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How religiously-symbolic headcovers for women
will affect Turkish Presidential politics in 2007

The next Turkish President must not be...

In Turkey - Türkiye'de

Tüm blu-ray fırsatları için tıklayın !

Sarcastic Photo Caption:
Washington Souvenir!
They posed like this for the world press!

These head-covered poses on official State visits drive secular Turks wild.

Religiously-symbolic Head-covers and Turkish Politics...
Oil and Water?

Background note: The President of the Turkish Republic (Cumhurbaşkanı) is appointed by the Turkish Parliament every 7 years for a single 7 year term -- and he/she has veto power over bills that Parliament passes. The current President, Ahmet Necdet Sezer, was appointed by a secular, coalition Parliament in 2000 when secularist Bülent Ecevit was Prime Minister.

After the religious-right AKP political party swept to power in 2003 and began trying to pass anti-secular legislation, Sezer, a hard-nosed secularist, has acted as a one man opposition party -- blocking anti-secular bills left and right. (Were it not for his veto power and his willingness to use it, the unchecked AKP may well have driven Turkey to the brink of dangerous societal divide.)

But Sezer's days are numbered. His term runs out in May 2007 -- and his successor will be named by the same religious-right Parliament that he has so effectively held in check.

The current AKP Prime Minister (PM), Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, has all but declared himself the next President. And as the leader of the AKP majority party in Parliament, nothing would seem to stand in his way -- despite the despairing cries of Turkey's secularists.

PM Erdoğan's ascension to the Köşk in Çankaya (The Turkish White House) would be an historic achievement for the devout Muslim and his Islamic party. But, as Editor Rahmi Turan pointed out in his Gözcü Gazetesi opinion-column yesterday, there are negative rumblings within the PM's own ranks...

[Paraphrased Quote: Rahmi Turan]

Mehmet Şevki Eygi (who is one of the most effective Islamic-sector newspaper columnists) wrote an interesting piece for the Islamic Millî Gazetesi recently, in which he noted the necessary criteria/conditions for the next Turkish Cumhurbaşkanı. Mehmet Hoca (teacher) wrote:

1. The next President must not be a devout religious person. It is not suitable to the situation nor the times...[Ed. That would seem to eliminate PM Erdoğan from consideration, in Mehmet Hoca's opinion.]

2. The President's wife must not wear the religiously-symbolic turban-like head-covers in public. [Ed. Again, since the PM's wife Emine Erdoğan always appears 'Türbanlı' (wearing symbolically-religious headgear) in public (see news-photo above that drove secular Turks to distraction), this would seem to eliminate Erdoğan from consideration.]

The year 2007 will be pregnant with big events. But we [religious ones] must be careful. Our Selamet (healthiness, safety, security, peace, well being, freedom from worry, salvation) depends on it... [Ed. This is probably a warning to Mehmet Hoca's co-religionists... that they should not provoke a Turkish military intervention/coup over the Presidential issue, at this time.]

It's interesting what this Islamic-writer Mehmet Hoca has to say, isn't it? And I give him credit for the correctness of his thinking. Because, under current conditions... to put PM Erdoğan with his Türbanlı wife in the 'Köşk' would throw the country into a political crisis.

The 'Köşk in Çankaya' is a symbol for the secular sector of the country. The coming to Çankaya of a religious partisan with a Türbanlı wife would place the country in a continuous state of tension.

In that case, the economy would fall apart, the state would begin to stumble, and the bureaucracy would cease to function.

In reaction to the inevitable social unrest (resistance, opposition, boycott) that would follow, the majority party AKP would lose its balance, and the country's problems would be exacerbated.
In Turkey - Türkiye'de

Ads by HepsiBurada

Religious zealots only want to send a Türbanlı Presidential wife to Çankaya so that they can claim a 'spiritual' victory. They don't care how it would affect the country as a whole. Mehmet Hoca has assessed the situation objectively -- not through religion-shaded glasses. His thinking is correct; we should be grateful for his pragmatic intelligence.

[End Quote]

Rahmi Bey's column may only amount to wishful secularist thinking, because PM Erdoğan probably has the power to gain the Presidential appointment -- if he really wants it.
But, suppose he looks into the abyss (that Rahmi Bey has predicted above) and decides to back away? Suppose he decides to stay on as the PM (thus retaining and strengthening his power-base) in the run-up to national elections (that must be held no later than October 2007)?
Then who might the next President be?
Our friend in the secular establishment believes it might be the former military Chairman of the Turkish Joint Chiefs of Staff, Hilmi Öztürk -- who so favorably impressed AKP parliamentarians with sensitive acts of diplomacy during his tenure.
Now then...
Could everyone live with that?

Related:

  • Bang, bang! The AKP gets shot down (for the moment) for strong-arm tactics
  • When Worlds Collide -- Kemalist Democracy and the AKP 2/2
  • Threats to Turkey's Well-Being - Terrorism and Religious Excess
  • Murder in The Court
  • Turkish 'Religious Attitudes' and Politics
  • Turkish Political Parties -- Right, Left, Center?
  • Caught Between 2 Bad Choices -- The Turkish Presidential Selection, 2007
  • Countdown To A Turkish Secularist's Nightmare, Presidential Selection Day 2007
  • Turkish National Pre-Election Polls 2002
  • Turkish National Election Results 2002
  • Local elections 2004 -- No 'Girl Power' (see yerel seçimler)
  • International Study with an Outhouse Smell
  • 'Troubles in Turkish Paradise' Language-Guide
  • LPT's Geopolitical pages...

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