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Can Turkey Learn Tolerance?

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  • Re: Can Turkey Learn Tolerance?




    Time to recall the story of the Tuzla Armenian children’s camp: a story of seizure

    21 June 2009, Sunday

    EMİNE KART ANKARA

    Article 38 of the Lausanne Treaty says, “The Turkish Government undertakes to assure full and complete protection of life and liberty to all inhabitants of Turkey without distinction of birth, nationality, language, race or religion.”

    And Article 42 of the same treaty says: “The Turkish Government undertakes to grant full protection to the churches, synagogues, cemeteries and other religious establishments of the above-mentioned minorities. All facilities and authorization will be granted to the pious foundations, and to the religious and charitable institutions of the said minorities at present existing in Turkey, and the Turkish Government will not refuse to provide, for the formation of new religious and charitable institutions, the necessary facilities which are guaranteed to other private institutions of that nature.”

    The time now seems ripe to reread the treaty in order to decide whether the aforementioned articles are being fairly implemented as Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has recently become Turkey's first head of government to acknowledge publicly that a “fascist approach” had been displayed in dealing with minorities in the past.

    “For years, these things were done in this country,” Erdoğan said. “People of other ethnicities were driven from the country. Did we gain anything because of that? This was the result of a fascist approach.”

    A March report by the Turkish Economic and Social Studies Foundation (TESEV) revealed clearly that non-Muslim Turks still face “anti-democratic practices.”

    “Only a short while after the Treaty of Lausanne, it became obvious that the state did not intend to implement the rights it was supposed to give,” lawyer Kezban Hatemi, a co-author of the report, then said, citing other discriminatory laws and practices. The most detrimental one was the 1936 Declaration, in which non-Muslim foundations were given the status of “affiliated” foundations and placed under the guardianship of the Directorate General for Foundations (VGM), which “played a crucial role in implementing repressive policies” imposed on non-Muslim foundations.

    “More than 30 [pieces of fixed property] of the Armenian community were seized, on the unlawful basis that they were acquired after 1936. The Tuzla Armenian Children's Camp is one of the most striking and heartbreaking examples of the seizure of properties from the Armenian non-Muslim foundations,” Hatemi said then, pointing out that Hrant Dink, a Turkish-Armenian journalist murdered in 2007, was among the first group of children who built the camp, which he later managed with his wife for many years.

    ‘Humanity is continuity’

    “… If there was a continuity of that thing which was created … if it served a purpose, I wouldn't grieve this much. All in all, humanity is continuity; a human being can utilize what another human being created. Nay, there is no such thing, either. They left it just like that, as a wreck,” says Dink in a 2007 documentary titled “Swallow's Nest,” which explains the story of the Tuzla Armenian Children's Camp -- an actual story of confiscation.

    The elegiac documentary shot by Bülent Arınlı shows Dink walking around the wreckage of the camp where this chivalrous man and his wife Rakel grew up. The couple once took over the administration of the Tuzla Children's Camp and began looking after countless Armenian children. The camp underwent difficult times under the accusation of “breeding Armenian militants” and was finally confiscated by the state in 1983. Following the closure of the camp, Dink was taken into custody and arrested three times due to his political views.

    Since then, ownership of the camp has changed hands five times, and nothing new has been built on the land where the wreckage of the camp stands. Apparently, Dink had started feeling like an exile in his own country after this camp was seized by the state.

    Rakel’s dear Chutak

    Lawyer Fethiye Çetin, also representing the Dink family in the ongoing murder trial, underlines that a certain camp tries to legitimize the wrongful approach towards non-Muslim minorities by referring to the founding members of the Turkish Republic.

    “This is definitely not true. Until the 1970s, non-Muslim foundations were somehow able to maintain properties. The mentality surviving in the main opposition Republican People's Party's [CHP] petition to the Constitutional Court against amendments on the Law on Foundations is based on the infamous 1974 decision of the Supreme Court of Appeals that upheld this discriminatory policy and provided it with legal legitimacy,” Çetin told Sunday's Zaman.

    Now the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) is facing yet another test of sincerity after Erdoğan's recent remarks.

