The Akşam daily recently published an interesting survey conducted by interviewing 1,225 people who were selected from 19 provinces and districts in İstanbul and Ankara that predominantly voted “no” in a recent referendum and who believe that secularism in under threat. Its results are quite striking.
Eighty-six percent of 1,225 people interviewed say there has been no intervention in their lifestyles to date. About 13.5 percent of those who say they faced interventions in their lifestyle note that this intervention was in the form of “neighborhood pressure.”
I should note that this rate does not apply to the entire country. This is a poll conducted among those who believe that secularism is under threat in Turkey and 86 percent of the people interviewed stress that they had never seen any intervention in their lifestyles.
Has anyone heard of interventions in lifestyles of individuals 10 years ago or 20 years ago or 30 years ago or 100 years ago? I think one would reply with a big “no” to this question. No one except the state with “Jacobin secularists” at its helm has meddled in the lifestyle of any individual or group in this region.
The 2011 Winter Universiade (WU) in Erzurum ended with a spectacular closing ceremony. Although some media organizations tried to poison it with claims of sexual harassment, the committee chairman denied the allegations and said it had thus far been well organized. We had a similar success with the Summer Universiade held in İzmir in 2005. Looking at the projects undertaken by the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party), we see that they have undertaken many projects previous governments failed to undertake and that they were respected by the whole world, such as the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) World Championship, the opening of the Türk Telekom Arena Stadium, a U2 concert and others.
On the other hand, we have never heard that it had built the world’s biggest mosque or spearheaded an organization called the “Islamic Games.”
As the MetroPOLL survey indicates, even the most anxious, most concerned moderns have not witnessed an intervention in their lifestyles. And even those who say there was such an intervention only refer to an abstract form of intervention. Despite the fact that we have not seen any concrete evidence about the concerns of these concerned moderns, why do you think they continue to give ambitious speeches in Parliament and at every public occasion? Why do they manufacture tales of fear?
We should ask Süheyl Batum why he seeks a military coup. Why does Republican People’s Party (CHP) Deputy Chairman Batum parrot the idea that anti-democratic forces should step in? Whose demands or desires is he voicing? Why do some forces or groups in Turkey continually talk about concerns and fears, calling on the military to overthrow the government, and accusing it of not performing its duties? The answer to these questions, I guess, can be found in the fact that Turkey has started to be itself.
Whoever is deeply concerned about the change in Tunisia and Egypt is also concerned about Turkey’s democratization and being itself. Indeed, they know very well that no one meddles with anyone’s lifestyle in Turkey.