France’s March for Unity: A who’s who of global oppression.

January 12, 2015

jesuischarlie, world leaders at french unity rally

It has always bewildered me the level of hypocrisy necessary to demand curbs on expression deemed ‘offensive’ to an Islamist ideological World-view that itself daily offends apostates, non-believers, women, Muslims that aren’t considered Muslim enough, and the entire LGBT community. Nevertheless, Paris was at the centre of the World last week when three gunman brutally murdered 17 human beings for publishing cartoons. France – including all sections of society – reacted in a show of unity, strength and respect for the fundamental right to free expression. But among the marchers were those who seem so entirely out of place. Indeed, Islamists were not the only ones to display hypocrisy this week in France.

The unity march – including 1.4 million people – through the streets of Paris included over 40 World leaders, some of whom, are not too keen on the fundamental human right to free expression:

Queen Rania of Jordan.
Linking arms with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, the Queen of Jordan presides over a country that is far from an advocate of free expression. In Jordan, if you happen to dislike the King, and you express that particular dislike, you can face up to three years in prison. Similarly, if you ‘insult’ Islam, you may face up to three years in prison (predictably, you may use the Qur’an to insult non-believers with threats of eternal torture). In 2006, two Jordanian journalists were imprisoned and fined for reprinting the Jyllands-Posten Muhammad cartoons. In 2003, the newspaper Al Hilal was closed for two months and three of its journalists arrested for publishing an article discussing Muhammad’s sex life. In February 2009, student Imad al-Ash was arrested for sharing “controversial religious opinions” online, and sentenced to two years in prison.

Prime Minister Davutoglu of Turkey.
Article 301 of the Turkish Penal Code makes it an offence to insult ‘Turkishness’. In 2008, this was changed from “Turkishness” to “The Turkish Nation”. It brings with it a two year jail sentence. Internet regulation from 2014 allows the Telecommunication and Transmission Authority to ban websites it deems inappropriate. This includes websites that ‘insult’ the state. In 2007, Turkey banned YouTube, for a video that insulted Ataturk. They demanded YouTube remove the video. Rightfully, YouTube refused. In 2008, richarddawkins.net was blocked in Turkey. In 2014 Tayyip Erdogan insisted he’d “wipe out Twitter”, and subsequently, Twitter was blocked.

Hungarian Prime Minister, Viktor Orban.
In 2013, the Hungarian Parliament passed a Bill that includes three years in prison for ‘harming another person’s dignity‘ in a video or voice recording. This includes political satire. The law further makes it an offence to harm “the dignity of the Hungarian nation or of any national, ethnic, racial or religious community.

Algerian foreign minister Ramtane Lamamra.
Algeria – that enshrines Islam as its state religion, and bans anyone from spreading any other religious idea, punishable with three years in prison – is run by its longest serving President, Abdelaziz Bouteflika. Under his rule, the newspaper ‘Le Matin’ was censored and closed down, and its journalist imprisoned for exposing corruption. Journalists can be fined for insulting foreign diplomats or politicians, under reforms the media law of 2012.
Article 144 ratified June, 2001:

“It is punishable by imprisonment from 3 to 5 years, and by a fine of 50,000 to 100,000 Algerian Dinars — or, one of these two punishments only — whoever insults the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him), any of the other Prophets, or denigrates the practices or rituals of Islam, regardless of whether it is through writing, drawing, declaration, or any other means.”

In 2006, 26-year-old Samia Smets was arrested and imprisoned (later overturned) for blasphemy for accidentally dropping a Qur’an into some water. At the 2008 Algiers Book Fair, the Ministry of Religious Affairs banned over 1000 books that they deemed to contain blasphemy. Al Jazeera was banned in 2004. Web services providers can be fined for granting access to sites that are “incompatible with morality or public opinion.” It is bizarre to me that the Algerian government believes it has a monopoly on morality, and that ‘public opinion’ is a static concept free from challenge.

UAE Foreign Minister Shaikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan.
In 2008 three Filipino workers were imprisoned for ripping out a page of the Qur’an. Their right to work in UAE was revoked. Further, The Censorship Department of the Ministry of Information and Culture bans any books, leaflets, or in fact, any form of written literature, if it is deemed offensive to Islam. Access to websites supportive of democracy & secularism is prohibited.
Article 312:

“Shall be punishable by confinement and by fine or by one of these two penalties any individual who commitsany of the following offences:
1. Offence against any of the Islamic sacred things or rites.
2. To insult and revile any of the recognized divine religions.
3. To portray disobedience in a positive light, to incite thereto, to promote it or to procure any meanssusceptible of tempting people to disobey.
4. To knowingly eat porkmeat while being a Muslim.
Where any of the above offences is committed in public, the punishment shall be either confinement for aminimum period of one year or a fine.”

