Turkey and Secularism: Myth or Reality?

By Lee J Walker

The nation of Turkey is often praised for being a secular role model for other Islamic societies. It is claimed that the land of Turkey is a beacon of hope and that democracy and secularism can exist within a mainly Muslim nation state. But is this based on reality?

If we concentrate on the founding father of modern day Turkey, Ataturk, then it is clear that he himself supported the destruction of Christianity via the Assyrian, Armenian and Greek Christian genocide of 1915. Turkish nationalism was the potent force behind modern day Turkey and secularism is tainted by its anti-Christian nature, and also by its anti-Kurdish nature. Turkey was founded on Turkish nationalism and secularism and it did not protect the Christians of or give them equal rights.

Despite this the myth of modernity and secularism remains and Western nations stick to this mantra. Yes, Ataturk faced many difficulties and from a Turkish point of view he was very astute because he preserved a Turkish state when it was threatened by others. Yet in order to do this he crushed millions of Christians via massacres, starvation, and by destroying countless numbers of Christian villages and communities.

Ataturk did implement many reforms in order to modernize Turkey and he did lay the foundation for a secular state. In this sense he crushed thoughts of a Sharia Islamic state and he gave more rights to females. But his legacy of modernity and secularism is tainted by the events of history and by overt nationalism. Therefore, we must never forget the Assyrian, Greek and Armenian genocide of 1915 and the continuing legacy of anti-Christian forces in modern day Turkey.

So if secularism means having the right to crush Christian minorities, moderate Muslim minorities like the Alevi, and ethnic minorities like the Assyrians Armenians, and Kurds, in modern day Turkey, then it is not the secularism which I support. Turkish secularism is tainted by this overt nationalism and the Sunni orthodox mindset means that religious inequality is the norm.

The rights of Christians and the Alevi Muslims are not equal in today’s Turkey. In recent times many Christians have been murdered. For the more numerous Alevi Muslims, it is clear that they face huge discrimination. Secular Turkey is a myth because under the surface we find a different Turkey based on preserving the dominance of orthodox Sunni Islam.

So why do democrats and secularists praise Turkey for being a shining example and evidence that democracy and Islam can work together? Turkey favors Islam over any other religion and religious equality does not exist. On the contrary, modern day Turkey supports Sunni orthodox Islam and persecution of minorities is endemic. Given this, Islam still controls society and Christians and other minorities face harsh times.

It is apparent that many Western democrats and secularists are ignoring the reality of Turkey. Turkey is tainted by Sunni Islamic thought, which are based on mass discrimination. If Turkey is secular and moderate, what does this say about the rest of the Islamic world and equality?


Lee Jay Walker serves as Tokyo Corrsepondent of The Seoul Times. He specializes in international relations and geopolitics. He is also involved in analyst work and research on business. After finishing BA degree in East European Studies at the University of London, He earned MA degree in Asia Pacific Studies in Nottingham Trent University. He also studied business at London Institute.
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So I decided to suggest Homosexuals not be persecuted under Islamic Law…

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One day I decided to promote the idea of giving homosexuals basic human rights in Islam and Sharia run countries.

What was the response to this by our beloved progressive moderate Muslims of facebook?

Ahmad Aloran (Jordan) wrote

“hey
u r all sick people
disgusting ,gays are shit
they r garbage
i think every gay should search 4 thier parents first be4 they start talking about their rights.
so
with my best wishes
gays all
u r going straight to hell”

Kemo Staytieh (Jordan) wrote

“you mother fuckers mohammad ( salla alla 3aleh w salam ) ddnt support dat and its forbidden and the other thin that you are all know that islam is the right religon thats why u try to detroy its image cuz u know its butter than wht u belive or wht u try to cinvince ur self that u belive …. Bhavya Ketan dnt try to talk about cuz we know whts islam then we could blow u up mother fucker im muslim and arabic and im proud of that …….. god bless all muslims “

“u know that very well i wish that i could come then i’ll teach u wht muslims do and for u ian u could go and fuck ur self cuz thats wht fags do”

After these comments someone decided it was time to bring up apparent miracles in the Qur’an which was totally irrelevant…

Rami Abu Sharaiha (Jordan) wrote

“may god burn u in hell .. thats all what u will have ..
after death ..”

So suggesting people not get brutally slaughtered for their own sex life means I belong in hell?

Suheil Zeqlam (Jordan) wrote

“fuck u ..u r the most mother fucker i’v ever seen
islam is the best..do u think ur religon is better u r wrong…because ur religon smils shit like u ass hall :@”

For suggesting fellow people have rights?

Khaled Nizar Steitieh (Jordan) wrote

“you assmouth son of all of us
you suck donkey ass
tel7as la ten3as”

Leena LaffLaff (Jordan) wrote

“ur saying that because u r such a jealous gay!
i feel sry for u PSYCHOPATH!
ur the most pathetic person iv ever knwn!
GO TO HELL!”

