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Can Turkey Learn Tolerance?

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  • Morning Star, UK
    January 28, 2008 Monday

    Britain - Armenians heckled at memorial event


    Turkish nationalist protesters heckled Armenians attending the
    Holocaust Memorial Day event in Cardiff on Sunday.

    The wreath-laying event, held outside the Temple of Peace in Cathays
    Park, attracted the displeasure of the self-styled Committee for the
    Protection of Turkish Rights, which previously sent 100 protesters to
    disrupt a requiem service organised to consecrate the Welsh National
    Armenian genocide monument outside the temple on November 3.

    Some Turkish nationalists are furious at attempts to remember the
    Turkish government's attempt to wipe out its Armenian population in
    1915.

    A spokesman for the Welsh Armenian group at Sunday's event explained
    why they were attending Holocaust Memorial Day.

    "This is the only public genocide monument in Wales, even in the UK,"
    he said.

    "We hope that it will become a focus for every other group which has
    suffered or has been persecuted.

    "Also we hope that Armenian-Jewish friendship will be promoted by
    this."

    Comment


    • Religious Intelligence Ltd, UK
      Jan 28 2008


      Armenian monument desecrated
      Monday, 28th January 2008. 5:09pm


      THE WELSH Armenian community has been left reeling after a monument
      to commemorate the 1915 genocide was desecrated in the early hours of
      Holocaust Memorial Day.

      The monument, which is situated at the Temple of Peace in Cardiff,
      had its ornate Armenian Cross smashed by a hammer which was found at
      the scene.
      Eilian Williams of Wales Armenia Solidarity condemned the
      attack, which happened just hours before a memorial service in
      remembrance of the 1.5 million Armenians killed in the genocide of
      1915.

      He said: `I call on Armenians and other sympathisers throughout the
      world to send messages of support to Wales Armenia Solidarity which
      we can send to the Prime Minister of the National Assembly of Wales.

      `We shall repair the cross again and again, no matter how often it is
      desecrated. `We also challange the UK government and the Turkish
      Embassy to condemn this racist attack.'

      http://www.religiousintelligence.co....s/?NewsID=1516

      Comment


      • http://www.acton.org/commentary/430_...re_straits.php

        Acton Commentary
        bringing moral reflection to bear upon current events
        February 13, 2008
        A Patriarch in Dire Straits
        by John Couretas

        With the release of a new book, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I -- best known as the Orthodox Church’s Green Patriarch for his environmental activism -- offers a concise summary of the Eastern Christian tradition and views on a wide range of social issues.

        The publication of Bartholomew’s “Encountering the Mystery” next month arrives at a time of deep crisis for the patriarchate, a crisis that has registered little interest among Europe’s secularized political classes or, for that matter, Christians outside the Orthodox Church. The Ecumenical Patriarchate, located in Istanbul on the historic East-West crossroads of the Bosporus Straits, has been suffering a slow asphyxiation for decades. And it is not at all certain that this ancient see of the Church, the living witness of a Byzantine Christianity that has proclaimed the Gospel since the establishment of Constantinople in the fourth century -- indeed since the time of the Apostles -- will survive.

        Bartholomew, a Turkish citizen, presides over a flock of Orthodox Christians that has shrunk to 3,000-4,000 members, one of the smallest religious minorities in a land of 72 million people that is 99 percent Muslim. The other constitutionally recognized minorities include some 65,000 Armenian Orthodox Christians and 23,000 Jews. But there are significant minorities of non-Muslim believers, including Syriac Orthodox, Baha’is, Protestants, and Roman Catholics.

        Who will follow?

        By law, Bartholomew must choose a successor who is a Turkish citizen and thus subject to a constitution that enshrines the modern, secularist principles formulated by Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the national hero who established the modern state of Turkey after the collapse of the Ottoman Empire in the early 20th century. But the patriarchate has long been viewed with suspicion by Turkish nationalists who see it as a “foreign” institution that often sided with Greece in the centuries-old, warring rivalry with Turkey.

        In 1971, the Turkish government shut down Halki, the partriarchal seminary on Heybeliada Island in the Sea of Marmara. And it has progressively confiscated Orthodox Church properties, including the expropriation of the Bûyûkada Orphanage for Boys on the Prince's Islands (and properties belonging to an Armenian Orthodox hospital foundation). These expropriations happen as religious minorities report problems associated with opening, maintaining, and operating houses of worship. Many services are held in secret. Indeed, Turkey is a place where proselytizing for Christian and even Muslim minority sects can still get a person hauled into court on charges of “publicly insulting Turkishness.” This law has also been used against journalists and writers, including novelist Orhan Pamuk for mentioning the Armenian genocide and Turkey’s treatment of the Kurds.

