The Board of Directors of the Atatürk Society of America (ASA) has been following with great concern, the events unfolding in Turkey during and after the failed July 15 coup. ASA condemns the coup attempt allegedly by factions loyal to Cleric Gülen, within the Turkish military. We express our deep and sincere sadness over the loss of lives and watch with concern as distrust in the military emerges, furthering instability.

Turkey’s national values have withstood many political and economic upheavals in her ninety-three years of Republican history since their enunciation by the founder of the Republic, Kemal Atatürk. However, systematic attempts to erode these values started not long after Atatürk’s passing and accelerated with the assumption of power by the Islamic AKP in 2003. The government’s domestic policies weakened the nation’s democracy, unity, and security while its foreign policy damaged her international credibility with disastrous consequences that reverberated far beyond the region. The July 15 coup attempt by allegedly Gülenist factions within the military was a clear result of the government’s years of cooperation with this movement that allowed it to grow within the state.

The past public statements and actions of both the Cleric Gülen and the President Erdoğan are clear testaments to the Islamization of the politics and the society. The distinction is in their objectives and visions. The President aims at a strong Turkey that would be the leader of the Muslim world. The Cleric aims at the Islamization of politics and societies internationally, through surreptitious methods (“We will move slowly by invading their arteries”). Hence, from the perspective of the world of “contemporary civilization” the former is a regional, the latter is an international Islamization threat.

Since its founding twenty years ago, ASA has feverishly worked to raise awareness to this suicidal Islamic trend in Turkey. ASA has relentlessly defended Atatürk’s vision that separation of religion and State, modern education, and progress are the indisputable necessities for the Turkish nation to live in peace, harmony and prosperity. We condemn the gradual infusion of religion in Turkey’s political and public affairs and are saddened to observe now the unraveling of the Turkish state and society in the hands of Islamists.

ASA hopes that the revelation, on this occasion, of all the misdeeds, mistakes, unlawful acts, human rights violations, inequality created by cronyism, be a wake-up call for Turkish society, to the reality that Atatürk’s enlightenment is the only way for Turks to prosper in peace and security.

The Board of Directors of ASA is concerned that freedom of religion and “separation of religion and State” are abused for political gains under the guise of democracy; thus not objected to and not prevented by democratic countries. This state of affairs not only adulterates both politics and religion in general, it also helps the global spread of Islamic terrorism. Consequently, the Board of Directors invites all societies supporting democracy, human rights, free speech and the press, science and education around the world to join us in our appeal to all national and political leaders, and particularly leaders of all religions to condemn and ban forever the involvement of religion in public and political affairs.