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Can Turkey Learn Tolerance?

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  • Re: Can Turkey Learn Tolerance?

    Originally posted by may View Post
    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...

    When I pointed out that the thriving Turkish/Muslim minority in Greek Thrace is far better off - I didn`t say that their situation was perfect - when it comes to their rights and in comparison with Turkey`s treatment of the dwindling Greek minority in Istanbul, you get pissed.

    You just had to insult me, didn`t you?
    Last edited by Alexandros; 12-25-2009, 12:54 AM.


    • Re: Can Turkey Learn Tolerance?

      ORHAN KEMAL CENGİZ [email protected] Columnists

      Bartholomew crucified, Erdoğan suffers from Hellish torture!(1)

      25 December 2009, Friday

      Turkey is such a complex country. Its problems are so complex, so sophisticated and they all have historic roots. Turkey seems to have changed very quickly on the one hand, but if you focus on problematic areas you will see nothing is actually changing.

      Look at this recent “crucifixion” discussion in Turkey. It tells us many things, if only we can decode the messages correctly. His All Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew stated on CBS television that sometimes he feels crucified in Turkey. He also added that the Orthodox in Turkey feel themselves to be second-class citizens. “[The Turkish government] would be happy to see the patriarchate extinguished or moving abroad, but our belief is that it will never happen,” he said.
      I think it was the first time he stated his frustration with such harsh words. His remarks and criticism created a chain reaction in Turkey. He was also criticized by the members of the government with equally harsh words.

      After His All Holiness’ words came onto political agenda in Turkey, his lawyer made a press release and tried to repair the “damage” done according to her understanding. She said when patriarchate was criticizing government he was indeed criticizing the state, not this government in particular. The lawyer was referring to the state-government distinction in Turkey which is made to explain that some policies in Turkey will not change with the change of government because they are state policies. We have such a distinction, it is true, but I believe that Bartholomew was not only criticizing state policies, but also this government in particular.

      Let me try to explain this “quarrel” between Bartholomew and the government from my perspective. As I tried to explain in an earlier article of mine which was published in this column on July 10, 2009 (“Is the ecumenical patriarchate in Turkey waiting for Godot”), the patriarchate in Turkey is on the verge of extinction as a result of some policies and tactics which have been deliberately and systematically applied by the Turkish state since the establishment of Turkish Republic in 1923. Turkish state has applied “a fait accompli strategy” against patriarchate in which it has taken everything from this institution with sudden and unexpected attacks, each of which has been followed a period of silence and these silent periods have always been followed by waves of new attacks. This historic institution has lost everything during this secret war which has been waged against it by the Turkish Republic. With every passing day, the noose around its neck has been tightened more and more. This was a war which aims at to weaken this institution so much that it will finally be forced to leave Turkey. To avoid outside pressure, Turkey has conducted this war in such a way, the final purpose of which may have not been seen even by the patriarchate until very recently.

      The patriarchate lost its congregation in Turkey first. Population exchanges, pogroms and attacks against the Greek minority in Turkey wiped out Greek-origin Turkish citizens from Turkey almost completely. After losing its people, the patriarchate started to lose its property. In addition to these material losses, it has been denied a legal capacity and personality, which has added its vulnerability. As you all know, Turkey also created quite unacceptable limitations on the method of choosing a new patriarch, which dictates that the patriarchate, and the members of the holy council which choose new patriarch can only be Turkish citizens. Turkey closed down the Halki Theological School which educates Orthodox clergyman, but also future patriarchs. While the patriarch is accepted as the leader of 300 million Orthodox Christians all over the world, he has been subjected to persecution in his homeland here in Turkey for using his title of “ecumenical.” Not to mention threats, physical attacks and other kind of intimidation. I will continue on this next Wednesday.



      • Re: Can Turkey Learn Tolerance?

        Originally posted by Alexandros View Post
        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.
        Well the reality is that most Turk's believe whatever their media, politicians, religious leaders, and nationalists tell them to.

        They are indoctrinated from birth now to believe that Armenian's, Greeks and Assyrian's genocided 3 million Turks, and if they question this they end up in jail, or are physically assaulted and/or killed.

        Turkey only wants "Turks" in Turkey and makes every attempt to assimilate its population, the groups it can't assimilate are branded as traitors or terrorists and denied civil liberties and political rights such as the case of the Kurds, and other groups such as Armenian's and Greeks.

