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Tyrkias sekulære stat er truet av en krypende islamisme, og fremst står regjeringspartiet AKP, hevder avisen Cumhuriyet, som har startet en kampanje mot islamiseringen. Republikken er truet innenfra, mener avisen.

«Are you aware of the danger,» reads the front page headline in Cumhuriyet (Republic), written in Turkish but in Arabic style from right to left. It has also run on television. The Arabic style is a coded suggestion to Turks that the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) wants to reverse the reforms of Turkey’s revered founder Kemal Ataturk, which included replacing the Arabic script with the Latin for Turkish.

«This government is the target of our campaign. In recent years anti-secularist developments are threatening Turkey and its institutions,» Cumhuriyet columnist Ozgen Acar told Reuters.

Cumhuiryet er ikke alene med sin frykt. Ingen ringere enn landets president, Ahmet Necdet Sezer, sa i en tale til Krigsakademiet sist onsdag at Tyrkia er truet av islamisering. Men han unngikk å nevne navn.

Sezer er tidligere leder av Forfatningsdomstolen.

In his strongest comments since becoming president in 2000, Ahmet Necdet Sezer warned on Wednesday that Turkey faced a growing threat from Islamic fundamentalists.

«Turkey’s only guarantee against this threat is its secular order,» Sezer told a gathering of military officers. He did not mention the AKP by name. Turkey’s armed forces are seen as the ultimate guarantor of the secular system – founded by Ataturk in 1923 – and as recently as 1997 ousted a government they perceived as tilting in an Islamist direction.

Typisk nok er det spørsmål om klesdrakt og seksuelle normer som er symbolsaker. Det er forbud i Tyrkia for kvinner å bære hijab på skoler og offentlige kontorer. Men AKP vil ha forbudet opphevet. Statsminister Tayyip Erdogan er selv from muslim, og kona bærer hijab. Det fører til slike merkelig ting som at presidenten ikke har kunnet invitere statsministerens kone til offentlige sammenkomster, for ikke å gi signal om at skillet mellom stat og religion smuldrer.

«There’s nothing radically new about the way the AKP is running things. But elections are on the horizon and Erdogan needs to start sending the right messages to his grassroots,» said Ayhan Simsek, diplomatic editor of the English-language daily The New Anatolian. The AKP has unsuccessfully tried to push through plans to give religious teachings a greater role in the education system. It has passionately argued for the lifting of the ban on wearing the Islamic headscarf in universities and public offices.

«(But) it is not just the turban and schools. It’s a much more dangerous attack on the secularism of the country,» Cumhuriyet’s Acar said, referring to attempts to appoint religiously minded people to top positions.

Utnevnelser

Den som sitter i posisjon kan endre statens karakter ved å utnevne personer med en annen innstilling. President Sezer har avvist flere kandidater til toppstillinger på grunn av deres religiøse innstilling.

Men Sezer må gå av i mai. Det er nasjonalforsamlingen som velger president. AKP har flertall og kan velge «sin» mann.

Sezer has blocked several AKP appointments, apparently because of their religious background. Last month, Sezer vetoed the government’s choice for central bank governor, reportedly because he heads an Islamic bank which opposes interest rates. Secularists now fear that for the first time in modern Turkey parliament will pick a head of state with a strong religious background. An AKP president would be able to fill top positions in the country’s institutions with like-minded people.

The AKP has a majority in parliament, giving it the opportunity to pick a president in May 2007 after Sezer steps down. Parliamentary elections are not due until November 2007.

Turkey’s secularists step up anti-govt campaign
By Paul de Bendern, Reuters