Muslim Turkey

I am writing in response to the article titled "Muslim Turkey Looking to the West for Its Future," (Part I, Dec. 22).

William D. Montalbano, who has made an effort to present an objective image of Turkey, has achieved what the Turkish government is eager to see in the Western press--a negation of the "prison-state image" that has prevailed so far.

In the process, however, the issue of human-rights violations has been obscured. According to Montalbano, "a fundamentalist party . . . calling for Turkey to spearhead the formation of an Islamic common market failed to win enough votes for parliamentary representation."

It should be pointed out that the reason why opposition to the Westernizing modernization sponsored by the Ozal administration is unable to have seats in the Parliament is the non-application of democratic procedures--unlike what the West is made to believe. Another reason is that the leadership and members of the opposition are behind prison bars. Therefore, their absence in Parliament should not be interpreted as a sign of their failure or lack of constituency but as a sign of repression by the Ozal administration.

Moreover, it should be kept in mind that although Turgut Ozal is prime minister, the president of the country is still Kenan Evren, the head of the military. Thus, the military government is still in office.



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