Atatürk Versus Erdoğan: Turkey’s Long Struggle
By Elliot Ackerman , July 16, 2016
Turkey has weathered five successful military coups since the founding of the Republic, in 1923, and what happened on Friday, with soldiers surging against President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his ruling Justice and Development Party, or A.K.P., marks an attempt at the sixth. Turkey is a constitutionally secular state, though one that is more than ninety-five per cent Muslim and which was once the seat of an Islamic empire. The Turkish military has often served as the nation’s firewall against encroachments on secularism and the Constitution, guarding the aspirations of its founder, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk. The tension between secularism and religious fundamentalism is as essential to understanding today’s Turkish political life as is the tension between federalism and states’ rights in America.
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