Turkish secularism on the ropes. Sharia is advancing in what is always held out to be that exemplary beacon of democracy in the Islamic world, Turkey. The reasons why Sharia supremacists are advancing there have not — unsurprisingly — been sufficiently explored by Western analysts, who of course dismiss out of hand the appeal of a call to restore Islamic authenticity.
“Erdogan Set for Election Win That May Revive Tension Over Islam,” by Ben Holland for Bloomberg, March 27 (thanks to The Fool):
(Bloomberg) — Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan is set to win a fresh mandate from voters that may embolden his challenge to the country”s military and courts, which see him as an Islamist threat to Turkey”s secular system.
Erdogan’s Justice and Development Party will likely emerge the winner in March 29 municipal elections for 3,000 mayoral posts, according to opinion polls. His party has won three straight elections since 2002 as Turkey enjoyed a record spell of economic growth. This latest referendum on his rule will take place as the economy shrinks and unemployment rises.
Erdogan, 55, used his 2007 win in general elections as a license to relax Turkey”s secular rules, such as the ban on Islamic-style headscarves for students — and was almost barred from politics as a result. Erdogan’s announced plans for post- election constitutional changes may revive those tensions.
“It’s turned into something bigger than just a local election,” said Osman Ulagay, author of “The Secular Coup Fiasco,” a study of Erdogan’s clashes with the generals. Erdogan’s party wants “to make sure they can go on with their new agenda.”…
Erdogan told reporters on March 13 that he plans to introduce measures after the election to change the structure of Turkey”s 11-member Constitutional Court and make it harder to ban political parties. He didn’t give further details.
The steps may allow parliament to nominate additional judges to the court and increase judicial scrutiny over the army”s budget and its regular purges of officers deemed pro- Islamist, Hurriyet Daily News reported on March 18, citing a Justice party draft document….
Prosecutors filed a lawsuit in March last year to ban Erdogan from politics and shut down his party for seeking to introduce Islamic law. The case, which cited Justice party legislation to lift the student headscarf ban, failed by a single vote in the Constitutional Court.
The army sought to block Erdogan’s presidential candidate Abdullah Gul in 2007 because of his Islamist past, forcing Erdogan to call a snap election in July of that year. Gul was elected president a month later by parliament….
Still, opposition to Erdogan within the army and judiciary may be weakened by an investigation into an alleged attempt to overthrow his government.
A court in Istanbul on March 25 agreed to hear charges against two retired generals accused of leading the alleged coup plot, and other suspects in the case include the wife of a Constitutional Court judge, according to the indictment. Three other ex-generals are being investigated in the case, the Milliyet newspaper reported on March 26….