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Can Turkey Learn Tolerance?

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  • Re: Can Turkey Learn Tolerance?

    [QUOTE=Jos;287884]
    Originally posted by Alexandros View Post



    Alexandros, naming a church is one thing but creating a foundation is another thing entirely. According to the law, a foundation is treated as a separate legal identity that has the ability to start fund raising, acquiring assets and start educational institutions etc. It can be quite a powerful tool giving a minority group the choice to opt out of the current system of education and religious framework provided by the state. Yes, it is very much a constitutional issue and not something just directed a the Greek minority. I personally believe the government will need to relax their authority in relation to these issues at some point, obviously the sooner the better but it is not as simple as you might think. If it was, why hasn't the Greek government allowed the same concessions your asking for its own Turkish minority in Thrace?

    Also, yes the Turkish minority in Greek Thrace may be better of than the dwindling Greek minority in Istanbul but I would say the comparative level of economic development between the countries has a lot to do with it. It's not easy living in a developing country and when you have the means and option of departing to a country loaded up with EU social benefits you couldn't be blamed for taking the short trip across the Aegean.
    Alexandros, naming a church is one thing but creating a foundation is another thing entirely.
    No, it shows how Turkey treats its minorities and bars Christians to form their own foundations. So naming a church has nothing to do with self-identification as you accuse Greece of, no?

    According to the law, a foundation is treated as a separate legal identity that has the ability to start fund raising, acquiring assets and start educational institutions etc. It can be quite a powerful tool giving a minority group the choice to opt out of the current system of education and religious framework provided by the state.
    I smell some paranoia here.

    Yes, it is very much a constitutional issue and not something just directed a the Greek minority.
    It has indeed to do with the Greek minority but also with the Christian minority as well:

    After being forbidden to open a foundation, the Protestant group opened an association in 2004, after Turkish law had been amended allowing them to do so. Foundations and associations in Turkey differ mostly in their ability to collect and distribute money. The aims of the association were similar to that of the proposed foundation, with the exception of reference to supporting one particular community.

    Ozbek said the directorate’s office has been the main obstacle in preventing people from forming Christian foundations.

    “Now that they have the decision, they will be forced to say yes,” he said.

    Link
    I personally believe the government will need to relax their authority in relation to these issues at some point, obviously the sooner the better but it is not as simple as you might think.
    Closing down the Halki school was pretty simple. But opening the Halki school would be even simpler because it fall within the scope of article 40 of the Lausanne treaty. I provided the opinions of two Turkish Professors about this in my previous post. But then again, it`s seems to be Turkeys goal to completely get rid of the few remaining Greeks in Istanbul. And even if Turkey opened the Halki school in the future it might be too late:

    It might be true, we are crucifying the patriarch

    Monday, December 21, 2009

    MEHMET ALİ BİRAND

    I don’t agree with Foreign Minister Davutoğlu. The patriarch is right. The state, with its ignorance of a Turkish institution for 38 years, has not been able to keep its word and has crucified the patriarch.

    No offense, but the culture and custom of crucifying exists in our state. It did not only apply it to the Patriarchate but also to its citizens and institutions, and it continues to do so.

    For those who don’t know, Greek Orthodox Patriarch Bartholomew is a leader who is followed by millions of Orthodox people from all over the world and one who holds the international status of a patriarch in the heart of a Muslim country. And we, who are supposed to be proud of this, underestimate it by calling him a patriarch based in Istanbul’s Fener neighborhood.

    As if we are asked or allowed to make a decision. Even if we don’t accept his ecumenical presence, Bartholomew is one of the most important religious functionaries living in Istanbul. His international influence is enormous and he can immediately reach any person he wishes to reach. He is a leader for who millions of people get in line to kiss his hand.

    This country has lived with conspiracy theories for many years. The Patriarchate has been viewed as an institution that sneaks plans about dividing Turkey so Greece can invade the country anew. (!) When his ecumenical presence is accepted, people thought the Christians would create a Vatican in Turkey. This absurd theory was supported by the state, military and some nationalists.

    AKP's promises...

    The AKP was the first to object. After Tayyip Erdoğan came to power, relations with the patriarch went back to normal. He often met with the patriarch and promised to work – and actually did work – on a solution for the Halki seminary, which persists since 1971.

    Bartholomew’s problem with Turkey, and maybe the sole problem, is not being able to open up the Halki seminary. Because this seminary cannot be reopened, no religious functionary could be placed in Istanbul for 38 years now. The patriarch wastes away with each passing day. Turkey is forced to import external religious functionaries for the 15 to 20 churches in the country. The danger arises of leaving the Patriarchate in the hands of externally educated Orthodox religious functionaries.

