Dec 12 2017

New ‘Young Turks’ may arise from secularist backlash - academic

The present domination of Turkish politics by one man and his religious-influenced ideology may prompt the rise of a new wave of secularists, academic Ahmet T. Kuru wrote.

“In the near future, the populist Islamist regime of Erdoğan may create a reaction in the form of a strong secularist backlash,” he wrote in the Montreal Review. “This may remind the rise of Young Turks in reaction to Sultan Abdülhamid II.”

An alternate future scenario, Kuru said, would come about if the different groups in Turkish society abandoned their “rejection of differentiating spheres of life, leader-centrism, and ideational inconsistencies” and recognised that they were part of the same nation.

“In such a scenario, Turkey may become an electoral democracy again,” he said.

But there are few signs of this so far, he said, giving the example of followers of Fethullah Gülen, the Pennsylvania-based Turkish preacher Turkey blames for instigating last year’s failed coup.

“Instead of critical thinking, Gülen has recently promoted fatalism in his speeches. Such a discourse may indeed help his followers avoid radicalism, hopelessness, and depression, but it also prevents them from learning lessons from recent tragic experiences.”

 

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