        Overall this policy is out of fear, because the Turkish government knows it is oppressive, totalitarian, corrupt and intolerant and it knows it has been that way for a long time.

        This is why they fear, because the fact is that considering the way minorities and other groups are treated in Turkey if you held a free and democratic vote tomorrow they would vote overwhelmingly to cede from Turkey and form their own independent countries.


        • Re: Can Turkey Learn Tolerance?

          Originally posted by hipeter924 View Post
          Well the reality is that most Turk's believe whatever their media, politicians, religious leaders, and nationalists tell them to.
          and most Armenians, Greeks, Americans, Australians etc... don't?

          George W Bush and Tony Blair supported by large segments of the media, nationalists, religious leaders in their respective countries dragged their people into a war with Iraq predicated on a lie and yet you single out the Turkish population as if they are more susceptible to believing lies. Anyway, haven't you seen the sources of Alexandros's news articles ..... many from leading mainstream Turkish sources critical of Turkish politicians and politics. Do the writers and readers of these articles fit the profile of people who have been indoctrinated? The fact is there's a vast range of opinions that run through Turkish society just like most other societies, ranging from apathy to nationalism to liberalist ideals. We aren't special in our behaviour, just a lot more scrutinized.


          • Re: Can Turkey Learn Tolerance?

            Actually the issue is sorts of things they are saying, for example if Turkey's elite believed and supported human rights, democracy, the truth and these sorts of not really important things then it wouldn't be a problem but considering they don't its a major issue.

            As for the war in Iraq Turkey supported Saddam Hussein's gassing of the Kurds and that is the reason they were upset when the USA invaded, it lost a fellow Kurd basher.
            Last edited by hipeter924; 12-27-2009, 05:20 PM.


            • Re: Can Turkey Learn Tolerance?


              and most Armenians, Greeks, Americans, Australians etc... don't?

              George W Bush and Tony Blair supported by large segments of the media, nationalists, religious leaders in their respective countries dragged their people into a war with Iraq predicated on a lie.
              religious leaders? i wonder if Archbishop of Canterburywas involved lol

              Originally posted by Jos View Post
              and yet you single out the Turkish population as if they are more susceptible to believing lies.
              How else you would explain that almost all nation blindly believes in the BIGEST LIE EVER ?

              Originally posted by Jos View Post
              The fact is there's a vast range of opinions that run through Turkish society just like most other societies, ranging from apathy to nationalism to liberalist ideals. We aren't special in our behaviour, just a lot more scrutinized.
              That what you want to belive, or to make us to belive...
              What are the proportions in that "vast range" ? 99% blind nationalist and 1% of others ?
              Death or Freedom!


              • Re: Can Turkey Learn Tolerance?

                Ensar Öğüt

                CHP deputy criticizes government’s silence over Kurdistan map

                24 December 2009, Thursday

                TODAY’S ZAMAN İSTANBUL

                Following a gaffe by Republican People’s Party (CHP) Deputy Chairman Onur Öymen when he angered Turkey’s Alevi community by referring to the Turkish government’s strong response to a 1937 rebellion in the predominantly Alevi city of Tunceli, then known as Dersim, as an example of fighting terrorism, CHP deputy Ensar Öğüt on Tuesday made a similarly racist statement, calling Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu “Davutyan,” an Armenian-sounding last name.

                Speaking at a press conference held at the CHP Erzurum Provincial Directorate, Öğüt reacted to an American NBS TV station broadcast that labeled a part of Turkey as “Kurdistan.” He claimed that the government has remained silent over the dispute. Asserting that Foreign Minister Davutoğlu is also silent on this, Öğüt allegedly made a comment that was meant to insult Turkey’s Armenian citizens, observers said.

                Öğüt claimed that when an American TV station broadcasts a divided map of Turkey, no US officials react. “The TV station in question does not even say sorry, it does not say it made a mistake,” Öğüt added. He also claimed that if Americans show a divided map of France, Germany, Italy or Greece, strong reactions would follow from these countries.

                “He [the foreign minister] does not issue a statement. He makes no explanation. Foreign Minister, are you good for anything? Is your last name Davutoğlu or Davutyan? Just so we know. If you are Davutyan, you are making an Armenian initiative. What is your first name, your last name? Are you a Turk? Are you the foreign minister of Turkey? Why does the prime minister not react? Maps showing ‘Kurdistan’ have been broadcast many times; why is no one doing anything?” he said. Although there was no immediate reaction to the CHP deputy’s charged statement, in a televised speech he later denied insulting Turkey’s Armenian citizens. According to experts, Öğüt’s words, questioning the foreign minister’s ethnicity, are clear discrimination.

