Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) of President Tayyip Erdogan may want to end the Turkish separation of Islam and state.
One of the key founding elements of modern Turkey as created by Mustafa Kemal Ataturk in 1923 was secularism enshrined in law and the constitution.
The legacy of the young Turks could be ended in the near future as Turkish Parliament President Ismail Kahraman of the AKP has called for the abolition of secularism in the Turkish constitution, Spiegel Online reports.
Kahraman said, “we are a Muslim country. As a consequence we must have a religious constitution”, and along with other leading members of the AKP denounced the idea of a secular Turkish state saying, “secularism must no longer play a role in the new constitution.” Kahraman is the head of the Turkish parliament and within that role he has the ability to decide what the shape of the new Turkish constitution will look like.
The AKP has been pushing for a new constitution to replace the one created after the latest military coup, in 1980.
The present constitution mentions no official religion in Turkey and tries to follow the principle of secularism and nationalism that Ataturk followed in creating the state of Turkey following the First World War and collapse of the Ottoman Sultanate.
The party of President Erdogan has long maintained a tradition of Islamic thought and has its founding principles in Islamic politics. The party has ruled Turkey for 13 years and in that time has brought forward more and more Islamic focused laws leading critics to say that the party is trying to totally undo the work of the nations founder.
The AKP has also been linked to more radical Islamic teachings, such as a cartoon in a children’s magazine that promoted martyrdom.
Opposition politician and chairman of the CHP, Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu said secularism was important because it lets all people practice their religion freely and, “the chaos in the Middle East is the result of the use of religion by politics.”
German politicians have been especially critical of the announcement because of the EU-Turkey summit deal which is planning to end visa requirements for Turkish nationals as early as this summer. Bavarian Christian Social Union (CSU) General Secretary Andreas Scheuer said, “if Turkey wants to introduce an Islamic constitution, it closes the door to Europe with a loud bang.
“That would be the perfect renunciation of the policy of Kemal Ataturk, when nearly one hundred years ago, Turkey reformed to a secular state.”
Scheuer recently spoke out about Turkish funding for mosques in Germany saying that German Muslims should self fund their mosques with a “Muslim tax,” which would see mosques tax their worshippers directly rather than receive funding from overseas.