    Please be informed that the Sen Sinod, which is considered the parliament of the Patriarch, is in danger. It will not be able to gather after a while because the number of religious functionaries who are Turkish citizens is decreasing progressively. To bridge the gap, we import religious functionaries from Greece and engage in deception to naturalize them in Turkey.

    Besides, the Halki seminary was closed in 1971 only to link other religious colleges to universities, even though it was not a private college. Other colleges that were closed at that time were linked to universities and continued on their path, but the Halki seminary never reopened. Despite the Treaty of Lausanne and despite it being a minority right, we ignored our own signature. It could have been reopened as a religious occupation school connected to the Ministry of National Education. We did not reopen it.

    For years, we waited for a response from Greece. We kept the Halki seminary hostage, trying to force the acceptance of western Thrace muftis being elected by the people.

    This is our shame in respect to the patriarch. A great injustice. A great despotism. This is the logic of interchange. And Erdoğan was the one to oppose this. I have witnessed it.

    The AKP’s Education Minister Hüseyin Çelik in his innumerous statements said, “Leave it up to me and I’ll reopen it in 24 hours.” He repeated persistently that this is a great injustice done to the patriarch.

    This logic won’t lead us anywhere

    So why can’t it be reopened? All pious forces resist. And now we hear the same reasons: “There is no mosque in Athens... western Thrace muftis are appointed by the state... why should we in this case please the patriarch?”

    The Patriarchate is our own institution. And the patriarch is a Turkish citizen. The Halki seminary will educate Turkish citizens and be wholly under the supervision of the Ministry of Education.

    Those in western Thrace are all Greek citizens. And as citizens of Europe, they are in a position to pursue their rights. The patriarch asks, “Is it my fault that there are no mosques in Athens or that muftis are appointed by the Greek state?”

    Now that’s where the interchange logic surfaces. The logic is, they pressure me and I’ll pressure them. Whereas the one pressured is one of us, our own citizen, and the Patriarchate belongs to us. Instead of taking good care, we push it around. Bartholomew is a well-respected and cautious person.

    He always took great care to get along with the administration, always praising Turkey abroad and acting like a Turkish citizen. He never ever used the immense religious power on hand.

    Can we expect them to understand us?

    If today he says in daily Habertürk and on the American CBS television, “Enough now. I feel crucified… I have no choice but to take this matter to the European Court of Human Rights,” then we need to pay attention.

    The patriarch calls out to Ankara and to the prime minister, who he perceives as his friend. “Please save me,” he says. He wants us to keep our word, which was given years ago. Turkey won’t gain from crucifying the patriarch. On the contrary, we’d be humiliated. But if it did the opposite and reopened the Halki seminary, it would provide Ankara with unbelievable prestige, which doesn’t cost much. And those who criticize Turkey before Europe would shut up. Turkey would claim its minorities, and understand its Christian citizens.

    If we don’t understand other religions, how can we expect Europe to understand Islam? I am confused. How come the prime minister cannot keep his word? Cannot overcome pious circles? Cannot show the same amount of courage he showed in the Kurdish and Armenian initiatives? Let’s finally listen to Bartholomew. Otherwise, let’s not get angry if he goes before the European Court of Human Rights.

    Link
    If it was, why hasn't the Greek government allowed the same concessions your asking for its own Turkish minority in Thrace?
    Because organizations with “Turkish” expression in their names in Greek Thrace were taken down following the declaration of the "Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus" in 1983. Was it right to do this? Of course not. But then again, nobody asked Turkey to get rid of the Greeks in Istanbul or invade, occupy and create a new "country" in Cyprus. Unfortunately, the Turkish/Muslim minority in Greek Thrace payed a price for this although it wasn`t their fault. So no, Greece are not angels but they have at least removed many of the discriminatory measures that were taken as a response for Turkey`s policy against the Greeks in Istanbul and the occupation of Cyprus.

    What has Turkey done to correct their "mistakes"?


    (continued)
    Last edited by Alexandros; 12-23-2009, 05:06 AM.

    Comment


    • Re: Can Turkey Learn Tolerance?

      Also, yes the Turkish minority in Greek Thrace may be better of than the dwindling Greek minority in Istanbul but I would say the comparative level of economic development between the countries has a lot to do with it. It's not easy living in a developing country and when you have the means and option of departing to a country loaded up with EU social benefits you couldn't be blamed for taking the short trip across the Aegean.
      Although the farmers receives money from EU-funds let`s not forget that Greek Thrace is one of the most poorest regions in Greece. So there must be other reasons as well why the Turkish/Muslim minority is thriving. Let me give you some examples:

      With respect to Greek Muslim citizens, in each of the three Prefectures of Thrace there is a "Mufti," who is the supreme Muslim authority in his area of jurisdiction regarding religious and spiritual matters. The Mufti also has administrative jurisdiction over the lower Islamic functionaries.

