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Can Turkey Learn Tolerance?

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  • Re: Can Turkey Learn Tolerance?

    Originally posted by hipeter924 View Post
    Someone lost the word sarcasm. Many nationalist Turks feel racially superior to everyone else and hold up Stalinist ideals. while at the same time see themselves good enough to sell Kebabs and be part of society and even morally better than everyone else.
    Surely the word sarcasm is lost somewhere on the way. I am amazed with your excellent comprehension of Turkish nationalists although your sample size is pretty limited. Description of those people couldn't be said better! Still, a humble advice, don't tell any Turkish nationalist that they hold up to Stalinist ideals, they may feel extremely offended.


    • Re: Can Turkey Learn Tolerance?

      Turkey fails big in freedom of thought, religion, study shows

      13 November 2009, Friday


      Turkey, frequently criticized by the European Union for its poor record in protecting freedom of expression, is again found to be below international standards in ensuring freedom of speech and religion, in a new index assessing countries’ adherence to the rule of law.

      The Rule of Law Index, unveiled on Wednesday at the World Justice Forum in Vienna, found that Turkey’s score in the protection of freedom of thought and religion is only 0.20, out of the highest possible score of 1.00. The average scores for the Eastern Europe and Central Asia region and the upper middle income level -- the regional and socioeconomic categories of the index which Turkey is considered to be a part of -- are within the 0.60-0.80 range.

      Turkey has been a candidate to join the EU since 1999 and opened accession talks with the 27-nation bloc in 2005, but there has been little progress in the talks so far amid Brussels’ criticism over legal and practical deficiencies in the protection of freedom of speech. Article 301 of the Turkish Penal Code (TCK) is still used in the prosecution of intellectuals and activists for expression of thoughts despite recent amendments to it. Religious freedoms, both for non-Muslim minorities and the Muslim majority, are also an area where Turkey is accustomed to receiving criticism from the West.

      According to the Rule of Law Index, Turkey receives a score within the 0.20-0.40 range in the protection of freedom of speech and freedom of association. This is again below the average scores of the Eastern Europe and Central Asia region and the upper middle income level, which were measured to be within 0.20-0.60 range.

      The index, based on interviews of 41,000 people and over 700 experts from 35 countries around the world -- including Albania, Argentina, Austria, France, Indonesia, Mexico, Morocco, Pakistan, South Africa, Thailand and the United States -- was unveiled at the World Justice Forum, bringing together approximately 350 representatives from more than 80 nations. The forum was opened on Wednesday and is due to last into Saturday.

      Other areas where Turkey is found to be doing worse than its regional and socioeconomic peers are adequate training for the police, measures to protect reporters and whistleblowers from retaliation, transparency in the administrative process and government functioning, the independence of the judiciary from the government, independent auditing of the government, comprehensible laws, and effective enforcement of laws.

      Turkey’s highest scores are, among others, on ensuring access to competent legal services for the poor, prohibiting and punishing crimes against property and persons, ensuring court access without bribery or excessive fees, ensuring that attorneys are competent and in sufficient numbers and ensuring the right to legal representation in criminal cases. In all these areas, Turkey’s score is above or comparable with regional and socioeconomic averages. But in two areas, although Turkey’s scores are high -- close to 0.80 -- they are still below the regional and socioeconomic averages: the suspension of rights only as the Constitution permits and the amendment of the Constitution only according to law.

      The index also reveals that Turkey’s score on ensuring government officials’ accountability (0.44) is above the averages among the countries categorized in the Eastern Europe and Central Asia region and in the upper middle income level (0.37 and 0.39, respectively). Concerning the accountability of military, police and prison officials, Turkey’s rating, 0.48, is also slightly higher than regional and socioeconomic averages (0.43 and 0.41). But it does worse than its regional and socioeconomic peers in ensuring that government powers are limited by the Constitution (0.63 as opposed to 0.74 for the Eastern Europe and Central Asia region and 0.77 for the upper middle income level).

      The Rule of Law Index is a tool introduced by the World Justice Project, a multinational, multidisciplinary initiative launched in 2007 to strengthen the rule of law worldwide, to measure the extent to which countries around the world adhere to the rule of law.



      • Re: Can Turkey Learn Tolerance?

        Originally posted by may View Post
        Surely the word sarcasm is lost somewhere on the way. I am amazed with your excellent comprehension of Turkish nationalists although your sample size is pretty limited. Description of those people couldn't be said better! Still, a humble advice, don't tell any Turkish nationalist that they hold up to Stalinist ideals, they may feel extremely offended.
        I wouldn't speak to those sorts of people in the first place, especially about politics. Furthermore if I visited Turkey or any nation with such people I wouldn't talk politics...I don't have a death wish.


