oblivion. Bye bye wanna be sultan.

american american

11/23/2012 5:44:37 PM

brian, akp does not have a majority of votes. they just have a majority in parliament. sort of like bush's 'mandate'. also akp is beginning to lose support. i am all for allowing headscarves any and everywhere (except maybe in an E.R/O.R) and i am as secularist as it gets.

anton supertramp

11/23/2012 4:45:48 PM

Red Tail, i am secular myself and find this poll's result really good, but why do we have to care what world think about us? EU is no ally of turkey, isnt this obvious of their treatment of turks abroad? didint u see many european politicians oppose turkeys accession just cause she is not christian? Turkey should develop good relations with neigbours and advance in science and tech aside from mutual interest with europe we shouldnt care much about em,

Murat

11/23/2012 4:21:54 PM

Discussion over secularism is just a way to scare Islamophobic masses inside and outside of Turkey. Not only is Turkey secular by definition, it is in the DNA of the people at this point. It never was or is a choice or a possibility. Reminds me of the communism scare of 70s, as if it was ever a possibility for this rural and conservative country (then) to go communist. Many made careers our of chasing ghosts though. Meanwhile AKP ploughs on.

Brian Irlanda

11/23/2012 3:11:27 PM

Just one point. If 90% of people want secularism, how come AKP are getting so many votes? If this was truly the case, CHP would be in power already

mara mcglothin

11/23/2012 3:08:32 PM

Good one! AMERICAN AMERICAN This is the same story all of my Turkish friends sing, BUT so how has the AKP been allowed to step so far away from the principles asked about in this survey? The majority of these people also do not believe, and are not scared at all, about the possibility of a religious take over of the government. I pray that they won't wake up one morning looking for a plane ticket to Florida. No one seems to remember how fast this happened in Iran. Polarization is growing.

american american

11/23/2012 2:24:32 PM

where is dogan to refute this?

Red Tail

11/23/2012 1:58:21 PM

I am very glad to read this. I just wish CHP could put its act together and develop a serious opostion to AKP. The three musceteers Erdogan, Davatoglu and Bagis have been a total dissaster for Turkey, for the average Turk and most of all how we are seen and respected in the world. A compete failure from their side has put us in a really bad position where we have no friend and no one listen to us any more. Just look at EU - stopped talking to Bagis. Gaza/Israel prefers Egypt mediating.
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