      The Mufti of each Prefecture is appointed following his selection by a body of prominent members of the minority, from a list of candidates who must be graduates of an Islamic Theological University.

      It must be pointed out that the Mufti, in addition to his religious duties, also exercises judicial powers in matters of Civil Law, mainly in the fields of marriage, divorce, alimony, guardianship, emancipation of minors, testaments drawn up according to Islamic Law, and intestate inheritance. The decisions of the Mufti are recorded in the competent Registry Office according to the matter in question.

      ---

      Finally, the Greek Civil Code provides Muslim women with the right to choose between Islamic and Common Law. This provision compensates for the fact that the resolution of disputes in accordance with the Sharya, the Sacred Islamic Law, sometimes entails, especially for Muslim women, the application of rules that are more onerous than those of the Common Law for other Greek citizens.

      ---

      Two Theological Schools (Coranic Schools) with five grades of classes exist in the towns of Komotini and Echinos. The schools were founded in 1949 and 1956, respectively. They ensure the religious education of those Muslim children who aim either at continuing their studies in religious educational institutions of a higher level or at exercising the functions of a Hatip or an Imam; i.e. becoming a lower-level religious functionary of Islam.

      ---

      Turkish is the only minority language which exists in written form (Pomak and Roma do not). It is taught in over 240 minority schools (primary and secondary schools and lycees) in Thrace, to a total of 10,500 Muslim students.

      The education of these children is the responsibility of a large number of teachers (770), of which more than 250 are graduates of the Special Teachers' Training College in Thessaloniki, founded in 1971 to educate and train teachers for minority schools.

      ---

      Finally, the law establishes an affirmative action ("positive discrimination") program for the admission of Muslim minority students to Greek higher education institutions (universities and technical institutes). The law provides for a minimum quota for minority students, as had been up to now the case for certain other classes of Greek citizens (e.g., children of emigrants and repatriates). The provision aims at offsetting the disadvantages faced by many Muslim students during the national university entrance examinations, due mostly to Greek language difficulties, and at facilitating their integration into the social fabric of the country. It goes without saying that the above provisions do not prevent Muslim students from participating in the nation-wide University admission examinations.

      ---

      More than 10 turkish-language newspapers are published in Thrace. Furthermore, the National Radio Service transmits daily news bulletins and other informative programs in Turkish. It goes without saying that the reception of all radio and television programs of neighboring Turkey is unobstructed, while there is a large number of private radio stations that transmit exclusively in Turkish.

      ---

      The Muslims of Thrace participate actively in Greek political life and a good number of them are members of political parties. During Parliamentary elections all political parties include, on a permanent basis in their electoral lists, Muslim candidates. In almost all the successive Parliaments from 1927 onwards, the Muslim deputies (usually 2) were elected and participated actively in parliamentary work.

      ---

      During the elections of October 1994 for the regional councils (second level of local government), 12 Muslim prefecture Councilors were elected in the Prefectures of Xanthi and Rhodopi. Among them was the deputy Prefect of Rhodopi.

      It should be noted that in the cities and villages of Thrace where the Muslim element is in the majority, a Muslim mayor is usually elected. In the communities where there is a Christian majority, it is quite common to have a considerable number of Muslims being elected as Municipal Councilors.

      ---

      Link
      ---

      Greece has made its move, now it's Turkey’s turn


      Tuesday, February 13, 2007

      With the visit by Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis to Western Thrace last week, Greece has taken a major step in minoritiy rights. Ankara should not lag behind.

      BARÇIN YİNANÇ

      When the draft law to improve the property rights of non-Muslim religious minorities was discussed in the Turkish Parliament, one of the main objections of the opponents of the law, including the Republican people's Party (CHP), was based on the principle of reciprocity. What they were saying was roughly this: “If the Greeks are not moving on with tackling the problems of Western Thrace Turks, why should Turkey move ahead with improving the rights of its own minorities, the Greek minority among them?” In fact the principal of reciprocity was one of the justifications President Ahmet Necdet Sezer used when he vetoed the foundations law last November.

      Greece wants Turkey to relinquish its hold on properties once owned by the Greek community that lived in Turkey until the 1960s, while Turkey criticizes Greece's treatment of its Turkish minority, accusing Athens of violating their rights. In this context one would have expected the goodwill gestures of the Greek government towards the Turkish minority to make headlines in the Turkish press. However few noted the announcement in the last week of January by the government of Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis that it was scrapping all back taxes owed by the Turkish minority on its religious property. This came only a few days after the unveiling of Greek plans to hire 240 imams, or Muslim clerics – a long-standing local request.


