Another article on Creationism in Turkey:
To John Morris, president of the Institute for Creation Research in Dallas, however, the news could hardly be more encouraging.
“Why I’m so interested in seeing creationism succeed in Turkey is that evolution is an evil concept that has done such damage to society,” said Morris, a Christian who has led several searches for Noah’s Ark in eastern Turkey. Members of his group have addressed Turkish conferences numerous times.
After a decade in the trenches, Kence said he believes aggressive creationism “is part of a larger plan to convert people to a more conservative Islam.”
The Islamic-oriented government, elected in 2002 and reelected in 2007, has telegraphed its views on evolution by adding doses of creationism to a required public school course on “Religion and Morals,” proponents of evolution say. This year, the editor of one of the nation’s prominent science journals, Science and Technology, was fired by government officials over her magazine’s plans to put Darwin on its cover.
Without more longitudinal data it is hard to say, but I think this is wrong to view this a renaissance of Creationism driven purely by the government or outsiders. Turkey isn’t becoming more religious, the majority of Turks who have always held to Islam as it is practiced in most of the Muslim world are becoming more assertive at the expense of the secular elite. Kemal Ataturk was an autocrat who leveraged his incredible victories against European powers in the wake of Word War I, which preserved the Turkish state from being cannibalized, into enough personal authority to wage a one man culture-war in which he was mostly victorious. But he’s been dead for 70 years.
Americans should not be surprised at democratization shifting a political culture toward more religiosity. In the American republic expansion of suffrage to all white males resulted in a more evangelical religious political class. It is likely that the first five American presidents, Washington, Adams, Jefferson, Madison and Monroe would not be considered Christians by the American public today because of their personal beliefs (or lack thereof).* In many nations the anti-clerical and laicist faction tends draw strength from a segment of the elite which perceives itself as progressive or liberal in thought, at least before more widespread secularization percolates across the society.
* This is not to say that they themselves would have viewed themselves as non-Christians. John Adams for example was a Unitarian Christian in good standing. Thomas Jefferson seems have been the most personally dismissive of the claims orthodox Christianity, but he surely considered himself Christian insofar as he espoused the ethical message of the Christian gospels.