February 16, 1997 | Dr. Jacob M. Landau
When Mustafa Kamal (Ataturk) founded the Republic of Turkey in 1923 (he was its president until his death fifteen years later), he set as his main objective the modernization of the new republic. His preferred means was speedy, intensive secularization and, indeed, every one of his reforms was tied up with disestablishing other Islamic institutions from their hold on Turkey's politics, economics, society, and cultural life.
July 15, 1996 | Dr. George E. Gruen
For the first time in the 73-year history of the modern, secular Turkish Republic, the Turkish Grand National Assembly on July 8, 1996, narrowly approved Necmettin Erbakan, leader of the pro-Islamist Refah Party (RP), as prime minister. (Refah is usually translated as "welfare," but "well-being" or "prosperity" is probably closer to the actual meaning in Turkish. The party's symbol displays a full stalk of grain.)