- Balakian and Berktay to Speak at Cambridge Armeno-Turkish Relations Conference -31 Mar
- Turkish Musical "Romantika" & Some Comments
- I Look at Turkey & Recall Weimar Republic
- Retired General Commits His Future To Dashnaktsutyun
- Turks in Quest of Creating Diaspora
- Erdogan leaves for Turkish diaspora meeting
- Erdogan challenges Armenian diaspora at joint forum in Baku
- Please provide proof of the good Armenian Americans are doing for the USA
- Campaign To Protest Sylvestore Stallone
- Pimp My Genocide
- 'Genocide denial laws will shut down debate'
- Turkey’s Future Role as a Transit Country for Central Asian and Caspian Natural Gas to the EU : Projects and Possibilities
- Elif Shafak talks about her novel and the real trial of imaginary characters
- Schiff Presses Secretary of State Rice on Armenian Genocide Recognition
- Letter To Mel Rogers & Ed Arnold : KOCE TV Foundation
- Open Letter To Mr Vladimir Karapetian, Armenian FM Spokesman: Need For Reciprocity And Sincerety
- Confident Turkey Looks East, Not West
- Turks in Europe Through the Eyes of a Consul General
- Swiss Justice Is Like Swiss Cheese -- Full Of Holes
- Armenian & Turkish Musicians Arto & Yasar Release a Disk
- The Armenian Archives
- Rice: US Should Not Be Involved In ‘Genocide' Dispute
- U.S. Secretary of State dodges Armenia genocide questions
How will Hrant Dink’s Assassination Affect Armeno-Turkish Relations?
Balakian and Berktay to Speak at "Armenians and the Left" Symposium.
On Saturday, March 31, 2007 in Cambridge, Mass., Professors Peter Balakian of Colgate University and Halil Berktay of Sabanci University in Istanbul . . .will head a panel discussing “Armeno-Turkish Relations: Pitfalls & Possibilities Following Hrant Dink’s Assassination.” The event will cap off a day-long "Armenians and the Left" symposium devoted to a range of contemporary issues. Earlier panels will address other vital themes: “The Media and Social Injustice in Armenia ” and “Environmental Politics in Armenia .”
The symposium is co-sponsored by Harvard University's Center for Middle Eastern Studies and will be held at the Center for Government and International Studies at Harvard University.
The recent assassination of Istanbul-Armenian journalist Hrant Dink was reported worldwide and has had significant repercussions on Turkey ’s internal reform movement as well as on Armeno-Turkish dialogue. Prominent academic figures will analyze what the future now holds on these issues. Major sub-themes will include an examination of Turkish right-wing nationalism and the assassination’s impact on efforts to gain acknowledgement of the 1915 Armenian Genocide.
In a separate panel, investigative journalist Edik Baghdasaryan from Yerevan, Armenian Weekly Editor Khatchig Mouradian, and Professor of Communications, Gayane Torosyan of SUNY-Oneonta will discuss the structure and functioning of Armenia’s media today, focusing on 1) the media's role/effectiveness in reporting on corruption/social ills, and 2) the way in which media are organized (ownership patterns, monopolies, censorship issues, etc.). Steve Kurkjian of The Boston Globe will also provide his perspective on the issue.
A third panel will feature Jeffrey Tufenkian, President of “Armenian Forests” NGO and Ann Shirinian-Orlando, US Representative for Greens Union of Armenia, who will discuss prospects for developing an environmental movement in Armenia. The panel will be moderated by Jeff Masarjian, Director of the Armenia Tree Project. Specific topics include 1) coalition-building strategies on environmental issues; 2) prospects for reforming mainstream public/private policies toward the environment; 3) Looming environmental issues that must be dealt with (illegal deforestation, depletion of urban green spaces, industrial mining, nuclear energy and the need for alternative energy resources).
"Armenians and the Left" is a project of the Central Committee of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation-Eastern United States.
Armenians and the Left
Turkish Musical "Romantika" & Some Comments
"Romantika" centers on the story of the families of a wealthy Turkish boy and a Roma girl who fall in love. The lighthearted nature of the musical is reflected in its title -- a play on words incorporating the Turkish spellings of "romantic" and the girl's ancestry.
With its premiere on March 22 at the Türker Inanoglu Maslak Show Center (TIM), "Romantika" is directed by the State Theater's young and talented Sakir Gürzumar and features numerous stars of the Turkish theater world, including Melek Baykal, Zeki Alasya and Buket Dereoglu. In addition to its 25-strong cast of actors, the musical also features a 22-member dance ensemble, who will perform pieces choreographed by Turkish ballet legend Tan Sagtürk. The score of "Romantika" was composed by Cengiz Onural and Bora Ebeoglu.
The musical will also have a special gala performance on March 30, to be attended by Culture and Tourism Ministry Atilla Koç, its producers revealed in a written statement last week.
The story, written by Inanoglu, takes a humorous look at the differences between two Istanbul families with very contrasting backgrounds. Çöplüktepe (Junkyard Hill) is a neighborhood right in the heart of Istanbul but one isolated from daily life in the metropolis. It is largely Roma, and people there spend days filled with dance and song, earning their living from music. Güllü is the prettiest girl in Çöplüktepe.
While life continues with gypsy melodies and dances in Çöplüktepe, another Istanbul house hold is full of flustered excitement. The Semsizades are preparing their Bosporus mansion for the return home from the United States of their only son, Yigit.
He duly arrives back but is hiding a secret; he was not, as his family believes, at Harvard for four years, but instead worked on Broadway musicals. Only the Semsizades' butler, Peyami, knows that the real reason for Yigit's return is his plan for a big-budget production in his hometown. While looking for musicians Yigit visits Çöplüktepe and falls in love with Güllü the minute he sees her. The musical will be staged on March 22-25, 29-31 and April 1.
(Just a few comments):
Instead of a Turkish boy who falls in love with a Roma (Gypsy) girl (see article below), it would be much more realistic if in the musical the Gyspy girl were replaced by several Christian girls in 1915 that the boy rapes.
And I don't understand why a Turk marrying a Gyspy girl would pose a dilemna for a Turkish family anyway. I mean, with all the rape of various ethnic groups by Turks over the many years, what difference does it make what ethnicity your boy marries into? When your culture endulges in a lot of rape, it behooves you to be a bit more tolerant and understanding of a genuinely loving relationship, doesn't it?
I say the Turkish family should be happy that the boy is not a rapist and should bring the young Gyspy girl into the fold.
I Look at Turkey & Recall Weimar Republic
The Hitler experience is of course impossible to re-occur in Turkey, but even a mild dose of fascism is dangerous and destructive enough
March 16, 2007
Imagine a country where most men sport moustaches. And most women, especially in the countryside, wear headscarves. Motorcars are widespread, but not in the villages. A government elected by a parliament, which in turn is elected in free and open elections by the people, rules this country. Women participate in these elections, but very few of them are elected to the parliament. And even fewer of them make it to the government. The economy bears the heavy burdens of a recent economic and political crisis, including a high inflation rate and high unemployment. Though the country is quite industrialized, the share of the agricultural sector is still high, and the countryside is quite traditional and conservative. Nonetheless, the population is quite young on average, and the youngsters are eager to try and embrace new styles of life and culture. There is a big political problem: The state-elites - the ranks of the judiciary, the military and upper bureaucracy - are rather distant to democratic rule and prefer authoritarian habits cloaked under a nationalistic discourse. Here, the term “nation” does not mean that the people are the sovereign masters of the bureaucracy. Rather, it appeals to self-glorification, ethnic chauvinism or sometimes even to racism. Some political figures carry similar views. Some say that democracy is not an end in itself, but a means for other purposes. Some feel that religion should prevail over profane human needs. Ethnic or religious minorities are formally equal with the majority; but they are not really accepted by society. Ethnic conflicts take place, especially in the east of the country.