      Landmark visit from Bakoyannis:

      Greece's new campaign found its place in the Turkish media only when Greek Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis paid a landmark visit to Western Thrace last week, a smart move indeed to attract international attention to her government's new policy. Greeks still refrain from calling the minority “Turkish,” instead preferring the term “Muslim.” Nevertheless the measures announced by the government go beyond rhetoric. In addition to the goodwill gestures made public last month, during her three-day tour of Western Thrace Bakoyannis also announced further measures, designed to improve the minority's access to a university education and jobs in the civil service.

      Now I am very curious as to what the reactions of the defendants of the reciprocity principal will be to these recent developments. Honestly I do not expect them to rejoice and say, “This is what we have been waiting for. How can we lag behind the Greek government? We should immediately reciprocate.”

      Obviously some among them may assert that Turkey's reciprocity-based policy has paid off. Has the Greek government really come up with these gestures in the hope that Turkey will do the same? Although Greek officials deny any link, it would be naïve to think that Greece launched its campaign independent of expectations vis-à-vis the Greek minority in Turkey. While announcing some of the measures, Greek Interior Minister Prokopis Pavlopoulos could not refrain from drawing some parallels with Turkey. Agence Prance-Presse quoted him as saying, “We are gradually addressing the omissions of the past and we are giving the best example to neighboring Turkey… to do the same.”


      Not just reciprocity:

      However, it would be wrong to assume that reciprocity is the only factor behind Greece's recent change of policy. According to experts Greece began the process in the mid-1990s.

      Those who follow closely developments in Greece agree that the main driving force has been the change in mentality that came with European Union membership. The Greek state and public opinion in the country has become more sensitive to fierce criticism voiced by prestigious human rights nongovernmental organizations and international organizations such as the Council of Europe. In addition, cases filed at the European Court of Human Rights are nearing decisions, and the expectation is that the court will rule against Greece. Moreover, Ahmet İlhan, the only deputy in the Parliament representing the minority, is in the ranks of the incumbent party, New Democracy. His friend from childhood, Evripis Stilyanidis, is deputy foreign minister. And New Democracy is after minority votes. These are count as additional factors behind Greece's latest move.

      There is a saying in Turkish: “Knowing others as you know yourself.” Hence a legitimate question I asked a friend of mine that lives in Greece. “It also happens in Turkey; politicians visit a town, promising its residents that they will develop their area, only to later forget their promises. Will your government honor its word?”

      He answered: “Of course, it is necessary to monitor the application, but it seems they will stand by their word. First of all, this statement was made not by just any minister but by the foreign minister. This means that Greece has also committed itself in the foreign arena. The second point is that Bakoyannis also said what they cannot do, such as the mufti problem.” He also pointed to the fact that the Greek Parliament had already approved the law to hire 240 imams, barely two weeks after the government announced the decision.


      ‘Reciprocity should be positive':

      The owner of the Voice of Thrace newspaper, Abdulhalim Dede, also agrees that the latest explanations by the government do more than just pay lip service to the minority. “Bakoyannis is from Crete. Cretans do not talk in vain. It has been a year since she became a minister. If she wanted she would have made these statements a year ago, but she has been working on this issue since then. She has met with Ahmet İlhan a number of times.”

      According to Dede, the reciprocity principle is only one of the reasons that moved Greece toward political change. He does not deny that Turkey's support for the Turks of the Western Thrace is essential for pressure to be put on Athens. However, he opposes the employment of reciprocity principle in the case of minority policies with the following reasoning: “Reciprocity should be used in a positive manner. If one offers 10 to the minority, the other should offer 20. However, it has been used in a negative manner by both countries.”

      The Turkish foreign ministry released a written statement yesterday and declared that even though the steps taken were or course very welcome, they have fallen short of sufficiency. More on this can be found in the Turkish Daily News' diplomacy pages.

      At the end of the day, the problems of the Turks of Western Thrace will not be resolved in the near future. However, it is obvious that the Greek government is determined to solve them. Fortunately Greece says that this is a matter of its internal affairs and that it does not want to discuss the issue with Turkey. Otherwise, when Bakoyannis meets with her counterpart Abdullah Gül in the future, she might have said “We have done this, now it is your turn.” Of course, Greece is smart – it has passed the issue over to the EU. I really wonder what Turkey will say when the EU, which criticizes Turkey's minority policies, brings the Greek reforms to the table and says “You have been asking for reciprocation, here you have it.” Saying “these steps are not enough” might indeed not be enough.

      source

      So this is not only about people benefitting from EU-funds. This is also about Greece improving the rights of the Turkish/Muslim minority in Greek Thrace.
      Last edited by Alexandros; 12-23-2009, 02:03 AM.

      Comment


      • Re: Can Turkey Learn Tolerance?




