Unveiling Turkey

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Can Islamists Be Liberals?

Sunday, May 13th, 2012

[Originally published in The New York Times]

FOR years, foreign policy discussions have focused on the question of whether Islam is compatible with democracy. But this is becoming passé. In Tunisia and Egypt, Islamists, who were long perceived as opponents of the democratic system, are now promoting and joyfully participating in it. Even the ultra-Orthodox Salafis now have deputies sitting in the Egyptian Parliament, thanks to the ballots that they, until very recently, denounced as heresy.

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Egypt’s ‘AKP’ On Its Way?

Wednesday, August 17th, 2011

[Originally published in Hurriyet Daily News, with readers' comments]

There was an interesting headline in this weekend’s papers. Khalid al-Zafarani, a senior member of the Muslim Brotherhood, told the Associated Press that he and some of his colleagues were working to found “a political party with the same program of Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party [AKP].” They would copy not just the policies, but also the very name of the Turkey’s AKP, Mr. al-Zafarani explained in Cairo, since they were inspired by the party’s achievements.

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Turkey’s Secularists Had Better Remain Delusional

Friday, August 12th, 2011

[Originally published in Hurriyet Daily News, with readers' comments]

You might have been following the events in Syria. In a nutshell, the country’s corrupt, dictatorial and brutal regime has killed more than 2,000 unarmed protestors in the past six months. And it seems willing to kill more and more.

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So, Who Will Protect Secularism Now?

Wednesday, August 10th, 2011

[Originally published in Hurriyet Daily News, with readers' comments]

The question in my headline is asked by many these days, especially in light of the gradual decline of the Turkish military as an intruder into Turkish politics. But the question itself is questionable, for it seems to overlook a few crucial facts. Click to continue »

A Quest For The Historical Atatürk

Saturday, August 6th, 2011

[Originally published in Hürriyet Daily News, with reader's comments]

When a lonely shepherd guided his flock out to pasture near the village called Yukarı Gündeş in eastern Turkey, in 1997, he committed a “highly disrespectful [act], an act of treason,” according to a Turkish parliamentarian. For this parliamentarian, along with thousands of other Turks, were present in that middle-of-nowhere place to witness a miracle: Mustafa Kemal Atatürk’s silhouette, they believed, was miraculously falling on a hill and creating a magical scene which the reckless shepherd and his clueless sheep inadvertently disrupted.

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