Remembering 1919-1933: With all that, some people might think that I have been writing about Turkey so far. But, no, that's not the case. What I am telling you about is the Weimar Republic—the Germany of 1919-1933. As well known, this republic was finished from within. But why? There were huge economic and social problems. Legal system had major shortcomings. There was widespread a fear of communism, and hence heated debates took place with often little readiness for compromise. But above all, there was a lack of confidence, especially among the state elites, in democratic and liberal solutions. In the end Hitler did not come to power by votes, as he never exceeded a third of the votes even in the deepest social crisis. He was invited to power by the nationalist-authoritarian elites, who thought they could make use of him. The nationalist discourse had constantly been confirmed by the hardships ethnically German populations had to suffer in neighboring countries. The national elites, as well as common people, felt treated unfairly, and even humiliated, in the international scene. And indeed they were. All these hardships were related to an emblematic evil, the Treaty of Versailles—which was the equivalent of the Treaty of Sevres that many Turks still keep in mind. Of course history does not repeat itself exactly, but similar causes may cause a certain similarity of effects. So perhaps taking a lesson from the Weimar Republic might be helpful to Turkey. Europe is said to have learned from the conflicts of the past, which is true. But there is reason to doubt whether this learning was indeed deep and widespread enough.
Versailles and Sevres: Attention please: Turkey's current debates over Cyprus and the “Armenian Genocide” are much like the German discourse over “Versailles” during the Weimar Republic. Add to this the treatment of Turkish people in neighboring countries, especially if they're EU countries. Add to this the discourses in Europe which deny the political and diplomatic history of this continent (which beyond any doubt includes Turkey) by going back to medieval identity-making, which back then had been designed to recruit crusaders. Attention please, whomever it may concern - this specifically designed tool cannot be used for another purpose, at least not without producing what it was designed for. Meanwhile, we may see the signs of authoritarianism among the nationalist elites of Turkey, most conspicuously the judiciary, but to some degree the military and bureaucracy as well. And in the suburbs we see the nationalist-religious concoction that reminds me of Austro-fascism or even Hitler's messianic sectarianism. Somehow the two seem to be connected - maybe just by the educational system, maybe otherwise. Everybody, and especially those who consider themselves to be intellectuals, should ask themselves where they want to go. The Hitler experience is of course impossible to re-occur in Turkey, but even a mild dose of fascism is dangerous and destructive enough. Turkey simply doesn't deserve that.
Hans-Peter Geissen is a natural scientist from Koblenz, Germany. He also has written favorably on Turkey's EU process and has criticized “the self-definition of Europe on the grounds of historical or religious mythologies."
Retired General Commits His Future To Dashnaktsutyun
Former Deputy Defense Minister Artur Aghabekian on Tuesday committed his political future to the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (Dashnaktsutyun), saying that he will not leave the governing party even if it joins the opposition.
Aghabekian, who has the rank of lieutenant-general ,was relieved of his duties and discharged from the armed forces last month in order to be able to participate in the upcoming parliamentary elections on the Dashnaktsutyun ticket. His name is 10th on the list of the nationalist party's election candidates.
Aghabekian has long maintained close ties with Dashnaktsutyun despite his reputation as a figure close to Defense Minister Serzh Sarkisian, whose rapport with the party has often been frosty. The two men are natives of Nagorno-Karabakh and played a major role during its 1991-1994 war with Azerbaijan.
In an interview with RFE/RL, Aghabekian insisted that he will remain loyal to the Dashnaks even if they move into opposition to Armenia's current leadership after the May 12 elections. "I can see Dashnaktsutyun in both opposition and in government," he said. "I have no problem with that. I didn't even set myself the goal of becoming a parliament deputy."
Dashnaktsutyun leaders have warned that they will join the opposition camp if the vote falls short of democratic standards or if their party fails to make a strong showing. They have also indicated that they will not endorse Sarkisian's candidacy in next year's presidential election.
Aghabekian's resignation fueled speculation that he might be offered the post of defense minister in return for a Dashnaktsutyun endorsement of Sarkisian's anticipated presidential run. According to some media reports, the party is also considering fielding the retired general's candidacy in the presidential ballot to be held in Karabakh this summer.
Aghabekian pointedly declined to refute those rumors. "If Dashnaktsutyun sets the aim of having a defense minister, soldier Aghabekian will perform that duty with pleasure," he said. "If Dashnaktsutyun decides that I have nothing to do in Armenia and must again go back to Karabakh, then I can work as a [Karabakh] village mayor or president of the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic."
By Karine Kalantarian
Radio Liberty, Czech Rep.
March 13 2007
Turks in Quest of Creating Diaspora
Weary of alleged Armenian genocide resolutions adopted by a number of parliaments abroad, Turkey has been seeking ways to create its own diaspora together with northern Cyprus and Azerbaijan.
More than 5 million Turkish citizens live in 118 countries in the world but they do not have any political influence. In the Azerbaijani capital of Baku, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdog(an said on Friday he expected Turkish and Azeri citizens living in the United States, Europe, Australia, the Middle East and other parts of the world to benefit from each other's powers.
“All of us from politicians, academics, artists, capital owners, media groups to all businessmen bear important responsibilities. We'll stand shoulder to shoulder, act in solidarity and carry the entire Turkic world to a bright future,” he was quoted as saying at the opening of the First Forum of the World Azeri and Turkish Diaspora Organizations.
Turkish Cypriot President Mehmet Ali Talat also participated in the forum.
March 10, 2007
ANKARA – Turkish Daily News
Erdogan leaves for Turkish diaspora meeting
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan is to leave for Azerbaijan today to attend the "First Forum of World Azerbaijani and Turkish Diaspora Organizations," which is to be held tomorrow.
The forum aims at forms and methods of cooperation of Turkish and Azeri communities in Europe, the U.S. and Canada, Asia and Australia, and Central and South America and also to note the main directions of cooperation between Turkish diaspora groups.
State Committee for Azerbaijanis Living Abroad head Nazim Ibrahimov told a press conference that a joint statement on Armenia's aggression against Azerbaijan and Armenians' terror and genocide acts against Azerbaijanis, as well as protests of countries recognizing the false Armenian genocide allegations, are to be adopted in the forum.
The forum also aims to discuss the Cyprus problem and the situation of the Turkmens in northern Iraq. A Baku declaration is to be adopted at the end of the forum.
Ibrahimov stated that Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Azerbaijan President Ilham Aliyev and Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) President Mehmet Ali Talat will participate in the forum.
Erdogan is to deliver the second opening speech after Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev at the forum. He is also expected to hold several bilateral meetings during his stay in Baku.
"The world feels jealous of Azerbaijan's and Turkey's sharing both the grief and the happiness," Erdogan told the Azeri Press Agency before his visit to Azerbaijan.
Asked to comment on the relations between Turkey and Azerbaijan, he said that relations are growing in all spheres on the basis of deep-rooted cultural brotherhood.
"One of the architects of these relations, the great leader Haydar Aliyev, said Azerbaijan and Turkey are one nation in two independent states. This slogan came true," Erdogan said.
Underlining that Azerbaijan's energy wealth, fast developing economy, and reforms for democracy and human rights are elevating it to its deserved place, Erdogan said that implementation of Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan and Baku-Tbilisi-Erzurum projects shoulder-to-shoulder with Turkey's's brother Azerbaijan and neighbor Georgia will be followed by the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railroad project.
Asked about the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, Erdogan said that Turkey will not forsake this cause, adding "Turkey supports ending the occupation, which is in violation of international law. With its potential, Turkey is giving all possible support for Azerbaijan in its fair fight."
Erdogan went on to say that if Armenia gives up its current policy and takes a friendly stance, it will take a significant step toward the normalization of relations with Turkey.
"It seems to me, this move would lead to the settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and improving relations between Azerbaijan and Armenia," Erdogan told the agency.
Stating that the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan, Baku-Tbilisi-Erzurum pipelines and Baku-Tbilisi-Kars-Akhalkalaki railway project are building a strategic bridge between Central Asia's Turkic Republics, Azerbaijan and Turkey, Erdogan said, "I have no doubt that all sides will show the political will to develop relations on the basis of respect, equality and mutual advantage."
The New Anatolian / Ankara
09 March 2007
Erdogan challenges Armenian diaspora at joint forum in Baku
Truth cannot be built on lies, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Friday in Baku, as he called on the Armenian diaspora to prove their allegations of genocide by the Ottoman Empire with documents.
Erdogan's remarks came as he was delivering a keynote speech at the First Forum of the World Azerbaijani and Turkish Diasporas Organizations, in order to counter the intensifying attacks from the Armenian diaspora, which has been striving for international recognition of the so-called Armenian genocide. The congress also intended to prompt Turks and Azeris abroad to take action.
Turkish Cypriot President Mehmet Ali Talat also participated in the forum, which was hosted by Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev -- a clear sign of Baku's support for easing international isolation of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (KKTC).
