Soob

Politics, Foreign Policy, Current Events and Occasional Outbursts Lacking Couth

*Note: This is a second posting of this. The first, posted last night, was eaten by blogger.*

Read Gordon Taylor's (of Progressive Historians) latest post on Turkish current political events. In lieu of posting a snippet here (for whatever reason it isn't showing up in the published post) Gordon's post speaks of the Turkish judiciary's moves to ban the duly elected AKP for it's "Islamism."

First and most important (I guess), the duly-elected government of Turkey, headed by the AKP, or Justice and Development Party, is about to be tossed out in a coup conducted by hardline secularists of the judicial branch. This will happen in a couple of weeks. In Turkey judges and prosecutors live, like the Army, in their own little Green Zone of the mind, perpetuating the power of the authoritarian state (i.e., themselves) no matter how nonsensically contorted their rulings have to be. Saban Kardas, in Eurasia Daily Monitor, gives a rundown on the closure case, as does Turkish Politics in Action. Everybody agrees that the court decision will oust the AKP and outlaw its leaders, including the current Prime Minister, and practically everybody thinks it will lead to political chaos. Eventually the chaos will subside, and that weird mutation, the Turkish State, will marshall its spastic limbs and stagger on, but nobody knows exactly how. At the same time as the AKP case, the "pro-Kurdish" party in Parliament, the DTP (Democratic Society Party), is also in danger of being closed. Like the "mildly Islamist" [don't ask; it's like a "moderate Republican"] AKP, they're expected to form the same party under a new label, just as they and so many other banned political parties have done so many times before.

Turkey's judicial system seems to be a bit of a secular version of Iran's Guardian Council. Both have virtual veto power over popular vote and both can disqualify entire political platforms. Turkey is not exactly a bastion of democracy.

However despite the misgivings of Gordon's well written and witty account of Turkey's authoritarian actions of late some questions:

What if the Turkish model of not-quite-democracy is the pinnacle or reality of democracy in Islamic societies? What if the model of strict secularism backed by military fiat is as good as democracy gets in the middle east?

President Bush has referred to Turkey as “an important example for the people in the broader Middle East.” I suspect this was as much lip service to a relatively stable "ally" in the region as anything else. But what if we look at the President's remark within the context of the above questions? Is this the vision of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk taken to a theophobic extreme or is this as close to western liberal democracy as it gets?

Thoughts?