Amberin Zaman: Turkey has entered uncharted waters

March 31, 2017

A post-coup demonstration in support of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (Photo: Mstyslav Chernov / Wikimedia Commons)

“I wear my Turkish and Muslim identity as easily a pair of well-worn jeans. I no longer worry that my writing will land me in trouble.”

These were some of the heady feelings I shared with Yeni Safak, a highbrow pro-Islamic newspaper, in a 2005 interview. Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his conservative Justice and Development Party (AKP) had been in power for just three years. Overtly pious yet savvily flexible AKP used its big popular mandate to dismantle decades of army tutelage and embark on a giddying raft of reforms. Turkey, it seemed, was on a path to full-blooded democracy, shaming the European Union into opening talks for Turkish membership that same year.

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