In a December 1, 2019 editorial, titled "Erdoğan Dug The Grave Of Secularism" and published on the news website Birgun.net, Turkish journalist Ayşenur Arslan warned readers of the significance of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's speech at a recent "Shura on Religion" organized by Turkey's Ministry of Religious Affairs. President Erdoğan reportedly said: "A Muslim is obliged to not adapt his religion to the conditions of his life, but to adapt his life according to the fundamentals of his faith... For this reason, Islam will not move according to us, but we will move according to Islam. Though it may be difficult for our souls, we will place at the center of our lives not the conditions of the period [in which we live], but the rulings of our religion." Arslan wrote that "Erdoğan has, for years, and especially openly in the recent period, dug the grave of secularism, which he attacks."
Turkish journalist Ayşenur Arslan.
On December 8, Arslan wrote a second editorial titled "Why Is The Opposition Silent While Our Grave Is Being Dug?" commenting on the strong support the first editorial received and chastising Turkish opposition politicians for not responding to President Erdoğan's speech despite public concern. wrote: "The opposition does not see. It does not want to see. Of course, we know the questions and the concerns in their minds: 'Getting the label of being an enemy of religion, going against society...' That's all well and good, ladies and gentlemen... With the fear of coming into conflict and losing voters or votes, you are losing the country. You are losing our future. Erdoğan and his slaves know very well what they are doing and why they are doing it. What about you!"Ayşenur Arslan has been a journalist since 1974 and has worked at the Güneş, Söz, Cumhuriyet, Star, ATV, CNNTürk, HalkTV, and SokakTV, among others.
Following translated excerpts from Arslan's December 1, 2019 editorial.
"Erdoğan Dug The Grave Of Secularism"
"The 1950s, Egypt... The legendary leader Nasser is at the head of Egypt... Nasser meets with a someone at the head of the Ikhwan [i.e., the Muslim Brotherhood]... What happened next was explained in the documentary with Nasser's own words: 'Do you know what he wanted from me? To make the headscarf mandatory in Egypt and to cover the head of every woman who stepped out into the street.' Those listening to Nasser burst out in laughter. He too, barely containing his laughter, continues: 'If it were up to him, women would not work anymore, and cinemas and theaters would be shut down. To put it another way, he wants darkness to dominate everywhere!'
"More laughter... laughter... Unfortunately, the Egyptians are not laughing anymore.
"Morsi, who was born around the time when Nasser was meeting with the Ikhwan leader, opened the doors to the darkness a half-century later. In Egypt, what was said to be impossible, happened. The Ikhwan, that is, the Muslim Brotherhood, were driven out of Egypt with the overthrow of Morsi. He was also excluded from the Muslim world. For a while he was in Qatar. In the end, when he could not find shelter there, either, Turkey was his sanctuary."
Erdoğan: "Though It May Be Difficult For Our Souls, We Will Place At The Center Of Our Lives Not The Conditions Of The Period [In Which We Live], But The Rulings Of Our Religion"
"The palace protected him and watched out for him. In fact, according to one claim, when the request that 'a group from the Muslim Brotherhood (a list of names was given) be appointed in the Syrian government' was rejected, relations with Assad broke down. This claim is expressed by people who are experts on Syria, and it was put forward by former AKP Foreign Minister Yaşar Yakış on a program for which I was a moderator.
"The Ikhwan have been in Istanbul for a long time. They organize international meetings. They prepare views, programs, and road maps for the 'Islamic world' in general and for Turkey in particular. However, the view you will read below does not belong to a member or representative of the Ikhwan, but to the president of this country, that is, to Erdoğan:
"'A Muslim is obliged to not adapt his religion to the conditions of his life, but to adapt his life according to the fundamentals of his faith. If a person does not live as they believe, they will begin to believe as they live. If religion does not influence a person's life, he will fall into the mistake of making a religion of what he does. For this reason, Islam will not move according to us, but we will move according to Islam. Though it may be difficult for our souls, we will place at the center of our lives not the conditions of the period [in which we live], but the rulings of our religion.'
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"I should repeat that again in capital letters. Erdoğan says: 'WE ARE GOING TO PUT THE RULINGS OF RELIGION AT THE CENTER OF OUR LIVES.'"
"The Republic And Secularism Are Built On Such A Strong Foundation That They Cannot Easily Tear It Down – But This Does Not Mean That They Can Never Tear It Down"
"Erdoğan said these things at the Shura on Religion organized by the Ministry of Religious Affairs... Yes, the Republic and secularism are built on such a strong foundation that they cannot easily tear it down. But this does not mean that they can never tear it down. Nor will it ever mean that...