        'We cannot breathe, the Patriarchate is dying,' says patriarch

        Thursday, December 24, 2009

        ASLI AYDINTAŞBAŞ

        ISTANBUL - Milliyet

        Following criticism of his controversial statement to a U.S. television network describing his community’s problems, Greek Orthodox Patriarch Bartholomew says his comments were emphasized, but the serious problem of opening Halki seminary needs to be addressed.

        Criticized for telling U.S. network CBS that he felt “crucified in Turkey,” in an interview he told daily Milliyet, “We are without oxygen, the Patriarchate is dying.”

        He said the interview with CBS was not planned and that the media had emphasized the crucifixion quote. He said this was a metaphor for detailing Greeks’ problems in Turkey, highlighted by the issue of the Halki seminary located on Heybeliada, one of Istanbul’s Princes’ Islands in Marmara Sea.

        “What will we do, if we cannot raise men of the cloth? Our metropolitan bishops in Europe are over 70 years old. The ones here are 75 years old. Now, who will I nominate to this post,” said the patriarch, who will turn 70 this February. “Why should we nominate people to this post who were not raised in Turkey and educated on Heybeliada?” he asked.

        “The seminary was open during Ottoman rule; [Mustafa Kemal] Atatürk [founder of Turkish Republic] did not close it down. But it was wrongly closed down in 1971, since it did not have university status but was a vocational school for higher education,” he said.

        The patriarch said they were open to any formula to open Halki seminary again, saying, “Whether it will have the status of a school, university or anything else, we want to raise men of the cloth and the state should give this opportunity to us.”

        Patriarch Bartholomew also said that Halki should be opened according to the Lausanne Treaty, which was signed July 24, 1923 between the Triple Entente from World War I and the newly established Turkish Republic.

        “Minorities can open schools for giving religious education by covering the costs themselves, says the Lausanne Treaty. We had one and it is closed down, we don’t want [an additional] right, we want what Lausanne had given us,” he said.

        The patriarch said although they had heard that there were ongoing discussions regarding Halki in Ankara, their opinions had not been asked. He said he talked to State Minister Egemen Bağış about the matter, and the latter told him to organize a commission and have discussions.

        ‘Deep State?’

        Patriarch Bartholomew said the government was in favor of opening the Halki seminary but it still has not opened.

        “I guess the deep state does not want it [open]. Hüseyin Çelik once said, ‘I would immediately open it if it was my decision only.’ Nimet Çubukçu also said ‘there is no legal barrier.’ Why is it not opened yet? It is stuck somewhere,” he said.

        He said the issue has nothing to do with reciprocity, or giving rights to Turks living in western Thrace. “We are being held hostages for the Turks living in Cyprus and western Thrace, but we are Turkish citizens. And we want our rights as Turkish citizens,” he said.

        The patriarch also complained that despite official freedom of worship in Turkey, his community has not remained in Turkey because of historical incidents in which Greeks were forced to leave the country, notably the incidents of Sept. 6-7, 1955 and other events in 1964. “We are now around 3,000 people living in Turkey,” he said.

        Link

        Comment


        • Re: Can Turkey Learn Tolerance?

          Wow Alexandros, so many articles and discussion just to avoid saying "yeah, what Greece does suck" with no reservations. Actually, it was a simple yes or no question:

          Originally posted by Jos View Post
          Isn't it about time the Greeks practice what they preach?
          Turkey started the discriminatory policies, Greece followed it, otherwise Balkans in general, Greece in specific was a heaven for muslim minorities, bla bla...

          Turkey is the leading country in human right violations, so there is a price to pay for it bla bla.. (as if none paid so far)

          And all of it based on population statistics. Muslim minority in Greece are numerous, so they can take it for a while more, but in Istanbul, there are no non-muslim minority left, so the action should be taken immediately. I didn't know that we are supposed to take a weighted average calculation of human rights while discussing about policies. I thought human rights issues are independent of number of people affected by it. Anyway, what do I know, Turks are bad with human right issues and how to evaluate it.

          Comment


          • Re: Can Turkey Learn Tolerance?

            Originally posted by may View Post
            Wow Alexandros, so many articles and discussion just to avoid saying "yeah, what Greece does suck" with no reservations. Actually, it was a simple yes or no question:



            Turkey started the discriminatory policies, Greece followed it, otherwise Balkans in general, Greece in specific was a heaven for muslim minorities, bla bla...

            Turkey is the leading country in human right violations, so there is a price to pay for it bla bla.. (as if none paid so far)

            And all of it based on population statistics. Muslim minority in Greece are numerous, so they can take it for a while more, but in Istanbul, there are no non-muslim minority left, so the action should be taken immediately. I didn't know that we are supposed to take a weighted average calculation of human rights while discussing about policies. I thought human rights issues are independent of number of people affected by it. Anyway, what do I know, Turks are bad with human right issues and how to evaluate it.
            Now that`s funny, first Turkey kicks out the Greeks from Istanbul and Greece should have remained "silent" and done nothing?

