Monday, 18 July 2016

Erdogan. secularism and the NY Times

NYT Pampers Erdogan - Declares Secularism To Be Extreme

17 July, 2016

In its coverage of the coup attempt in Turkey the New York Times asserts that being a secularist is "extreme":

Turkey’s politics was for decades divided between secularists and Islamists, but both Mr. Erdogan and Mr. Gulen have occupied a middle ground between these two extremes.
Secularism is:

the view that public education and other matters of civil policy should be conducted without the introduction of a religious element.

Secularism is the basis of all modern democracies. How is that extreme?

Erdogan as well as Gülen are Islamists. They both believe in the primacy of religion. (Though Gülen's alleged $25 billion charter school empire, his ties to the CIA and to the Clinton Foundation cast doubt on any claim that he is driven by religious morality.) Erdogan called the coup a "gift of god".

In the same piece the NYT also asserts that:

Mr. Erdogan’s Turkey has been a reliable American ally and partner in the fight against the Islamic State.

That will be news to the Pentagon. It took years for Erdogan to take any concern about the Islamic State serious. His country still has a mostly open border policy towards the Islamic State. He just stopped U.S. air operation against the Islamic State in Syria by closing the Incirlik airbase. A move designed to pressure the U.S. to deliver Gülen, who resides in Pennsylvania and is Erdogan's arch enemy, to Turkey. Is that really a "reliable ally and partner"?

Had the amateurish coup succeeded democracy in Turkey would have been suspended for some years. Now, that Erdogan has won. he is launching an astonishingly well prepared cleansing campaign. Thousands of soldiers, including many officers unrelated to the "coup", have been detained. Some 3,000 judges, a fifth of the judiciary, have been suspended. Hundreds of them, including supreme court judges, have been jailed. Independent news-sites get closed, editors are rounded up. Erdogan calls on his Islamist followers to occupy the streets. They attack Syrian refugees, Kurdish and Alevi neighborhoods. Democracy in Turkey is now lost for decades.

To pamper Erdogan by redefining moral norms, as the NYT does, will not better the situation of the Turkish people or of anyone else exposed to Erdogan's whims.

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