Say goodbye to Ataturk – Turkey’s parliament speaker Kahraman demands Islamic constitution

Turkey’s parliament speaker Ismail Kahraman said late on Monday that overwhelmingly Muslim Turkey needed a religious constitution, a proposal which contradicts the modern republic’s founding principles. He later said his comments were “personal views” and that the new constitution should guarantee religious freedom. (Reuters)

Lamenting the fact that, unlike in other Middle Eastern countries, the word Allah did not appear in the current version of the Turkish Constitution even once, the AKP politician also pointed out that the country’s current constitution was not secular: There were many religious holidays and lessons for students that the document prescribed for Turkey’s citizens. (Deutsche Welle)

“A description of secularism shouldn’t be in the new constitution. France, Ireland and Turkey have constitutions that include a description of secularism. But everyone interprets it the way they want to. That shouldn’t be the case,” he added, suggesting that the charter should “cohere with society.”  (Hurriyet News)

Turkish secularism did not become absolute even after Ataturk’s reforms. The country has a special government body tasked with promoting Islam, the Diyanet, and funds religious teaching. But AKP champions of political Islam such as the 75-year-old Kahraman want a far greater role for their religion. (Russia Today)