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Can Turkey Learn Tolerance?

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  • Originally posted by ardakilic View Post
    Referring tu the article above:

    Also Muslims are persecuted at the hands of state. More than 2000 historical mosques were collapsed or converted to bawdy house, bar, storehold. Many religious leader were hanged, imprisoned or exiled...

    Because, according to state, Muslims are dangerous too. They demand a citizen type, most intellectuals call it LMST (Laik-Müslüman-Sünni-Türk) as WASP for USA.

    I'm not enamored by the current ruling party but they have seemed the most liberal party Turkey has ever had despite their religious bent.

    When I'm in Turkey, it also seems that there is a divide between "White" and "Black" Turk. White Turks being Turks of Albanian, Bosnian, Greek, Slav heritage and; Black Turks are from eastern Turkey and often Kurds.

    What is your opinion, ardakilic?
    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
      I'm not enamored by the current ruling party but they have seemed the most liberal party Turkey has ever had despite their religious bent.

      When I'm in Turkey, it also seems that there is a divide between "White" and "Black" Turk. White Turks being Turks of Albanian, Bosnian, Greek, Slav heritage and; Black Turks are from eastern Turkey and often Kurds.

      What is your opinion, ardakilic?

      The seperation is true. Yes, most intellecutals mention about "white" and "black" Turks. But it is ideologically rather than ethnicity.

      Let me try to explain: Most people who have Balcanian heritage are obediant servant of the "State". For instance, when national TV (TRT) started to broadcast in multi-language (Kurdish, Bosnian, Arabic, Zaza language etc.), Bosnian people declared "we donot want such a seperatist action".

      Because, places which are emptied with Genocide and exiles of Armenian, Greek, Assyrian and Kurds are occupied by the immigrants of Balcans with the direction of governments.

      So, they are "good boys" of Turkey.

      And the black ones: People who doesnt accept despotic secularism (Muslims), people having Middle Eastern heritage (Kurds, Arabs, Mahalmis, Zazas, Dersimis), and non-Muslim minorities.
      [B]Fiat justitia, et pereat mundus[/B]

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      • ECHR rules against Turkey in Armenian property ownership case


        Tuesday, December 16, 2008

        The European Court on Human Rights (ECHR) ruled Tuesday that Turkey violated the property rights of two Armenian foundations in Istanbul. (UPDATED)

        The Board of Governors of the Samatya Surp Kevork Armenian Church, School and Cemetery and the Foundation for the Armenian Hospital in Yedikule appealed to the Strasbourg-based court claiming the decision taken by Turkish courts setting aside their title to property acquired as a donation, violated their property rights under the European Human Rights Convention.

        The Turkish court's rulings set aside the title of properties donated to the two foundations on the grounds that their founding charter did not give them the right to acquire immovable property. The two Armenian foundations were established by Imperial Decree in 1832 under the Ottoman Empire and founded under modern Turkish law.

        According to the ruling, Turkey must return the titles of all properties to each foundation and pay compensation of 600,000 euro to the Samatya Foundation and 275,000 euro to the Yedikule Foundation.

        The charter of both foundations complies with the provisions of the Lausanne Treaty affording protection to foundations that provide public services for religious minorities.

        The ECHR said Turkey had violated the protection of property rights defined under Article 1 of Protocol No. 1 of the convention.

        Turkey has the right to appeal the ECHR decision in a higher authority. No announcement has been made as yet.

        Link

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        • Europe keeps eye on Assyrian monastery ownership


          Tuesday, December 16, 2008

          ANKARA - A 1,600-year-old monastery is at the center of a land dispute between a religious group of Assyrians and three nearby villages in Midyat in southeastern Anatolia. The case is one of many being followed closely by the European Union as it monitors the situation for religious groups in Turkey.

          While local officials from the villages claimed their land was deliberately occupied, the head of the Deyrulumur Monastery Foundation, Kuryakos Ergün, said the Assyrians were not occupiers.

          "Neither the Ottoman Empire nor the Turkish Republic existed at the time of this monastery. We are not occupiers, we have been on this land for centuries," he was quoted as saying by daily Radikal.