– Whilst UAE’s foreign minister marched in unity in France this weekend, back home it is illegal to dare to speak your mind, if your mind does not conform to the religious dogma of those who have taken it upon themselves to declare their beliefs supreme.

Prime Minister Jomaa of Tunisia.
The interim Prime Minister joined the march, and also signed the book of condolence at the French embassy in Tunisia on Saturday. This, despite the fact that Tunisian blogger Yassine Ayari was tried for insulting state officials and sentenced to three years by the military, for criticising the military on Facebook. Article 91 of the Code of Military Justice makes it an offence to criticise the “dignity, reputation and morale” of the army. In 2012 Jabeur Mejri was jailed for posting ‘insulting’ pictures of Muhammad on Facebook… or, as the the courts in Tunisia call it; “transgressing morality, defamation and disrupting public order“. He was released in 2014 after two years in prison.

Whilst it was pleasing to see so many people stand together in defence of free expression during the Paris march for unity, it is equally worrying that so many World leaders linking arms that day operate incredibly oppressive restrictions including violence for criticism they can’t handle, perpetuating the notion that ‘blasphemy’ should be restricted & punishable, enshrining one religion into the framework of state, whilst so shamefully out in a show of unity for that same free expression they can’t themselves handle.


Defining Islamism.

August 31, 2014

There has been a curious holding of hands in recent years between the Western political far right and those of the Islamist persuasion, both insisting that any individual interpretation of Islam and the definition of Islamism are in fact one in the same. The rhetoric from both is eerily similar in many instances. They both do not care too much for equal secular and liberal protections, and seek to restrict liberty for those they don’t particularly like – this is clear from the Bendigo Mosque case, and the anti-secular opposition to it – and they both insist that a state controlled by the dictates of one faith, is a duty for every Muslim to work to fulfill; a narrative used to justify oppression from both sides of that aisle. The implication is that anyone identifying as a Muslim, but not subscribing to a World domination interpretation of their faith, is not a ‘real‘ Muslim. When it comes to conflating personal faith, with political ideology, both the Western far right and Islamists agree.

The implication that any Muslim not actively pursuing a Caliphate is not a ‘real Muslim’ is a weak one of course, because no single Muslim has the privilege of speaking for the entire faith, nor carrying the definitive interpretation of the faith. Belief is dependent on a variety of concepts, not least personal life experience, socio-economic status, all working in unison to produce an individual interpretation. Islam; the Qur’an and Hadith are so vast in content, anchored to a time and place we know so little about, with a long history of contradiction that no one in the 21st Century can claim a definitive interpretation. Indeed, whilst we see Islamists insisting that homosexual people must be oppressed in the most abhorrent ways, we also see a Swedish Imam blessing a Muslim same-sex marriage last week, and wonderful Islamic gay rights groups like the Al-Fatiha Foundation working to protect and advance the rights of the Muslim LGBT community. Whilst we see ISIS beheading its way across the Middle East, justifying its hideous actions with Quranic passages, we see Imam’s like Dr Usama Hasan issue religious edicts condemning the group, using Quranic passages also. The scope for interpretation is so vast, that for anyone to claim to be speaking for the entire faith, speaks only to their own deluded sense of superiority.

So what do we mean by Islamism? Some claim it is a term that is so diluted, it is indefinable. I disagree. I think it has a clear definition. I’ve had this debate on social media over the past few days, and I’m yet to come across a notable objection to the term, that offers any reason to think the term itself is indefinable.

How I define & use the term Islamism:
A desire to enshrine Islam into the mechanisms of state, with law and rights based on the Shariah. The desire to elevate Islam to state privilege and power.
You may reasonably be described as Islamist, if you believe that I should be free, until my freedom contradicts the Shariah.

Indeed, the Sudanese Islamist leader Hasan al-Turabi uses the term ‘Islamism’ as I use it, in his book ‘Islam and Government‘. Al-Turabi notes that Islamists are:

“Political Muslims for whom Islam is the solution, Islam is religion and government, Islam is the constitution and law.”