                Many found the comments uncalled for because the CHP deputy was speaking about a map depicting “Kurdistan” in southeastern Turkey, not Armenia.



                • Re: Can Turkey Learn Tolerance?

                  Ahmet Davutoğlu: Yet another crypto-Armenian?

                  Friday, January 8, 2010

                  Mustafa AKYOL

                  Ahmet Davutoğlu, the former academic who has been mastering Turkish foreign policy since 2003, is a remarkable man. First as an adviser to the prime minister, and recently as foreign minister, he really transformed the way Ankara does business in the world. His strategies of “zero problems with neighbors,” “pro-active engagement,” or “multi-lateral foreign policy” made Turkey a much more influential actor in its region. You might like or dislike the results of this new paradigm, but it would be only fair to acknowledge the depth and creativity of its vision.

                  Yet some opposition figures in Turkey have a simpler way of explaining why Mr. Davutoğlu is such a revolutionary man. One of them is Ensar Öğüt, a member of Parliament. He is also a member of the Republican People’s Party, or CHP, the bastion of “Kemalism,” the ideology that comes from Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the founder of the Turkish Republic.

                  The trouble with impure blood

                  A few weeks ago, Mr. Öğüt gave a press conference, in which he angrily bashed Mr. Davutoğlu for not being nationalist enough. He first showed a map aired on an American TV program and which defined eastern Turkey as “Kurdistan.” Then he asked why in the world the foreign ministry doesn’t protest this heinous conspiracy against Turkey. He then personally called on Mr. Davutoğlu:

                  “What do you, man, as Turkey’s foreign minister? What do you really do? What is your surname, Davutoğlu or Davutyan? Are you really Turkish? Why then do you not protest?”

                  Now, for those who are not well-versed in the linguistic intricacies here, let me explain: The suffixes “oğlu” and “yan” both mean “the son of.” But the first one is in Turkish, while the latter is in Armenian. So, asking whether Davutoğlu is actually “Davutyan” implies that he is a crypto-Armenian. (And being an Armenian, apparently, is a very bad thing in the eyes of Mr. Öğüt.)

                  If he were the only Kemalist with this attitude, I wouldn’t worry that much. But, alas, the paranoia about Turks-who-are-not-real-Turks is a popular Kemalist theme. About a year ago, Canan Arıtman, another CHP deputy, had made headlines by claiming that President Abdullah Gül was a “secret Armenian.” Otherwise, she claimed, why would the president be so friendly to Armenia?

                  Armenians are not the only scapegoats, though. Two years ago, a die-hard Kemalist author, Ergun Poyraz, produced a series of “investigative” books claiming that Prime Minister Tayyip Erdoğan and other prominent names in the “Islamist” Justice and Development Party, or AKP, were actually crypto-Je_ws conspiring against Atatürk’s Republic hand in hand with the “elders of Zion.” The books remained bestsellers for months, giving us a clue about the popularity of insanity in this country.

                  Besides the AKP folks, many liberal intellectuals as well have been accused by the Kemalists of being “kanı bo_zuk,” which literally means, “whose blood is impure.” I see similar suspicions raised against myself, too, in some of the comments that come to the Hürriyet Daily News & Economic Review. A few commentators openly argued that I couldn’t be “a real Turk,” for that I fail to properly acknowledge the spotless wisdom of Atatürk, “the father of all Turks.”

                  But, alas, where does this obsession with ethnicity and “purity of blood” come from?

                  Well, one answer can be found in the teachings of none other than the father of all Turks. He has a famous “Address to the Youth,” which every school child in Turkey is made to not just memorize, but also internalize during the 11-year-long “national education.” In it, Atatürk warns his young followers against the “enemies within and without,” and orders them to fight relentlessly to save the Republic from these bad people. In the very final line, he proclaims this gem:

                  “The power you need exists in the noble blood in your veins!”

                  This implies two things:

                  1) The followers of Atatürk, the “Turkish Youth,” have a special bodily fluid (a “noble blood”) that gives them some special power.

                  2) The “enemies within” lack the same blood, and that is one reason why they “combine their personal interests with the political ambitions of the occupiers,” as the "Address to the Youth" also nicely explains.