          The local officials, however, do not agree. İsmail Erkan, Süleyman Düz and İsa Dilek from the surrounding villages said monastery officials built walls around the 100-hectare forest of oak trees located within the borders of Yayvantepe, Eğlence and Çandarlı villages. The officials applied to the prosecutors’ office, arguing that the frontiers of a place of worship were not that broad anywhere in the world.

          Düz even went further to say in the petition: "You are the sons of Fatih the Conqueror who once said ’I’ll cut off the head of the one who cuts a branch from my forest.’ Don’t cut off the head of a bishop but you must prevent his occupation and plunder."


          Ongoing cases
          Two cases filed against the monastery are still ongoing. A second hearing for one of the cases will be held Dec. 19. Ergün told Radikal the atmosphere in the region was tense due to land surveying proceedings and the monastery was in favor of finding a compromise.

          "We don’t want to have any problems with our neighbors," Ergün said, adding that the walls around the forest were built to host visitors. "But the goal of the opposing party is not confined to seizing the land."

          He said the monastery was holding a central position and valuable for the Assyrians. "This monastery has been paying tax for these lands since 1938. There is no occupation É The immigration from Turkey to Europe has begun to flow the opposite direction. Some are not pleased with this. This monastery was founded before Islam." Ergün said if the legal ways were exhausted in Turkey, they would apply to the European Court of Human Rights.

          The EU and especially Germany, to where an estimated 100,000 Assyrians migrated from Turkey, are pressing the country to improve their religious freedoms. In 2004 the EU Commission pointed out the problems encountered by the Assyrians in Turkey.

          German Ambassador to Turkey Eckart xxxxz went to Midyat early this month for meetings with local officials as well as representatives from the Assyrian community.

          "It is important to make sure that anybody can practice his religion freely," said a diplomatic source to the Hürriyet Daily News & Economic Review.

          Ergün said two Swedish deputies headed by Yılmaz Kerimo of Assyrian origin from the Social Democratic Party would visit the region soon.

          Link

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          • Ex-Turkish envoys slam campaign apologizing to Armenians


            Monday, December 15, 2008

            A group of retired ambassadors slammed the recent internet campaign launched to issue a public apology to Armenians regarding the 1915 incidents.

            Around 200 Turkish academics, writers and journalists are planning to issue an apology to the Armenians.

            Retired diplomats and ambassadors issued on Monday a response to the attempt, saying the campaign is "unfair, wrong and unfavorable for the national interests".

            "Such an incorrect and one-sided attempt would mean disrespecting our history and betraying our people who lost their lives in the violent attacks of the terror organizations in the final days of the Ottoman Empire, as well as after, during the formation of the Republic," the statement issued by around 60 retired ambassadors and diplomats said.

            Armenia, with the backing of the diaspora, claims up to 1.5 million of their kin were slaughtered in orchestrated killings in 1915.Turkey rejects the claims saying that 300,000 Armenians, along with at least as many Turks, died in civil strife that emerged when Armenians took up arms, backed by Russia, for independence in eastern Anatolia.

            The issue remains unsolved as Armenia drags its feet in accepting Turkey's proposal of forming a commission to investigate the claims.

            The statement also acknowledged that the forced emigration of the Armenians during World War One had created "sour" consequences, but the pain of the Turkish people suffered from the Armenian riot, as well as terror attacks, is as much as the Armenians.

            The diplomats also said in order to improve the relations between neighboring countries both sides should recognize each other's borders and mutually share the pain each side suffered.

            The statement was signed by CHP deputies Sukru Elekdag and Onur Oymen.

            Link

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            • God does not reside in a stone, but in the heart of people, Turkish Alevi muslims argue. (Photo: EUobserver)



              Turkey's Alevi muslims look to EU for protection from intolerance


              TERESA KÜCHLER

              19.12.2008 @ 20:51 CET

              "From next year, there will be a ban on smoking in bars and restaurants in Istanbul, just like in the EU. There is no chance that that will ever work here though," says Ozlem, a Turkish musician, as he roles himself another cigarette.

              The tobacco is from his eastern home region in Turkish Kurdistan. It has a soft, sweet taste and smell.