– That’s it. It’s that simple. If an individual believes my liberty should be dependent entirely on the dictates of Islam – believing Islam having any inherent jurisdiction over my life whatsoever – this is Islamism. this is Islamism. Erecting institutional barriers to freedom according to the principles of Islam (however you interpret the principles), is Islamism. If an individual believes Islam must be granted state privilege of any variety, this is Islamism. If an individual believes my right to pursue my own goals ends where the religion of Islam begins, this is Islamism. The means of achieving that end may vary between democratically elected heads of state like Erdoğan slowly de-secularising a country and privileging one faith, or violent extremists willing to go the extra mile and wipe out all opposition (note; that is not to say that all violent extremists are Islamists). Indeed, the two may vehemently disagree with each other on progressing the end goal, or may differ theologically (some may argue that apostates deserve execution, others may not; the fact that both believe they have a right to decide whether an apostate lives or dies, rather than neither a believer nor an apostate having any right to decide who lives or dies, is the point), but the end goal remains the same. Whether you parade the streets of London with a sign reading ‘Freedom go to hell!’, or you wear a suit, attend a nation’s Parliament and seek to impose Islam by restricting equal civil liberty via an outwardly respectable legislative process; the end goal is the same.

When I peer out of my window, I see two trees, both of different appearance and levels of imposition. There’s a big tree with red leaves that blocks direct sun light from entering my window after a certain time. There’s a tiny tree with green leaves that balances precariously during windy nights. The two are very similar yet contain nuances that suggest differences; we still call both a tree, because the nuances do not negate the roots. It is fair to say that all ‘isms’, though rooted to the same principles, contain degrees of nuance to the point where one may refer to another as ‘not a real…[insert ism as applicable]’. An ‘ism’ is an umbrella term for a set of ideas. Socialism has a wildly varying degree of proponents from the peaceful to the violent, all seeking a similar goal. With Islamism, the nuances – the means of achieving control of the apparatus of state for Islam; thus the lives of others – may differ, but the principle itself remains the same. If you believe the liberty of others should be chained to the religious dictates of the faith of Islam – however you see that goal achieved – this is Islamism. I am yet to understand why this is a controversial definition, though I suspect it is less controversial, and more uncomfortable for some who fall under this definition.

One objection appears to be that we do not share similar terms with those of others faiths working toward the same end. I agree with this objection to a point, though fail to see how it negates the solid definition of the term ‘Islamism’. It simply – and rightly – suggests inconsistent use elsewhere. In the past, we have used ‘Clerical fascism’ – a well defined term focused on Christianity. In the 21st Century, we tend to refer – perhaps sloppily – to those we should refer to as Christianists as the Christian-right. We don’t refer to Islamists as the Muslim-right. This isn’t a distinction without meaning. We do this largely because by the 1950s, what we should call Christianism started to become aligned to the mainstream political right wing, especially in the US, and had several successes, not least ‘In God We Trust’ placed everywhere, slowly chipping away at the principle of church/state separation. The Christian-right are to this day aligned to the Republican Party, continuing its fight to enshrine Christian privilege into the mechanism of state (particularly Oklahoma). It is a similar tale in the UK. It was unsurprising that the voices of dissent over the UK’s same-sex marriage bill, were almost all conservatives (Tory and UKIP), using a Christian narrative in order to withhold equal rights for others. Tony Abbott’s right winged Liberal Party in Australia, appears to favour Christian dogma, over secular liberalism. That relationship between Islamists and mainstream politics isn’t as clear as it has been for their Christianist counterparts and so the term ‘Muslim-right’ would be wholly inadequate. So we use ‘Islamism’ – a term that seems to have gained its rebirth as an new concept in the aftermath of the Iranian revolution through to 9/11 and beyond; and so both ‘Christian-right’ and ‘Islamism’ are founded upon a social, historical context, both with a very clear foundation in the desire to impose the faith of one, over the lives of others through the functions of state.

Perhaps our familiarity with the term ‘Christian-right’ is a reason we do not change it to ‘Christianism’, we already have an established term. Indeed, whilst the term ‘Christianism’ and ‘Christianists’ is at times used – A Time article and Guardian article use it – I would argue that it isn’t used enough (on this blogging platform ‘Islamist’ is recognised as a real word, whilst ‘Christianist’ is underlined to suggest a spelling error) and that it is an objection Muslims are right to raise, though not in the context of negating or diluting the clear definition of ‘Islamism’ (as the Chairman of the Conservative Muslim Forum, Mohammed Amin implied here, whilst bizarrely questioning why the media doesn’t offer a positive image of Islamism from time to time).