In his speech, Erdogan called the Nagorno-Karabakh dispute "a bleeding wound for the Turkish people," and referred to a December 2006 referendum in the region by Armenia. Ankara has already announced that it will not recognize the outcome of the referendum backing independence in the Nagorno-Karabakh region, saying the referendum was held while "ignoring international law."
"Did the world recognize [the outcome of the referendum]?" asked Erdogan.
"It didn't, because what was exercised there was fake, wrong, a lie and fabricated. Sooner or later, justice will prevail. We believe this," Erdogan said.
The border gate between Turkey and Armenia has been closed for more than a decade. Turkey shut the gate and severed diplomatic relations with Armenia after Armenian troops occupied the Azeri territory of Nagorno-Karabakh.
"This is a common characteristic of Armenia, -- unfortunately -- a large portion of Armenians and the diaspora. Now there are Armenian genocide campaigns all around the world ... alleged Armenian genocide ... nobody will fall for this trick. Turkey and the Turks will never fall for this trick," Erdogan said. Turkey vehemently denies that Armenian allegations of a genocide under its predecessor the Ottoman Empire. Facing a mounting Armenian campaign to get international recognition for the alleged genocide, Turkey called for a joint committee of Turkish and Armenian experts in 2005 to study the allegations.
At the time, Erdogan sent a letter to Armenian President Robert Kocharian proposing the establishment of such a committee. Nevertheless, Yerevan hasn't given a positive answer to Ankara's proposal up to date, instead arguing that such a committee should be inter-governmental.
Armenian fear of facing Hocali
In Baku, Erdogan brought to mind his call to Yerevan and reiterated that conducting historical research was not an issue for politicians. "Let historians, political scientists, archeologists, lawyers and historians of art study this issue. If it is eventually understood that there is a grievance, then we will do what we're supposed to do," he said.
"There is still no answer, because then they will have to face the Hocali massacre," he added.
The city of Hocali in Upper Karabakh, which is still under Armenian occupation, was seized by Armenian armed forces and Russian troops based in the region on Feb. 25, 1992. About 2,500 civilians, the majority of whom were women, children and the elderly, were bombarded before military forces seized the city. People in the city, which was largely burnt down, had fled for Agdam, the only open direction allowed by the occupying powers, but after a short while it was reported that this way was blocked, too, and those who had started to flee were ambushed.
A total of 613 Azerbaijanis, including 106 women and 63 children, were massacred by Armenian and Russian forces, in addition to earlier attacks in Hocali. Armenian forces occupying the city captured 1,275 people and 150 were reported missing.
Meanwhile, Erdogan thanked Aliyev for inviting Talat to a meeting, saying this "meant a lot" for Turkey. State ministers Besir Atalay and Mehmet Aydin accompanied Erdogan at the Baku meeting. which was also attended by representatives from Australia, Iraq, the KKTC and the US as well as from European and Central Asian countries.
Today’s Zaman Bakü
Please provide proof of the good Armenian Americans are doing for the USA
The audacity of the Armenian Americans who are a minority within the American nation yet they get upto mischief well out of proportion to their size and contribution to the American nation.. Following are few examples:
1) The are lobbying and influencing the American political system to go against the best interests of USA in terms of Middle East and Turkey equation. What are they contributing to the good of American public by trying to break the alliance between Turks and Americans? more Iraqi and Afghan war GI body bags to USA? Please provide proof of the good Armenian Americans are doing in this respect!
2) The are trying to force through (albeit unbinding) resolutions through American political system to condemn the killing of Hrant Dink.. Turks themselves already condemned the killing in no uncertain terms but the Armenians in general have not condemned the terrorist killings of 42 Turkish diplomats!. This smacks of racism on behalf of Armenian Americans,
3) They are trying to force through resolutions by manipulating the American political system in regards to alleged Armenian Genocide. No doubt they are motivated by financial reward for their work but they have not told the world that their ancestors have murdered in cold blood 521,000 Turks in the same period and displayed sickening treachery against the Ottoman Turks.. So are they prepared to answer the call for recognition of Turkish Genocide in the hands of 200,000 armed Armenian terrorists called Dashnaks, Ramsgavars etc.? Can we also remind the readers that 60,000 Armenians fought on the side of Nazi Germany in the Caucuses in the Second World War !
4) How is it a genocide if the United Nations and the International Court of Human Rights does not recognise the Armenian claims? In addition why are the Armenians shying away from confronting the Turks in a public debate? what are they afraid of?
5) Armenian American actions are reminding us the pain of American slavery of Blacks and the genocide of the Red Indian Americans. Does that mean that an Armenian life is more important than that of a Black American or the Red Indian American? Are the Armenians aware that "Armenians uber alle" is a sickening notion of racism in modern times?
If any Armenian American wishes to debate these issues, all they have to ask for is a public debate! Do they have the courage for same?
British European Turk NGOs serving the community.. Social Engineering in progress for a just world, free of powerful lobbyists distorting the truth!
Campaign To Protest Sylvestore Stallone
Please send the following mail to the following addresses to protest Sylvestore Stallone for his role in anti-Turkish film Musa Dagh-40 Days.
The addresses belong to:
1) Sylvester Stallone,
2) His publicist Michelle Bega-Rogers and Cowan Company, and
3) International Creative Management-Talent Agency
Please inform your friends about the protest campaign.
The Protest Letter:
SUBJECT: Protesting Racism in 40 Days of MUSA DAGH
Dear Sylvestore Stallone,
The Turkish communities worldwide in the USA, Europe, Australia would like to communicate to you that acting in a false storyline that defames and insults Turks will cause a major incident not only in inciting further racism by Armenians which already unfairly target innocent Turks worldwide, but will also create a major backlash against Sylvestore Stallone products in the Turkish world that numbers 250 million people. Militant Armenians have spent millions on their hate campaign to defame Turks and have suffered defeats and have been branded hatemongers in each incident.
You are very popular in Turkiye and hold a good stature amongst most Turks. Your role in a highly controversial depiction of a Civil War, as instigated by Armenian revolutionary militias, that killed innocent Ottoman Turks in the period, before the end of WW1, will cause a major uproar. Your new and old titles maybe boycotted if you proceed with this insulting topic.
We, as fans of you, plead that you do not accept this role.
You will find a link below that categorizes the fallacies in the storyline of “Musa Dagh - 40 days”.
“Moussa Dagh (Mount Moussa), if the truth be known, is the best evidence of the Armenian duplicity and rebellion. Fifty thousand Armenians, all armed, ascended the summit of that mountain after provisioning it to stand siege. Daily sallies from that summit of armed bands attacked the rear of the Ottoman armies, and disappeared into the mountain”
Pimp My Genocide
The prostitution of the G-word for cynical political ends has given rise to a grisly new international gameshow.
Genocide, it seems, is everywhere. You cannot open a newspaper or switch on the box these days without coming across the G-word.
Accusations of genocide fly back and forth in international relations. This week the International Court of Justice (ICJ) at The Hague cleared Serbia of direct responsibility for genocide in the Bosnian civil war in the mid-Nineties, though it chastised Belgrade for failing to prevent the massacre of Bosnian Muslims in Srebrenica in 1995. The International Criminal Court, also in The Hague, indicted two Sudanese officials for ‘crimes against humanity’ in relation to the conflict in Darfur.
Last week, a United Nations official said the spread of the Darfurian conflict into eastern Chad means that ‘Chad faces genocide’, too. ‘We are seeing elements that closely resemble what we saw in Rwanda in the genocide in 1994’, said the head of the UN refugee agency (1). Meanwhile, to the concern and fury of Turkish officials, the US Congress is set to debate a resolution that will recognise Turkey’s killings of a million Armenians from 1915 to 1918 as an ‘organised genocide’ (2). This follows the French decision at the end of last year to make it a crime in France to deny the Armenian genocide.
On the domestic front, too, genocide-talk is widespread. Germany, current holder of the European Union’s rotating presidency, is proposing a Europe-wide ban on Holocaust denial and all other forms of genocide denial. This would make a crime of ‘publicly condoning, denying or grossly trivialising…crimes of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes [as defined in the Statute of the International Criminal Court].’ (3) In some European countries it is already against the law to deny that the Nazis sought to exterminate the Jews. Under the proposed new legislation it would also be against the law to question whether Rwanda, Srebrenica and Darfur are genocides, too.
Why is genocide all the rage, whether it’s uncovering new ones in Africa and Eastern Europe, or rapping the knuckles of those who would dare to deny such genocides here at home?
