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WEEKLY WHINE

Stump Edvard about secularism

Is Abdullah Gül going to turn Turkey into a Muslim nation?

And if you believed it was already a Muslim nation, it’s a good thing “Dynamite Eating” Edvard van de Kamp is here with us this week. Edvard joins us from time to time to address reader questions about things that are in the news and to offer new perspectives on old topics.

This time, it’s the vote on whether to make Gül the new president of Turkey. Is he a good candidate? Will he make Atatürk turn in his grave? Is the vote even constitutional? Edvard knows.

Or does he?

Dear Edvard: Is Turkey secular?

– Adrian Matthews
Dayton, OH, USA

Dear Adrian: Yes.

Dear Edvard: I hear all this stuff about Turkey being secular, but it has a big old Muslim crescent on the flag.

– Roger Dutrail
Malvineaux, France

Dear Roger: It has a crescent, yes, but when a crescent was added to the Ottoman flag in the 15th century, it was not a symbol of Islam. The crescent represented Byzantium, as well as being a popular symbol throughout Anatolia. It was popularly associated with Islam post facto, precisely because it was the Ottoman flag.

Dear Edvard: What exactly is wrong with the guy who was nominated Turkish president?

– Maria Willoughby
Kent Fields, MA, USA

Dear Maria: Abdullah Gül, currently Turkey’s foreign minister, represents the ruling Justice and Development Party, a conservative party commonly associated with devout Muslims. His wife wears a headscarf, which many Turks find horrifying. But most importantly, Gül played a critical role in allowing Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to become prime minister in 2002. Gül led the push to amend the constitution in 2002, permitting Erdoğan, who had previously been convicted for reading an Islamist poem at a rally, to become PM. Hence, Gül is seen by many as an enabler for Islamist politicians.

Dear Edvard: There hasn’t been a coup since Thailand last year. I want to see a coup in Turkey.

– Bradley McStanley
La Borracha, TX, USA

Dear Bradley: Okay then.

Dear Edvard: I always thought Turkey was Muslim. Are there any other places that everybody is wrong about?

– Joe Basquiertie
Riverside, CA, USA

Dear Joe: Yes. Many people believe that a number of countries have a Canada, just as the United States has a Canada. However:

  1. Scotland is not England’s Canada.
  2. New Zealand is not Australia’s Canada.
  3. Mongolia is not China’s Canada.
  4. Belgium is not France’s Canada.
  5. Portugal is not Spain’s Canada.
  6. Austria is not Germany’s Canada.
  7. Switzerland is not Austria’s Canada.
  8. Québec is not Canada’s Canada.

Dear Edvard: I know why Abdullah Gül wants to turn Turkey into a Muslim nation.

– Lara Flores
Paris, France

Dear Lara: All right, fine. Why?

Dear Edvard: Because George W Bush has done such a great job turning America into a Christian nation! Ha ha ha!

– Lara Flores
Paris, France

Dear Lara: Acting White House press secretary Dana Perino is currently trying to plant a story in the Washington Times claiming that you eat kittens.

Dear Edvard: Why can’t everybody in Turkey just agree to let the president be Muslim, as long as he doesn’t do anything to violate Turkey’s secular traditions?

– Amy Miles
Southport, England, UK

Dear Amy: Because they’re dumb.

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