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article imageGame of Thrones ban sign of Turkey's religious-secular schism?

By Mark J. Allan     Nov 10, 2014 in Politics
In what some observers feel might be a sign of increasing Islamization in Turkey, army officers have been forbidden from watching Game of Thrones.
Turkish army officers have been forbidden from watching Game of Thrones.
The government also ordered officers to take mandatory classes about Islam, the Jerusalem Post said after a report in the Turkish daily Cumhuriyet.
Although the government did specify what it finds offensive about the popular HBO TV series, the edicts are part of new “protection of students” regulations.
They ban “sexual exploitation, pornography, exhibitionism, abuse, harassment, and all negative behavior.”
Turkish army officers were expelled from a military academy in Istanbul in 2012 for allowing cadets to watch Game of Thrones.
Known for centuries as the gateway to Asia or Europe depending on your orientation, Turkey is a predominantly Islamic state, and a constitutionally secular republic.
Perpetual stress results between secular and religious elements in the country of about 75 million people.
According to the Jerusalem Post report, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is determined to restrict the power of the military, a force for secularism in Turkey.
The army engineered three coups between 1960 and 1980, further enflaming religious sentiment in the country by forcing an Islamist-led government from power in 1997.
Erdogan’s government has imprisoned hundreds of generals, accusing them of plots to overthrow his regime.
The most popular Turkish politician, Erdogan operates from a position of strength.
His decade-long run as prime minister and, most recently, president has been marked by political stability and success in eliminating hyperinflation and currency volatility. An increase in per-capita income strengthens his position in a country whose religious-secular schism flows from the efforts of its founder, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk.
Earning the name Ataturk (father of the Turks), Mustafa Kemal forged modern Turkey in 1923 from the remnants of the Ottoman Empire, a casualty of the First World War. Ataturk promoted secularism, and generally aligned Turkey with the West.
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