                  Please don’t address the youth

                  Like every other Turkish child, I grew up by reading the “Address to the Youth” in every textbook, seeing it on every school wall, and reciting it out loud on every national day. I just had to grow up a little more to realize that all this brainwashing was a part of a totalitarian agenda to make every Turk a Kemalist. If you fail to be a Kemalist, the same discourse defines you as an “internal enemy” whose blood is not of the noble one that only Turks have. You must be Armenian, Je_wish, Kurdish, Circassian, or something – but not a Turk.

                  This archaic ideology, this relic from the ’30s, can’t help modern Turkey, if it really wants to become a democratic country. Kemalism, of course, has the right to be an ideology among other ideologies, and compete with them within the rules of the democratic game. But it does not have the right to remain as the official doctrine and impose itself on every citizen.

                  One good step towards democratization would be to remove the “Address to the Youth” from textbooks and schools. The “Youth” have learnt more than enough about the “noble blood” in Turkish veins. What it really needs to learn is democratic values such as tolerance and respect to different thoughts, faiths and identities.



                  • Re: Can Turkey Learn Tolerance?


                    press tv
                    Thu, 28 Jan 2010 17:13:27 GMT

                    A Turkish high criminal court has sentenced an adolescent Kurdish
                    girl to nearly eight years in prison on charges of hurling stones at
                    police officers and chanting illegal slogans during a protest in the
                    southeastern city of Batman.

                    Police claimed that the 15-year-old Kurdish teenager, Berivan attended
                    an illegal march in October and concealed her face behind a scarf.

                    Berivan rejected the accusation saying that she was detained while
                    going to visit her aunt, Hurriyet newspaper reported on Wednesday.

                    "I did not hurl stones at police officers. I do not have any relation
                    with the march. I noticed a crowd and walked towards it to see what
                    it was. Police surrounded the crowd before I reached them. A policeman
                    detained me because he thought I was a protester but I was not. I was
                    just going to visit my aunt living in the central part of the city,"
                    Berivan said.

                    The court had originally sentenced her to a total of 13 years in
                    prison - seven years on charges of committing a crime on behalf of an
                    outlawed organization, five years on charges of attending an illegal
                    demonstration, and one year on charges of propaganda for the group.

                    However, her sentence was commuted to seven years and nine months
                    because she is an adolescent.

                    After the judge announced the sentence, the girl's mother burst into
                    tears and shouted, "Did she murder? The murderers are not sentenced
                    to such a long prison term."
                    Hayastan or Bust.


                    • Re: Can Turkey Learn Tolerance?

                      ECHR rules on religious designation, Kurdish names on Turkish ID

                      Europe's chief human rights court ruled Tuesday against the listing of religious affiliation on national identity cards in Turkey.

                      Tuesday, 02 February 2010 15:55

                      Europe's chief human rights court ruled Tuesday against the listing of religious affiliation on national identity cards in Turkey, saying that it "violated" a top European human rights charter.

                      The court also ruled against eight Kurds asking to use Kurdish names on identity cards.

                      The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) said the recording of religious affiliation on identification cards Turkish citizens carry "violated European Convention of Human Rights Article 9 on freedom of conscience and religion."

                      The court said no one can be forced to disclose religious belief and that it was not the duty for the state to review one's religious affiliation, which otherwise would "hamper the neutrality of the state on religious matters."

                      Carrying an identity card is compulsory for Turkish citizens. But, the Turkish government introduced a new regulation in 2006, allowing persons to leave the religion section on their identity cards blank.

                      Sinan Isik, a Turkish national, appealed in 2005 to the ECHR after Turkish courts refused to record "Alevi" in the religion section of his identity card.

                      "Kurd letters"

                      In the case of the eight Kurds, who are Turkish nationals, the court turned down a request to use Kurdish names which included the letters "q", "w" or "x", which are not part of the standard Turkish alphabet.

                      Kemal Taksin, one of the plaintiffs, asked that his first name be replaced with "Dilxwaz", a Kurdish name meaning "desired". He said that was the name used by people close to him. The others made similar requests.

                      The court ruled that for reasons of preserving administrative order, the state had the right to impose certain spelling norms in the use of names.

                      It noted that the applicants were not forbidden from using Kurdish names, merely from spelling them in a certain way and it said that it would have been possible to use the names with spellings adjusted to the Turkish alphabet.