An article about the slide of Turkey away from the secularism on which it was founded, by Annette Grossbongardt in Spiegel Online (thanks to JS):
For almost half a century, Turkey has been pursuing European Union membership. With negotiations now started though, enthusiasm is waning. And the influence of Islam is on the rise.
Turkey’s road to the EU has always been a rocky one. But it may be getting even rockier.
At first glance, the “Sah Inn Suite” Hotel in Alanya looks no different from the average sunny resort along the Turkish Mediterranean coast: a bulky construction with a honeycomb of balconies, looking out over a generous swimming pool surrounded by parasols and lounge chairs. But, in fact, only men are allowed to take a refreshing plunge into these shimmering blue waters. Women vacationers at the Sah-Hotel swim in a strictly isolated pool for women. And what about a cold beer? Forget it. There is no alcohol here; instead, a mosque offers communion with God.
Why the piety? It’s an effort by hoteliers to show their consideration for observant Muslims who want to enjoy “a vacation in keeping with religious laws.” And the options for such devout holidays are growing in secular Turkey. Islamic-style swimsuits are the new rage on the beaches and around pools across the country. Nowadays, observant women venture onto the sands clad head-to-toe. Manufacturer of these chaste outfits is the Istanbul fashion firm Hasema, whose customers include the wives of leading politicians of the governing AKP, the religious-conservative Justice and Development Party.
The Cumhuriyet newspaper, which tends to be critical of the AKP, already considers Turkey to be “besieged by Islamic dress regulations.” The secular press meticulously covers all violent incidents that appear to be religiously motivated: a young, bikini-clad student attacked by cloaked religious fanatics for example; or a couple assaulted for openly drinking beer during the fasting month of Ramadan. A police officer hit a girl because she was supposedly wearing a skirt that was too short. These are shocking incidents in Turkey, where laws are supposed to protect against religious paternalism, where restaurants are open during Ramadan and where headscarves are banned at universities, schools and public offices.
The state radio-control has visited Islamist broadcasters that — under names like “Radio Full Moon” or “Tulip Rose” in — rail against Christians and Jews in so-called “religious talk shows,” or warn women not to shake men’s hands and remind them to behave modestly.
Read it all.