Even as Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his AKP party have taken an authoritarian turn, religious conservatives have continued to support him. The reason, writes Riada Asimovic Akyol, is based on what they believe he saved them from
Turkey’s powerful president Recep Tayyip Erdogan has been in power since 2002 and is now more popular than ever – despite many liberal critics who find him authoritarian, harsh and even threatening. And yet millions of Turks love him to death – literally, as they proved on the night of July 15, when 246 people gave their lives to defy an anti-Erdogan military coup attempt. Why?
The story is actually a century old. After the founding of the Turkish Republic in 1923, the Kemalist nation-state project, based on a rigid understanding of secularism and national unity, was established.