Contrary to the shrill proclamations of international courts and Western officials and journalists, new genocides are not occurring across the world. Rather, today’s genocide-mongering in international affairs – and its flipside: the hunt for genocide-deniers at home – shows that accusations of genocide have become a cynical political tool. Genocide-mongering is a new mode of politics, and it’s being used by some to draw a dividing line between the West and the Third World and to enforce a new and censorious moral consensus on the homefront. Anyone who cares about democracy and free speech should deny the claims of the genocide-mongers.
In international relations genocide has become a political weapon, an all-purpose rallying cry used by various actors to gain moral authority and boost their own standing. Anyone with a cursory understanding of history should know that the bloody wars of the past 10 to 15 years – in Bosnia, Rwanda, Kosovo, Darfur – are not unprecedented or exceptional. Certainly none of them can be compared to the Nazi genocide against the Jews, which involved the industrialised slaughter, often in factories built for the purpose, of six million men, women and children. Rather, the labelling of today’s brutal civil wars as ‘genocides’ by Western observers, courts and commentators is a desperate search for a new moral crusade, and it has given rise to a new moral divide between the West and the rest, between the civilised and enlightened governments of America and Europe and those dark parts of the world where genocides occur.
In some circles, ‘genocide’ has become code for Third World savagery. What do the headline genocides (or ‘celebrity genocides’, perhaps) of the past two weeks have in common? All of them – the Serbs’ genocide in Bosnia, the Sudanese genocide in Darfur, the Turks’ genocide of Armenians – were committed by apparently strange and exotic nations ‘over there’. Strip away the legal-speak about which conflicts can be defined as genocides and which cannot, and it seems clear that genocide has become a PC codeword for wog violence – whether the genocidal wogs are the blacks of Sudan, the brown-skinned, not-quite-European people of Turkey, or the Serbs, white niggers of the post-Cold War world.
Consider how easily the genocide tag is attached to conflicts in Africa. Virtually every recent major African war has been labelled a genocide by outside observers. The Rwandan war of 1994 is now widely recognised as a genocide; many refer to the ongoing violence in Uganda as a genocide. In 2004 then US secretary of state Colin Powell declared, on the basis of a report by an American/British fact-finding expedition to Darfur: ‘We conclude that genocide has been committed in Darfur and that the government of Sudan and the Janjaweed bear responsibility.’ (4) (The UN, however, has not described Darfur as genocide.) Even smaller-scale African wars are discussed as potential genocides. So the spread of instability from Darfur into eastern Chad has led to UN handwringing about ‘genocide in Chad’. During the conflict in Liberia in 2003, commentators warned that ‘Liberia could be plunged into a Rwanda-style genocide’ (5).
The discussion of every war in Africa as a genocide or potential genocide shows that today’s genocide-mongering bears little relation to what is happening in conflict zones on the ground. There are great differences, not least in scale, between the wars in Rwanda, Darfur and Liberia; each of these conflicts has been driven by complex local grievances, very often exacerbated by Western intervention. That Western declarations of ‘genocide!’ are most often made in relation to Africa suggests that behind today’s genocide-mongering there lurks some nasty chauvinistic sentiments. At a time when it is unfashionable to talk about ‘the dark continent’ or ‘savage Africans’, the more acceptable ‘genocide’ tag gives the impression that Africa is peculiarly and sickly violent, and that it needs to be saved from itself by more enlightened forces from elsewhere. Importantly, if the UN judges that a genocide is occurring, then that can be used to justify military intervention into said genocide zone.
Hardly anyone talks openly about a global divide between the savage Third World and the enlightened West anymore. Yet today’s genocide-mongering has nurtured a new, apparently acceptable divide between the genocide-executers over there, and the genocide-saviours at home. This new global faultline over genocide is formalised in the international court system. In the Nineties, setting up tribunals to try war criminals or genocidaires became an important part of the West’s attempts to rehabilitate its moral authority around the globe. In 1993, the UN Security Council set up an international tribunal to try those accused of war crimes in the Former Yugoslavia. In 1997 the international war crimes tribunal for Rwanda got under way; there is also one for Sierra Leone. As Kirsten Sellars argues in The Rise and Rise of Human Rights, for all the claims of ‘international jutice’, these tribunals are in reality ‘political weapons’ wielded by the West – attempts to imbue the post-Cold War West with a sense of moral purpose by contrasting it favourably with the barbarians in Eastern Europe and Africa (6).
The opportunistic transformation of ‘genocide’ into a weapon on the international stage can be seen most clearly in recent debates about Turkey. The Turkish state’s genocide against the Armenians in the First World War is surely debated more today than at any other time in history. That is because the Armenian genocide has been latched on to by certain governments that want to lecture and harangue the current Turkish regime.
Last year France passed its bizarre law outlawing denial of the Armenian genocide. This was a deeply cynical move motivated by EU protectionism on the part of the French. France is keen to keep Turkey at arm’s length from joining the EU, viewing the American ally in the East as a threat to its authoritative position within Europe. And what better way to cast doubts on Turkey’s fitness to join the apparently modern EU than to turn its refusal to accept that the massacre of Armenians 90 years ago was a genocide into a big political issue? At the same time, Democrat members of US Congress are attempting to dent the Bush administration’s prestige and standing in the Middle East by lending their support to a resolution that will label the Turkish killings of Armenians a genocide. This has forced Bush to defend the ‘deniers’ of Turkey, and given rise to the bizarre spectacle of a six-person Turkish parliamentary delegation arriving in Washington to try to convince members of Congress that the Armenian massacres were not a genocide (7). Again, movers and shakers play politics with genocide, using the G-word to try to hit their opponents where it hurts.
At a time when the West making claims to global moral authority on the basis of enlightenment or democracy has become distinctly unfashionable, the new fashion for genocide-mongering seems to have turned ‘genocide’ into the one remaining moral absolute, which has allowed today’s pretty visionless West to assert at least some authority over the Third World.
This reorientation of global affairs around the G-word has had a real and disastrous impact on peace and politics. When ‘genocide’ becomes the language of international relations, effectively a bargaining chip between states, then it can lead to a grisly competition over who is the biggest victim of genocide and who thus most deserves the pity and patronage of the international community. The state of Bosnia brought the charges of genocide against the state of Serbia at the ICJ, and is bitterly disappointed that Serbia was cleared. Here it appears that Bosnia, every Western liberals’ favourite victim state, feels the need to continue playing the genocide card, to prostrate itself before international courts, in order to store up its legitimacy and win the continued backing of America and the EU. One American commentator has written about ‘strategic victimhood in Sudan’, where Darfurian rebel groups exploit the ‘victims of genocide’ status awarded to them by Western observers in order to get a better deal: ‘The rebels, much weaker than the government, would logically have sued for peace long ago. Because of the [Western] Save Darfur movement, however, the rebels believe that the longer they provoke genocidal reaction, the more the West will pressure Sudan to hand them control of the region.’ (8)
The logic of today’s politics of genocide is that it suits certain states and groups to play up to being victims of genocide. That is one sure way to guarantee the sympathy and possibly even the backing of the West. This has nurtured a grotesque new international gameshow – what we might call ‘Pimp My Genocide’ – where groups strategically play the genocide card in order to attract the attentions of the genocide-obsessed international community. The new genocide-mongering means that certain states are demonised as ‘evil’ (Sudan, Serbia) while others must constantly play the pathetic victim (Bosnia, Darfurian groups). This is unlikely to nurture anything like peace, or a progressive, grown-up international politics.
Rather than challenge the new politics of genocide, the critics of Western military intervention play precisely the same game – sometimes in even more shrill tones than their opponents. Anti-war activists claim that ‘the real genocide’ – a ‘Nazi-style genocide’ – is being committed by American and British forces in Iraq. Others counter the official presentation of the Bosnian civil war as a Serb genocide against Muslims by arguing that the Bosnian Serbs, especially those forcibly expelled from Krajina, were the real ‘victims of genocide’ (9). Critics of Israel accuse it of carrying out a genocide against Palestinians (while supporters of Israel describe Hamas’s and Hezbollah’s occasional dustbin-lid bombs as ‘genocidal violence’) (10). This does nothing to challenge the hysteria of today’s genocide-mongering, but rather indulges and further inflames it. Genocide-talk seems to have become the only game in town.
