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Turkey, AKP Can Correct Mistakes

The right stance for Turkish liberals in the face of such a complicated Justice and Development Party (AKP) is to be critical, not hostile.
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The latest piece I penned for Al-Monitor was titled “A Salafi Assault on Turkish Theology?” I had used the term “Salafi” quite figuratively, as a label for the narrow-minded Islamic approach that sees philosophy, and other sources of secular knowledge, as a corruptive force for Muslims. The news was that this line of dogmatic thinking had just pushed philosophy out of the curriculum of Turkey's theology faculties. Since these faculties are tied to the Higher Education Council (HEC), which is tied to the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government, I had even concluded that this was a critical test for the future of Turkey.

I wrote: “Perhaps, this is one of the various indications that the AKP, after a pretty successful decade, is really at a serious crossroads: The party will either reform itself and move forward by adopting global norms of democracy — and, well, even reason. Or it will revert back to the narrow-minded Islamism that its cadre actually had abandoned in the late ’90s for a more liberal route.”

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