Turkish Parliament Speaker Ismail Kahraman called Turkey a Muslim country and claimed the nation should have a non-secular constitution. He specified his wish while addressing a religious scholarly group of the nation on Monday.
“We are a Muslim country and so we should have a religious constitution,” the senior politician said, referring to the absence of the name Allah in the nation’s founding charter. “Secularism would not have a place in a new constitution,” he added.
The speaker advocated for a constitution focusing completely on Islam rather than secularism. Despite Turkey’s long modern secular identity, Kahraman put forth such a wish for a non-secular constitution. However, the Grand National Assembly’s speaker somehow indicated the transformation undergoing within the nation’s way of thinking. Undoubtedly, Turkey has been an example of a secular stature, but at the same time, it has been experiencing some disturbances in its public life. This is due to the religious turmoil under the Islamist-rooted Justice and Development party led by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, according to Financial Times.
Reports suggest the comments of the speaker on the constitution looks justified when Erdogan is on the path of advocating the rewriting of the Turkish constitution. “For one thing, the new constitution should not have secularism,” Kahraman said as quoted by the Anadolu News Agency. “It needs to discuss religion. It should not be irreligious, this new constitution, it should be a religious constitution.”
In the 20th century, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk founded modern Turkey, which provided a new shape to the nation’s identity following the collapse of the Islamic Ottoman Empire. While designing the nation’s modern picture, he considered Turkey’s nationalism as well as Western-style secularism, thereby giving a modern and secular shape to the country and its people.
Opposition secularist Republican People’s Party head Kemal Kilicdaroglu criticised the words of the speaker. “Secularism is the primary principle of social peace … Secularism is there to ensure that everyone has religious freedom, Ismail Kahraman!” the opposition head said as quoted by RT.