The Jihadis and the Turkish Elections

One of the unifying themes of the Sunni jihadi movement as it has developed over the past half-century has been the view that Western-style democracy is an affront to Islam. Even worse, it is a religion fundamentally incompatible with the faith, a version of polytheism (shirk) in which authority is derived from the popular will as opposed to God’s will, and in which manmade laws are adopted and implemented as opposed to God’s law, the Shari‘a. Yet as the jihadi movement’s unity has frayed over the past decade with the rise of the Islamic State, so too has the united front against democracy. Last month’s elections in Turkey, which saw President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, head of the Islamist AKP, reelected to another five-year term in office, brought divisions over the matter into the sharpest relief yet, as ideologues debated the legitimacy not only of voting for the Turkish president but

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