    “In order to get rid of this shame, the state can expropriate the land of the camp; build a nice orphanage; and name it after Hrant Dink, and we will do our best to help the state in such situation,” Çetin said, when asked what could be done to honor this chivalrous man.

    In a preface written for a book titled “Armenian Children's Camp of Tuzla: A Story of Seizure,” the second edition of which was published last year, Rakel Dink asks whether it is Armenians' fate to have their belongings seized by others, to be made unable to live in a place they themselves had built, inhabited and given life to.

    “How can anyone's heart bear this? Neither the tears shed, nor can the suffering of the heart fully describe this injustice. In the Holy Bible, Zacchaeus, known to be the collector of unfair taxes, says to Jesus, ‘If I have taken anything more than the law allows or if I've defrauded anyone I will restore four times as much.' Then Jesus answers: ‘Salvation has come to this house today.' Salvation will come to Turkey the day it confronts its past and says no to discrimination; that day will be the day when it will prosper and roses will grow there instead of thorns,' says Rakel Dink.

    “We couldn't see our grandchildren eat the fruits of their own trees and those who, for this reason, decided not to plant trees any more. Can this story of seizure make any sense to anybody?” asks Rakel Dink. “My dear Chutak [violin in Armenian], you say ‘I am not dead yet,' in the documentary titled ‘The Swallow's Nest,' telling the story of our Tuzla camp. You may be taken away from us physically but, yes, you aren't dead and you will never be. You are born anew in many people's hearts and in their aspirations and will continue to be so,” she tells her Chutak, Hrant.

    “They ruthlessly cut short the epic telling the story of the corridor where we played five stones, the stones that we painted together, the so-called ‘soup of ninety-nine foods' we used to make with the remains of various foods to economize and many more precious memories. They didn't give us the chance to watch our children running down the same corridor and to be happy together there. They didn't give us the chance to have our hair grow grey on the same pillow either. No, they didn't. …”


    Hrant Dink (L) a Turkish-Armenian journalist murdered in 2007, was among the first group of children who built the camp, which he later managed with his wife for many years.



    Tuzla Children's Camp underwent difficult times under the accusation of “breeding Armenian militants” and was finally confiscated by the state in 1983.



    Hrant Dink (L) and his wife also worked to repair the children’s camp.


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    • Re: Can Turkey Learn Tolerance?

      Video of the disrupted event by the Trabzon musem official






      Trabzon official takes wind out of tourists' rites

      Monday, August 17, 2009

      TRABZON – İhlas News Agency

      Tourists from Russia and Greece are refused permission to light candles at a former monastery. The tourists are told religious ceremonies are banned at museums

      Russian and Greek Orthodox Christian worshippers were shown that it is better to curse the darkness than light a candle over the weekend when Turkish officials interrupted their visit to the Sümela Monastery in northeastern Turkey.

      Nilgün Yılmazer, museums director in the Black Sea province of Trabzon, proved the fallacy of the Chinese proverb when she blew out a candle lit by Russian parliamentarian Ivan Savidis and told him, “According to Turkish law, you are not allowed to perform a religious ceremony here.”

      The visiting group of about 500 people from Greece and Russia, including Thessaloniki Gov. Panayotis Psomyadis, reacted against the intrusion and then continued to sing hymns and pray at the site.

      The monastery stands at the foot of a steep cliff facing the Altındere valley in the region of Maçka in Trabzon. It sits at an elevation of 1,200 meters, overlooking much of the Altındere National Park. The only way to reach the monastery is on foot.

      It was founded in A.D. 386 and functioned as one of the main monasteries of the Greek Orthodox world until 1923 when it was abandoned as much of the region’s Greek Orthodox population migrated to Greece during the population transfers between Turkey and Greece. The monastery is officially a museum and is one of the main tourist destinations in the region.

      The group traveled to Trabzon on three private planes. After the prayers, the tourists left the monastery in groups.

      “We came here to pray,” Psomyadis said. “There is no notice proclaiming that religious ceremonies are forbidden here. I’m from Trabzon. My ancestors and grandfathers grew up here. Besides that I’m Greek and also the Thessaloniki governor.”

      Russian deputy Ivan Savidis said he could not understand why the Turkish officials had mistreated them, adding that the group wanted to return to Trabzon and visit the Sümela Monastery again in the future.