"For example, are you not aware of the change, regression in lifestyle? Do you not see to what level the appointment of graduates from religious high schools to the education system, to the bureaucracy, has reached? Do you not know that madrassas are legitimate, Quran courses held under staircases are legal?
"Have you not read that male and female students have been separated in classrooms, in hallways, and in some places even at recess? Do you not realize how big a difference there is between the budget of the Ministry of Religious Affairs and the duties it undertakes?... Why are the streets darker every year at New Years?..."
"Erdoğan Has, For Years, And Especially Openly In The Recent Period, Dug The Grave Of Secularism, Which He Attacks"
"We saw and we know how the situation progressed in Iran. Do you not see? Erdoğan has, for years, and especially openly in the recent period, dug the grave of secularism, which he attacks. Do you not realize?! Erdoğan's rulings that he is going to place in the center of our lives directly means SHARI'A. Do you not understand, for example, that after a while the headscarf will be required in public, that prayer will be an obligation that will be inspected, that the darkness will get darker as time goes on?!
"At the top of those things that best emphasize the character of the Erdoğan regime is the Second Judicial Packet, which is being prepared. The packet and the regulation inside it that 'girls will be married starting from the age of 12.' A group of women and I have started a campaign against this savage regulation with the hashtag #KırmızıKurdele [red ribbon]. We are tying those ribbons on our wrists and collars so that they are not tied around our children's waists. We say no to a regulation that will mean child exploitation, rape, and slavery. So you know!"
Following are translated excerpts from Arslan's December 8, 2019 editorial:
"Why Is The Opposition Silent While Our Grave Is Being Dug?"
"My article from last week was met with more interest than I had expected or hoped. It is clear that a very wide section of society shares my view. They realized that Erdoğan has dug the grave of secularism and what he said at the Shura on Religion was almost a DECLARATION OF SHARI'A, and for this reason they think that something must be done before it is too late... Some shared their views and sensibilities directly with me, some expressed their reactions by referring to the article or to Erdoğan's speech at the Shura on Religion on many different platforms. Except for the politicians!... Politicians, opposition authorities could not put two words together on this subject. They were silent like lambs whose necks were extended to the knife.
"Whereas Erdoğan said his goal very clearly... The manifesto that he put forward was both very clear and important enough to set off alarm bells. Despite this, it was not seen, it was not talked about, it was not debated..."
"It Is Clear To All Of Us That [The Ministry Of Religious Affairs] Has Been Tasked With Bringing To Life The Turkey Version Of The Muslim Brotherhood Ideology"
"It came to light a few days after the Ministry of Religious Affairs' Shura on Religion. The Ministry of Religious Affairs and the Ministry of Education joined forces and the 'Elementary School Religious Education Class,' started to be given. Let it not go unnoticed! Ziya Selçuk, who when he was appointed was praised as a 'minister who defends secular education' also signed this grave agreement.
"As for the Ministry of Religious Affairs, it does not even need to be said. It is clear to all of us that it has been tasked with bringing to life the Turkey version of the Muslim Brotherhood ideology...
"What the Ministry of Religious Affairs could not do was left to foundations, above all to Ensar Foundation. What they could not do was undertaken by the sects that the government encourages and controls. Do not be fooled by the so-called liberal writers who defend the sects talking about the freedoms of belief in Sufism."
"After The Grave Of Secularism Has Been Dug, After Turkey Has Been Dragged, Not To A NEO-OTTOMAN Paradigm But To A Neo-SHARI'A Paradigm, What Different Does It Make If Your Party Exists Or Not?"
"The sects, which are in the same condition as the tribes, are the slaves of the government. That is, they create its vote depot. And all of these happen in front of our eyes. Without hiding, without bothering to hide.
"Yet... The opposition does not see. It does not want to see. Of course, we know the questions and the concerns in their minds: 'Getting the label of being an enemy of religion, going against society...' That's all well and good, ladies and gentlemen... With the fear of coming into conflict and losing voters or votes, you are losing the country. You are losing our future. Erdoğan and his slaves know very well what they are doing and why they are doing it. What about you! What are you doing? Or why are you not doing anything?
"After the grave of secularism has been dug, after Turkey has been dragged, not to a NEO-OTTOMAN paradigm but to a NEO-SHARI'A paradigm, what different does it make if your party exists or not? Do not be afraid! Be as brave as İhsan Eliaçık and theologian Cemil Kılıç. Set out on the path with the slogan 'We prefer to lose our thrones rather than the republic, democracy, or the country.' Talk. Let's hear your voices!"