The flipside of genocide-mongering is the hunting of genocide-deniers. New European proposals to clamp down on the denial of any genocide represent a serious assault on free speech and historical debate. Will those who challenge Western military interventions overseas to prevent a ‘genocide’ be arrested as deniers? What about historians who question the idea that the Turks’ killings of Armenians were a genocide? Will their books be banned? On the homefront, too, genocide is being turned into a moral absolute, through which a new moral consensus, covering good and evil, right and wrong, what you can and cannot say and think, might be enforced across society (11).
If you don’t accept the new global genocide divide, or the right of the EU authorities to outline what is an acceptable and unacceptable opinion about war and history, then step forth – and let us deny.
Brendan O’Neill is editor of www.spiked-online.com
(1) Chad violence could erupt into genocide, UN warns, ABC News, 16 February 2007
(2) Turkey Intensifies Counter-Attack Against Genocide Claims, Turkish Weekly, 1 March 2007
(3) See ‘Genocide denial laws will shut down debate’, by Brendan O’Neill
(4) Powell declares genocide in Sudan, BBC News, 9 September 2004
(5) Liberia: Fears of genocide, Mail and Guardian, July 2003
(6) The Rise and Rise of Human Rights, Kirsten Sellars, Sutton Publishing, 2002
(7) Turkey Intensifies Counter-Attack Against Genocide Claims, Turkish Weekly, 1 March 2007
(8) See Darfur: damned by pity, by Brendan O’Neill
(9) Exploiting genocide, Brendan O’Neill, Spectator, 21 January 2006
(10) Mr Bolton gets a UN flea in his ear, Melanie Phillips, 24 January 2006
(11) See ‘Genocide denial laws will shut down debate’, by Brendan O’Neill
'Genocide denial laws will shut down debate'
She's one of the best-known warriors against Holocaust denial. Yet Deborah Lipstadt thinks EU plans to ban 'genocide denial' are a disaster.
‘For European politicians, bringing in a ban on genocide denial is like apple pie. It’s what I call a freebie. They’re doing it to make themselves feel good. I mean, who could possibly be against standing up to nasty genocide deniers? Only when you get to the heart of it, this “freebie”, this populist move, could have a dire impact on academic debate. Even on truth itself.’
Deborah Lipstadt, Dorot Professor of Modern Jewish and Holocaust Studies at Emory University in Atlanta, may be one of the best-known warriors against Holocaust denial. But she has no time for the proposals currently doing the rounds of the European Union which suggest making it a crime to deny the Holocaust, other genocides and crimes against humanity in general.
Last week it was revealed that Germany, current holder of the EU’s rotating presidency, is proposing a Europe-wide ban on Holocaust denial and other forms of genocide denial. This would make a crime of ‘publicly condoning, denying or grossly trivialising…crimes of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes [as defined in the Statute of the International Criminal Court].’ (1) In some European countries – most notably Germany and Austria, which formed the heart of the Third Reich – it is already against the law to deny or minimise the Nazis’ exterminatory campaign against the Jews in the Second World War. This new legislation might also make it a crime, punishable by fines or imprisonment, to raise awkward questions about the official history of conflicts that took place over the past 20 years.
‘This is so over the top’, says Lipstadt, in between sips of decaf coffee in the plush surroundings of the Athenaeum Hotel in Piccadilly, London. Her earthy New York accent sounds almost out of place in a building where even the doorman comes across as posh. ‘The question of genocide, the history of genocide and what you can say about it, should not be decided by politicians and judges’, she insists.
Lipstadt certainly can’t be accused of being soft on deniers. Her book Denying the Holocaust: The Growing Assault on Truth and Memory, published in 1994, meticulously exposed the lies and the underlying racist agenda of those who deny the truth of the Nazi Holocaust. Famously (or infamously) she was subsequently sued by the British historian David Irving, whom she had named in the book as a Holocaust denier. In January 2000, the 32-day trial, a showdown between an American-Jewish historian and a far-right British historian, became a legal debate about the history of the Nazis, and the nature of truth itself. Irving lost rather spectacularly. The judge branded him an anti-Semite, a racist and a Holocaust denier who had ‘deliberately misrepresented and manipulated historical evidence’. Lipstadt recounts the experience in History on Trial: My Day in Court with David Irving.
Yet this ridiculer of deniers is no fan of the idea that Holocaust denial or genocide denial should be outlawed. The current EU proposal to criminalise denial of contemporary genocides and war crimes is an affront to serious historical debate, she says.
Consider Srebrenica, the massacre that took place at the end of the Bosnian civil war in 1995 in which it is estimated that 8,000 Bosnian Muslims were killed. ‘Some people argue that, given there are only so many tens of thousands of people in Srebrenica and the Serb soldiers went after an X number of a specific group, then it is genocide. But someone else might say it’s a massacre of the X population, not a genocide – because if you’re going to use that word then you have to go back to what the Nazis did to the Jews or what was done to the Armenians [by the Turks in the First World War]’, says Lipstadt. ‘That is an entirely legitimate debate to have about Srebrenica. Are we now saying that the person who says it’s not a genocide will be fined and punished?’
Lipstadt is also worried about the way in which debate about the Armenian experience might be closed down. During the First World War, as Ottoman Turkish forces fought against the Russians, some of the Armenian minority in Eastern Anatolia sided with Russia. Turkey responded by rounding up and killing hundreds of Armenian community leaders in April 1915, and then forcibly deporting the two million-strong Armenian community in marches towards Syria and Mesopotamia (now Iraq). Hundreds of thousands died as a result. At the end of last year, to the fury of Turkey, France made it a crime to deny that the Armenian tragedy was a genocide, and now Germany seems to hope that the rest of Europe will follow suit by accepting its proposals to outlaw denial of all genocides.
‘This is another body-blow to academic debate’, says Lipstdadt. ‘I know serious historians who do not deny for a minute what happened to the Armenians, who do not deny the severity or the barbarity of what happened to them. But they question, they ask intellectually, “Was this a genocide, or was it a horrendous massacre?” They don’t ask that question on ideological grounds; they don’t have a shred of allegiance to Turkey. They ask it intellectually, because they want to get to the truth.’
‘I happen to think they’re wrong’, she says. She believes the Armenians did suffer a genocide. ‘But you can, indeed you must, have a vigorous academic debate about historical events. And in the course of that vigorous academic debate you probably would illuminate weaknesses in both sides of the argument, and hopefully sharpen the arguments as a result. That is what academic debate is about. This kind of legislation could put a kabash on that.’
Last year, in its reporting of the French decision to outlaw denial of the Armenian genocide, the BBC was forced to explain why it put the word ‘genocide’ in inverted commas. ‘Whether or not the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Armenians during the First World War amounted to genocide is a matter for heated debate’, it said (2). Yet if the proposed legislation is passed in the EU, then such things will no longer be a matter for heated debate; they will become legally-defined truths that you deny or question at your peril. Maybe even the BBC will find itself in the dock for putting ‘Armenian genocide’ in inverted commas.
It strikes me that as well as stifling open academic debate the proposed legislation could criminalise political protest. Very often these days, Western powers justify wars of intervention abroad in the language of combating genocide. Bill Clinton and Tony Blair described their bombing crusade over Kosovo in 1999 as an effort to stop Slobodan Milosevic’s ‘genocide’ against the Kosovo Albanians. In truth, the final number of civilians killed in Kosovo – including both Kosovo Albanians by Milosevic’s cronies and Serbs in NATO air strikes – was fewer than 3,000. The Nazis were capable of killing 12,000 a day in Auschwitz alone. As Nazi camp survivor Elie Wiesel said, taking umbrage at the use of Holocaust-talk to justify the Kosovo campaign, ‘The Holocaust was conceived to annihilate the last Jew on the planet. Does anyone believe that Milosevic and his accomplices seriously planned to exterminate all the Bosnians, all the Albanians, all the Muslims in the world?’ (3) If EU officials, in their infinite wisdom, decide that a conflict such as Kosovo is genocide, and therefore the bombers must be sent in, will protesters who question that line be criminalised under the new legislation?
Lipstadt finds today’s over-use of the genocide and Holocaust tags, to describe conflicts or political repression, disturbing and distasteful. She seems still to be reeling from an article she read in The Times on Saturday, the day before we met. Under the headline ‘We are vilified like Jews by the Nazis, says Muslim leader’, the paper reported that Birmingham’s most senior Muslim leader had compared contemporary political Britain to Nazi Germany.
