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    Oktay Eksi: "Official" iftar dinners, and the state of secular Turkey

    Hürriyet Haber
    03.10.2007 - 09:51 | Son Güncelleme:

    Hurriyet's reporter on Prime Ministerial affairs, Hasan Tufekci, took a total of 41 photographs showing that the security guards who normally watch over the entrance to the central Prime Ministerial buildings in Ankara were not in their places of duty between 18.47 and 18.52 on the evening of October 1. This particular time frame was approximately 5 minutes after the start of iftar--the evening Ramazan meal--on that day.

    The photographs basically reveal that, had someone tried to raid the Prime Ministerial buildings at that moment, there would have been no one to tell them "stop."

    Let's be clear about this....Tufekci, with these pictures, captured not only the Prime Ministerial buildings, but "all of Turkey."
    You know that "secularity" principle over which we assert at least three times daily that we will not "separate" from? Tufekci's photograph is actually of the state of secularity.

    The truth is, we have been saying for the past five, twenty, even thirty years that we would not "separate" from secularity.
    But in those days, guards watching over official state offices did not take leave of their positions just because iftar had begun. They knew that there would be sever consequences for even thinking such a thing.
    Whereas now, no one even questions whether it might be wrong to grant such official guards an "iftar break." In fact, there might even be some who are hoping for a promotion based on their "religiousness" these days.

    Because "local pressure" on this front has pushed the majority of people working in these areas to try to atleast appear religious.
    Of course, no one can say anything about invitations to iftar dinners in general. But only if the person hosting the iftar pays for it out of his own pocket, and not the pockets of the state. Otherwise, that person is having the state pay for his own religious beliefs, which is not possible, if can call the order we live in "secular."
    But if you accept the state as a "moderate Islamic" one, then there is no problem. Then even the President--in the name of populism--can hold iftar dinners for the families of "martyrs." And so can the Prime Minister. And we can pay the price with our taxes.
    I could go on and on with examples from this arena.....The main thing is, if government ministers, mayors, and police chiefs are all holding iftar dinners, and having the state pay for them, and if we accept this as normal, what that means is that the "moderate Islamic state" is no longer something on the horizon, but is already being implemented. The real question is how we find a way to say "stop."



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