Wednesday, July 25, 2007

On the Anatolian Republic's Recent Referenda

In this excellent piece, the editors over at National Review explain clearly and concisely why the recent Turkish elections matter and why the results should be welcomed by anyone who welcomes the advance of freedom and good governance in the world. Turkey's "mildly Islamist" AKP ("Justice and Development Party" in English) has won a solid majority in Parliament; it does not, however, have the supermajority necessary to amend the constitution. This is a good thing for Turks: the AKP has a solid record on the economy and social reforms and is deservedly popular. This is also a good thing for Turkey's allies: many had feared an overwhelming win by the AKP would lead the vehemently secular military to overthrow the government. Turkey is, after all, right on schedule for its traditional decennial coup d'etat.

The biggest reason this result is encouraging, however, is that it has the potential to be a shining example of the successful congruence of democracy and Islam. The AKP's success has moderated its Islamism significantly. If -- as National Review's editors suggest -- the once-worrisome AKP's experience in participatory government is gradually turning it into nothing more dangerous than a Muslim social conservative party, Turkey's future as a guiding light of genuine Muslim democracy could be bright indeed. Now, compare this example to that of Egypt, where a secular strongman assures us he is protecting America's interests, holding back the tide of radicalism with his iron fist, while the Muslim Brotherhood gains popular support, growing ever bolder and more strident. Is anyone still unconvinced of the connection between autocracy and radicalization? Or of the relationship between participatory government and stability? Really?


Sarah said...

Hi, I'm Sarah. My mom is on an email list with your older sister, and she passed your blog along to me. I really like everything I've read. You have an excellent writing style. :)

I was curious if you might have a facebook. If so, there's a pretty active Lutheran community on there, and I'd be happy to send you some links for groups on there.


elephantschild said...

This is exactly the kind of back-door dealing that I hope the US is doing; assisting burgeoning democracies around the world.

Even though we've gotten burned in the past, I still think we should be doing it.

Didn't realise things have been taking a nose dive in Egypt. In my mind, it's fixed as a "good" Middle Eastern country. Guess my brain needs a bit of updating.