2002 November 11 Monday
Erdogan Of Turkey Then And Now

What Erdogan said then:

The party's 50-member governing board is scheduled to meet this week to decide on a name to forward to President Ahmet Necdet Sezer, who formally appoints the prime minister. In a Muslim nation founded on strict secular rules, Erdogan entered public life under the banner of political Islam. The movement is based on a literal interpretation of the Koran's many instructions on governance, demanding that Islamic law, or sharia, become the law of the land. And Erdogan, while a leader of the now-defunct Welfare Party that governed Turkey for 12 erratic months ending in 1997, sounded like a true believer.

"Thank God, I am for sharia," Erdogan once said. And: "One cannot be a secularist and a Muslim at the same time." And: "For us, democracy is a means to an end." Such statements haunted the former Istanbul mayor through this year's election campaign, which ended Nov. 3.

What Erdogan says now:

You have said, "You cannot be secular and a Muslim at the same time. The world's 1.5 billion Muslims are waiting for the Turkish people to rise up and we will rise up." Do you still believe this or have you moderated your views?

A. Islam is a religion. Secularism is just a style of management. When a person chooses Islam, he becomes Muslim, but he can choose secularism as a style of administration.

But you said the two are incompatible.

I am Muslim and prefer secular administration.

This guy is probably going to become Turkey's Prime Minister after the rules are changed to allow him to assume office. What does he really believe? Has he really changed his mind?

Share |      By Randall Parker at 2002 November 11 02:49 PM  Civilizations Clash Of

razib said at November 11, 2002 6:12 PM:

do we really know what most politicians believe?

many secular american politicians express religious platitudes to meet expectations of their voters, while in turkey it seems like something like the reverse is going on.

if the islamists start acting like islamists, the army will bare its knives. otherwise, it's all good.

managed democracy at work....

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