Friday, June 17, 2011

Turkish Armed Forces: Growing Support for Islamism

My articles are featured at PajamasMedia.

By Barry Rubin

When people talk about Turkey the assumption is that the armed forces are still the guardians of the secular republic. But one of the important trends toward Islamism in the country is the infiltration of the military by Islamists or at least a growing belief by many soldiers that supporting the government party will aid their career. With the regime now reelected for four years and in a strong position to shape the new constitution, the army and the other remaining independent institution, the courts, are prime targets for fundamental transformation. A precinct exclusively used by air force personnel and their families in Diyarbakir--involving a cross-section of ranks--the vote totals are astonishing: AKP (Islamists) 67 percent; CHP (social democrats, supporters of the traditional secular republic) 17 percent; MHP (right-wing nationalists), 14 percent. Note that the backing for the AKP is far higher than what it received from the country as a whole (just under 50 percent)! Have no doubt, the Turkish Islamist revolution is comprehensive, dangerous, and largely unnoticed in the West.

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