            Seriously, didn`t the Lausanne treaty state that the Greeks living in Istanbul should have the right to stay?

            Again, I said that the discriminatory measures were taken by Greece against the Turkish/Muslim minority after Turkey`s pogrom against the Greeks in Istanbul 1955 and when Turkey recognized the occupied part of Cyprus. I didn`t say that it was right of Greece to punish the Turkish/Muslim minority in Greek Thrace but surely some response had to come, no?

            Or do you think that Turkey didn´t expect Greece to react to Turkey`s policy against the Greeks in Istanbul and the recognition of the occupied part of Cyprus?

            Just look at Turkey`s behaviour when it comes to the Uighurs in China. Wasn`t it Erdogan who said that China committed a Genocide against the Uighurs just recently?


            What I was trying to say is that you have to look at the bigger picture if you want to compare human rights. To pick one issue here or there isn`t really going to tell how the overall picture looks like of that country regarding its treatment of minorites...etc. So when it comes to human rights, Turkey is in no position to criticize other countries considering their own human rights violations. And yeah, Turkey leads in Human Rights violations in Europe. That needs to be pointed out.


            As for Greece`s statement regarding the Greek Orthodox Patriarch:

            FM spokesman Delavekouras’ reply to a journalist’s question regarding the Ecumenical Patriarch’s CBS interview and the Turkish FM’s reaction

            Athens , 20 December 2009

            In answer to a question regarding the interview of His All Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I on CBS television and the reaction of Turkey's Foreign Minister Mr. Davutoglu, Foreign Ministry spokesman Mr. G. Delavekouras stated the following:

            Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I is the religious and spiritual leader of hundreds of millions of Orthodox Christians around the world. He is renowned as a leader for his wisdom and moderation, but also for his unwavering support of Turkey’s accession to the European Union. When such a leader’s disappointment is shown as clearly as in this interview – of which we watched extracts – it is everyone’s duty, and, most of all, the duty of those who are responsible for the situation that the Ecumenical Patriarchate and the Greek minority are facing, to listen carefully.

            Turkey’s obligations are well-known and no one can pretend not to know them. The problems, hindrances and deficiencies have been noted in detail also in the relevant reports of the European Union. At the top of its obligations vis-a-vis the European Union is respect for religious freedoms and minority rights, as explicitly mentioned in the conclusions adopted by the European Council a few days ago. This is not only Turkey’s self-evident obligation vis-a-vis its citizens, it is also a necessary prerequisite for progress on its EU accession course.”

            Link
            If you think that some of Greece`s policy`s towards its own minorities sucks and the statement above makes Greece look hypocritical then I would probably conclude the discussion like this:

            Greece sucks; BUT TURKEY SUCKS EVEN MORE!

            ---

            Yeni yilin kutlu olsun may and Jos

            Comment


            • Re: Can Turkey Learn Tolerance?

              Originally posted by Alexandros View Post
              Now that`s funny, first Turkey kicks out the Greeks from Istanbul and Greece should have remained "silent" and done nothing?

              Seriously, didn`t the Lausanne treaty state that the Greeks living in Istanbul should have the right to stay?

              Again, I said that the discriminatory measures were taken by Greece against the Turkish/Muslim minority after Turkey`s pogrom against the Greeks in Istanbul 1955 and when Turkey recognized the occupied part of Cyprus. I didn`t say that it was right of Greece to punish the Turkish/Muslim minority in Greek Thrace but surely some response had to come, no?

              Or do you think that Turkey didn´t expect Greece to react to Turkey`s policy against the Greeks in Istanbul and the recognition of the occupied part of Cyprus?

              Just look at Turkey`s behaviour when it comes to the Uighurs in China. Wasn`t it Erdogan who said that China committed a Genocide against the Uighurs just recently?


              What I was trying to say is that you have to look at the bigger picture if you want to compare human rights. To pick one issue here or there isn`t really going to tell how the overall picture looks like of that country regarding its treatment of minorites...etc. So when it comes to human rights, Turkey is in no position to criticize other countries considering their own human rights violations. And yeah, Turkey leads in Human Rights violations in Europe. That needs to be pointed out.


              As for Greece`s statement regarding the Greek Orthodox Patriarch:



              If you think that some of Greece`s policy`s towards its own minorities sucks and the statement above makes Greece look hypocritical then I would probably conclude the discussion like this:

              Greece sucks; BUT TURKEY SUCKS EVEN MORE!

              ---

              Yeni yilin kutlu olsun may and Jos
              Alexandros, my point is not the validity of points you raised, but the reason that you raise these points. We are not politicians or foreign ministery officials. We have the freedom to protest any inhuman, unlawful action without showing similar examples around the world, or for the same country.

