Turkey’s Top Business Leader Criticizes Western Officials, Reporters: “An Important Segment Of Turks Have Genuine Concerns For Secularism”

Turkey's leading business leader criticizied foreign critics and commentators who see the current political impasse in Turkey as the "secular establishment's resistance", saying that an important number of Turks have genuine concerns over secularism.

Speaking last week at a symposium in Switzerland, Turkish Industrialists’ and Businessmen's Association's (TUSIAD) chairwoman Arzuhan Dogan Yalcindag said, "There are those who see the current impasse solely in terms of an entrenched establishment’s resistance to and fight with the forces of democratization. This would be a grave oversimplification of the present situation. Turkish public's view on Islamist-rooted AKP is divided, as some decisions of the ruling party create question marks and doubts over secularism. While foreign reporters and officials define the conflict in Turkey as a ‘power struggle between secular establishment, including the military and judiciary, and the newly emerging conservatives’, the concerns of a significant segment of our population over the issue of secularism or about the infringement on their lifestyles cannot be dismissed out of hand".

Source: Hurriyet, Turkey, May 20, 2008

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