The Desperation to Keep Turkey Different

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With an election looming, secularists are on the defensive to protect their way of life.

  • Donna Abu-Nasr and Cagan Koc
  • Bloomberg

It’s the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, but in Istanbul smokers huddle outside offices, couples sip beer and sex workers call out to young men from balconies.

Tser 1aThe contrast with some Arab countries that penalize people for publicly breaking the dawn-to-dusk abstention from food and drink couldn’t be more striking in and around the city’s central Taksim Square.

And supporters of that Turkish way of life want to keep it that way.

The collision between secular Turkey and Islamic Turkey is nothing new. Under the 16-year leadership of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Islam has been playing a wider role in the country and moving it closer to its religious roots in the…

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