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Failed coup a win for Islamist democracy

Published 20/07/2016

Turkey's failed army coup is a victory for Islamist - not liberal - democracy (News, July 18).

Under Islamist democracy, Turkey had more journalists in jail than in China, Russia and Iran. Its religious affairs department recognises only one religion: Sunni Islam. Since other faiths are not recognised by the Turkish state, they have no legal status.

If the army had won, its victory would have been a victory for Turkey's secularism, religious tolerance and multi-faith coexistence.

Now that Islamists have won, Turkey would see a faster roll-back of secularism from its public life and widespread persecution of its Alevi activists, whom President Erdogan publicly blames for the coup.

The removal of the army from Turkey's politics may have been desirable, but there is little doubt that it is the 80-year-old traditions of secularism, unremittingly protected by the army, which have created the ground for democracy to flourish.

With Erdogan's victory, that ground is now more likely to be occupied by an Iranian-type illiberal democracy.

RANDHIR SINGH BAINS

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