“Don’t Be Afraid Of Secularism...” How Erdogan’s Egypt Tour Looks In Turkey

Turkey Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan makes a splash on his so-called "Arab Spring" tour, landing in Cairo to a "rock star" welcome and later telling an interviewer that Egypt should embrace secularism. This is how

Prime Minister Erdogan (10 O'Clock)
Prime Minister Erdogan (10 O'Clock)
Umit Cetin

"Turkey defines secularism as the principle that the state is equidistant from all religions. Secularism is definitely not atheism. I recommend that Egypt too adopt a secular constitution." These are the words of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan in a high-profile Egyptian television interview during his first visit to Egypt since the fall of Hosni Mubarak's regime.

After landing to an enthusiastic welcome in Cairo, Erdogan spoke to Mona el Sali, Egypt's most famous talk show host. His emphasis was on the issue of secularism and his comment in the taped interview that "secularism doesn't mean being opposed to religion" caused a stir in the Islamic world, particularly in Egypt which is debating whether a new constitution should be secular or religious in nature.

"Secularism is definitely not atheism. I, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, am Muslim, not secular. But I am the prime minister of a secular country. In a secular regime people have the freedom to be religious or not," he continued. "Don't be afraid of secularism. I hope the new regime in Egypt will be secular."

Muslim Brotherhood cites adultery

The Muslim Brotherhood, who could take power in democratic elections, reacted to Erdogan's comments. The movement's spokesman Mahmud Gozlan referred to Erdogan as "a respectful leader who stands up for his country and shares our position on Israel," but said Egyptians wanted an Islamic state.

"In Turkey, if a man catches a woman in bed with another man, the laws don't punish her because it is allowed. In this sense Turkey violates Islamic sharia law," Gozlan was quoted as saying by the Associated Press. In a separate interview with Al Ahram newspaper, Gozlan said: "Other countries' experiences cannot be copied in Egypt. The conditions under which Turkey adopted secularism are not the same conditions currently enforced in Egypt."

Meanwhile, Erdogan is receiving much support and praise in Egyptian social media. One Twitter user, Faysal, referred to him as a ‘rock star".

Erdogan also visited the Coptic Christian leader Pope Shenouda III as part of his tour of Cairo. He was joined by senior members of his AK party, including Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu. Erdogan invited Shenouda to Turkey and suggested he furthers his ties with Turkey's official religious . His visit came a day after US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton warned that the Arab Spring had created "new threats' for religious minorities in the region. A US State Department report found that violence against Coptic Christians has been on the rise since the fall of the Mubarak regime.

Read more from Hurriyet in Turkish

Photo - 10 O'Clock

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A Mother In Spain Denied Child Custody Because She Lives In Rural Area

A court in Spain usurps custody of the one-year-old boy living with his mother in the "deep" part of the Galicia region, forced to instead live with his father in the southern city of Marbella, which the judge says is "cosmopolitan" with good schools and medical care. Women's rights groups have taken up the mother's case.

A child in Galician countryside

Laure Gautherin

A Spanish court has ordered the withdrawal of a mother's custody of her one-year-old boy because she is living in the countryside in northwestern Spain, where the judge says the child won't have "opportunities for the proper development of his personality."

The case, reported Monday in La Voz de Galicia, has sparked outrage from a women's rights association but has also set off reactions from politicians of different stripes across the province of Galicia, defending the values of rural life.

Judge María Belén Ureña Carazo, of the family court of Marbella, a city on the southern coast of 141,000 people, has ordered the toddler to stay with father who lives in the city rather than with his mother because she was living in "deep Galicia" where the child would lack opportunities to "grow up in a happy environment."

Front page of La Voz de Galicia - October 25, 2021

Front page of La Voz de Galicia - Monday 25 October, 2021

La Voz de Galicia

Better in a "cosmopolitan" city?

The judge said Marbella, where the father lives, was a "cosmopolitan city" with "a good hospital" as well as "all kinds of schools" and thus provided a better environment for the child to thrive.

The mother has submitted a formal complaint to the General Council of the Judiciary that the family court magistrate had acted with "absolute contempt," her lawyer told La Voz de Galicia.

The mother quickly accumulated support from local politicians and civic organizations. The Clara Campoamor association described the judge's arguments as offensive, intolerable and typical of "an ignorant person who has not traveled much."

The Xunta de Galicia, the regional government, has addressed the case, saying that any place in Galicia meets the conditions to educate a minor. The Socialist party politician Pablo Arangüena tweeted that "it would not hurt part of the judiciary to spend a summer in Galicia."

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