Blogging is one of the ultimate expressions of free speech, although it has been questioned as one of the deadly sins (as it serves the writer's vanity): blogging and the conversation that it creates about free speech is paramount in our modern world. This week an event in Turkey occurred that is bringing the discussion of free speech and expression to the forefront of all Turkish citizens.
Turkey, while the majority of its citizens are muslim, is a secular state. The issue of veiling in public places has been a “hot topic” for decades. Recently, a Turkish judge ruled that schoolteachers who veil would not be allowed to even walk to the school with their veils on (previously they were allowed to as long as they removed their veils before walking onto school grounds). In response, a gunman entered the high court and began to shoot, resulting in the death of one of the high court judges.
The public outcry has been on two levels: the protest marches and the discussion of the resurgence of Kemalism versus the Islamic trends within the government. The murders have sparked debate that verges on the edge of being shut down by the authorities, something that has happened many times in the past during times of unrest in Turkey. Mavi Boncuk had this to say:
Using the clever guise of freedom of speech to deny freedom of speech is just despotism and ignorance. Similarly the recent murderous attack to Turkish Court system should not be used to curb the free expession of ideas as a basic tenets of free speech within well understood and lawful parameters.
Talk Turkey had this to say about Islam and Secularism:
I wonder about the fate of Islam if it was descended to the West and the Americas for example, instead of the muslim peoples of the Near, Middle, and ‘far-out-there’ East. Maybe Islam wasn't meant for the muslims. Just look at them – the current and still adopted ‘caretakers’ of Islam. Ever since they've been entrusted with the religion, they've allowed their ethnic, racial, cultural, and secular motivations, and hatred inclinations smothered with pride and prejudice, take hold of their religious and obvious insecurities. They have been hiding their own deficiencies under the guise of religious matrimony for too long. Instead of years spent distancing religion from the secularist state, maybe the efforts would have been wiser if secularism was removed from the religion.
This story is just beginning, it will be interesting to see where the debate takes us.