“and you knw about that gayness thing?
its forbidden in our religioun!
and there’s a big punishment for those gay ppl like u!
so plz just shut ur mouth and keep ur shit for urself”

Then there were random comments about the Bible being corrupted which has nothing to do with the issue at hand.

Al Adaileh Boss wrote

“yeh fuck every one talks about islam,
and who talk…. i think he wants man to sleep with him “

Saif Bitar (Al Asriyya Schools) wrote

“u fuckin gay peace of shit……ISLAM is the right religion nd u gotta fuckin respect it before i shove my leg up ur ass u gay peace of shit nd mohammad is the best person alive nd will stay the best person alive u fuckin count peace of crap see gay people were brought up from europe nd americans u fuckin asshole u guys r the gay people nd one dayy u will get ur ass beating nd i hopee it will bee mee….fuckin assholes…..nd like everyone says ISLAM is the right religion thats why u gay asses r gonna die one day”

And why was asking Muslims to consider other peoples way of life before brutually executing them or imprisoning them a pointless task?

“Whoever dislikes or hates my point of view, contact me and I’ll be more than happy to fuck up his life.” (Abedel Rhman Saadeh (Modern American School))

Islam, the religion of closed minded bigotry.

Homosexual Honour Killing (Turkey)

The partner of murdered gay student Ahmet Yildiz has been forced to flee Turkey in fear of his life.

Yildiz, a 26-year-old physics student, was shot leaving a cafe on the Bosphorus strait during the weekend.

His body was found in his car.

He was believed to be fleeing the attack when he lost control of the vehicle and crashed.

His partner, who held a German passport, left the country on the advice of the consulate.

He had no rights over his partner’s body, which has been left lying in the city morgue.

The murder is believed by Mr Yildiz’s friends to be an “honour killing” carried out by members of his own family.

“From the day I met him, I never heard Ahmet have a friendly conversation with his parents,” a close friend told The Independent.

“They would argue constantly, mostly about where he was, who he was with, what he was doing.”

Mr Yildiz’s friends fear that because of his family’s rejection of his sexuality they will not claim the body. His friends have no power to collect the body for burial.

Standing outside the morgue that held Mr Yildiz’s body, a friend of his told The Independent: “We’ve been trying to contact Ahmet’s family since Wednesday, to get them to take responsibility for the funeral. There’s no answer and I don’t think they are going to come.”

It is common for families of “honour killings” not to collect the body of the victim.

In the months leading up to his murder, Mr Yildiz had been to a prosecutor to report death threats he had received. The case was dropped.

Ahmet Yildiz represented his country at an international gay gathering in San Francisco in 2007.

Sedef Cakmak, a friend and member of gay rights group Lambda said: “He fell victim to a war between old mentalities and growing civil liberties.”

Turkey has tried to project a more liberal attitude towards the LGBT community since it began lobbying the European Union for membership status.

This year’s gay Pride in Istanbul was the largest ever recorded in the city.

The ruling party, Justice and Development Party (AKP) was the first in Turkey’s history to send a deputy to a conference on Gay rights.

The AKP has struggled to balance the demands of Turkey’s more liberal population with the conservatives.

In May an Istanbul court placed a ban on the country’s largest LGBT civil rights group, Lambda.

Woman are usually the victims of “honour killings” and Ahmet Yildiz’s case is considered unique.

=====

The body of Ahmet Yildiz, Turkey’s first suspected victim of a gay “honour killing,” has been removed from the city morgue.

The remains of the 26-year-old physics student had been left there by his family, a move common in “honour killings” cases.

In Turkey only family members of the deceased have rights over the body.

While reports say Mr Yildiz’s corpse has been collected, no one knows which family member has claimed it. He was shot leaving a cafe on the Bosphorus strait during the weekend.

His body was found in his car.

His partner, who held a German passport, left the country on the advice of the consulate.

Speaking exclusively to PinkNews.co.uk he said:

“Ahmet had been receiving threats for as long as I knew him. He told me this has been going on since his coming out a year ago.

“When he came out to his parents, who had always suspected, they made him feel guilty about it.”

Mr Yildiz’s partner, who asked not to be named as he is in fear of his life, said had he joined his partner for an ice cream on last week, he would have been shot dead himself.

“Ahmet had asked me if I wanted to go out for an ice cream. as I had just settled down for the night at Ahmet’s flat, I declined.

“A couple of minutes later there were burst of loud gunfire outside the flat. I knew immediately that involved Ahmet and rushed out of the flat,” he said.

“I arrived at the scene to see Ahmet’s car reversing out of his parking space, trying to escape.

“I fought through some onlookers just in time to see him with his eyes open and asked him please don’t die, then he shut his eyes.”

