Worrying Signs For Turkey

From a distance, the social trend in Turkey does not look positive. A recent incident in Ankara provides an example of this. A corner store owner, Muslum Goksu, was assaulted and his shop damaged because he sold alcohol during Ramadan (the Muslim holy month – called Ramazan in Turkey).

 

Modern Turkey has traditionally been tolerant of people who held secular beliefs and did not observe every Islamic tradition. In Mersin I fondly recall buying beers from a veiled woman at the local 24 hour convenience store in the early hours of one Ramadan morning. This freedom of choice is what made Turkey different to almost every other Muslim majority country.

 

Ever since the AKP came to power in 2002, many Turkish secularists warned of the potential Islamification of Turkey. Slowly but surely their fears are being realised. The sale of alcohol has been banned at venues owned by government controlled companies, Creationism is gaining a stronger foothold and there are reports of official pressure to fast during Ramadan.

 

Hopefully this trend towards overt Sunni Muslim religiousness is only temporary.