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Will Turkey bid farewell to secularism?

Ismail Kahraman, the speaker of the Turkish parliament, has caused a sensation by proposing a constitution that avoids any reference to secularism as the ruling party continues to promote its Islamist agenda.

In the tranquility of Oxford, I was having a lunch with Eugene Rogan, a renowned historian and the director of the Middle East Centre of Oxford University. Last year, he had published a book, "The Fall of the Ottomans," which was deservedly listed among The Economist's top 10 best books of 2015. I mentioned something that was sure to interest him: For the first time ever, the Turkish government has issued instructions for the commemoration of the Battle of Kut.

Apart from Gallipoli — a disaster for the British military but a legendary victory for its Turkish counterpart known as “the victory of Dardanelles” — during World War I the only other Ottoman military victory was achieved at Kut, in today’s Iraq.

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