‘That is ludicrous. It is stupid and ridiculous’, she says. ‘Is there fear of Muslims today? No doubt. Do some politicians play on that? Of course. But to compare Muslims in Britain to Jews in Nazi Germany…that shows an utter lack of historical understanding, not to mention sensitivity. Here, the police go out of their way to explain to Muslims what is going on. In Nazi Germany if a Jew spoke to a policeman he got hit. It was a whole government dedicated to being against you, to eliminating you. So that is a disgusting kind of analogy. It is wicked, and cleverly wicked. Sometimes it is done in a calculating fashion to further your aims by playing that victim card.’
To the ‘befuddlement’ of some of her colleagues, Lipstadt is also opposed to laws outlawing actual Nazi Holocaust denial. Such laws already exist in Germany, Austria, Belgium, France, the Czech Republic, Lithuania, Poland, Romania and Slovakia, and under Germany’s proposals these will be extended to the rest of the EU and will also cover genocide and war crimes denial. She points out that there is a huge difference between those historians who legitimately debate something like the Armenian experience, and the charlatans who distort the truth in order to show that the Holocaust didn’t happen and ‘the Jews’ are all liars. Where ‘genocide denial’ laws might frustrate serious academic debate, Holocaust denial laws are only aimed at punishing weird and malicious pseudo-historians. Yet she is against the censorship of these charlatans, too.
‘I’m opposed to Holocaust denial laws for three reasons’, she says. ‘First because I believe in free speech. Governments should make no laws limiting free speech, because it is never good when that happens. Second, because these laws turn Holocaust deniers into martyrs. Look what happened to David Irving when he was released from jail in Austria – he became a media darling, given room to spout his misinformation. We should ignore them rather than chasing them down.
‘And thirdly, and most importantly, such laws suggest that we don’t have the history, the documentation, the evidence to make the case for the Holocaust having happened. They suggest we don’t trust the truth. But we do have the evidence, and we should keep on developing it and deepening it, and we should trust it.’
Ironically, given her outspoken opposition to laws against Holocaust and genocide denial, many point to Lipstadt’s legal victory over David Irving as evidence for why the courtroom is a good place to resolve historical issues and punish those who lie about or deny historic tragedies. ‘I wish they wouldn’t do that’, she says. She points out that her case was not about ruthlessly pursuing Irving in order to prove the truth about the Holocaust. ‘He came after me! He sued me! I didn’t want it. I tried to stop it. Our whole legal strategy was premised on trying to make this guy go away. Only when it was very close to the case, when I saw the wealth of evidence that showed how he had lied and distorted the facts, was I glad it had come to court. Aside from that, I can think of no other instance where history has benefited from courtroom adjudication.’
‘Politicians should not be doing history’, she says. ‘They have a hard enough time doing politics right and doing legislation right. Let them not muck up history, too.’
Brendan O’Neill is editor of spiked. Deborah Lipstadt’s book History on Trial: My Day in Court with David Irving is published by Harper Perennial. (Buy this book from Amazon(UK)). Visit her website here. The photographs of Professor Lipstadt were taken by Sasha Frieze who blogs at Sashinka.
(1) EU plans far-reaching ‘genocide denial’ law, Bruno Waterfield, Daily Telegraph, 4 February 2007
(2) Q&A: Armenian ‘genocide’, BBC News, 12 October 2006
(3) Quoted in ‘Exploiting genocide’, Brendan O’Neill, Spectator, 21 January 2006
Turkey’s Future Role as a Transit Country for Central Asian and Caspian Natural Gas to the EU : Projects and Possibilities
Nowadays, energy diplomacy is more crucial than ever for the EU. There is a strong need for a long-term EU common energy policy in order to enable the bloc to meet its future energy needs. Turkey is likely to play an important role in the EU’s energy strategy.
Energy has always occupied a central place in the thinking of the European Union, as it is one of the main reasons for the union’s existence. In 1951, the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC) was established in order to reconstruct the energy sector of the post-war era. Six years later, in 1957, the European Atomic Energy Community (EURATOM) was established.
The main problem, then as now, was the recognition of energy as a national priority rather than as a communal one. The sector could not enjoy the benefits of a common approach, as all too often it meant clashing with national interests, i.e., the sovereignty of the members of the community.
The situation regarding the energy sector and energy policies of the community remained untouched even at the time of the setup of a single market (1992). The main attempt by the European Commission thereafter came in 1999, when the energy and transport policies of the European Union were combined under one Commissioner.
The EU is still trying to set up a common energy policy today. Its objectives include security of energy supplies, the improvement of competitiveness of energy markets, and the protection of the environment. It is accepted by all members of the union that energy must be taken into account in foreign and security policy-making, as well as in the external trade policy-making of the EU, in order to achieve the future security of energy supply towards the EU.
Global Energy Trends and the European Union
In the 21st century, global energy trends are developing along different lines than in the previous century. The new global energy tendency is shifting from energy dependency towards energy independency. In this process, different aspects should be taken into account, such as alternative energy source, renewable energy and external supplies.
These global trends are not different for the European Union. It is faced with high oil and natural gas prices, increasing energy dependence and energy access uncertainties. Beside these, the European Union has its own energy problems. There is a unity problem inside the EU on energy policies. It is always difficult to reach a consensus when it comes to energy. Also, its high energy dependency on concentrated regions such as Russia, Middle East and North Africa; and problems of transportation from such frequently turbulent regions, are creating security challenges for energy supply. The European Union is therefore making a great effort in order solve all the problems that it is facing. It is establishing and supporting bilateral, multilateral and regional dialogues on energy security and supply.
The latest EU energy strategy is “A European Strategy for Sustainable, Competitive and Secure Energy,” a separate document from the main EU Security Strategy, which is “A Secure Europe in a Better World”, released in March 2006. It is clearly stated in this strategy that the EU has problems because of its energy dependency on Russia, Northern Africa and the Gulf.
European Import Dependency on Natural Gas
European Union members share 2 percent of the world’s proven gas reserves. Natural gas accounts for 25 percent of the EU’s total energy consumption, and the EU accounts for 17.4 percent of the world’s total natural gas consumption, according to the EIA’s European Union Analysis. The EU is a net importer of energy. It is importing more then 40 percent of its natural gas consumption and the commission expects this import dependency to rise from 40 to 55 percent by 2010, to 67 percent by 2020 and to 81 percent by 2030, according to the European Energy Outlook 2020.
EU gas imports are usually coming from concentrated regions except Norway (an internal supplier of the EU). The other major suppliers are Russia, the Middle East and the North African countries.
a. Natural Gas Suppliers of the EU
Country : Volume
Russia: 131 bcm
Norway: 62.6 bcm
Algeria: 33.5 bcm
Libya : 0.5 bcm
b. Natural Gas Suppliers of the EU (in LNG form)
Algeria: 18.80 bcm
Nigeria: 10.75 bcm
Middle East: 5.40 bcm
Source: World Energy Outlook 2005 by IEA
As we can understand from the tables above, most of the EU’s natural gas import is regional, via pipelines, with the exception of LNG exports. Russia is exporting more than 40 percent of the EU’s natural gas needs, while African countries supply around 18 percent. Half of the African gas is exported in LNG form, which is important for the Mediterranean and Atlantic coasts of Europe; however, they are strongly lacking in market in Central and Eastern Europe.
The most considerable amount of imported gas is of course from Russia. The EU’s natural gas dependency on Russia is very high and volatile. The bloc was faced with an unexpected situation in 2006 when Russia suddenly cut the supply and stopped exports destined for the EU through pipelines via Ukraine. Also, the gradual exhaustion of North Sea gas resources is pushing the EU to come up with new energy policies.
The Central Asian and Caspian Regions as Alternative Gas Suppliers to the EU
One of the major alternatives for Europe, garnering ever-increasing attention, are the Caspian and Central Asian producers. Yet the EU has no direct dialogues with these regions. The bloc maintains bilateral energy cooperation with Russia, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan and Azerbaijan. But the EU is lacking a region-wide policy and any arrangements towards this region, such as the ones it maintains with Arctic Region, ECSEE, Africa (Gulf of Guinea), the Balkans, North Europe, the Mediterranean and OPEC.