As noted at the beginning of the previous paragraph, the lack of a similar word (not a lack of any word, because we absolutely do use other terms to describe them that mean the same thing) for those of other faiths progressing the same desire, does not negate the definition of Islamism as an ideological narrative that seeks to control the lives of others, according to the dictates of Islam. This is a political narrative, and regardless of what both Islamists and the Western far-right insist, is not a term to be used interchangeably with Islam. And so as far as I can tell, the definition of Islamism may be uncomfortable for some, but stands as a perfectly adequate definition.


The de-secularisation of Turkey.

February 15, 2014

Pro-secular rally in Istanbul.  Source: Wikimedia Commons. Author: Miguel Carminati.

Pro-secular rally in Istanbul.
Source: Wikimedia Commons.
Author: Miguel Carminati.

“I don’t believe that Muhammad was a prophet. I don’t believe in the existence of a prophethood institution. I find it absurd that anyone could claim receiving special revelations from god. To me, that’s impertinence. Muhammad must have either lied or had hallucinations.”

– It is victimless declarations of non-belief such as this by Turkish intellectual Sevan Nisanyan, that resulted in his harassment by officials, to the point where Nisanyan is now serving a prison term on trumped up charges relating to construction regulations, masking the real reason for his incarceration; blasphemy. He isn’t the only non-religious person in Turkey to be punished in recent times for ‘blasphemy’. In April 2013, Turkish composer and pianist Fazil Say, received a 10 year suspended sentence for tweeting a poem deemed offensive to Islam, by 11th century poet Omar Khayyám.

The crackdown on secular freedoms in Turkey has increased over Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s reign. The Prime Minister is arguably the most powerful since Ataturk, and the most likely to radically change the direction of the country. It is clear that Erdogan is fostering religious polarisation in Turkey to an inevitable violent and oppressive end. He appears to regard secularism as Muslims having the privileged and inherent right to grant and rescind protections to minorities, rather than equal protections under the law with no single faith or ideology – including his own – permitted that privileged position. This of course, isn’t secularism. It is tolerance, offered by a prevailing religious ideology whose adherents have decided they are the ones with the inherent and privileged right to grant tolerance. They offer no justifiable explanation for this God-like mentality. Erdogan is cut from the same anti-secular cloth as all other supremacists who demand special protections for their one particular ideology.

As part of his crackdown, the Prime Minister announced that mixed gender dorm rooms would be outlawed, and a policy of gender segregation implemented by the end of 2014. In recent years, he has also attempted to criminalise adultery, and ban alcohol in certain areas. Turkey under Erdogan ranks 154th out of 179 on press freedom (below Afghanistan). All clear attempts to impose strict Islamic ‘morality’ on a secular country. Perhaps Erdogan’s most worrying stance is on blasphemy, for which he demanded:

“…international legal regulations against attacks on what people deem sacred, on religion”

– In essence; Blasphemy laws. Erdogan, the Prime Minister of a secular country, wishes to enforce restrictions of what he deems to be ‘offensive’ to religions. No other concepts – political ideologies – seem to be a concern for Erdogan. Does he deny that people also hold political beliefs to be as sacred as religious beliefs? What is considered an “attack”? Cartoons? Critiques? Who has the right to define that? Well, apparently the Prime Minister has decided what is and isn’t an “insult”. Speaking to Kanal D TV’s Arena program, Erdogan said:

“These descriptions [the term “moderate Islam”] are very ugly, it is offensive and an insult to our religion. There is no moderate or immoderate Islam. Islam is Islam and that’s it.”

– If you identify as a moderate Muslim, the Prime Minister of Turkey believes you have insulted the faith. To insult the faith, Erdogan believes the state should be in the business of punishing this.

As seems to be the case with all of those demanding blasphemy laws protecting their specific religion; there is often a very clear double standard. There is never a demand to punish those who burn the American flag, or antisemitic rants by Muslim media outlets, or threats of state punishment for Muslims who insist that non-believers will infact burn in the pits of hell, or for putrid homophobia.

