There are very few things I like in politics less than the mingling of government and religion. As a guy with strong libertarian political leanings, I believe that pouring the two into the same bucket is a pretty good way to ensure that the government is in your bedroom, your kitchen, your car, and most disturbingly, your pants. If there’s one thing I like less than a government sleeping with a religion, it’s an elected government being overthrown by its own military.
On Friday evening military chiefs said in a statement they could intervene if the election process threatened to undermine Turkish secularism.
Influential business leaders expressed their dissatisfaction with the government on Sunday in a statement which called for early elections to “protect secularism and democracy,” The Associated Press reported.
The statement by business group TUSIAD said: “The indivisible integrity of secularism and democracy lays the foundations of the Turkish republic, a sacrifice of one for the other is unthinkable. Turkey can healthily emerge from this process by lowering tensions and renewing the will of the nation.”
On Sunday at least 700,000 demonstrators gathered in Istanbul, Turkey’s largest city, to protest against Erdogan’s Islamist-influenced government in defense of the country’s secular political traditions, The Associated Press reported. Local media estimated that around one million people took part.
“Turkey is secular and will remain secular,” flag-waving protesters shouted as they demanded the resignation of the government and called Erdogan a traitor.
Others chanted: “The roads to Cankaya (the presidential palace) are closed to imams.”
“This government is the enemy of Ataturk,” said 63-year-old Ahmet Yurdakul, a retired public worker, invoking the memory of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the founded of the modern Turkish republic. “They want to drag Turkey to the dark ages.”
The rally was the second anti-government demonstration in two weeks after around 300,000 people gathered in the capital, Ankara, a fortnight ago.
“Neither Sharia, nor coup but fully democratic Turkey,” read a banner carried by a demonstrator, in reference to Friday’s statement by the military which attracted condemnation Saturday by Turkey’s government as well from the European Union, the U.S. and human rights groups.
You only have to look at the Middle East to see the big clusterfuck that happens when government and religion mix. It’d be a shame if Turkey started slipping down that steep slope with the Taliban at the bottom.