        • Re: Can Turkey Learn Tolerance?

          Can Dündar

          Dündar faces prison over Atatürk biopic

          18 December 2009, Friday


          Journalist and filmmaker Can Dündar faces a possible seven-and-a-half-year prison sentence over his biopic “Mustafa,” which depicts the life of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the founder of the Turkish Republic.

          The Sincan 2nd High Criminal Court has ruled that a criminal complaint by Ali Berham Şahbudak, chairman of the Platform for Democratic Mass Organizations and Unions, was valid, paving the way for a legal case to be filed against the famous journalist. If a case is filed against Dündar, he could be sentenced to between one-and-a-half years and seven-and-a-half years in prison.

          A criminal complaint was filed against Dündar by Şahbudak shortly after “Mustafa” hit theaters. The film recounts the lesser-known sides of Atatürk. There was heated debate in all segments of society over whether it depicted Atatürk’s character and private life accurately.

          Şahbudak claimed in his complaint that the biopic eroded Atatürk’s image of respectability and was aimed at dividing Turkey. The Ankara Public Prosecutor’s Office initiated an investigation into “Mustafa” and ruled in May that it lacked grounds for legal action. Şahbudak, however, appealed the ruling at the Sincan 2nd High Criminal Court. The court overruled the decision of the Ankara Public Prosecutor’s Office on the complaint and said the complaint was valid.

          Dündar also faces a fine of up to TL 100,000 for violating the law on “preventing damage from tobacco products and their control.” “Mustafa” depicts Atatürk as a heavy smoker and drinker.



          • Re: Can Turkey Learn Tolerance?

            Atatürk god worship strikes again.


            • Re: Can Turkey Learn Tolerance?

              Watch A Short Video Clip Of The Interview


              Patriarch Bartholomew Feels "Crucified"

              Dec. 17, 2009

              Leader of 300 Million Orthodox Christians Talks to 60 Minutes About The Hardships He And His Followers Face in Turkey

              (CBS) Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, the leader of the 300 million-member Orthodox Christian Church, feels "crucified" living in Turkey under a government he says would like to see his nearly 2,000-year-old Patriarchate die out.

              His All Holiness speaks to 60 Minutes correspondent Bob Simon for a story to be broadcast this Sunday, Dec. 20, at 7 p.m. ET/PT.

              Orthodox Christians trace their roots to the earliest days of Christianity but do not answer to papal authority in Rome. Bartholomew is, in effect, their pope. The Patriarchate in Istanbul, Turkey, dates back to Roman times, when the city, then Constantinople, was the center of Christianity.

              Photos: The Patriarch

              Since then, history has seen the Patriarch and the part of his church in Turkey - who are Turkish citizens of Greek ancestry - discriminated against in their traditional homeland inside what has become modern Turkey, where 99 percent of the people are Muslim. One and a half million were expelled in 1923 and another 150,000 left after violent anti-Christian riots in Istanbul in 1955. A population once numbering near two million is now around 4,000.

              "It is not [a]crime…to be a minority living in Turkey but we are treated as…second class," Bartholomew tells Simon. "We don't feel that we enjoy our full rights as Turkish citizens."

              Turkish authorities closed churches, monasteries and schools, including its only orthodox Seminary, the Halki School of Theology. According to Turkish law the only potential successors to Bartholomew must be Turkish born and trained at the Halki. "[The Turkish government] would be happy to see the Patriarchate extinguished or moving abroad, but our belief is that it will never happen," says Bartholomew.

              Leaving Turkey is not an option for Bartholomew, the 270th Patriarch, because his church was founded there 17 centuries ago.

              The area, Anatolia, is where the young Christian Church began to grow after its beginnings in the Holy Land near Jerusalem. Right in Istanbul, the Hagia Sophia can be found, the first great church in Christianity; the four gospels of Matthew, Luke, Mark and John were written in Turkey; in the Cappadocia region, hundreds of chapels contain amazing artwork - probably the oldest Christian art in the world - from the time Rome was ruled by the Caesars. The oldest continuously operating Christian monastery in the world in the Sinai desert in Egypt. It contains a letter that Muslims do not refute was written by the Prophet, Mohammad; the letter instructs Muslims to protect the Christians in the monastery and to respect their faith throughout the world.

              Bartholomew finds the letter ironic. "I have visited the prime minister, many ministers, submitting our problems…asking to help us," he tells Simon. But no help has come his way from the Turkish government, which prides itself on being secular and fears any special treatment for Orthodox Christians could lead to inroads by other religions, especially Islam.