Throughout history, and across national borders, antisemitism often begins at the premise of a vast Jewish conspiracy lurking in the shadows, waiting to control the World, different from the rest of us and plotting to destroy. Today, it is the mantra of the far-right; both political and religious. In the past, Martin Luther perpetuated the sentiment in the 16th Century with his 1543 work “On the Jews and their lies“, which I write about here. Erdogan seems more than willing to demand blasphemy laws when it offends his religious sensibilities, whilst at the same time being as offensive as possible to other groups:

“The Jews have begun to crush the Muslims in Palestine, in the name of Zionism. Today, the image of the Jews is no different than that of the Nazis.”

– This is a quote from 1998. Further back, in 1974 Erdogan wrote, directed, and starred in his own play entitled “Maskomya”, an acronym for “Masons, Communists, Jews”. The historian Rifat Bali, who specialises in the history of Jewish Turks, said of the play:

“…a theatrical play that was staged everywhere in the 1970s, as part of the ‘cultural’ activities of MSP Youth Branches. The unabbreviated version of Mas-kom-Ya is Mason-Komunist-Yahudi [Mason-Communist-Jew]. It is known that the play was built on the ‘evil’ nature of these three concepts, and the hatred towards them.”

– It is without doubt that the antisemitism of the Prime Minister fuels the antisemitism of the wider population in Turkey. In March 2005, Arslan Tekin, a writer for Yenicağ, not so subtly made it clear to readers that he believes Jewish people themselves should feel responsible for the rise of Hitler:

“Can a Hitler rise in America? It can happen… What was [true] for Germany before Hitler came to power is [now] exceedingly true for America. Big banks, big TV organs, big newspapers, all the tools that can trap the public opinion are in the hands of the Jews… Politics is run by them too.

“What is the proportion of the Jewish [population] in America of 200 million [sic]. Must not even be two percent. They have an image beyond what their numbers merit. I am sorry for the Jews… How come they do not think about the effect their disproportionate ‘grandeur’ would have on the majority of the [American] people! In Germany, Hitler did not rise just single-handedly. He only answered the questions asked by his people.

“Hey Jews! The world cannot bear to have another Hitler [because of you]. Your disproportionate [presence]; your recklessness; your daring to burn the world for [even] one Jew, makes the American people and everyone in the world ask the question: ‘what’s happening here?’ Do you know how the US is seen now? [It looks like] the biggest Jewish empire of the world.

“I, like everyone else, am seeing this situation… Hitler’s Mein Kampf must be read especially by the Jews.

“A madman like Hitler does not just come about [without a reason]… The book which you define as ‘nonsense’ has set the world on fire. The Jews should think about the reasons [why].”

– A Turkish, Islamist writer here has managed to blame Jewish people for the horrifying events of the holocaust and the imperial desires of Hitler. I’m not sure it gets more insulting than that. This is absurd victim shaming, coupled with bigotry and hostility that tends to go hand in hand with Islamists of all nationalities. It is similar logic to extremists blaming their tendency toward blowing people up, on the country that those victims come from.

Similarly, columnist Yusuf Kaplan of the daily Turkish newspaper Yeni Şafak, wrote conspiratorially:

“Jewish desire to dominate everything in the Western countries, and the way they easily and arrogantly exploit organizations and individuals to serve Jewish interests, may end up causing a short circuit within the democratic institutions of the West. Their nosy interference with everything, and their actions beyond the reach of their size, have already started to draw serious reactions in the Western countries. Because the Jewish paranoia is blown to extreme, forced and artificial dimensions, it can explode any day and take care of them [the Jews] and cost them dearly.”

– It is an ironic peace on paranoia. Ironic, because it is actually the paranoid delusions of non-Jews over the centuries, convinced of a World-wide Jewish conspiracy, that led directly to the inevitable conclusion, with the rise of Hitler. Had this same piece been written in order to shame Muslims, and claim an Islamic conspiracy for World domination, the writer would now most definitely be in jail in Turkey, and the piece used by anti-secularists like Erdogan, to promote his attempts to enforce blasphemy legislation.

The paranoid delusions continue, with Erdogan himself who, on commenting on the suppression of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, said:

“What is said about Egypt? That democracy is not the ballot box. Who is behind this? Israel is. We have the evidence in our hands.”