      He said they respected Turkish traditions and laws and had not lit candles or taken photos after they were told not to. They were banned from entering the town center, he said, adding that he did not understand why such limitations were imposed.

      Officials also banned a band accompanying the group from performing at Sümela and had collected the priests’ religious cloaks at the airport.

      Savidis called on the Turkish government to fire the governor of Trabzon and said he would also write a letter to the Russian parliament about the way they were treated.

      Savidis said he had supported the construction of a mosque in Moscow as a Russian parliamentarian and that the construction of mosques in Russia faced no bans.

      “I did not oppose constructing mosques in Russia,” Savidis said. “You are Muslim and we are Christian. You have to have to respect me if you want me to respect to you.”

      Savidis said he expected thanks from Turkish officials for bringing hundreds of tourists rather than “being insulted.”

      Every country has its rules

      Parliament Speaker Mehmet Ali Şahin, who is originally from the ruling Justice and Development Party, or AKP, responded to Savidis’ remarks and supported the officials’ reactions to the group.

      "I saw the museum manager last night on television reminding them about our law and telling that they cannot hold a religious rite or ceremony there. We also have museums in Istanbul converted from historical religious places,” he said.

      “It is forbidden to perform religious rites in these places even if the place belongs to Muslims. We cannot accept non-Muslim residents of Turkey or tourists misusing these places. Everybody has to obey the rules of the country they are visiting. It is not suitable for a civilized person to push the limits here."

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      • Re: Can Turkey Learn Tolerance?

        "It is not suitable for a civilized person to push the limits here."
        No. It is not suitable for a supposed civilized nation to push the limits with such ridiculous, discriminatory laws. Secular country my ass, you pieces of shit.
        You suck at life.

        Comment


        • Re: Can Turkey Learn Tolerance?

          Originally posted by Crimson Glow View Post
          No. It is not suitable for a supposed civilized nation to push the limits with such ridiculous, discriminatory laws. Secular country my ass, you pieces of shit.
          You complain about them not being turned into museums, and then you complain about the inevitable negative side-effects that turning them into museums bring.

          As for those "Russian and Greek Orthodox Christian worshippers" - xxxx them and their three private planes. What do you think would happen if 500 Muslims flew into Athens, complete with a posse of robed mullahs and chanting dervishes, and proceeded unanounced to pray on the site of the Acropolis.

          "The only way to reach the monastery is on foot" - I suppose through the eyes of those fat, lazy parasites, the 20 metre walk from the car park to the monastery does mean it is only reached "on foot". In the 1980s the only way to reach the monastery really was on foot - a hard hours trek up a winding trail, with a reward at the end that made it all worthwhile, a monastery that was breathtakingly evocative and free from tourist scum, entrance fees, and Turkish "restorations". Those "Russian and Greek Orthodox Christian worshippers" got the reward they deserved for their 20-metre hike to a Disneyfied tourist attraction.
          Last edited by bell-the-cat; 08-21-2009, 05:27 PM.
          Plenipotentiary meow!

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          • Re: Can Turkey Learn Tolerance?

            Originally posted by Crimson Glow View Post
            No. It is not suitable for a supposed civilized nation to push the limits with such ridiculous, discriminatory laws. Secular country my ass, you pieces of shit.
            How right you are... I couldn't agree with you more. I wish they only had discriminatory laws but they are worse... and now thanks to Obama turkey is directing the US anything and everything they want against Armenia and Artsakh. It's not just turkey's fault. It's US's fault who supposedly are democratic and moral... being on the side of denialist belligerent turkey.
            Last edited by Anoush; 08-21-2009, 07:09 PM.
            Հա'յ ժողովուրդ, քո միա'կ բրկութիւնը քո հաւաքական ուժի մէջ է:

            Comment


            • Re: Can Turkey Learn Tolerance?

              Originally posted by bell-the-cat View Post
              You complain about them not being turned into museums, and then you complain about the inevitable negative side-effects that turning them into museums bring.
              ....I'm sorry, I must have missed the "absolutely cannot 'worship' at a religious museum" rule in my Universal Museum Rules handbook.
              You suck at life.