              The Patriach is determined to hold his ground. "This is the continuation of Jerusalem and for us an equally holy and sacred land. We prefer to stay here, even crucified sometimes," says Bartholomew. Asked by Simon if he feels crucified, His All Holiness replies, "Yes, I do."

              Produced by Harry Radliffe



              • Re: Can Turkey Learn Tolerance?

                That's appalling but what can you say, this is Turkey and they have not changed at all and the same hateful, racist and religiously intolerant attitudes still stand strong.


                • Re: Can Turkey Learn Tolerance?

                  Turkey’s recruitment policy against minorities brought into spotlight

                  20 December 2009, Sunday


                  An unofficial policy of discrimination that has kept members of minority groups out of state posts has been brought into the spotlight after a Turkish citizen of Armenian descent, Leo Süren Halepli, recently passed a written test and interview to enter the EU General Secretariat’s office in Turkey.

                  A security investigation to be carried out by the National Intelligence Organization (MİT) will have the final say over whether the young man will start his new job. Halepli’s success made its way into many Turkish dailies, most of which termed it “a first in the history of the Turkish Republic.” According to most observers, the wide newspaper coverage of Halepli’s story highlighted the flaws in Turkey’s recruitment policy against members of communities other than Turks.

                  According to Mustafa Şentop, a professor of constitutional law at Marmara University, there is no law that prohibits non-Muslims or members of minority groups from being employed in state institutions provided that they obtain Turkish citizenship. “With a Constitution prepared in 1924, all Turkish citizens were declared equal. There is no legal obstacle before people’s recruitment at state institutions as long as they are Turkish citizens. However, when it comes to unofficial practices, the case may be different,” he said.

                  What Şentop was referring to as unofficial practices were long-established but not lawful applications by the state. Members of the Greek or Armenian communities or non-Muslim individuals are rarely employed as civil servants even if they are official citizens of Turkey. Their job applications are rejected for one reason or another.

                  “Until the 1960s, non-Muslims or minorities were more active in politics and the bureaucracy. There were, for example, 50 or 60 of such deputies then. This number decreased over the years and eventually became zero,” Şentop added.

                  Halepli was born in İstanbul in 1981. He attended an Armenian primary school and then Robert College in the province. He graduated from a university in the United States and preferred to return to Turkey for his career. The young man reportedly speaks Turkish, English, French, German and Armenian.

                  Mehmet Altan, a Star daily columnist, said the Halepli case requires Turkey to announce a “citizenship initiative” before all other initiatives. “Who is Leo Süren? He is a citizen of the Republic of Turkey. If he is our citizen, why do we make his exercise of his citizenship rights news? Because he is a Turkish citizen of Armenian descent. And his successful score on the test for the EU General Secretariat’s office is announced on the front pages of newspapers. This means being a ‘citizen’ is not enough,” he noted. Altan added that other criteria sought for employees at state institutions are being a Turk, Muslim and Sunni. “We are talking about a Kurdish initiative, an Alevi initiative, an initiative for Roma people and an Armenian initiative. Why do we need so many initiatives? Because many citizens are not citizens in the real sense on the 86th anniversary of the republic,” he noted.

                  The Justice and Development Party (AK Party) government in summer announced its intention to prepare a massive democratization package through which it hoped to settle several of the country’s chronic problems. Among those were the years-long problems faced by the Kurdish, Alevi and Roma populations. Most of those problems stemmed from discrimination against these groups. Through the democratization package, the government hopes to grant broader cultural rights and freedoms to its citizens.

                  Eser Karakaş, another Star columnist, wrote earlier this week that the Süren case has proved that Turkey is a state based on race. “Turkey is a country of lies; almost all of what the state has taught us since primary school is a lie. What is the worst lie is that every citizen in this country is a first-class citizen. If this were not a lie, then would the application of one of our citizens of Armenian descent to a state position make news?” asked the columnist.

                  Karakaş also drew attention to a striking point and asked why it is not possible to see a Turkish citizen of Armenian, Greek or je_wish descent as a captain or major in the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK). “The TSK states on every possible occasion that the principle slogan of [Mustafa Kemal] Atatürk [the founder of the Republic of Turkey] nationalism is ‘Happy is he who says he is a Turk.’ But we have not seen a Turkish citizen of Armenian, Greek or je_wish origin among TSK staff for years. Is it meaningful for a state to say this so many times to its citizens?” questioned Karakaş. Turkey has been working to thaw the ice between the state and ethnic and religious minorities since the AK Party was swept to power in 2002. Since then, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has underlined on various occasions that the government is against both ethnic and religious nationalism, adding that his government maintains an equal distance from every ethnic and religious group in society.

                  Similarly, President Abdullah Gül told Parliament in October while addressing deputies on the occasion of the start of the new legislative year not to fear diversity in the country since the process of respecting differences will serve to strengthen Turkey as a nation.



