Turkey’s Election; Secularism Won Over Seculars

Turkey‘s elections garnered much interest, with foreign observers and Afghan citizens alike following them with enthusiasm. Everyone formed their own opinion based on their views and assumptions. Such events can be discussed from various perspectives, with emphasis and focus on certain geopolitical, geo-economic, or ideological dimensions.
One of the key aspects of this event, which was highly instructive for our people, was the formation of a seemingly paradoxical equation: the defeat of secularists and the victory of secularism. How? Modern elections and relying on people‘s votes as the sole source of legitimacy for a country‘s political system, although it is not incompatible with Islamic values, is a secular phenomenon in its essence; it establishes the principle that every citizen, regardless of their orientation or beliefs, is equal in the public arena and has the same power in determining the fate of the political system. When there is no distinction between Muslims and Christians, Sunnis and Alevites, and everyone‘s vote has the same validity and the legitimacy of the political system is derived from it, this is the essence of secularism. This is something that the Taliban and those with similar ideologies in Afghanistan cannot accept, but it has been institutionalized in Turkey and has become a factor in the country‘s stability.

Furthermore, Turkey‘s political system is officially secular, and Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has informed the Egyptian Brotherhood of this, suggesting they follow suit if they wish to have a future. In Turkey, religious groups have agreed to compete with nonreligious forces within the confines of these rules. According to these rules, no one is granted special privileges in the public sphere due to their religious beliefs and tendencies, and each vote is of equal importance. Consequently, citizens judgment and vote for parties and groups is based on their worldly plans and programs, not their promises of the afterlife. In other words, no party is granted votes from the people based on the promise of taking them to heaven, but rather on the basis of what improvements it brings to their living conditions in this world and what contribution it makes to their wellbeing and progress. Here, the discussion of reward and sin in the hereafter is relegated to the private sphere, and rational calculations take precedence over worldly affairs, and this is secularism.

Likewise, the orderly transfer of power between political forces and adherence to the rules of the game is another essential element of secularism. In this context, there is no room to declare jihad against dissenting citizens, and no one believes that if religious groups lose power, they should resort to armed conflict and forcibly remove others from the scene in a fit of rage, as the Taliban did with the previous government of Afghanistan and other political groups. When true secularism is established in a society, religious and nonreligious groups can compete peacefully and ultimately achieve a peaceful life and overall stability. Afghanistan needs precisely such a system so that all groups, including the Taliban, can compete with each other in a completely peaceful and democratic framework, and the vote of the citizens, without any religious, ethnic or linguistic discrimination, is the basis of the legitimacy of the system. Political Islamic groups in Afghanistan should use the Turkish system as their model so that the country can achieve stability and prosperity.