Under the leadership of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the modern secular state of Turkey was born in the collapse of the Ottoman Empire in the aftermath of World War II.
The leading legal reforms instituted by Mustafa Kemal included the complete separation of government and religious affairs and the adoption of a strong interpretation of the principle of laïcité in the constitution. This was coupled with the closure of Islamic courts and the replacement of Islamic canon law (1924 - 1937) with a secular civil code modeled after Switzerland and a penal code modeled after the Italian Penal Code (1924 - 1937). The reforms also instituted legal equality between the sexes and the granting of full political rights to women on December 5, 1934, well before several other European nations. -moreThe Turkish Army is the "Guardian" of the secular state and functions as a block against the establishment of Islamic rule. Unfortunately, today's Europe is unhappy with that fact.
EU Enlargement Commissioner, Olli Rehn, speaking at an international conference in Brussels, noted that the recent controversy in Turkey was a litmus test for the military to respect democracy, BBC reported.
EU officials believe that the recent reaction by the Turkish military to the country's democratic process indicates the likelihood of them interfering in the election procedures.
At the first round of parliamentary votes on Friday, the present foreign minister and AK party candidate, Abdullah Gul, narrowly failed to win. The Turkish army then issued a statement saying it would defend the country's established secular principles. -more