Instead of a congratulatory call to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan two Sundays ago, perhaps President Donald Trump should have made a condolence call to the leaders of Germany, France, Austria, Belgium, and the Netherlands.
Since 2009, it is estimated that 4.5 million Turks have emigrated to those countries. In the Netherlands, 71 percent of Dutch Turks enthusiastically supported the passage of the pro-Erdogan referendum, which effectively supercharged his already autocratic control of the Turkish government. Turkish populations in Belgium, Austria, France, and Germany registered similarly lopsided majorities who, despite the president’s repressive campaign of imprisoning journalists and secular critics, approve of Erdogan’s promise of accelerating the transformation of Turkey to a more Islamist state. Among other theocratic measures, Erdogan aims to abolish secular education and demolish separation of church and state.
Once the poster child of promise for the unique model of a Muslim-majority nation — capable of legislatively upholding an ironclad firewall between the harsher, less tolerant edicts of Islam and the secular, more pro-Western version — Turkey under Erdogan has steadily regressed towards a theocracy resembling Saudi Arabia.
Political Islam — not to be confused with the religion of Islam — is a political movement built around a regressive interpretation of the Koran.