Is Atatürk’s dream of a secular Turkey lost?
He was a genius. He saved his nation from the ashes of the corrupt and decadent Ottoman Empire. Now will extremists turn back the clock as they yearn for glory, conquest and a worldwide caliphate?
Turkey – for almost a century the most secular and moderate nation in the Muslim world – seems to be flirting with its Islamic caliphate roots and dreaming of the Ottoman Empire’s glory days, jihad, conquest and superiority over the “infidel” West.
Turks are being prosecuted for publishing “tweets” on Twitter that are “insulting to Islam,” despite the Turkish constitution’s guarantees of religious freedom. Christians are increasingly marginalized. Bureaucrats routinely block the building of churches.
Historically, Turkey played a significant role in early Christianity. It was the focus of much of the Apostle Paul’s missionary work. His Epistle to the Ephesians was written to Turks. However in 1299, the country was conquered by Islamic armies and its population converted to Islam. Constantinople, the center of the Eastern Orthodox church was renamed Istanbul and became the guardian of Islam’s holiest sites for almost a milennium. Today, approximately 96.6 percent of Turkey’s population is Muslim.
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