Turkey: After Hagia Sophia ruling, many fear what's next from Erdogan

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Ascend
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Further descent into religious nationalism and just another tick on their "Islamic bucket list".

Analysts said the decision [to re-convert Hagia Sophia into mosque] was an attempt to maintain Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's popularity among his religious and nationalist conservative base.

https://www.nbcnews.com/news/world/o...-fear-n1234012

The conversion of Istanbul's symbolic, shape-shifting Hagia Sophia edifice back into a mosque is being described as a victory for the conservative religious agenda of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.
The Hagia Sophia was once a cathedral, and then it was a mosque. And then, in 1934, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk— the founder of modern Turkey, who aspired to build a secular state — declared it a museum.After a Turkish court annulled Atatürk's decision one week ago, Erdoğan swiftly declared the Hagia Sophia to be — once again — a mosque.
"Turkey wanted to be a member of the democratic world, but that story has ended," said Garo Paylan, 48, a Christian Armenian who is one of the founders of Turkey's pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party.Erdoğan "can't give bread to the people, and he's giving more radicalism to the Muslim majority," Paylan said over the phone.While the Hagia Sophia decision was a major symbolic win for the country's Islamists, Paylan argued that it shut the door to the future for minorities in the country and took away a symbol of respect for the country's diversity. He has stopped telling his fellow Armenians to stay in the country.
"My guess is it's only going to get worse," Bayrasli said. "He's desperate to hold onto power."Feminist activists blame the government's conservatism for what they say is a steady rise in gender-based violence.The deputy chairman of the Justice and Development Party suggested this month that Turkey might exit the Istanbul Convention, a treaty to protect women from violence.In a telephone interview, Neslihan Duran, 24, a student at Gaza University in Ankara, said that "with such policies, women are designated as an inferior gender."
For Yusuf Erim, 40, a Muslim Turk, Erdoğan's conservatism is a reminder to the country's Muslims that they are part of a larger Islamic community.Erim, an editor-at-large for the Turkish state broadcaster, TRT, said turning the Hagia Sophia back into a mosque was another way to do that. He said he believed Muslims around the world would flock to pray at the historic building."Let's call it an Islamic bucket list," he said over the phone.
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Napp
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Sounds about right.
There was a rather good bit in the Economist recently on this noting that whilst no one "wanted" the museum changed it was still appreciated though. If Erdogan thinks the people of Turkey are stupid enough to not notice this as a grossly cynical electoral ploy, he is going to be extremely disappointed.
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PTMalewski
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Democracy at it's finest. Most people have no idea about ruling the state, so usually they simply vote either for those who promise them more social handouts, or for those who claim they're more religious.
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Ascend
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(Original post by PTMalewski)
Democracy at it's finest. Most people have no idea about ruling the state, so usually they simply vote either for those who promise them more social handouts, or for those who claim they're more religious.
There's a very clear pattern throughout history that an illiberal democracy always turns into majoritarian tyranny. Democracy can't be sustained without liberal principles. The ancient Greeks understood that and so did Ataturk. Erdogan is obviously smart enough to know this but he has no regard for democracy and, as Napp said, is cynically abusing and eroding it with every step he takes.

The same thing is happening right now to India (the world's largest democracy) under Modi.
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PTMalewski
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(Original post by Ascend)
There's a very clear pattern throughout history that an illiberal democracy always turns into majoritarian tyranny. Democracy can't be sustained without liberal principles. The ancient Greeks understood that and so did Ataturk. Erdogan is obviously smart enough to know this but he has no regard for democracy and, as Napp said, is cynically abusing and eroding it with every step he takes.

The same thing is happening right now to India (the world's largest democracy) under Modi.
It might be, that it can't be sustained at all.

The whole idea to let people without any qualifications, decide on one of the most complex controllable mechanisms, seems horrendous.
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Ascend
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(Original post by PTMalewski)
It might be, that it can't be sustained at all.

The whole idea to let people without any qualifications, decide on one of the most complex controllable mechanisms, seems horrendous.
The West has had a very good run with functioning liberal democracies throughout the 20th century. It has arguably been the most effective political system ever wrt balancing freedoms, rights and societal wellbeing with creative and economically productive enterprise. What's the alternative?
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PTMalewski
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(Original post by Ascend)
The West has had a very good run with functioning liberal democracies throughout the 20th century. It has arguably been the most effective political system ever wrt balancing freedoms, rights and societal wellbeing with creative and economically productive enterprise. What's the alternative?
And gave Hitler 37% of votes before setting Reichstag on fire.

What's an alternative?
A system in which people would actually have some knowledge and understanding of matters they decide on.

Let's even keep some elements of democracy as a safety measure, but wouldn't it have been better if all voters were trained in logic, to assure accurate reasoning, eristics and theory of argumentation, to make them aware of attempts to manipulate them, economy, so they would know how political decisions affect it and how they might backfire, law, so they knew why certain laws exist and why some principles, like the rule of law, should be respected. They should also have some knowledge on international relationships. All this should be not at school level, but rather at university level.

People have no idea about these things, that's why you have populists around the world, Erdogan in Turkey, or Duda in Poland, not to mention in many countries the whole point of winning elections is apparently to feast on state money and give lucrative positions in state-owned to your friends and relatives.

We could let people vote, but they should sit certain exams first, so they could have at least a shrink of awarness what they're doing.
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Ascend
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Turkey passes controversial social media bill to regulate online content

Turkey has already charged some people who have criticised the president or his cabinet online, but the bill could further those efforts by silencing dissidents voices on the international platforms Human Rights Watch has said.

"If passed, the new law will enable the government to control social media, to get content removed at will, and to arbitrarily target individual users," said Tom Porteous, deputy programme director at Human Rights Watch, ahead of the bill's ratification.

"It is essential for everyone who values and champions free speech to recognise how damaging these new restrictions will be in a country where an autocracy is being constructed by silencing media and all critical voices. Social media companies should loudly and unequivocally call on Turkey to drop this law, and the EU should resolutely back this call."
Since a coup attempt in 2016, the majority of Turkish media is now more aligned with Ankara's policies, with many Turks turning to smaller online outlets for more critical coverage of the government.
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L i b
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Can't really bring myself to care. Ultimately it's an Islamic, albeit secular, country - I can see why they'd want to do it and that Turkish style secularisation may have its limitations.

Equally, I'd quite like to invade and restore it as a cathedral, but it's probably a bit late for a conquest now.
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PTMalewski
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Let's be honest, Erdogan's wet dream is to convert everyone to Islam, or kill them if they cannot be converted.
Don't tell me he's not that cruel, he puts more journalists to prisons than Putin.

That's why Ataturk implemented laws by which army had a duty of doing coups if such fanatics ever came to power.
If it wasn't Ataturk who ruled like a dictator and forced secular changes in Turkey, then we would have had either a source of religious terrorists in Turkey, either an agressive fanatic state that would want to invade and convert whole Europe by force. Democracy is the worst thing that could have happened out there.
Last edited by PTMalewski; 6 days ago
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