For the AKP, democracy is merely a means to a higher Islamic goal, says edward luttwak
you thought Turkey was no threat to the West, think again. A new
generation of politicians is aiming to Islamise the state by stealth.
The AKP - Adalet ve Kalkinma Partisi, or Justice and Development Party
- has a stranglehold on Turkey for the foreseeable future.
AKP was founded to replace a previous Islamic party banned for
extremism. It benefited hugely from the corruption scandals that
dragged down the previous government, taking two-thirds of parliament
in the 2002 general election (on a third of the vote).
Friday, its ex-foreign secretary Abdullah Gul narrowly failed to win a
victory in the first round of presidential elections. The result was
close enough to prompt public demonstrations by secularists ahead of
the second round voting on May 2, and a statement from the military -
|Abdullah Gul narrowly failed to win a victory in the first round of presidential elections
guardians of Turkey's secular traditions - warning against a pro-Islam political agenda.
coming to power, the AKP has done nothing revolutionary, but it does
have a revolutionary agenda. For all their suavity, its leaders seek to
transform the country into a Sunni Muslim republic. This collides with
institutions and laws strictly limiting Islam's role in public life,
and with a long-standing security alliance with Israel.
also collides with democracy itself, for no Koranic state can have a
sovereign parliament free to legalise such abominations as equal rights
for women and homosexuals or the drinking of alcohol.
sinister slogan attributed to the AKP is that democracy is 'a bus we
can ride until we reach our station'. Under Prime Minister Recep Tayyip
Erdogan and his foreign secretary Abdullah Gul, the party has been
cautious until now.
abroad the AKP has been more strident. Turkey has stepped up relations
with Muslim countries and cooled them with Israel. They have
capitalised on public suspicion of the