Law as a Tool for Social Engineering: The Islamization of the Turkish State and Society

Joe Hammoura

Published First in Legal Agenda 

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Unlike many other Islamist parties, the Turkish Justice and Development Party (AKP) has managed to remain in power by implementing its politics in a pragmatic way, and in accordance with the domestic balance of power. The AKP did not pursue its conservative Islamist policies in a direct way until 2011, after the traditional struggle between the military establishment and civil authorities ended in favor of the latter.

By 2011, the ruling party had consolidated its control over the various levers of state power. That year, it won a parliamentary majority, with 326 delegates elected out of a total of 550. Subsequently, the party –which has taken every opportunity to affirm its popular legitimacy since it first came to power in 2002– began to manage the state and society with a freer hand. A tendency towards adopting conservative Islamist principles began to emerge in the party’s politics, its official rhetoric, and the laws it has passed.

The intellectual roots of the AKP lie in the thought of the Muslim Brotherhood –albeit influenced by Turkish modernity– which is of Western origin. Other influences include the Sufi heritage and its principles, as well as the legacy of Ottomanism. The party’s political roots lie in the arduous struggle waged by radical Turkish Islamist parties since the end of the 1960s, which have confronted the power of the Turkish military establishment and secular political parties for nearly half a century. Today, secular forces in Turkey have become the weak political opposition, while Islamists rule the country unilaterally. The latter are working through the law to promote the Islamization of the Turkish state and society, despite the fact that Turkey remains, symbolically, a secular state.

 

Legal Restrictions on Consuming Alcohol

Once the AKP secured its majority in 2011, the laws it passed became increasingly Islamist and concerned with social issues that affect all Turkish citizens. One such issue is the restriction of the consumption of alcohol. Although Turkey is a secular state and it does not embrace a specific religious ideology, its overwhelmingly Islamist majority parliament ratified a law limiting the consumption and sale of alcohol on May 24, 2013. [1]

Law No. 5752 banned the sale of alcohol between 10pm and 6am anywhere in Turkey, and forbids all forms of advertising products containing alcohol and festivals إقرأ المزيد

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The United States of Europe: Hope & Venture

Joe Hammoura

Winston Churchill once said in 1946: “If Europe was once united in the sharing of its common inheritance, there would be no limit to the happiness, to the prosperity and to the glory that its 400 million people would enjoy”. After 67 years, just a fraction of Churchill’s wishes were realized

Since the end of the World War II, European nations and their citizens, made huge progress into the unification process of Europe, but did not manage to accomplish the “European Dream”: The United States of Europe. The slow pace of unification process is due to the “resistance” of nationalist currents in some of European countries, to the fear of losing the classical state sovereignty, and lack of mechanisms that get the Europeans citizens to be more involved in the unification process rather making it an elite issue

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The proposed United States of Europe won’t have very big chances of success, if the legitimate officials of the unification process won’t involve citizens in the process itself, and try to further highlight on the benefits of the unity, by focusing on the concept of “Unity in diversity”. It is important to note that the successful model of the United States of America is way different from the European model: Europe is a mosaic of several different cultures, with different languages and nationality

The venture of realizing the United States of Europe won’t require, at the end, a single language or a common identity, but the awareness of common political, social and economic interests of Europeans. And the necessity of the European countries to work together apart from competition, in order to quickly finish the phase of according on “people and goods” free border crossing, common security arrangements, and monetary unity… to a political unity that has a single united European constitution, that consolidate Europeans common norms and values

Going forward into realizing the United States of Europe will eventually give hope for Europeans to be more influential on the global international relations scenes, in economic and political level, and to fulfill a better management to their own problems, and to promote United Europe as a model that the world will seek to imitate

The realization of the United States of Europe will ultimately benefit every single European individual, since a united Europe will have to defend the interests of all of its citizens, while the success will be shared between everyone. In the meantime, and in order to move forward in making the dream come true, Europe is in need of a federal structure by making the European Commission a government achieving the political union of Europe

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