        In a 2005 report on the Halki Seminary controversy, the Turkish think tank TESEV examined what it called the “the illogical legal grounds” behind the closing and how it violates the terms of the 1923 peace treaty of Lausanne signed by Turkey and Europe’s great powers. TESEV concluded that “the contemporary level of civil society and global democratic principles established by the state, are in further contradiction with the goal to become an EU member.” And, because of its inability to train Turkish candidates for the priesthood, TESEV warned: “It is highly probable that the Patriarchate will not be able to find Patriarch candidates within 30-40 years and thus, will naturally fade away.”

        The patriarch’s solution to Turkey’s problems -- and that of religious minorities -- is to move the country to a more Western model of tolerance and religious freedom by bringing it into the European Union. “It is my conviction that the accession of Turkey to the European Union would benefit all of its citizens, including the minority communities of the country,” Bartholomew writes in his new book. “For Turkey would be required to make significant, indeed substantial modifications to its legislation, adhering to the principles of other European nations.”

        The EU Card

        Unfortunately, recent history is not so favorable to this view. It is a doubtful proposition that the EU mandarins in Brussels, who resisted any effort to mention the Christian roots of European civilization in a failed draft constitution, would come rushing to the aid of the Patriarchate and other religious minorities. Tellingly, Turkish authorities still refuse to acknowledge the Armenian Genocide, which claimed 1.5 million lives at the hands of the Ottoman Turks around the time of World War I. Armenian Orthodox Patriarch Mesrob II, also facing a shortage of clergy, is pleading with the Turkish government for permission to open a seminary.

        In its 2007 report on religious freedom in Turkey, the U.S. State Department reported a number of religiously motivated killings, stabbings and beatings of Christians and their religious leaders, along with attacks on church properties. In April, three members of a Protestant church in Malatya were tortured and killed in a Christian publishing office. In February 2006, Roman Catholic priest Andrea Santoro was gunned down in his church along the Black Sea coast. Witnesses said the killer screamed "Allahu Akbar," Arabic for "God is great," before firing two bullets into Santoro's back as he kneeled to pray. Death threats made to American Christians are widely noted.

        Indeed, Turkish society itself is deeply conflicted about its secularizing principles and a resurgence of Islamist sentiment. In the past week, major cities have seen street demonstrations triggered by a proposal to lift the ban on Muslim women wearing the traditional headscarf at universities. Writing in Hurriyet, the Turkish daily, commentator Bekir Coskun asked if lifting the ban on the headscarf was a step toward the Arab culture of the middle ages. “Would someone please explain to me what kind of ‘nationalism’ this is, turning the most beautiful culture in the world, a culture that exists in some of the best geography in the world, towards Arabistan?” Coskun asked.

        Unfortunately, the gravity of the situation facing the Ecumenical Patriarchate and other religious minorities in Turkey hasn’t much moved the passions of America’s opinion shapers.

        In a Jan. 25 review of Bartholomew’s “Encountering the Mystery” in the Wall Street Journal, Charlotte Allen dismisses the book as a collection of “bromides” and “platitudes” designed to appeal to secular progressives (except, presumably, for the parts on monasticism, prayer and theology). She mocks the Patriarch’s writings as simply “yadda yadda yadda.” Allen also describes Bartholomew as a sort of “pope,” an abysmally misapplied term for him, as anyone familiar with Eastern Orthodox tradition understands. But, helpfully, she announces that Orthodoxy “is not dead yet.” You can almost hear the collective sigh of relief from 300 million Orthodox Christians all over the world.

        People concerned about religious freedom, and those groups established to promote religious tolerance and freedom, should raise the public’s awareness about what is happening to the Ecumenical Patriarchate and other religious minorities in Turkey. A growing movement to establish civil society think tanks in Turkey should be encouraged as one of an important means of building up that country’s ability to work out its own conflicts -- on its own terms -- about religious freedom. With that, perhaps, respect for the rights of religious minorities will soon become a defining element of “Turkishness.”

        John Couretas is the Acton Institute’s communications director.
        General Antranik (1865-1927): “I am not a nationalist. I recognize only one nation, the nation of the oppressed.”

        Comment


        • Originally posted by Joseph View Post
          Yes and no.

