End of the ‘Muslim democracy’ baloney
The Economist British magazine, the one that calls on Turkish voters to vote for the Republican People’s Party, or CHP, in its latest issue, introduces our country to the world in almost all its articles as a “Muslim democracy.”
This is the product of a systematic effort. The aim is clear also: To create a window of perception by putting side by side the words “Muslim” and “democracy” and to facilitate through that window the adoption of a Turkey model by those Middle Eastern Muslim peoples who have a negative perception of secular democracy.
Putting the Turkish model in a “Muslim democracy” package looks like a good intention at the first glance, but when examined deeper it is a marketing effort with consequences that will not be positive regarding the present and the future of democracy in Turkey. And the prestigious British magazine The Economist is maybe the only significant media outlet orchestrating this marketing effort, not only in the Anglo-Saxon world but also in the West in general. This zeal has to be confronted with a counter effective ideological effort, but, as it seems, the problem is being solved through its natural course.
Look, they have asked the votes to be cast for a secular party for the sake of the “Muslim democracy.” The nonsense has been denied by those who have created it. Now, imagine a Turkey who has solved its major democratization problems, starting with freedom of belief. If such a Turkey is ruled by a modern social democrat party, would The Economist editor define this country as “Muslim democracy” again?
No way. Then, even the crows would laugh at that.
First, democracy cannot be defined based on a religion or depicted side by side with a religion. In that case, the democracy ceases becoming a democracy. Because democracies, by definition, are secular and this fact does not change by those who have been elected call themselves “Christian democrat” or neo-Islamist.
The reason the Economist editor defines Turkey as “Muslim democracy” is that the Justice and Development Party, or AKP, is in power, the party has evolved from a classic Islamist into its present state. The stress on the “Muslim” is for this reason.
Thus, if the AKP was not in power, the “Muslim democracy” baloney would not have been created.
Now, let’s assume again the voters listen to the Economist’s call and vote for the CHP on June 12 in masses to stop the “Turkish Muslim Democracy” transform into an authoritarian regime. And all of a sudden we see the CHP in power.
But if the CHP takes power, The Economist will not be able to keep on calling Turkey a “Muslim democracy.” I explained the reason above. They will forget “Muslim democracy.”
Well, if the CHP comes to power, will Turkey take a break from being Muslim? If the AKP takes power again four years later, will it go back to being Muslim? Nonsense, isn’t it?
Now, let’s assume the public shrugs off The Economist’s call “to vote for the CHP” and the AKP gains 330 or maybe more than 367 seats in parliament on June 12. At the end of this, a “one man autocracy” is formed, thus the most feared comes true, the nightmare of The Economist and of course those who think like us, what will the British editors replace in place of “Muslim democracy?”
Will they call the authoritarian regime “Muslim?” The Islamic authoritarian regime?
Look at this tragicomic situation: The Economist asks Turks to vote for a secular party to save the so-called Muslim democracy from its so-called founders.
The rescue recipe of “Muslim democracy” is for the AKP to stay in power but with such a number of seats it will not be able to change the constitution alone.
Thus when the AKP is balanced [by a secular party when] in power, the vigilant editors will be able to market the Turkey model under the name of “Muslim democracy” to the Middle East. Yes Sir. This is your intention.
Meanwhile, Turkey’s secular democracy will be damaged.
Because the concept of “Muslim democracy” is injecting the message in a subconscious level that the AKP rule is permanent and this is unfair. Change of power by public vote is a virtue of democracy and this is always possible.
Second, this nonsense attributes legitimacy to the AKP’s Islamic traditionalism program and the increasing presence of wide masses that have not adopted secularism even in its most liberal definition possesses a serious problem from the point of sustainability of democracy.
*Kadri Gürsel is a columnist of daily Milliyet, in which this piece originally appeared. It was translated into English by the Daily News staff.