Erdogan and Muslim Enlightenment

I don’t have time for a full post, but I really have to say something about what PM Erdogan said in Egypt yesterday (Arabic) about secularism and the state.

What a wonderfully enlightened debate-starter in this part of the world. This is something we urgently need. Muslim peoples would do very well to understand the nuanced notion Mr. Erdogan advanced: I am a Muslim Leader of a Secular state. I am very devout, but it is not my place, nor that of the state to tell people whom to or whether to worship.

So simple, so brilliant.


Do you like this post? consider following its author on twitter, or following the blog on facebook

  • george

    Let’s see if he really means this in the next few years. But I agree with the sentiment.

  • Craig

    It sounds nice, but an unfortunately the man who said those words is a Turk who wants to restore the Ottoman Empire. Why aren’t there any Arabs who say things like that? Why do Arabs bow down before a Turkish asshole when he says something he doesn’t even mean, just because there’s no Arab with in a position of power with the balls to say it?

    • Mustapha

      If a country wants to have regional influence, that doesn’t mean it wants to be an “empire”.

      But I’ll humor you for a second and assume it’s true. If the intellectual vehicle for spreading that empire is the idea of secularism, would I be sad that for once an enlightened ideology is countering Saudi Wahhabism and Iranian revolutionary islamism? Not at all.

      Craig might not like Erdogan because of his recent antics against Israel and the US, but that doesn’t make the man any less brave for promoting a progressive idea that could cost him dear political capital in the Arab world..

      • Craig

        Mustapha,

        If a country wants to have regional influence, that doesn’t mean it wants to be an “empire”.

        That’s true but it’s a tough sell when it comes to Turkey. Istanbul was Constantinople not all that long ago, and Anatolia was the land of Greeks (and various other indigenous people) before Turks from Central Asia arrived on the scene. The Ottoman Empire has been dead less than 100 years, so pardon me if I think when a Turkish Prime Minister starts making power-plays in a region that was once part of that empire, at the very time when they are in political free-fall, if I suspect he is up to no good.

        But I’ll humor you for a second and assume it’s true. If the intellectual vehicle for spreading that empire is the idea of secularism, would I be sad that for once an enlightened ideology is countering Saudi Wahhabism and Iranian revolutionary islamism? Not at all.

        Well, if that’s the case and you’re OK with foreigners taking charge as long as they promote secularism, then the US is a much better boss than the Turks. Just saying!

        And I know that’s not what you had in mind but that’s the wording you chose, and I suspect you chose it because you’re trying to dance around some issues that don’t help your argument :)

        Craig might not like Erdogan because of his recent antics against Israel and the US…

        I’ve had a problem with the Turks since I was a teenager, which was back in the 1970s. And it’s got more to do with Cypress and other issues, as well as their blatant hypocrisy when it comes to assuming the moral high ground, than it has to do with Israel or the US. I’m particularly offended by the fact Turkey is in NATO. Erdogan is just icing on the cake, because he’s taking the gloves off and looking for trouble. And, I’m sure he’s going to find it sooner or later.

        … but that doesn’t make the man any less brave for promoting a progressive idea that could cost him dear political capital in the Arab world..

        This is EXACTLY the message the Egyptian Army (which still runs the country and which has every intention of running the country in the future) wanted to hear. And I have no doubt that’s why Erdogan delivered this speech at this time and at that place. I see a big upside for him and no downside at all. He doesn’t have to make good on anything, after all, since he’s a Turk and not an Egyptian, right? So he helps his buddies in the Egyptian Army and advocates the Turkish model for Egypt, and if things don’t go that way it costs him what?

        Mariam, thanks. I hope you still agree with me now, after I’ve said more. If not, thanks for the support for what I said previously :)

  • http://thetripbackhome.blogspot.com/ Mariam

    I agree with Craig.

  • G

    Isn’t these statements in contrast to Edrogan’s actions within Turkey for the last couple of years?
    Every analysis I have read as early as 2004 claims Edrugan’s changes and attempted changes of the constitution, etc’ are meant to replace Turkey’s secular state with an Islamic one.

  • fatsamurai

    I’ll believe Erdogan when he apologizes for the suffering his country caused the Armenian community and recognizes the armenian holocaust.

  • http://www.joyeux-bordel.com Ekios

    Very good and nice words. How sad they come out from a such dirty person.

    I like that guy for his “wait a minute” intervention and the kind of sentence we read here, but he remain what he is, another butcher/dictator in desguise.