When Turkey’s chief prosecutor brought a lawsuit this spring asking the country’s Constitutional Court to close down its governing political party, he set in motion a dangerous chain of events that could undue years of political and economic progress in Turkey. The prosecutor, along with many of Turkey’s top judicial and military officials, consider themselves guardians of Turkey’s secular laws and traditions and believe that the mildly Islamist Justice and Development Party (AKP) is a threat to a Western-oriented Turkish society.
The truth is that the greatest danger to a stable, prosperous, and modern Turkey comes from those bent on undermining the democratic offices and processes they supposedly hold so dear. The United States must allow Turkey’s political and legal process to play itself out, of course. But given Turkey’s importance to America’s interests, we can only hope that the lawsuit fails, and that Turkey is able to continue its march towards being a dynamic and modern state that is both secular and Muslim.
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