Failure of one’s fears coming true
The biggest fear of the secular segments since the day the Justice and Development party (Ak Party) took power is that they would one day have to change their daily lives under the pressure of the neighborhood.
Try to remember what the talk was these days.
- One day will come and they will cut us with blunt saws.
- Guys, I don’t perform the daily prayers, I don’t fast. Now, they will give me a hard time. We will face societal pressure in the neighborhood. Our children will be put under pressure.
- I know for sure that because I don’t go to the mosque they will look at me with an evil eye in the office.
And many more.
The secular segment would talk amongst themselves saying: “How far will this go?” Under every stone, under every decision, a clue to Turkey becoming “like Iran and Saudi Arabia” was sought. Now, a survey released recently has revealed that all these fears were invalid.
Survey proves tolerance
A survey led by the head of Bosphorus University’s Political Sciences and International Relations Department Professor Hakan Yimaz and supported by the Open Society Foundation titled, “Conservatism in Turkey: Family-Sex-Religion” proved that all these fears were invalid. This survey was first conducted in 2006. This means that data was already processed and now with the new facts, a stronger result has been obtained.
If you are interested, you can find details at www.aciktoplumvakfi.org.tr. Here are some results I find important.
- Despite the above mentioned fears, Turkey is not becoming more religious. There is a decrease in the number of those who see themselves as conservative.
- I think the most important aspect of the survey was the disclosure that, in a visible way, the sensitivity of Turkish society toward freedom and equality has increased. An increase of 5 percent compared to six years ago is striking.
- The change in the society is intense. They openly say they are no longer destitute people demanding guidance. On the contrary, they do not want to stay at their current positions. They want to earn more; they want to become richer. The increase in this approach compared to 2006 is almost 10 percent.
- Another interesting aspect is that the dreaded neighborhood pressure is not present in this survey. The rate of those who are not bothered by those who do not practice daily prayers, who do not fast and who do not cover their heads is between 77 and 80 percent.
- Ninety percent of society stressed that the state should never restrict freedoms such as thought, election or religious beliefs and had zero tolerance for torture and the right of Kurds to use their mother tongue.
- However, the same society that is unexpectedly tolerant toward abortion is surprisingly austere against sexual preferences such as homosexuality. There is no tolerance in that area the report shows. Those who believe that the state can intervene in matters such as homosexuality equaled 50 percent. Similarly, 23 percent accept that the state can apply torture.
As a result, this survey shows that the society is relieved compared to the past. What was expected was that with the general approach of Ak Party, there would have been a boost in religiousness and an increase in neighborhood pressure. We are a conservative society in general but comparative results in 2006 and 2012 show that there is no increase of a great extent since Ak Party took power.