CSM piece on the AKP in Turkey

Sometimes I feel I exist in a time-warp! Today, the CSM published an opinion piece I wrote a couple of weeks ago, based on my time in Turkey.
I still think its main argument is a really important one. It is that Obama– and a lot of other westerners–

    could learn a lot from Turkey about how a smart Islamist party can be a valued participant in a democracy.

That is such a valuable lesson. The AKP is such an intriguing party!
The reference to Egypt in the intro was because the piece was originally conceived, by me, to coincide with Obama giving The Speech, June 4, in Cairo.
Well, that was eight days ago. An eon in the fast-moving world of Middle East politics these days.
The concluding argument in the piece is this:

    in the Bush years, Washington worked actively to overthrow both Hamas and Hezbollah…
    Several Bush-era officials openly questioned whether the electoral victories of Hamas and Hezbollah actually “proved” that a party could be both dedicated to Islamist principles and democratic rule over the longer term. Turkey’s experience provides intriguing evidence that it can.
    Obama should value Turkey’s views on regional affairs. He may not be ready yet to go along with all the advice he receives from the AKP government in Ankara. But Ankara has much valuable experience that it can share with its NATO ally.

By the way, the dateline of “Adana” came about because I was writing the piece while Bill and I were being conveyed in a rather comfortable touring-car from Kappadokya to Hatay (Antakya)… So at some random point I looked out at the signs on the freeway and figured that the nearest town to where we were was Adana, which I think hosts a large US/NATO air base. I confess I never went into Adana, at all. Just rushed right past it, and rushed through Hatay as fast as we could, too.
And wow, that was just 13 days ago. Feels like two eons.

3 thoughts on “CSM piece on the AKP in Turkey”

  1. a smart Islamist party can be a valued participant in a democracy.
    I think here is misunderstanding between People who are believe in Islam “Islamist”, Islam as a religion and the democracy.
    There is nothing in tha Islamic law as conflicts with democracy and freedom. its very clear and high lighted in Koran the value of human and freedom a also the respect to all religions, women and men.
    The Islamic history full of stories that gives clear and eyes opening what freedom were under Islam.
    in the Bush years, Washington worked actively to overthrow both Hamas and Hezbollah…
    in Iraq went far from that Bush brought these ugly and darkages what it’s called “Islamist” parties like Da’awa party, Al-Hakeem party were the fisrt things done was disasterous for freedom and women’s rights, it was very clear from day one these uglly Islamist mindset have had temeparay marriage “Muta’a” or necessity marriage with Bush in Iraq.

  2. Good points to make, Salah. I think the broader lesson is that there are several different forms of “Islamist” parties, so everyone needs to look much more closely at the way each one works to be able to sort them out…
    Definitely, from what i heard and saw, the AKP seems like a pretty good role model.
    here was one amazing paradox we witnessed, crossing from Turkey into Syria: In Turkey, you have an avowedly Islamist party in power– and headscarved women aren’t allowed into government jobs or universities; whereas in Syria you have an avowedly (indeed militantly) “secularist” party in power, and you definitely see headscarved women in government jobs and universities.
    From my perspective, excluding headscarved women is a real infringement of their personal rights.
    … But basically, each case needs to be looked at very carefully on its own merits.

  3. here was one amazing paradox we witnessed
    I too am having troubles to see the changes while living inside Iraq for 40 years.
    I grow up in Hilla (90km south Baghdad) small city and we can say conservative, but at lat 60 you can see women without cover and also girls in the street and its very common but not majority, time passed we went to university early 1970 there is no cover at all I hardly seen a single female student covered at that time in university of technology in Baghdad.
    Then Khomeini time things start take drifts and seed of changes start showing but not to noticed level, long eight years of war with Iran the hardship of war husband, brother loses which we can say each single Iraqi family suffered a loss of loved one from that war, the cover and vile start showing more in the streets in Baghdad.
    After Kuwait war thing dramatically changed and the headscarf start showing every where even by some women you have some concerns about their behaviours in some streets and areas in Baghdad.
    After 2003, I was watching TV and an Iraqi woman with headscarf on her head talking to some reporter telling the women in Iraq had covered themselves because of fear from Saddam’s Son Uday!!!
    I laugh at what that lady telling, later we sow its hardly any women on the street of Baghdad have difficulty to walk without cover, student in university have harassed (some my family members have stayed home because of harassment) by those ugly half-braded “Terrorists” who freckly called themselves Muslims.
    This Iraqi and its paradox for the last 30yeras

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