              Comment


              • Re: Can Turkey Learn Tolerance?

                Originally posted by Eddo211 View Post
                U.S. Slams Turkey's Human Rights

                http://middleeast.about.com/b/2009/0...man-rights.htm


                Thursday February 26, 2009

                The U.S. State Department released its 2008 Human Rights Report on Turkey Thursday. Don't be caught reading it in Turkey, or spreading it around there: you might be charged with "insulting Turkish identity"--an actual, actionable crime in that paradox of a nation.

                The report makes for uncomfortable reading:

                The government generally respected the human rights of its citizens; however, serious problems remained in some areas. During the year human rights organizations documented a rise in cases of torture, beatings, and abuse by security forces. Security forces committed unlawful killings; the number of arrests and prosecutions in these cases was low compared with the number of incidents, and convictions remained rare. Prison conditions remained poor, with chronic overcrowding and insufficient staff training. Law enforcement officials did not always provide detainees immediate access to attorneys as required by law.

                Just as it claims it's a democracy where all people enjoy equal rights, Turkey also claims it has no political prisoners. That, too, is a fabrication by its blind-spotting Ministry of Justice, which has a convenient method of hiding political prisoners. It brands them terrorists. According to the State Department report, there were several thousand political prisoners, including leftists, rightists, and Islamists, and contended that the government does not distinguish them as such. The government claimed that alleged political prisoners were in fact charged with being members of, or assisting, terrorist organizations. According to the government, 2,232 convicts and 2,017 pretrial detainees were being held in prison on terrorism charges through September 2007.

                As for press freedom and freedom of expression, the latest incident on the floor of the Turkish parliament, where a Kurdish legislator was vilified for speaking Kurdish (the television station carrying his speech cut him off once he stopped speaking Turkish) is revealing.

                "The government, particularly the police and judiciary," the report states, "limited freedom of expression through the use of constitutional restrictions and numerous laws including articles of the penal code prohibiting insults to the government, the state, "Turkishness," Ataturk, or the institutions and symbols of the republic. Other laws also restricted speech, such as the Antiterror Law and laws governing the press and elections."
                It's not East Germany in the 1970s, to be sure. But that's no consolation to those who'd rather see Turkey, ostensibly the largest Muslim democracy after Pakistan (Pakistan? a democracy?) live up to the name.

                Read the full report:

                http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt...eur/119109.htm
                U.S. preparing reports about bad prison conditions? Unlawful killings? Tortures? About detainess that are not given right to see an attorney? Critizing the number of prisoners held as terrorists?

                I'm in tears!

                Comment


                • Re: Can Turkey Learn Tolerance?

                  Originally posted by bell-the-cat View Post

                  What do you think would happen if 500 Muslims flew into Athens, complete with a posse of robed mullahs and chanting dervishes, and proceeded unanounced to pray on the site of the Acropolis.
                  I didnt know that Athens is historical turkish homeland and Acropolis is a turkish Mosque of 5th century BC.

                  Bell admite that you are an idiot.
                  Death or Freedom!

                  Comment


                  • Re: Can Turkey Learn Tolerance?

                    Originally posted by may View Post
                    U.S. preparing reports about bad prison conditions? Unlawful killings? Tortures? About detainess that are not given right to see an attorney? Critizing the number of prisoners held as terrorists?

                    I'm in tears!
                    You must be. If for US it is some thing outstanding (Guantanamo), than in turkey it is just a norm, common practice like in any other barbaric 3rd worlds country.
                    Death or Freedom!

                    Comment


                    • Re: Can Turkey Learn Tolerance?




                      Alevi funeral prevented for fallen soldier

                      Sunday, September 13, 2009

                      ISTANBUL- Hürriyet Daily News

                      The state’s discrimination against followers of the Alevi faith was revealed in stark terms when the funeral of a fallen soldier was moved to a Sunni mosque upon alleged military orders, a newspaper reported Sunday.

                      The funeral rites of Murat Taş, who lost his life in a battle with the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK, in the southeastern region of Eruh, was stopped mid-service at an Alevi cemevi, or house of gathering, in Istanbul and moved to a Sunni mosque, daily Taraf reported.

