Are We Losing Secular Turkey?

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This post is an answer to a question asked at the facebook page of Richard Dawkins.The question is”Are Dawkins’s books are banned in Turkey?”  From that, I would like give answer to a broader question. “Are we loosing secular Turkey? “.

It is true that Turkey has a conservative government and Darwinian ideas are highly opposed. Recently (not so recently), TUBITAK so called science institution of the state, removed the evolution theory based ideas from its publishings. Although, the government influence is rising on all scientific institutions, right now, well respected universities and some freelance institutions are standing tall.

Opposing Party CHP, is trying to defend secular ideas, but not considered very sincere amongst secular societies. Most secular people in Turkey think that, this impotence of the opposing party, led to the election of AKP (the conservative one). I believe that, politics in Turkey are a little bit different from around the world… For one example, Liberals and Liberal ideas (mostly economic) are gathered in the conservative party. Even though most businessman and business groups are highly secular, they support the conservative party for only economic purposes. But, I will get into that later…

Before we continue, I think we have to define religion and religious people in Turkey. Islam, in Turkey is much more different from other Islamic countries. %20 of the people are highly religious, and %20 are highly secular.( Approximately) The %60 left are not religious, but define themselves religious! It’s a dilemma but let me explain…

Most people in Turkey have their own definition of Islam. They consume alcohol, but never miss a prayer on Fridays (its like Sunday Church in Christians). Even, 5 times prayer per day is a MUST in Islam; you will see very few people in mosques. They like to watch porn or be with other women, but their wives can’t go out without her head covered. They memorize most known and used prayers, they know the funeral prayers, but never read Qur’an in their entire lives. They like to act religious, talk religious but not like to live religious. These kinds of people are also against evolution, just by saying “it has not been proven or they haven’t found the ape fossils between ape and man… and so on “.  Unlike other people, Turkish people talk about everything, and have an opinion about everything. I am one example 🙂

And because of all the reasons I have mentioned, dynamics of Turkish people can change suddenly. (I mean the %60 part). If we return to the election process of the conservative party, there are some reasons behind it.

 One, is under all 5 army interventions in recent history, Islamist are exploited. President himself, had some jail time, because he read a poem (very provacating poem though! 🙂 ) . Results are a reaction to those times. It looks ironic, that these are the same people, trying to silence the freedom of thinking, but no so ironic that,  it is in the nature of conservatism ( or Totaliterism) not to tolerate other ideas …

The second reason is purely economic; business communities liked the stability and the privatization of the government facilities. We, Turkish, like to live the moment 🙂 so no one cared, the long-term results. (I am not sure; if there will be any though…). If you run the economy well, you will get the vote. That is a non-changing fact for Turkey. And no secular party (secularism and socialism were always together, maybe that’s why  …) did that, since ATATURK died.

The third reason, the president himself is a man from that %60. Closer to the religious %20 but, still I think not that religious. He is a man of the people! People like him, because he is one of them.  He has his fury! His charisma and the way he speaks is like an example of “it’s not important what you say, but it is important how you say it “.  As a secular, I don’t support him, but I can understand how people can…

And from all of that, what do we deduct?

If there is gene for religion, it is not well evolved in the Turkish people. 🙂 I believe secular Turkey is not a lost cause. But someone secular has to dig it up the surface. Someone who can understand the dynamics of the Turkish people. Their, relation with the religion. Their way of life. Someone did that once.. A man named Mustafa Kemal. So, someone can do it again. Should do it again…

P.S Dawkins’s books are accessable in every bookstore in the major cites. Even, I have seen a copy of God Delusion in Migros yesterday. I believe Richard Dawkins is more popular in Turkey than even before. Secular theists are converting to Atheism more than ever…


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