By Prof. Erkan Saka
The ruling Turkish government rarely uses explicit Islamic reasoning to intervene in Turkey’s secular life. Instead, taxation, age restrictions, and zoning regulations have been used to support the restriction of alcoholic beverages in the country. In another instance, Istanbul’s entertainment life centre around Istiklal Street, Taksim has been gradually left breathless with continuous construction, de-greening, and the elimination of historical features such as the tram (allegedly temporary). On yet another level, you will see more and more government apologists in international conferences who use Western academic terminology to justify government policies. Many anthropologists will be particularly familiar with – and have probably already met – this approach: Orientalism and Euro-centrism are just two buzzwords government apologists frequently misuse or abuse to further their agendas. Decades of intellectual debates are transformed into a glorification of a government’s anti-secular orientation.