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What accounts for this affinity between AKP and I.H.H. is their shared ideological history. Both organisations are offspring of the Turkish Milli Görüş movement, which took hold in the late 1960‘s and was designed to alter the socio-political dynamics of the Kemalist state by undermining its core secularism. Milli Görüş literally means "National View" and its architect was Necmettin Erbakan who, in 1969, published a manifesto that sought to revivify Turkey's Islamic identity and trafficked in much conspiracy theory by way of justification. Erbakan was violently opposed to Turkey's admittance to any pan-European project; he claimed that the Common Market was a joint Zionist-Catholic project for "de-Islamifying" the nation. Milli Görüş believes that the former metropole of the Ottoman Empire should cooperate with other Muslim countries to the diminishment of its dealings with the West.  Indeed, Erbakan was modern Turkey's first Islamist prime minister, serving only from 1996-1997 after his support for religious education and his attempt to align Ankara with Tehran and Tripoli fomented his ouster by the Turkish military, long held as a state protector of Kemalism.  Although his Welfare Party was subsequently banned by Turkey's Constitutional Court, the hydra-headed network of parties that it has spawned have all competed with one another as the standard-bearer of Milli Gorus.  Of these, the more traditionalist Virtue Party (SP), which has the formal backing of Erbakan, has tried to undercut the "reformist" AKP by ostentatious displays of religiosity and Islamic solidarity - for instance, organising protests of the Danish cartoon satires on the Prophet Mohammed as well as against the 2004 coalition assault on Fallujah.

AKP's political presentation has been cannier. Its electoral legitimacy rests on a mixture of anti-corruption governance, conservative economic planning and occasional reassurances of its core compatibility with Kemalism. After winning the premiership in 2002, Erdogan told voters, "We are the guarantors of this secularism, and our management will clearly prove that."  It hasn't. 

Erdogan's three targets for the introduction of Islamism into Turkish society have been education, the judiciary and the media.  He has made it easier for Saudi Wahhabism to be taught in Turkish schools both by lowering the standards for acceptable religious curricula and ending the penalties against questionable religious academies. A madrassa graduate is now equal to a secular high school graduate under Turkish law. Most starkly, in 2006, Erdogan instructed his representative to the European Union to eliminate all references to secular curriculum in a position paper on Turkish education - a nose-thumbing to the E.U. accession process guaranteed to raise eyebrows in Brussels.  

Erdogan also has lowered the retirement age for judges in an effort to allow himself to appoint more of them to the judiciary. The country's Supreme Court of Appeals has publicly complained about AKP's attempt to interfere with its personnel and proceedings. As of now, Erdogan is responsible for appointing a quarter of the judges on the Constitutional Court, the chief public prosecutor and confirming the top general of the Supreme Military Council.

As for the media, Erdogan's in-roads here have been similar to what Vladimir Putin has done in Russia: nationalising nosy outlets and then naming cronies and fellow travellers to helm them. In 2005, the government took over Sabah-ATV, a conglomerate which controls 20 percent of the Turkish media market; Erdogan then chose his own son-in-law, Berat Albayrak, as CEO of the company Sabah-ATV was eventually sold to.  AKP also levied an outlandish $3.2 billion tax fine against Dogin Yayin, owner of another media giant that controls 50 percent of the country's news, strictly for political purposes: Yayin is a vocal opponent of AKP and the fine exceeded his net worth.

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