While Western diplomats persist in calling Turkey a “model,” Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s Islamist-leaning Justice and Development Party (AKP) continues to tweak relatively minor rules to change Turkish society fundamentally. He makes no secret of this. “Do you expect the conservative democrat AK Party to raise atheist generations? This may be your business and objective but not ours,” he declared last February.
Previously, the Turkish parliament tightened licensing on alcohol sales, and has increased taxes more than 700 percent on beer. The ban on alcohol advertisements forced Efes Pilsen, one of Turkey’s most popular basketball teams, to change its name.
Now, the Turkish parliament is pushing along its crusade against alcohol to new levels. The Islamist-dominated parliament (the AKP holds 326 out of 550 seats) will reportedly change a labor law to enable employers to fire without severance any employer who shows up at work having drunk alcohol, as opposed to being drunk with alcohol. Accordingly, if a businessman consumes a single glass of wine or beer at a business lunch, he can be terminated immediately.
Speaking at an American Enterprise Institute conference in Gdansk, Poland, in August 2005, senior State Department official Daniel Fried once commented that Erdoğan’s AKP was simply the Islamic equivalent of a European Christian Democratic party. Alas, it increasingly appears that the State Department has sacrificed the ideal of a Western-oriented Turkey upon the altar of political correctness.