              "This kind goes very well with raki," Ozlem's friend the taxi driver fills in, serving yet another round of the strong drink, a local version of France's pastis or Greece's ouzo. "I will get you a pack," he adds.

              "They are trying to please Europe with the smoking bans," continues Ozlem, who has travelled almost the entire continent with his band, and seems to know every obscure festival in the European alternative music landscape.

              If Turkey joins the EU, he could follow his German girlfriend to Germany, would he want to. He pretty much likes Istanbul.

              Sitting just off the city's busiest shopping and party street, Istiklar, under a breathtaking sunset over the Bosporus and with some cold Raki in hands, it's difficult to see why he would not.

              "In the last ten years, a lot has changed in this country. It is true that you see more veils on women - the new government has made Islam more trendy, kind of. But look around you, the girls are drinking xxxxtails and wearing tight jeans and all," the 35-year-old divorcé says, pointing at the people around us.

              "The attitudes towards Kurds in Istanbul is better now, maybe it is because Europe is watching," he says. Ozlem and his friends are Kurdish and on top of that Alevi muslim, a not-so-trendy - in the eyes of the government - version of Islam.


              A progressive, controversial, Islam

              Last month, tens of thousands of Alevi muslims gathered for the "Great Alevi March" through the streets of Ankara, demanding full religious rights. They accused the government of pursuing an assimilation campaign, sending imams to Alevi villages to push them towards Sunni Islam.

              The demonstrators called for abolition of compulsory Sunni religion classes, and demanded that their cemevis places of worship are recognised as such.

              Between 15 and 30 percent of the 70 million Turks, depending on who is counting, follow Alevi doctrine.

              "One must not violate the rights of the other person, believe in the unity of God, love the other person and share with the other person." According to Alevi leader Izzetin Dogan these are the four main principles of Islam. He says Alevism is a "philosophy of love".

              Modern Alevism is however more political than such a description. Strongly influenced by humanism, it promotes an unflinchingly progressive stance on a number of controversial issues: Alevis favour support abortion rights and equal opportunities for women and gays. They are also extreme pacifists.

              Alevism allow alcohol and forbids polygamy, and its followers do not perform the Hajj pilgrimage to Mecca - a journey that according to most Muslims must be carried out at least once in a lifetime.

              God does not reside in a stone, but in the heart of people, the Alevis argue, referring to the Black Stone within the Kaaba, the most sacred site within Islam.

              Commentators on EU-Turkey relations in the country say that the treatment of the Alevis may become the key litmus test to see whether the governing Justice and Development Party, or AKP, a moderate Islamic party that has fought to ease Turkey's strict secularist rules, is committed to religious freedom for any other religion than its own.

              The country's government and its Religious Affairs Directorate, a state-run department that funds mosques, churches and synagogues, refuse to recognise Alevi cemevi as places of worship.

              Or at least they did until Brussels started presenting the EU candidate state with paragraphs on minority rights in its treaties. Suspicion of Alevis is however deeply rooted in secular yet Sunni Turkey.


              Incest rites and orgies

              From the magnificent Sultan Ahmet Camii, or Blue Mosque, in the heart of the Old Town of Istanbul, practicing Muslims pour out from Friday prayers into the street and soon mix with crowds of tourists and vendors of religious kitsch.

              "We Sunnis do not believe that Alevis are real Muslims, even if some of them seem to believe it themselves. They do not fast during Ramadan; they do not go to mosques ... they have strange ideas," a middle-aged man who lingers around the mosque in the cold autumn sun to enjoy a roasted corn cob together with his son.

              The man says he is not bothered with the Alevis in his daily life, for that, he is far too busy. But he would not want his son, Mehmet, a lanky teenager who translates his fathers words into correct school English, to marry an Alevi woman, he says.

              Turkish media have reported about assaults on alcohol sellers in neighbourhoods with both Sunni and Alevi populations.

              Some commentators argue that the assaults have nothing to do with Islamic resistance to alcohol in general - the centre of Istanbul is full of bars who serve the same kind of alcoholic beverages as in any other European metropolis - but rather come from anger from the neighbours that Alevis have moved into the quarter.

              False rumours about Alevis engaging in group-sex and conducting religious rites in cemevis involving incest are also widespread.