Turkish police have yet to launch an investigation into the shooting.

Many of Mr. Yildiz’s friends, including his partner, believe his family are involved and murdered him because he was openly gay.

“Even before Ahmet came out there was trouble with his family,” Mr Yildiz’s bereaved partner said. “When he came out it only got worse.”

Homophobia in Turkey has always been rife, but according to Mr Yildiz’s partner, it has gotten worse over the last four years.

He describes homophobia in Turkey to be “unbelievably bad.”

“I can only speak for the Istanbul area but in the countryside it is much worse. In the country honour plays too strong a role for the family,” he said.

Mr Yildiz’s partner is not optimistic about his chances to bring Ahmet’s murderers to justice.

“I know the Turkish system. I know I haven’t got a leg to stand on. Human rights are known and accepted in the West but are not freely available in Turkey.

“I have no claim to his estate and body and cannot even collect my personal belongings from his flat. I cannot even bury my loved one.

“Apart from giving my statement to the press, I as an individual have absolutely no chance to bring his parents to justice for this murder of their son and my partner.”

Mr Yildiz’s partner has given statements to the police at the site of Ahmet’s murder, as well as handing in a signed statement to the local police station.

He fled Turkey the night of Mr Yildiz’s murder and has been living in fear of his life since.

Religious Persecution in ‘Secular’ Turkey

Religious Authority Warns Women against Perfume, Flirtation (Turkey)

Secular Turks say the government’s religious authority has gone too far by advising women not to flirt with strangers or wear perfume outside their homes. The article is expected to further inflame a debate about the role of religion in the secular nation.

Is wearing perfume a sin? Or casting a flirtatious gaze at a man? According to an article recently published on the Web site of Turkey’s directorate for religious affairs, Diyanet, it is.

The article, which is drawing criticism in Turkey and raising attention abroad, essentially chalks women up as walking aphrodisiacs and puts the onus on them to cover up and prevent themselves from sexually stimulating men in any way outside their homes.

“Women have to be more careful, since they have stimulants,” the article states, according to a report in the Guardian. “The women communicating with strange men should speak in a manner that will not arouse suspicion in one’s heart and in such seriousness and dignity that they will not let the opposite party misunderstand them, that they should not show their adornments and figure and that they should cover in a fine manner.” It even goes so far as to equate flirtation with adultery, according to critics.

The article also discourages women from wearing perfume. “His highness the Prophet Muhammad did not think kindly of women who put on perfumes outside their homes and go strolling and saw this as immoral behavior,” it continues.

The article also reportedly said women should not spend time together with men in private unless married and questioned the virtues of mixed-sex workplaces.

Generally, Diyanet has promoted a moderate form of Islam and the article threatens to further inflame a roaring debate about the role of religion in what is constitutionally a secular state. The Islam-rooted Justice and Development Party of Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan is currently facing a legal challenge in the country’s highest court, accused of undermining the secular principles upon which Turkey was founded, and faces the possibility of a ban in the future.

“It’s like a comedy,” writes Yusuf Kanli, a columnist with the pro-secular Turkish Daily News, “but the article appeared on the Web site of a state institution that is supposed to regulate the practice of Islam in the country according to the teachings (as perceived by the Turkish government) of Islam rather than those of some Islamist orders or brotherhood organizations. … Is this mentality different at all with that of the Taliban that placed Afghan women behind chadors?”

Ataturk, the founder of modern Turkey, established Diyanet in 1924 to ensure that Islam did not interfere with the country’s strictly secular government. Although Diyanet has no legal authority, it is highly influential as the custodian of the Muslim faith in the country. It is in charge of the country’s 70,000 clerics and is also responsible for appointing Turkey’s imams.

GAY ASSOCIATION CLOSED FOR IMMORALITY (Turkey)

(ANSAmed) – ANKARA, MAY 29 – A Turkish court ruled today the closure of the only gay rights association in Turkey after the prosecutor had said it violated the family protection and public morality laws, Turkish agency Anadolu reported. The agency added that the ruling was issued by a court in the Beyoglu district, in Istanbul’s centre, against the LambdaIstanbul group set up in 1993. Three years ago, the deputy governor of Ankara asked for the closure of the ‘Kaos’ association in which gays and lesbians living in the Turkish capital had joined, calling for the application of a norm which bans associations “against the law and morality”. However, the Ankara prosecutor rejected the request. Unlike the other Muslim states, homosexuality has never been a crime in Turkey, but is surrounded by a widespread social criticism with the exception of Istanbul’s European districts where there are various places of meeting reserved for homosexuals, without this sparking off scandal. Nevertheless, there are no laws for protecting the homosexuals from discrimination. (ANSAmed).

Armenian Genocide Denial

An interesting documentary on Armenian genocide denial by Turkey.

If you’re not sure about what happened try checking out wikipedia, here