ATATURK SOCIETIES OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA AND THE UNITED KINGDOM STRONGLY OPPOSE THE TURKISH RULING PARTY’S DECLARED INTENTION TO CHANGE “TURKEY’S FOUNDING PRINCIPLES” PROTECTED BY THE CURRENT CONSTITUTION
1. Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), led by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, PUBLICLY STATED its intention to change the Turkish Constitution after the General Elections on June 12, 2011. Erdogan is asking voters to enable him to come back to the Turkish Parliament with at least 367 deputies so that he can CHANGE THE TURKISH CONSTITUTION UNILATERALLY. 2. Erdogan is basing his arguments for a “new constitution”
5. TURKEY’S PRO-WESTERN identity and image have already been tarnished. Initially, the AKP renounced its Islamic heritage and began working to secure European Union (EU)-membership, and turn Turkey into an even more liberal and pro-Western state. However, more than eight years later, the AKP seems anything but pro-Western, liberal and democratic! It has returned firmly to its Islamist roots. Erdogan has openly played the “Islamist card” in order to boost himself and his political party, and establish greater dominance in the “Islamic world”. Under the AKP rule, liberal political trends have quickly disappeared and EU accession talks have stalled. In foreign policy, relations with the West and Israel have deteriorated. President Gul and Erdogan spent more time visiting Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Qatar, Syria and Egypt, and hosted a series of anti-Western leaders including Sudan’s president Al-Bashir when the Hague International tribunal was accusing Al-Bashir committing atrocities in Darfur. Al-Bashir, who received a warm welcome from Erdogan, was defending the implementation of Sheria Law in resolving the Darfur conflict. Turkey’s foreign policy has shifted decidedly towards the East and promoted solidarity with Islamist, anti-Western regimes.
6. SECULARISM has been denied and ignored... Erdogan’s famous quote “one can not be a Moslem and secular at the same time” best explains his political philosophy and intentions…Under the AKP rule, religiosity in Turkey has increased markedly. The government began to hire top bureaucrats from an exclusive pool of religious candidates and the percentage of women in executive positions in government, dropped sharply. Religious observance has become a necessity for those seeking government appointments or lucrative state contracts. Bureaucrats in Ankara now feel compelled to attend Friday prayers lest they be by passed for promotions. Turkey today has over 85,000 active mosques, one for every 350 citizens, the highest per capita in the world, compared to one hospital for every 60,000 citizens, with 90,000 imams, more imams than doctors or teachers. It has opened up thousands of madrasa-like Imam-Hatip schools and about four thousand more official, state-run Qur’an courses. Spending by the government’s Directorate of Religious Affairs has grown five fold from 553 trillion Turkish liras in 2002 to 2.7 quadrillion Turkish liras (about US$325 million), during the first four years of the AKP government. The Directorate has a larger budget than 8 other ministries combined. The objective is to train people for every position in the public service in the country. The AKP has also fought very hard, though unsuccessfully, to lift the ban on “head scarves” in schools and government offices. Erdogan’s desire to change the Constitution unilaterally and his disrespect for secularism may lead to a turnaround in Turkey’s founding principles, and put the country under governance by Islamic Sheria Law. 7. DEMOCRACY and FREEDOMS have been severely restricted. The mysterious Ergenekon case has become the largest and most controversial judicial investigation in recent Turkish history. Hundreds of people, mostly opponents of AKP and Erdogan, including the high-ranking Army officers, famous journalists, writers, artists, university professors, and heads of modern, secular civil societies have been detained by members of the Counterterrorism Department of the Turkish National Police (TNP). They are tried under detention that has been going on for years without any sign of conclusion. None of the detainees has been convicted, yet.
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The Atatürk Society of America (ASA) is an independent non-profit organization founded 1995 in Washington DC, with the objective of promoting the ideals of Atatürk's political legacy.