              That was something I used to do, mostly unintentionally because this is the way people normally discuss as if they are the representatives of their country in a council. I still tend to do it time to time, but it is pointless, that's international relations business, to exploit other's weak points to justify their own bullsh*t.

              For instance, when I saw you MP discussion (Turks having MPs in the parliament but no Greeks in Turkish parliament), it reminded me of Kurds holding positions in parliament and higher governing bodies, which is the first thing you will hear from a Turkish nationalist to imply there is no suppression. It is just a matter of number of votes, which you can hardly prevent if you claim there is democracy in the country. It just shows you have an election system; it does not shadow the oppression.

              Once the discussion diverts into such counter examples, there is no way out of it. Another will start discussing the numbers, muslim minorities in Balkans and how their numbers decreased drastically. They might have left 80,000 in Greeece but if you look at the percent difference in Balkans, it can show you another drama happened, which many people in this forum will not like to hear, or even don't care about.

              So, I struggle hard to give up my old habits and keep the discussion to be on one side, which is the truth from my perspective. Even there is mosque in my next door, and I live with a Muftu, I would hardly visit that mosque, but I will still be protesting the Nazi-minded vote in Switzerland. Likewise, I will protest the actions against the Greek Orthodox Patriarch, and its use as a political tool to make a point for the Turks in thrace.

              No country has right to criticize another, and there is no scale about which violation is worse (except right to live). So, I prefer to strip from nationalities while standing against injustice, and I do not prioritize what people go thorugh.

              ---

              Senin de yeni yilin kutlu olsun Alexandros!

              Comment


              • Re: Can Turkey Learn Tolerance?

                Originally posted by may View Post
                Alexandros, my point is not the validity of points you raised, but the reason that you raise these points. We are not politicians or foreign ministery officials. We have the freedom to protest any inhuman, unlawful action without showing similar examples around the world, or for the same country.

                That was something I used to do, mostly unintentionally because this is the way people normally discuss as if they are the representatives of their country in a council. I still tend to do it time to time, but it is pointless, that's international relations business, to exploit other's weak points to justify their own bullsh*t.

                For instance, when I saw you MP discussion (Turks having MPs in the parliament but no Greeks in Turkish parliament), it reminded me of Kurds holding positions in parliament and higher governing bodies, which is the first thing you will hear from a Turkish nationalist to imply there is no suppression. It is just a matter of number of votes, which you can hardly prevent if you claim there is democracy in the country. It just shows you have an election system; it does not shadow the oppression.

                Once the discussion diverts into such counter examples, there is no way out of it. Another will start discussing the numbers, muslim minorities in Balkans and how their numbers decreased drastically. They might have left 80,000 in Greeece but if you look at the percent difference in Balkans, it can show you another drama happened, which many people in this forum will not like to hear, or even don't care about.

                So, I struggle hard to give up my old habits and keep the discussion to be on one side, which is the truth from my perspective. Even there is mosque in my next door, and I live with a Muftu, I would hardly visit that mosque, but I will still be protesting the Nazi-minded vote in Switzerland. Likewise, I will protest the actions against the Greek Orthodox Patriarch, and its use as a political tool to make a point for the Turks in thrace.

                No country has right to criticize another, and there is no scale about which violation is worse (except right to live). So, I prefer to strip from nationalities while standing against injustice, and I do not prioritize what people go thorugh.

                ---

                Senin de yeni yilin kutlu olsun Alexandros!
                I thought this thread was about "Can Turkey learn tolerance"?

                For instance, when I saw you MP discussion (Turks having MPs in the parliament but no Greeks in Turkish parliament), it reminded me of Kurds holding positions in parliament and higher governing bodies, which is the first thing you will hear from a Turkish nationalist to imply there is no suppression. It is just a matter of number of votes, which you can hardly prevent if you claim there is democracy in the country. It just shows you have an election system; it does not shadow the oppression.
                Well, there`s a reason why Greeks can`t elect Turkish politicians with Greek origin to the Turkish parliament. Who is voicing the Greek minority`s problem in the Turkish parliament? The Greeks are simply too few. The Kurds could at least form their own party - unless it doesn`t get banned.

                That`s what my point was.


                Greek politicians with Turkish origin are pretty vocal about demanding more rights to their minority in Greek Thrace. Here`s a good example:

                Turkish candidates speak

                Theologian Ahmet Hacıosman, who has been active in politics since 1985, was selected with the most votes from the Rodop region in 2007 to become a deputy from PASOK. Hacıosman believes that an administration headed by Papandreou would be beneficial for minorities, saying: “Papandreou instructed us, saying: ‘Get ready; we're going to come to power. Prepare your plans and projects accordingly'.” Hacıosman says Papandreou will take sincere initiatives to solve minority issues and asserts that when he was foreign minister his work improved the lives of minorities in Greece.

