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Letters to the Editor

Readers write about Islam and democracy and how to fund fire protection.

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What Turkey proves about Islam and democracy

In response to your July 11 editorial, "Saving Turkey's democracy": You write that Turkey is "an example that Islam and civil liberties can coexist." But the example of Turkey, in fact, shows just the opposite.

From the beginning, Turkish democracy was workable only because it was imposed upon the Islamic authorities by the force of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk's army. And to this day, the Turkish Army is the only guarantor of secularism in Turkey. That is not coexistence between Islam and civil liberties.

Had democracy not been imposed on Islam and maintained by force, there would never have been any democracy in Turkey.

While Islam does not preclude holding elections, Islam does preclude freedom of conscience, freedom of speech, freedom of and from religion, equality of Muslims and non-Muslims, and equality of men and women – all of which are the foundations of our notion of democracy.

In response to your recent editorial on democracy in Turkey: The statement "civil liberties and Islam can coexist" bothered me so much I just could not wait until the end of the article to write this. Islam and civil liberties coexisted for 500 years until the Western powers were strong enough to interfere.

Regarding your recent editorial on democracy in Turkey: On the need to improve democracy through "constitutional and judicial reform," the Monitor is right, but what kind of reform?

Turkey is like France toward the end of its Fourth Republic. Under Gen. Charles de Gaulle, the French reformed the election system in 1958, producing the Fifth Republic and getting the kind of political stability that Turkey needs.


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