The Caspian and Central Asian regions should be taken into account in order to diversify the energy dependence of the EU. Yet as the opening of the Baku-Tbilisi –Ceyhan Pipeline has brought Azeri oil to global markets, the world has started to pay more attention to the region. We can now see a bandwagon effect in action, for other alternative pipelines to carry natural gas and for other suppliers in the region, in addition to Azerbaijan, to integrate into the system and angle to use it.
c. Proven Reserves in The Caspian and Central Asian Region
Country: Proven Gas Reserves
Azerbaijan: 1550 bcm
Iran: 358 bcm
Kazakhstan: 1840 bcm
Russia: 3168 bcm
Turkmenistan: 2860 bcm
Uzbekistan: 1870 bcm
Kazakhstan’s, Turkmenistan’s and Uzbekistan’s situation is different than that of Azerbaijan. They are much more dependent on Russia because of their need to use Russian pipelines to export their natural gas. Although this is currently the only way for these three countries to export their natural gas stocks, these pipelines are not always reliable, as they are not modern and not protected against corrosion.
However, Russia is using their dependency in order to profit as much as it can. For example, while Russian gas which enters Ukraine is more or less $95 per tcm, at its start in Turkmenistan, the gas’ price is only around 30-45$ per tcm.
Turkey’s Role as a Transit Route to the EU
There are three alternative projects which will allow the Caspian/Central Asian region to sell their natural gas towards EU via Turkey.
Tabriz-Erzurum Pipeline: activated in 2001, this pipeline carries Iranian natural gas to Turkey. It has a capacity of 20 bcm/y, but it is currently using only one-quarter of this capacity.
South Caucasus Pipeline: also known as the Baku-Tbilisi-Erzurum pipeline, this is a parallel natural gas pipeline to the BTC. It will carry Azeri natural gas to Turkey and can possibly be extended to Kazakhstan by building a pipeline between Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan.
Trans-Caspian Gas Pipeline: the result of an agreement between Turkey and Turkmenistan for building a pipeline from Turkmenistan to Azerbaijan, Georgia and finally Turkey, the Trans-Caspian Pipeline will have a capacity of 20 bcm/y. However, Caspian maritime disputes over territorial waters are proving a challenge to this project. Currently, this project is suspended because of an agreement between Russia and Turkmenistan obliging the latter to not sell natural gas via any other way than Russia.
Turkey is expected to be a major conduit for Caspian and Central Asian natural gas towards EU because of its geographical location and Turkey’s possibility to become a third largest gas exporter to EU after all these projects will come to reality.
Turkey’s energy strategy was stated clearly by Turkish President Ahmet Necdet Sezer in the opening ceremony for the BTC pipeline. “Turkey’s energy strategy is devised on the basis of its national requirements and the world energy needs directed by global developments,” he said. “In this context, we aim at making Turkey a transit country in the East-West and North-South axes, transforming the Ceyhan Terminal into an energy trade centre and following the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan Oil Pipeline, the realization of the Samsun-Ceyhan Oil Pipeline and the Baku-Tbilisi-Erzurum and the Trans-Caspian Natural Gas Pipeline projects.”
There are two main projects from Turkey towards the EU to carry Caspian and Central Asian Natural gas
Nabucco Pipeline Project: this will allow Turkey to export Caspian natural gas to Europe via the Balkans. As Turkey has signed an agreement with Azerbaijan to import gas with a reselling option, it is placing much importance on this project. It could be one of the two projects enabling Turkey to export natural gas to the EU, other than the South-European gas ring. This project, estimated to have a capacity of around 25-30 bcm/y, would send gas to European energy markets via the Balkans. It will have to be achieved through the cooperation of Turkey, Bulgaria, Austria, Hungary and Romania.
South European Gas Ring Project: the 2003 signing of an intergovernmental agreement between Turkey and Greece, as well as a Sale and Purchase Contract between the relevant organs of the two countries (namely, BOTAS and DEPA), paved the way for an energy project expected to be completed during 2007, with future expansion to Italy possible. Recently, a deal was signed by DEPA and Edison for just such an expansion. This second part of the project will come on stream around 2011. The gas ring will allow Turkey to export natural gas towards Europe via Greece. Its starting capacity is 0.75 bcm/y, with a long term capacity of 11 bcm/y.
It should be noted that the Nabucco pipeline and South European Gas Ring project do not compete with one another. Both will help secure the energy diversification and independency of the European Union from Russia. Turkey’s role is crucial for European energy security through such energy diversification. As a transit country, Turkey is important for both sides of the east-west corridor, the connector route between the producer regions to the east and energy-hungry Europe. Because of its geographical position and larger geo-political trends, in the future Turkey has a good change to become one of the four suppliers of natural gas for the EU, along with Russia, Middle Eastern countries and North African ones, by exporting the natural gas of Caspian and Central Asian regions.
*Mehmet Efe Biresselioglu is a PhD candidate at IMT Lucca Institute for Advanced Studies, Italy. He has a degree in M.A in European Studies from Jean Monnet Center of Excellence at University of Turku, Finland. He specialized in Energy Politics, Geopolitics, Security Mechanisms, and Foreign Policies in the geographic focus of Turkey, EU, Central Eurasia, Caucasus, Caspian Sea Region and US. He is currently working on his dissertation about ‘The Future of Oil and Natural Gas in Central Eurasia and Caucasia: Turkey’s Critical Role as a Major Conduit towards Europe’. Contact the author by email at: email@example.com
By Mehmet Efe Biresselioglu*
Elif Shafak talks about her novel and the real trial of imaginary characters
"When I am writing fiction I am a different person with many personalities - and I am very daring," says Turkish novelist Elif Shafak during a conversation at the Warwick Hotel. "Then in my daily life I return to being a person with anxieties and fears." . Shafak is registered under an alias. She cancelled a six-city book tour (reading only in New York) after ultranationalist Turks declared her an "enemy of the state" for passages in her novel The Bastard of Istanbul referring to the "genocide" of Armenians "at the hands of Turkish butchers." Another such "enemy" was assassinated on January 19: the Turkish-Armenian newspaper editor Hrant Dink, a dear friend of Shafak's. The Nobel laureate Orhan Pamuk cut short his tour of Germany after learning the news. Now Shafak is shadowed by a bodyguard, complete with earpiece and jerky, roving eye.
Of the 60 or so intellectuals taken to court by the same ultranationalists for "public denigration of Turkishness" - a crime punishable by three years in prison - only Shafak was called out for the words of her characters. Shafak believes the lawsuits are intended to derail Turkey's bid to enter the European Union by making the nation appear "insular and xenophobic."
A bestseller in Turkey, The Bastard of Istanbul follows two families: one a Turkish clan living in Istanbul, the other Armenians living in California and Arizona (where Shafak teaches part of the year). Through their stories, Shafak explores a political taboo known in Turkey as "the Armenian question," which asks whether in 1915 the deportation and death of more than one million Armenians at the hands of the Turks was "genocide" or (as the Turkish government contends) part of World War I.
Shafak describes herself as a nomad and a free spirit - a girl raised by her divorced mother, a diplomat with whom she lived in Spain, Jordan, and Germany. "I am someone who is always writing either on my way to Turkey, or away from it," she says. "When I feel suffocated I leave." The 35-year-old writer in front of me doesn't exactly exude free spiritedness, cocooned in a black turtleneck, blouse, and long black skirt. Living under threat makes her careful to stay on message in public. No displays of righteous anger, no emotional leakage - except one watery-eyed moment, while talking about the birth of her daughter in Istanbul during her trial in September 2006. (She was acquitted.) While nursing the newborn in a hospital bed, she watched on TV as protesters burned posters with her picture. "An amazing dialectic was happening within our room," she says. "On the TV was darkness and violence, and you're in a room where babies are born every minute and there's hope and light."
The Bastard of Istanbul, too, opens dramatically with the birth of a child into difficult circumstances. Zeliha Kazanci'splans to abort her fetus goes awry. Asya, the daughter born to her, becomes the linchpin between the two families. Shafak's Turkish women are writ large: Zeliha runs a tattoo parlor and has three sisters: a clairvoyant, a Turkish history teacher, and a schizophrenic. The mother of the clan "might have been Ivan the Terrible in another life." The story's focus moves swiftly to Asya, a Dostoyevskian 19-year-old Johnny Cash fanatic and the "bastard" of the book. The American-Armenian family, also replete with a brainy daughter Armanoush, functions as a mouthpiece for Armenians' anger toward Turks. For 100 pages, Shafak skillfully sets up the collision of the two plot lines, when future BFFs Asya and Armanoush will discover the cross-pollination of their family secrets. Along the way, Shafak's steady glide is punctuated by her characters' amusing existential freak-outs and winking nods at the raucous finale.
