Posts Tagged ‘secularism’

My feature story from Turkey about the rising Islamist movements in that country was highlighted as one of the 15 Worldfocus Signature stories most popular with viewers in 2009. This story aired on Worldfocus in October 2009 and February 2010.

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Published on the website of the international news program Worldfocus on PBS.

Gizem Yarbil, an associate producer at Worldfocus who grew up in Turkey, writes about the significance of the alleged military plot in that country.

Turkey has been rattled by the news this week that about 50 military commanders were detained for allegedly planning a coup to overthrow the democratically elected Islamic-leaning government.

The commanders are accused of “attempting to remove the government through force and violence” in a supposed plot codenamed “Sledgehammer.” Alleged tactics include planting bombs at mosques and shooting down a Turkish warplane, with the ultimate goal of causing so much chaos and disruption that the military would need to step in and take control.

The military denies all allegations.

The Turkish military, which is generally seen as a bastion of secularism, has overthrown governments four times in the past, most recently in 1997, when it ousted an Islamist Prime Minister. Still, the crackdown is unprecedented in a country in which the military is regarded by many as untouchable. Read the rest of the article on the Worldfocus website.

This feature story aired on the international news program Worldfocus on PBS.

Almost all of 77 million people in Turkey are Muslim, but signs of Islamic faith are noticeably divorced from everyday life. But a growing number of Turks are joining conservative movements that believe religion should play a greater role in the country’s ethical and moral values. Secular critics brand these religious groups as fundamentalist.

Correspondent Gizem Yarbil and producer Bryan Myers report on how traditional religion and modern democracy are trying to coexist in Turkey today.

Published on the website of the international news program Worldfocus on PBS.

Dr. Ömer Taşpınar and Worldfocus producer Gizem Yarbil discuss the role of several important conservative religious groups in Turkey, including the Gulen movement, which is the largest, and the Mustazaflar-Der, which is influential in the predominantly Kurdish Southeast.

Gizem Yarbil:  How influential are Islamic groups like the Gulen movement and Mustazaflar-Der in Turkey politically and socially?

Ömer Taşpınar: Particularly, the Gulen movement is very influential in the social, economic and cultural (particularly education)  field. The members of this brotherhood are probably in the millions. I think of this movement as a pious Muslim version of freemasons.

It’s essentially a solidarity network and a civil society organization with religious proclivities. Some analyst are bothered by the movement’s cultish attachment to its leader but this is not uncommon in Turkish/Anatolian political culture.

Read the rest of the interview on the Worldfocus website.