                  • Re: Can Turkey Learn Tolerance?

                    AFP photo

                    Patriarch's 'crucified' remarks echo in Turkey: Unjust or mistranslated?

                    Sunday, December 20, 2009

                    DÖNDÜ SARIIŞIK

                    ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News

                    As the government plans to re-open the Halki seminary in early 2010, Ankara has been shaken by remarks from Patriarch Bartholomew, who says he feels 'crucified' and 'second class' living in Turkey. One Greek-Turk says it is 'a misunderstanding due to a lack of translation' while the foreign minister says 'the crucifixion simile is extremely unfortunate'

                    As the government plans to re-open the Halki seminary in early 2010, Ankara has been shaken by remarks from Patriarch Bartholomew, who said he feels "crucified" and "second class" in Turkey.

                    The patriarch, who is based in Istanbul’s Fener neighborhood, complained about "discrimination" in Turkey in an interview he gave to U.S. television network CBS in May.

                    The excerpts from the interview were enough to irritate the Turkish government before the full-version airs Sunday.

                    “I would like to see this as an undesired slip of the tongue. We cannot accept comparisons that we do not deserve," Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu said in a press conference Saturday.

                    State Minister Hayati Yazıcı also reacted, saying: “It is quite unjust to comment like that. I don’t deny the difficulties we’re trying to solve, but it is not a way out to aggravate what actually happens.”

                    According to an excerpt, Patriarch Bartholomew said, "We are treated as second-class citizens. We don't feel that we enjoy our full rights as Turkish citizens."

                    Manolis Kostidis, a Greek-Turkish citizen from Istanbul now living in Athens and working as a journalist for the daily Elefteros Tipos, agreed with Patriarch Bartholomew’s evaluation.

                    “The government is aware that the Greek community has suffered from a violation of their rights. The patriarch has devoted his life to gaining these rights, such as reopening the Halki seminary,” Kostidis told the Hürriyet Daily News & Economic Review in a phone interview Sunday.

                    “I doubt whether the seminary will really be opened in 2010. Many politicians earlier promised [Patriarch Bartholomew] to open the seminary, but no progress has been made since the 1990s. I assume he meant to say how he was frustrated by unkept promises,” Kostidis said.

                    The Education Ministry has recently wrapped up a report on Halki seminary, leading the government to focus on alternative ways of re-open it as part of the democratic initiative.

                    “My personal opinion is that it is an unfortunate remark, especially in terms of timing,” a source close to the patriarch said on condition of anonymity.

                    CBS quotes Patriarch Bartholomew as saying the government "would be happy to see the patriarchate extinguished or move abroad. We prefer to stay here, even [if] we are crucified sometimes."

                    The biggest handicap is translation and the reports have twisted what Patriarch Bartholomew actually meant, the same source close to the religious leader said.

                    “‘Me stavronis’ [you’re crucifying me] is a daily expression that even Greek mothers use when they suffer and are tired because of their children.”

                    Patriarch Bartholomew was exhausted at the time of the interview following a religious service, the source said. “When asked if he feels crucified, he only said, ‘Yes, I do,’ but meant his frustration due to deadlock.”

                    Davutoğlu criticized the remarks of Orthodox Christianity’s spiritual leader as unacceptable. "We regard the use of the crucifixion simile as extremely unfortunate,” he said.

                    Denying that the ruling Justice and Development Party, or AKP, discriminates among its citizens on religious grounds, Davutoğlu said, “If Patriarch Bartholomew I has complaints on this issue, he can convey them to the relevant authorities who will do whatever is necessary."

                    Kezban Hatemi, Patriarch Bartholomew’s lawyer, said there may have been ulterior motives to misreport what the spiritual head said. “It is interesting that an interview made by a U.S. network was reported to Turkish audiences before it was even aired in the United States. Pay attention to the timing.”

                    Motivated by the EU bid, the government has repeatedly promised to increase the rights of minorities in the country.

                    The Istanbul Patriarchate dates from the Greek Orthodox Byzantine Empire, which collapsed in 1453 when the city fell to the Ottoman Turks.

                    Ankara does not interfere with the patriarchate's religious functions but withholds recognition of Patriarch Bartholomew's ecumenical title by treating him only as the spiritual leader of the approximately 2,000 Orthodox Greeks still living in the country.



                    • Re: Can Turkey Learn Tolerance?


                      For all the talk about the Halki seminary and 'crucified' minority in Turkey, when will the so called 'muslims' in Greece be able to legally identify themselves as 'Turks' in accordance with their own preference and be given the right to elect their own religious leaders instead of being goverment appointed. Isn't it about time the Greeks practice what they preach?