IN OTHER WORDS
Turkey has entered an ominous new phase in a power struggle between a moderately Islamist governing party and the military, judicial, and educational elites who jealously guard the principles of a secular state. Turkey’s Constitutional Court inserted itself into this conflict late last month, when it agreed to hear a case filed by the chief public prosecutor against the Justice and Development Party, known by its Turkish acronym, AK. AK, which won 47% of the votes and a majority of seats in parliamentary elections last July, stands accused of being a “hub of anti-secular activities.” The 11 judges are asked to outlaw the party and to ban 71 of its members from political actitivity for five years, including 38 members of Parliament, PM Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and President Abdullah Gul.
The governing Islamists should not be provoking the secularist establishment by banning alcohol in some municipalities and segregating men from women in public parks. The shadowy “deep state” of army and security officers should not seek to preserve secular
values by thwarting the will of the electorate. The high court judges can best uphold democracy if they caution Erdogan and his colleagues to respect secularism — but refrain from dissolving a party that has a popular mandate to govern. — The Boston Globe