          Some are professionals (doctors, scientists, etc)

          Even more are dilettantes. Sons and daughters of the Turkish elite who come to NYC to party, spend 7 years in a bachelors program, hang out in clubs and finally return to Turkey after their parents get fed up...only to do the same thing in Bodrum. Not too disimilar to many of their counterparts in Europe.
          Its called university mate! Its meant to be the best years of your life.
          Originally posted by Joseph View Post
          But most are just like the your Turkish gastarbeiter as in Germany;your typical Middle Eastern cab driver types. The kind who never bathe, have huge mustaches, get angry very very quicky, beat the living crap out of their wives, never learn English, etc.

          I've met a quite a few from the second category as my wife has many piers from her lycee living here in the U.S. temporarily...mostly too party.
          How about those Turkish men that work more than one job just so there is enough food on the table for the whole family?

          How about those Turkish men that work hard and long hours just to provide for their family and in the process missing out on alot of their childrens upbringing (but at least they provided for them)

          How about those Turks that do learn English, or German or whatever and do try and assimilate into their hosts culture? How about all those Turkish kids that never learnt Turkish but are proficient in their host nations language? How about those Turks that study hard in school and try and progress as far academically as they can?

          Dont these people deserve mention?

          Or can all Turks be categorised as either posh boys or dregs of society?

          Comment


          • Originally posted by Turkish Pride View Post
            ...Or can all Turks be categorised as either posh boys or dregs of society?
            Wrong question to ask around here since the answer is obvious.

            Comment


            • I like Turks. Visited a Turkish friend yesterday in fact - and we discussed sports, politcs, growing old - various things. He is clean cut and not at all smelly BTW.
              Who, after all, speaks today of the annihilation of the Armenians?
              Adolf Hitler (22 August 1939)

              Comment


              • Originally posted by 1.5 million View Post
                I like Turks. Visited a Turkish friend yesterday in fact - and we discussed sports, politcs, growing old - various things. He is clean cut and not at all smelly BTW.
                My sentiments too.

                Comment


                • Originally posted by hitite View Post
                  Wrong question to ask around here since the answer is obvious.
                  Hitite, my turkish friends, though few in number , are not posh or dregs from society, generally nice people as I would say you are.

                  Comment


                  • Execution is a play; while shock is real

                    At the independence ceremony of Erzurum Aşkale yesterday, Armenian gangs executed an Imam and Turkish gangs killed Armenians as a theatrical play. The kids watching the show were shocked.

                    At the celebration of the 90th anniversary of Erzurum Aşkale's gaining independence from Armenian gangs, a theatrical show was displayed. Armenians executed an Imam and Turkish gangs killed Armenians in the theatrical play. Governorship employees acted as Armenian gang members. Armenian gang leader got the Imam executed hearing the sounds of Muslim call for prayer. Then the Armenian gang of actors raided houses and stabbed the babies one by one. The theatrical show representing the past events ended with Turkish soldiers coming to rescue the village. The kids watching the celebrations were shocked as the execution of the Imam was so real and it lasted for about five minutes. The specialists warned about the event: "such execution scenes leave marks on the consciousness of kids."

                    Publish Date: 04.03.2008
                    Link: http://english.sabah.com.tr/97B4B5A0...87C1AD475.html
                    General Antranik (1865-1927): “I am not a nationalist. I recognize only one nation, the nation of the oppressed.”

                    Comment


                    • Originally posted by Joseph View Post
                      Execution is a play; while shock is real

                      At the independence ceremony of Erzurum Aşkale yesterday, Armenian gangs executed an Imam and Turkish gangs killed Armenians as a theatrical play. The kids watching the show were shocked.

                      At the celebration of the 90th anniversary of Erzurum Aşkale's gaining independence from Armenian gangs, a theatrical show was displayed. Armenians executed an Imam and Turkish gangs killed Armenians in the theatrical play. Governorship employees acted as Armenian gang members. Armenian gang leader got the Imam executed hearing the sounds of Muslim call for prayer. Then the Armenian gang of actors raided houses and stabbed the babies one by one. The theatrical show representing the past events ended with Turkish soldiers coming to rescue the village. The kids watching the celebrations were shocked as the execution of the Imam was so real and it lasted for about five minutes. The specialists warned about the event: "such execution scenes leave marks on the consciousness of kids."

                      Publish Date: 04.03.2008
                      Link: http://english.sabah.com.tr/97B4B5A0...87C1AD475.html
                      Isn't it absurd, with all things considered, that this nationalist portrayal is warned about not on the grounds of frenzied historical misconceptions but on the grounds of psychological harms done. I guess it does give everyone an idea about how us Turkish children are raised in regards to this issue- these simple country laymen have mastered the art of psychoanalysis it seems like no?

                      Comment

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