– The ‘evidence’ later turned out to be Bernard-Henri Lévy – a French man, also happens to be Jewish – in 2011 telling a news conference that he doesn’t like the Muslim Brotherhood. For Erdogan, this was enough to claim a vast Israeli conspiracy. Such irrational, absurd, and dangerously paranoid people should not be in positions of power. They should be in therapy.

As a result, growing numbers of Jewish people in Turkey (there are currently around 15,000 Jewish people in Turkey, mainly in Istanbul) are beginning to leave the country, through fear of the social consequences of the government’s promotion of antisemitism. The deputy chairman of the Association of Turkish Jews in Israel, Nesim Güveniş, told Hürriyet:

“Look at the environment in Turkey at the moment. We are uncomfortable with being ‘othered’. I am more Turkish than many. But we couldn’t make them believe it.”

– This is the result of de-secularisation. The poisonous notion that minority groups that are in some way conflicting with the prevailing ideology, are not to be considered equal to adherents to that prevailing ideology, whose rights are then oppressed, or who are at least made to feel less of a citizen. Secularism is the only defence against such a hideous notion.

It isn’t just Jewish people that are victims of the emerging antisemitic, Islamic supremacist ideals in Turkey. The BBC tells the story of an ex-Muslim, who converted to Christianity, and was secretly filmed at a Christian summer camp by Turkish media, who then branded him “an evil missionary”, which in turn resulted in him losing his family. I am yet to find an example of any Muslims in Turkey being similarly harassed for preaching Islam to non-Muslims.

In 2007, Hakan Tastan and Turan Topal – both converts from Islam to Christian – were arrested and on trial for “insulting Islam” by trying to convert Muslims to Christianity. The appalling deed? Well, apparently they had said that Islam was a:

“…primitive and fabricated religion.”

– State punishment for words that offend authoritarian ideologies, is so utterly grotesque, no secularist would seek to justify it. The government of Turkey is working to ensure that Islamic supremacy replaces secularism as the base ideology upon which all other considerations – sexuality, gender, expression – must be held against under the law. This is dangerous.

In 2010, after several nations began to refer to the Armenian genocide as a genocide (genocide as a term dates to 1943, not 1915; the beginning of the Armenian genocide by the Caliphate), Erdogan issued a threat to restart the genocide if we all insist on calling it a genocide:

“In my country there are 170,000 Armenians. Seventy thousand of them are citizens. We tolerate 100,000 more. So, what am I going to do tomorrow? If necessary I will tell the 100,000: OK, time to go back to your country. Why? They are not my citizens. I am not obliged to keep them in my country.”

– This nasty little threat summarises the mentality of the Turkish Prime Minister perfectly. It is the mentality of a dictator who thrives on controlling others. Indeed, Turkish novelist and screenwriter Orhan Pamuk was taken to court for daring to utter his belief that the genocide, was a genocide. The charges were dropped the week the EU began a review of the Turkish judicial system, predictably.

And so, if you’re Jewish, a Christian convert from Islam, a non-believer, a moderate Muslim, a critic of the long dead Caliphate, or Armenian; the “secular” Erdogan is more than willing to threaten your fundamental rights whilst claiming this to be secular in nature.

As previously noted, when a state – especially a state like Turkey, with almost a century of secular governance – works to protect one authoritarian ideology, when it punishes criticism or satire of that one authoritarian ideology, when the state’s values start to mimic the dictates of that one ideology, when that one authoritarian ideology starts to creep into judicial procedure, when that one authoritarian ideology is permitted privilege above all others; the result will always be social unrest and oppression. This is true in Turkey. Less moderate Muslims in Turkey suddenly seem to have a new found sense of superiority. The Neve Shalom Synagogue in Istanbul has been bombed in recent years; in 2007 three Christians – Necati Aydin, Tilmann Geske and Ugur Yuksel – were kidnapped, bound, and brutally murdered by religious fundamentalists; Father Andrea Santoro was shot dead in Trabzon by a 16 year old with “Islamist sympathies”. Being Jewish, or an ex-Muslim in Turkey is becoming increasingly dangerous. Similarly, non-Muslims and secular Muslims, take to the streets, as they did in 2013, to protest an increasingly anti-secular, authoritarian system of governance. The predictable result, was government brutality.

One thing is certain; if a state becomes increasingly supremacist, under the power of an increasingly despotic, paranoid, bigoted and oppressive anti-secular leader; its accession to the EU should not be considered.