Success of Turkey’s AK Party must not dilute worries over Arab Islamists

Mona Eltahawy

It has been unsurprising that since Abdullah Gul became president of Turkey on 27 August that much misguided analyses has been wasted on howIslamistscan pass the democracy test. His victory was bound to be described as theIslamistrouting of Turkish politics. And Arab Islamistsin the form of the Muslim Brotherhood, their supporters and defenderswere always going to point to Turkey and tell us that we’ve been wrong all along to worry about the Arab Islamistalleged flirtation with democracy. “It worked in Turkey, it can work in the Arab world,” they would try to assure us.Wrong. Wrong. And wrong.Firstly, Gul is not an Islamist. His wife’s headscarf might be the red cloth to the bull of the secular nationalists in Turkey, but neither Gul nor the AK Party which swept parliamentary elections in Turkey in June, can be called Islamists. In fact, so little does the AK Party share with the Muslim Brotherhoodaside from the common faith of its membersthat it’s absurd to use its success in Turkish politics as a reason to reduce fears over the Mus-lim Brotherhood’s role in Arab politics.The three litmus tests of Islamism will prove my point: women and sex, theWest”, and Israel.As a secular Muslim who has vowed never to live in Egypt should Islamists ever take power, I never take lightly any attempt to blend religion with politics. So it has been with a more than skeptical eye that I’ve followed Turkish politics over the past few years.

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Filed Under: FeaturedMoroccan IslamistsMuslim BrotherhoodTurkeyTurkey's AKP

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