FLAG AND HEADSCARF
Mainstream european and american opinion likes to consider Turkey as an example of democracy to the Islamic world, and the governing AKP as the chief ‘democratizing force’ in the country. This matches the American-made project of a ‘moderate Islam’, celebrated after 9/11 as the cure for radicalism in Muslim societies. The AKP's Recep Tayyip Erdogan was the answer to HAMAS or Hizbullah in the Middle East, just as Malaysia’s Anwar Ibrahim was the model for Southeast Asi-a. As former US Assistant Secretary of State Richard Holbrooke put it, ‘there are only two moderate Islamic democracies in the world: Turkey and Malaysia’. Ibrahim, dubbed a ‘Golden Asian’ by Newsweek, was a staunch friend of Malaysia’s corporate elite and defender of IMF policies, who liked to underline his liberal-internationalist credentials by stressing his fondness for Elvis. AKP leaders show a similar proclivity to demonstrate their familiarity with Western ways. After a well-received speech in Oxford about the AKP’s democratic virtues recently, Erdogan’s spin doctor Egemen Bagis raised his glass to the assembled scholars: ‘You see, I drink wine!’ The meaning was clear: moderate Islam, just as you like it.
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- Mai Ghoussoub: Feminism--or the Eternal Masculine--in the Arab World
- Caglar Keyder: The Political Economy of Turkish Democracy
- L. R.: Nazim Hikmet
- Ahmet Samim: The Tragedy of the Turkish Left
- Emmanuel Terray: Headscarf Hysteria Emmanuel Terray on Bernard Stasi, Laïcité et République. The French political establishment’s vapours over school-girl head-dress.
- Caglar Keyder: The Turkish Bell Jar Against a background of high unemployment and fragile economic recovery, the neo-Islamist AKP is submitting its supporters among the urban poor to the programmes of the IMF, Pentagon and Kemalist elite. Internal pressures on NATO’s Middle East bridgehead and EU candidate member.
- Cihan Tuğal: The Greening of Istanbul Its population swollen by six million new arrivals in thirty years, Istanbul has sprawled outwards from the Bosphorus with dramatic speed. Cihan Tugal analyses the contradictions of an urban Islamism, wedded both to vote-winning populism and to financial markets.