LETTERS; Turkey: When Secularism and Democracy Collide

To the Editor:

Roger Cohen compares "secular fascists" and "Islamofascists" in Turkey. His ruminations on the benefits of "an occasional dose of 'secular fascism' " in Turkey are interesting and not without merit.

But what I think he really means is "secular authoritarianism" and "Islamo-authoritarianism."

The distortion of the term 'fascism' is unfortunate. Even though WordNet and other dictionaries may give sanitized definitions for fascism like "a political theory advocating an authoritarian hierarchical government (as opposed to democracy or liberalism)," the roots of fascism lie in the perversion of representative government by the interests of business.

As Upton Sinclair wrote, "Fascism is capitalism plus murder." Maybe if people would draw clearer lines between fascism and authoritarianism, it would be easier to drive both out of Turkey and the rest of the world.

Andy Deck
New York, June 24, 2008
Published June 26th