An Open Letter to President Erdogan
Over the past year, I had the opportunity to speak to many Turkish scholars and former government officials, the majority of whom left your country because they feared for their lives and their loved ones.
The one question that kept on surfacing is why a leader like you—who has achieved the pinnacle of power by undertaking the most significant social, political, and judiciary reforms, pursued economic development, and came close to establishing a model of Islamic democracy—reversed gears and abandoned your most impressive achievements?
From every angle I examined your behavior, I could not escape the conclusion that your reforms were nothing more than a vehicle by which you could solidify power to allow you to promote your political Islamic agenda. As far back as December 1997, you publicly equated Islam to a military crusade, citing a poem that states in part: “The mosques are our barracks, the domes our helmets, the minarets our bayonets, and the believers our soldiers.”