              Alevi goes to court

              But despite the intolerance shown them, Alevi self-confidence has grown considerably over the last few years. Many look to the West for support.

              Last year, an Alevi parent took the Ankara government to the European Court of Human Rights, angered over the fact that his daughter had to participate in compulsory Sunni religion classes.

              The Strasbourg-based court ruled that the school's biased teaching was not upholding principles of pluralism and objectivity, and demanded that the Turkish government develop new school curricula. So far, no new curricula have emerged.

              Early this month, however, the governing AKP announced that they might be open to the teaching of Alevi faith in Turkish schools.

              "Religion class should depart from individual demands. If Alevis want to learn the Alevi faith, then we can pave the way for this," Nihat Ergun, deputy leader of the AKP parliamentary group recently told media in Ankara.

              Furthermore, following EU remarks on what the union perceives as intolerance against non-Sunnis within the Turkish government, Ankara has throughout the year promised Brussels it will increase the rights of the Alevi and other minorities.

              But the Religious Affairs Directorate refuses to fund cemevis. Instead, the culture ministry will handle the matter, somewhat surprisingly though, as the culture minister had earlier said his ministry had nothing to do with the representation of religious groups.

              "The state cannot define what is a faith, and what is not," culture minister Ertugrul Gunay told Turkish media late last month.


              Islam and Europe

              The role of muslims in Europe and European attitudes towards Islam has moved up the political agenda in the EU, with the bloc officially celebrating the year of intercultural dialogue throughout 2008.

              Focusing on religious education in schools, EU culture commissioner Jan Figel said earlier this year that in most European schools, students are separated according to faith and are taught separately and only about their own religion.

              He said he would encourage member states to review school curricula so that pupils will receive knowledge of the cultures they live with and around, such as Islamic cultures.

              Individual MEPs have pointed out that even in countries that are not very religious, people should know more about religion, if for no other reason than to be able to distinguish what is not religion - referring to the fact that people wrongly link violence and terrorism to Islam.

              Alevi leader Muharrem Ercan from the Karacaahmet Sultan cemevi in Istanbul said recently in an interview that he believes that Alevi doctrine can improve relations between Islam and the West, saying: "We solved the issue of whether Islam could be tolerant 750 years ago".

              He said it is now up to the rest of Turkey to catch up with them.

              Link

              Comment





              • Turkish youth sentenced to jail for stabbing Italian Catholic priest


                A Turkish court sentenced Monday a man to four years and seven months in jail for stabbing an Italian Catholic priest last year.

                A court in the Aegean port city of Izmir in western Turkey found 19-year-old Ramazan Bay guilty of stabbing and wounding a 65-year-old Italian priest, Adriano Franchini.

                In the December 2007 attack, Bay stabbed Franchini in the abdomen after attending Sunday mass at Saint Anthony’s Church in Izmir.

                He surrendered himself to police shortly after the attack. Father Francini did not sustain life-threatening injuries.

                Bay, who was not present in the courtroom, was also sentenced and fined 375 YTL ($248) for carrying a switchblade.

                Earlier this year, Bay told the court that he had carried out the attack because he was angry about Christian missionary activities in Turkey and said he had acted on his own.

                Christians make up less than 1 percent of Turkey's population of around 70 million.

                Link

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                • Originally posted by Alexandros View Post

                  A Turkish court sentenced Monday a man to four years and seven months in jail for stabbing an Italian Catholic priest last year.
                  We should start a book as to how long he'll actually serve, he'll probably be out by Easter with time spent on remand.

                  Comment


                  • Originally posted by steph View Post
                    We should start a book as to how long he'll actually serve, he'll probably be out by Easter with time spent on remand.
                    Man, and I thought the US Justice System was lenient towards murderers.
                    General Antranik (1865-1927): “I am not a nationalist. I recognize only one nation, the nation of the oppressed.”

                    Comment


                    • Theres progress in Turkey,100 years ago the padre woud have been charged for getting in front of the knife!
                      "All truth passes through three stages:
                      First, it is ridiculed;
                      Second, it is violently opposed; and
                      Third, it is accepted as self-evident."

                      Arthur Schopenhauer (1788-1860)

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