A (former) Islamist, Abullah Gül, has been elected president of the Republic of Turkey on August 28. This is the guy who stated in a 1995 interview to a Guardian reporter that “their aim is to eliminate the secular republic”, although he later tried to convince the public opinion that he had been misquoted. There is no such thing as a former islamist. An islamist is an islamist and will remain so forever with a holy mission to spread the rule of god.
The islamists have adopted a strategy of attrition over the years to achieve their goal of a fundamentalist society in Turkey. As they know that they can’t take over with a revolution, they have decided to implement their ideas and lifestyle peacefully – under the pretense of providing good service and eliminating corruption in municipalities they control, they have encouraged women to wear headscarves, fined alcohol-selling restaurants, closed down bars for alleged health code violations, and banned billboards which displayed women in swimsuit. These practices have started out in remote Anatolian localities and crept up all the way to the big cities, which are bastions of modernism in Turkey.
By being elected 11th president of Turkey, Abullah Gül, whose wife sports a headscarf and married him at age 15, has conquered the most important position in the secular republic. Gül and his wife directly aim at scrapping secularism by transforming the Turkish society into a religious medieval community. This is the latest phase in a long-term strategy used by islamic extremists to turn Turkey into what they call a craddle of islam.
United States and Europe should make a note of this and support secular forces in Turkey – unless they want to have another, and more dangerous, Iran next to their doorstep.