Turkey: Update on Crisis of Identity and Power [September 2, 2008]   [open pdf - 107KB]

"The United States is concerned for stability in Turkey because it is a strategic partner and NATO ally. The Bush Administration has closely monitored recent developments in Turkey, which it continues to view as a secular democracy that could serve as an inspiration for other Muslim majority countries. The recent domestic turmoil may either strengthen Turkey's democracy or cast a shadow on it." "Secularism has been one of the 'fundamental and unchanging principles' guiding the Turkish Republic since its founding in 1923. It also has been the principle that has produced considerable domestic political tension. Over the years, political parties have emerged that appeared to challenge that principle and to strive to restore religion to a central place in the state. Each time, the party has eventually been banned from the political stage. The Justice and Development Party (AKP), formed in 2001, has Islamist roots and claims to be conservative and democratic. The AKP won the 2002 and 2007 national elections by wide margins, yet its victories have not ended the secular-religious tensions in the country."

Report Number:
CRS Report for Congress, RL34646
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