isn't this where we came in?
While I was studying how relationships differ between Tanzania's Christians & Muslims and the Christians & Muslims of Nigeria a few years ago I discovered something interesting. African worldview today is still based on Tribalism and the importance of the ancestors. The reason we so often see Western democracy break down in Africa is because once there has been an election and a leader has been chosen (by fair means or foul) this is understood to be the person chosen with the authority of "the ancestors" (a term almost interchangeable with the term "heaven") and so there is no need for any further elections. The new "Big man" has been chosen by heaven and that is that.
Economic ruin, bloody tribal war may follow but the decision has been made - the leader stays unless forced to leave. And here we are now in Turkey seeing the same thing play out. A new ego-maniacal Sharia-Law-enforcing tyrant has emerged. He is there to stay. He knows he is. He represents Allah & Allah's Law - heaven put him there. That is that.
Woe to those who disagree with him yet live under his rule. And woe to those in the West who have among them a large number of his supporters. The article below gives some first-hand insights and raises some very real issues for Turkey and for Europe and the large number of Turks living there who support Erdogan and Islam.
We have seen dictators in Muslim majority countries before but most, like Qadaffi, Saddam, Assad, Mubarak (and perhaps even Sisi in Egypt today), merely used Islam as a cloak to gain authority with their populace. Erdogan is different, he doesn't aim for facade. Like Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood ex-President Morsi (removed by force) he really means to impose Sharia upon Turkey. He means to undo all of Ataturk's Westernising reforms. All of them. He means to remake Turkey into an Islamic State.
Once again we see the inability of any political philosophy to subdue the religion of Islam for very long - except by force - and the complete inability of any political philosophy to permanently overpower it. Because Islam encompasses the whole of life and to be obedient to Allah means to implement without question his divine will as determined through Sharia law it is this that - as history and current events show - keeps returning to the fore.
After that conveniently thwarted Coup last year (see my post here) he has little organised opposition standing in his way. Remember, Ataturk himself said of Islam:
"For nearly five hundred years, these rules and theories [regarding civil and criminal law] of an Arab Shaikh and the interpretations of generations of lazy and good-for-nothing priests have decided the civil and criminal law of Turkey. They have decided the form of the Constitution, the details of the lives of each Turk, his food, his hours of rising and sleeping, the shape of his clothes, the routine of the midwife who produced his children, what he learned in his schools, his customs, his thoughts-even his most intimate habits. This theology of an immoral Arab ... is a dead thing. Possibly it might have suited tribes in the desert. It is no good for modern, progressive state."
Isn't this where we came in?
In my humble opinion only a better religion - a better God, a better Book and a better Man - can defeat this. No external force or law is capable of it. Only a change of the human heart can do it.
How Erdogan's Victory Might Be Europe's Defeat
by Abigail R. Esman
Special to IPT News
April 17, 2017
Over lunch in Istanbul last week, a friend and I spoke about the upcoming Turkish referendum. "Many European Turks are likely to vote 'yes,'" I cautioned my friend, whom I knew was planning to vote 'no,' or against the measure to grant President Recep Tayyip Erdogan unlimited powers. A "yes" vote, by contrast, would end the democratic parliamentary government established by Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the founder of the republic, and in the eyes of most Western leaders, establish Erdogan as the Muslim world's newest dictator.
My friend was visibly angered. "Then let them, with all their rights and freedoms, come here to live," she retorted. "How dare they think that they can take these rights from us when we are the ones who have to live with the result?"
The outcome of Sunday's referendum showed a Turkey split almost exactly in half, with 51 percent "yes" and just under 49 percent voting "no."
Or did it?
It is too soon to make a full analysis of the vote results – which some rights groups have already contested – but one thing was immediately made clear: the vast majority of Turks living throughout Europe voted in support of Erdogan's rule, even as the majority of those living in major Turkish cities – Izmir, Ankara and Istanbul – voted against it. If only the votes of Turks living in the country had been counted, would the results have been the same? Or would they show that Turkey's residents support a secular, Western democracy while Europe's Turks do not?
If my friends in Istanbul who voted "no" woke this morning afraid for their country's future, so, too, should my friends in much of Europe. In the Netherlands, for instance, a whopping 71 percent of Dutch-Turks who participated in the vote chose "yes." As the results of the referendum became known, thousands descended on the Turkish Consulate in Rotterdam, waving Turkish flags and celebrating the victory of an Islamist leader who had pledged to "raise a new, religious generation," end secular education, and who has imprisoned countless journalists, writers, artists, and others who have dared to criticize him.
It was not only in Holland. According to the Daily Sabah, 75 percent of Belgian Turks who voted opted for "yes," as did 73 percent in Austria, 65 percent in France, and 63 percent in Germany. Only Switzerland, Sweden, and the United Kingdom showed majorities with "no" votes. And of these three, Sweden is effectively the only member of the EU.
American-Turks, however, showed the greatest resistance, with 83 percent voting "no." Still, some prominent Islamist voices spoke out in support of Erdogan, including former Muslim American Society president and political activist Esam Omeish, who celebrated the referendum results on his Facebook page with a photo of himself holding a Turkish flag that reads "evet," or "yes."
In Europe, some have argued, as did "Volkan," a pseudonym for the owner of the popular DutchTurks.nl blog, that the results were self-inflicted, the result of having antagonized Turkey and Erdogan in recent months. Holland, for instance, refused entry to pro-Erdogan officials seeking to campaign on his behalf. Germany, where rallies were similarly blocked, has also been outspoken in its criticism of Erdogan's imprisonment of a German-Turkish journalist.
But such explanations do not account for the results in Austria and France, or for the similar outcome of the November 2015 election, in which majorities in Germany, the Netherlands, and France all voted for Erdogan's Justice and Development Party (AKP).
What I did not tell my friend, as we sat watching the sunlight dance over the Bosphorus, was that the European Turks who were voting to change the Turkish Constitution, who were effectively choosing to establish a more fundamentalist, Islamist Turkey in place of the secular, Western democracy that has been in place since 1923, have no interest in the "freedoms" that she spoke of. That they have them in Europe is meaningless: they don't want them. They don't want them in Turkey, where they come from; and they don't want them in Europe, where they now live. Not for themselves. And not for anybody else.
Indeed, as the IPT noted after the November 2015 elections, of the 4.6 million Turks living in Europe, a majority seems to prefer to live in an Islamic state, and not a secular one.
This is the frightening lesson that Europe must learn from the results of the April 16 referendum. While its leaders now confer about the "proper" response to Erdogan in his new role and what they expect of him as the leader of a clearly-divided country, they might also consider their response to his supporters who are not just Turkish citizens, but Europe's own. How to reckon with Europeans who choose against European norms and values, who actively vote against the separation of church and state, who seek a more Islamized society? What does this say about the failure of integration? More, what does it say – or threaten – about Europe's potential future? And what can be done to save it?
Abigail R. Esman, the author, most recently, of Radical State: How Jihad Is Winning Over Democracy in the West (Praeger, 2010), is a freelance writer based in New York and the Netherlands. Follow her at @radicalstates.