Islam and Politics In Turkey
Atlantic Lecture Series, hosted by the Atlantic Institute and Turkish Student Organization, was held on Wednesday, March 19th at the Library of the University of South Alabama. The guest speaker for the event was Dr. Mustafa Gokhan Sahin, Director of the Academic Affairs at Istanbul Center. His topic was Islam and Politics in Turkey.
Here is some important information that he emphasized during in his speech:In the 1820’s Thomas Jefferson appointed a consul to Turkey. The two countries have traded with each other ever since.The people of Turkey learned about democracy from America. They trusted America’s type of democracy – which they saw as being based on religious values rather than the European – which they saw as very secular.Gradually Turkey came to embrace a democratic type of government. After the Republic was founded in the 1920’s there was some distrust of religion and religious dress, with the result that many Muslim women did not attend schools because they could not wear their head scarves.Around 2000, the followers of Fethullah Gulen along with others spoke out for an acceptance of all religions.Very recently, the government has been at odds with these ideas and there have been some political moves against Gulen schools and businesses.In the next few months, elections will clarify some of these situations.The 30 or so attendees enjoyed a pleasant and thought provoking event of good cookies and good company.