                As for Ahmet, elected to Parliament from Rodop as an ND candidate in 2004, he draws attention to the possibility of a “weak administration” and emphasizes that the Turkish minority could play a critical role in the election results, calling attention to the three Turkish candidates from PASOK. Noting the development of an extreme nationalism in Western Thrace, Ahmet said to counteract this Turks should vote for Turks. He expressed confidence that he would win a seat in Parliament.

                PASOK's second Turkish Rodop candidate, Kocamümin, believes that “in power, PASOK would make it easier for minorities to have their rights returned and for the economy to develop.” He says if elected he will do his best to represent minorities in the best way possible.

                Elected to Parliament as a PASOK candidate from İskeçe in 2007, Çetin Mandacı says in his term he worked in Parliament to find solutions to the problems faced by minorities. He expresses hope that in the new term he will be able to make more progress in this regard, also noting the impact of state foreign policy on Turks living in Greece. “An improvement in Turkish-Greek relations would have an impact on Western Thrace,” he says.

                Aysel Zeybek, who was able to regain revoked Greek citizenship in Western Thrace only after a long battle that went all the way to the European Court of Human Rights, which ruled in her favor, says she wants to make history as the first woman elected to Parliament from İskeçe. She also calls for Turkish votes to go to Turkish candidates and says she will fight in Athens to solve the chronic problems of minorities, which include issues over education, religious freedom and economic and identity problems. She also emphasizes that someone needs to take an active role in addressing the future and societal problems that face minority women in Greece.

                Link

                Then I haven`t mentioned about Turkey`s consulate in Komotini who are pretty active in trying to not only demand more rights for the Turkish minority but also pressures Pomaks to identify themselves as "Turks":

                A representative of the Pomak Association of Xanthi on October 1 told the Organisation of Security and Cooperation in Europe that Pomaks are severely pressured by the Turkish consulate in Komotini to identify as Turks. “We need effective protection of the legitimacy of our Pomak identity, against the cruelty of the Turkish consulate and Turkish nationalists,” association member Alie Efenti said.

                Link
                They might have left 80,000 in Greeece but if you look at the percent difference in Balkans, it can show you another drama happened, which many people in this forum will not like to hear, or even don't care about.
                Clearly, some Turks have a problem with this thread. I can see that you are trying to change the subject of this thread.

                If you want to continue to talk about this or other issues that doesn`t have to do with this thread then feel free to start your own thread.

                Oh, and if you do start a thread, don`t get pissed if I or someone else is trying to change the subject of your thread. Let`s see how you will react.
                Last edited by Alexandros; 12-24-2009, 02:49 PM.

                Comment


                • Re: Can Turkey Learn Tolerance?

                  Whatever... This forum is a waste of time for me, after even you (one of few that I thought has some kind of sense) started using your "back" instead of your brain...

                  ...

                  Screw it... I'm off...

                  Comment


                  • Re: Can Turkey Learn Tolerance?

                    After so many months I've spent on the forum, I can say that the gist of Alexandros' thoughts is that Turks made terrible things, are still doing terrible things, hence they deserve all the worst and they don't have a say for anything!
                    Sorry to say that Alex, but this is what your mind-set is.
                    "The pens have been lifted and the pages have dried." recorded by At-Tirmidhee.

                    Comment


                    • Re: Can Turkey Learn Tolerance?

                      Originally posted by seruven View Post
                      After so many months I've spent on the forum, I can say that the gist of Alexandros' thoughts is that Turks made terrible things, are still doing terrible things, hence they deserve all the worst and they don't have a say for anything!
                      Sorry to say that Alex, but this is what your mind-set is.
                      Don`t know how you came to that conclusion. I was pretty clear that punishing your own minority as a response for what your "neighbour" does to its minority isn´t right to do. I repeated that over and over and over again. I was only trying to explain WHY Greece took discriminatory measures against the Turkish/Muslim minority in Greek Thrace. In no way did I try to justify it or that the "Turks" should suffer. And yeah, considering that Turkey wants to join the EU and Turkey`s not so kind treatment of its minorities there`s a price to pay for Turkey. Anyway, my question still stands:

                      Greece has removed many of the discriminatory measures against the thriving Turkish/Muslim minority in Greek Thrace and there are about 60-80 thousand Turks (they could be even more) living in Greek Thrace; has Turkey removed the discriminatory measures against the dwindling Greek minority in Istanbul who only numbers 4 thousand?


                      Sorry seruven, this is just another example from a Turk trying to change the subject of this thread: and it isn`t the first time.

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