The turkish citizens are marching!
More than 100,000 Turks took to the streets on Saturday to protest against government plans to lift an Islamic headscarf ban at universities and to defend the country’s strong secular tradition. this is not the first time , they had done so in larger numbers before.
Funny, this news has not been featured in the so called Secular Local English media here in India.
Turkey’s parliament is expected to approve a constitutional amendment next week sponsored by the ruling Islamist-rooted AK Party aimed at easing the ban for university students.The headscarf debate is central to Turkey’s complex identity, as the young democracy struggles to meet the demands of both a pious Muslim population and also a secular, pro-Western elite that sees Islam as backwards.
Turkey has, from historic hindsight, been a nation that has lead west Asia, be it the Turkish Rulers like Suleiman who built the Ottoman Empire , and was the only Muslim ruler to reach the Gates of Vienna in his conquests for land and power to the Secular to the post world war modernist Field Marshal and first President Mustafa Kemal Atatürk.
Now Atatürk had an iconic status, and was revered by the Turkish. Not only that, he was one of the very few workaholic rulers that managed to model Turkey into a modern truly secular democracy, something which is a rare feat in Islamic and Arab lands or even India and South Asia for that matter.Here is a writeup on the Turkish Democatic model.
Turkey is now at the crossroads with an Islamist leaning party in power trying to change the Constitution leading to feer of a slow move to implementing the sharia, staunchly opposed by many of the more modern citizens and the powerful Military establishment. It is good to see that secular and modernist people are taking to the street to protect their constitution, something most Indians and forward thinking people should learn lessons from. U have to fight to secure and strengthen democracy.
It is interesting to know how our Secular state of India has turned up, contrary to the expectations of its staunchly hindu father M K Gandhi, and according to the wishes of Pandit Nehru and his first family into a semi socialist state that gives special privileges to minorities .
It is also interesting to note how the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, has shaped up, contrary to the wishes of its founding father M A Jinnah, or Mahomedali Jinnahbhai who in his youth, was a man with strong secular leanings modeling himself on the moderate leader Gopal Krishna Gokhale, proclaiming his ambition to become the “Muslim Gokhale” and defending Tilak, in the sedition trial in 1905 brought on by the British.
From his interactions with his daugher Dina who nicknamed him ‘Grey Wolf’, one can also see that he was an great admirer of Ataturk.