Friday, September 17, 2010

A More Democratic Turkey

New York Times
September 16, 2010

Turkey, already the Muslim Middle East’s sturdiest democracy, fortified its freedoms in a referendum on Sunday, with 58 percent of voters approving a package of constitutional amendments meant to end army meddling in civilian politics. That overwhelming “yes” vote showed that Turks are fed up with ultimatums and coups and want elected politicians fully in charge.

Turkey’s Army and its closely allied judicial establishment long considered themselves guarantors of the militant secularism preached by modern Turkey’s founder, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk. That claim cloaked a succession of repressive military coups — three in the past half-century. President Obama rightly hailed the vote as a tribute to Turkish democracy.