Pew: Can Secular Democracy Survive in Turkey?

Pew: Can Secular Democracy Survive in Turkey?

By Andrew L. Jaffee,

Turkey’s constitutional crisis over electing a new (Islamist) president has stirred passions. “…More than a million moderate Muslims in five marches protested the bid of the Justice and Development Party (AKP) to take over the presidency of the republic.” A Turkish pundit, İbrahim Karagül, found a link on my blog entitled, “Will Turkey Have an Islamist President?” by Michael Rubin. Karagül blogged Rubin’s article in a piece called, “Ak Parti’ye neocon tuzağı!,” which roughly translates to “AKP neocon trap/decoy!” Thousands of Turks read Rubin’s article, which I hope is a sign that political discourse is alive and well in Turkey. Unfortunately, several readers zeroed in on the fact that Rubin is Jewish. As usual, the “Zionists” were accused of interfering in Turkey’s politics (see reader comments, e.g., “you are disgusting” and “Fuck you and fuck israil”). Rather than extrapolating Turkish public opinion based on some wacky comment-trolls, I decided to see if I could find out what’s going on in the Turkish mind. I found an opinion poll from the Pew Research Center, “Can Secular Democracy Survive in Turkey?”

…Pew surveys find that Turks believe Islam is playing a larger role in the nation’s political life, and a majority worries that religion’s influence may be harmful. There also are growing doubts among Turks about democracy’s viability there. …

Among those who see a struggle over modernism in progress, a clear majority favors secular ways: Some two-thirds (67%) of those who said they see such a struggle also say they identified with groups wanting to modernize, compared with less than one in five (16%) who identified with Islamic fundamentalists. (Another 18% of this group did not know or declined to answer.)…

– Click here for complete poll results

Cross-posted at and IsraPundit

Posted by Andrew Jaffee @ 9:21 am |

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