                      The move has angered Alevi elders. Taş’s last rites were concluded and he was buried at the Istanbul Ataköy Mosque after noon prayers, which were attended by top politicians and military leaders.

                      Taş’s family had gathered at their cemevi and all preparations were complete. The Alevi elder, Hüseyin Güzelgül, had delivered a final speech before the rites were to commence when they were interrupted. A lieutenant colonel and other soldiers arrived and engaged in an urgent conversation with Taş’s family, Taraf said. The body was then transferred to Ataköy.

                      The reason given to Güzelgül and the rest of the congregation was that the official ceremony was being held in Ataköy. The lieutenant colonel also told Güzelgül that the officer himself is an Alevi, Taraf reported.

                      “Close relatives of the martyr were present and perhaps due to their pain they didn’t even comprehend what happened,” said Güzelgül. “Out of respect for the relatives, we kept quiet or else we would not have permitted them to take the body,” he said.

                      “For years, they would refuse to perform rites for people in mosques if the person was an Alevi. That is one of the reasons why we set up cemevis in the first place,” said Güzelgül.

                      “Cemevis exist regardless of whether some wish to deny it. We will perform our rites here,” said Güzelgül. “They talk of an Alevi initiative. But if even the army does such things, the sincerity of any initiative comes into question.”

                      “We used to think that only certain religious people do such things. Now we see that officers do it, too. And to a fallen soldier, no less,” said Ali Balkız, president of the Alevi Bektaşi Federation.

                      “Cemevis are places of worship for Alevis. We will perform our rites here and our burials, too,” he said.

                      “This soldier of ours was born an Alevi, lived like an Alevi, was an Alevi soldier and an Alevi martyr. However, our great state did not let him be buried like an Alevi,” Balkız said.

                      What does 'minority' mean in Turkey?

                      In diverse Turkey, the word "minority" is a subject of ongoing sensitivity and debate. While the word in common usage can refer to distinct social groups whose numbers are relatively small, there are three legally established, statutory minorities in Turkey: Greeks, Armenians and xxxs.

                      This definition was made in the Lausanne Treaty in 1923 at the behest of Western powers and obligated the new Turkish Republic to acknowledge the special status of these groups. Some small groups, notably the Ancient Syriac Orthodox community, rejected the status at the time as divisive and remained outside the legal definition. The xxxish community also rejected portions of the Lausanne designation as a violation of social cohesion. Reflecting the sensibilities of the time, Lausanne regarded all Muslims of Turkey as a single “majority.” The Constitution, however, does not recognize religious or ethnic affiliation in defining citizenship. The word “Turk,” while regarded in some quarters as an ethnic label, does not under the law mean anything more than a person of Turkish citizenship.

                      In the cultural realm, however, the many groups that demographically or culturally may be described as minority in Turkey include the Alevi religious sect, the ethnic Kurdish population and many others, ranging from the "Laz" population which hails from the Black Sea region in Turkey's north, to a large Arab-speaking community in southeastern Turkey to the Roma (or Gypsy) population which has lived in Istanbul since Byzantine times. Some demographers will argue that Turkey has no “majority” population in the sense in which it is used in Europe or the United States and count more than 30 languages spoken in Turkey as evidence.

                      Periodically, calls are made within Turkey and without to expand the "Lausanne definition." To date, this suggestion has been rejected. Those rejecting the argument, including many within the groups that might be affected, who suggest expansion of special categories is an outdated notion but who do defend acknowledgement of the growing awareness of Turkey's many unique cultures and sources of identity. Use of the word "minority" in the TDN does not imply endorsement of any side in this ongoing debate.

                      Alevis

                      Alevism, a liberal sect of Islam, has practices distinct from those of Turkey’s Sunni majority. The Alevi house of worship is called a cemevi, while Sunnis worship in a mosque. Unlike most other Muslim practices, Alevi rituals are conducted mostly in Turkish and some in Kurdish. The ceremony features music and dance (semah). The two sects’ rules on fasting and prayer also differ. Alevism is also closely related to the Bektashi Sufi lineage in the sense that both venerate Hajji Bektash Wali (Turkish: Hacıbektaş Veli), a saint of the 13th century.

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