Throughout the novel Shafak attends to the details of women's daily lives, especially the foods they eat. "It always amazes me how common cuisines transcend nationalistic boundaries," says Shafak. At the table, the taste of pilaf stirs Armanoush and Asya to realize their families share a history. The Turkish dessert ashure anchors the book's structure with its ingredients shaping chapters and plays a role in the tidy conclusion.
While food elicits memories, Alzheimer's wipes them away. Some of the most beautiful writing in the book comes in the depiction of 96-year-old grandmother, Petit-Ma, who has the disease: "The words of the prayer she had to utter had all of a sudden fastened together into an elongated chain of letters and walked away in tandem, like a black hairy caterpillar with too many feet to count." Alzheimer's raises the question of how one remembers - the same quandary behind the Armenian question. "If the past is sad," Shafak asks, "would you like to know about it?" Her characters would and would not. Auntie Banu, seeking answers about the Armenian question, says, "Either grant me the bliss of the ignorant or give the strength to bear the knowledge. . . but please don't make me powerless and knowledgeable at the same time."
Shafak says she's reading Don Quixote right now. Given her circumstances, it provides an apt comparison. Quixote and Bastard share a penchant for satirizing nationalism and exploring the ethics of deception. While Quixote moves between farce and philosophy, between real adventures and imagined ones, Shafak, against her wishes, is doing the same - moving from a real-life trial of imaginary characters to an imaginative meditation upon mortality and new life.
Village Voice, NY
Feb 17 2007
by Lenora Todaro
Schiff Presses Secretary of State Rice on Armenian Genocide Recognition
Washington, D.C. – Today, at an Appropriations hearing before the Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs, Representative Adam Schiff (D-CA) pressed Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice on her opposition to recognizing the Armenian Genocide carried out by the Ottoman Empire between 1915 and 1923. In his pointed questioning, Schiff repeatedly asked the Secretary of State if she believed that the murder of 1.5 million Armenians could be characterized as anything other than a genocide. The Secretary did not directly respond.
“I was disappointed that Secretary of State Rice was unwilling to acknowledge the plain facts of the Armenian Genocide,” said Schiff. “We cannot maintain the moral force we need to take action against the genocide going on in Darfur, if the Administration continues to equivocate about the genocide against the Armenians.”
Rep. Schiff was recently appointed to serve on the House Appropriations Committee in the 110th Congress and is a member of its Commerce, Justice, and Science Subcommittee, the State Department and Foreign Operations Subcommittee, and the Select Intelligence Oversight Panel. He also serves on the House Judiciary Committee and its Subcommittee on the Courts, the Internet, and Intellectual Property. He represents California’s 29th Congressional District, which includes the communities of Alhambra, Altadena, Burbank, East Pasadena, East San Gabriel, Glendale, Monterey Park, Pasadena, San Gabriel, South Pasadena and Temple City.
The exchange between Rep. Schiff and Secretary Rice follows.
REP. ADAM SCHIFF: Thank you, Madam Chair.
Madam Secretary, welcome.
About a week or so ago, Madam Secretary, you and Secretary Gates sent a letter to some of the chairs of committees here on the Hill opposing recognition of the Armenian genocide.
This concerned me for a number of reasons, not the least of which that I don't see how we can have the moral authority that we need to condemn the genocide going in Darfur if we're unwilling to recognize other genocides that have taken place, if we're unwilling to recognize the first genocide of the last century, where 1.5 million people lost
We're all well aware of how the Turkish lobby and Turkey has, either implicitly or explicitly, threatened because it doesn't want the genocide recognized and its own difficulty in coming to grips with that chapter of Ottoman history.
So I'm not going to ask you about that, but I do want to ask you, is there any -- do you have any doubt, in your mind, that the murder of 1.5 million Armenians between 1915 and 1923 constituted genocide? Is there any doubt about that, in your mind?
SECRETARY OF STATE CONDOLEEZZA RICE: Congressman, I think that these historical circumstances require a very detailed and sober look from historians and what we've encouraged the Turks and the Armenians to do is to have joint historical commissions that can look at this, to have efforts to examine their past and, in examining their past, to get over their past.
But I will tell you, Congressman, I don't think that it helps that process of reconciliation for the United States to enter this debate at that level. I just don't think it's helpful.
SCHIFF: Madam Secretary, your comments, you think that there should be some kind of debate or discussion about the genocide suggests that you have a question about whether genocide occurred.
Is that correct?
RICE: Congressman, I believe that this is something that Turks and Armenians are best to address through their own processes of coming to terms with their history.
Lots of people have had to come to terms with their history...
SCHIFF: Yes, and, Madam Secretary, we have to come to grips with our own history.
SCHIFF: And we did.
RICE: I personally am well aware of that.
SCHIFF: But, Madam Secretary, you come out of academia.
SCHIFF: Is there any historic debate outside of Turkey? Is there any reputable historian you're aware of that takes issue with the fact that the murder of 1.5 million Armenians constituted genocide?
RICE: Congressman, I come out of academia, but I'm secretary of state now and I think that the best way to have this proceed is for the United States not to be in the position of making this judgment, but rather for the Turks and the Armenians to come to their own terms about this.
Lots of people are coming to terms with their history in Asia, in Europe people have had to come to terms with their own history and that's...
SCHIFF: Madam Secretary, we have no reluctance to recognize genocide in Darfur. We have no reluctance to talk about the Cambodian genocide or the Rwandan genocide or the Holocaust.
Why is it only this genocide? Is it because Turkey is a strong ally? Is that an ethical and moral reason to ignore the murder of 1.5 million people? Why is it we don't say, "Let's relegate the Holocaust to historians" or "relegate the Cambodian genocide or Rwandan genocide ?" Why is it only this genocide that we should let the Turks acknowledge or not acknowledge?
And, Madam Secretary, Hrant Dink, who was murdered outside of his office, is not a testimony to Turkish progress. The fact that Turkey brought a Nobel-winning author up on charges of insulting Turkishness because he talked about the murder of the Armenians doesn't show great efforts of reconciliation of Turkey.
Why is it only this genocide we're incapable of recognizing?
RICE: Congressman, we have recognized and the president recognizes every year in a resolution that he himself issues the historical circumstances and the tragedy that befell the Armenian people at that time.
We do recognize it. But I don't -- if you'll just allow me. I do not see that this situation is going to get better in the sense that it allows Turks and Armenians to move on to deal with their present unless we are able to let them deal with their past as to the murder that you...
SCHIFF: Madam Secretary, because I'm going to run out of time.
You recognize more than anyone, as a diplomat, the power of words.
SCHIFF: And I'm sure you supported the recognition of genocide in Darfur, not calling it tragedy, not calling it atrocity, not calling it anything else, but the power and significance of calling it genocide .
Why is that less important in the case of the Armenian genocide?
RICE: Congressman, the power here is in helping these people to move forward. After the murder that you talked about, Turks went into the streets to embrace Armenians and to say that this is not the way that Turks behave.
The foreign minister himself has called into question the issue of arresting people for Turkishness. I do think that there is an evolution that is going on in a Turkey that is democratizing and democratizing before our very eyes and where Turks will be able to deal better with their history.
But I do believe that people are better left to try and deal with this themselves if they're going to be able to move forward.
We have to ask ourselves, "What is the purpose here," and I think the purpose is to acknowledge, of course, the historic tragedy, but the purpose is also to allow Turks and Armenians to be able to move forward.
And, yes, Turkey is a good ally and that is important. But more important is that like many historical tragedies, like many historical circumstances of this kind, people need to come to terms with it and they need to move on.
We've done that in our own country. People have done it in Europe. People have done it in Asia and I think...
SCHIFF: Madam Secretary...
RICE: ... the best to have them move forward together.
LOWEY: Thank you, Mr. Schiff.
REP. LOWEY: The secretary has agreed to stay for a few more minutes, so if you'll be brief, Mr. Schiff and Ms. Lee.
REP. SCHIFF: Thank you, Madame Chair. Just one final comment on the subject we visited earlier, and then I have a question on a different matter. I think rather than urging the Congress to ignore the Armenian genocide or urging us in effect to abide by Turkish Section 301 not to offend or insult Turkishness, I think it's more productive to be urging Turkey to recognize the genocide and also work on the relationship between the U.S. and Turkey so that it can survive our clear statement of the truth.
Iran hosts conferences of historians on the Holocaust. I don't think we want to get in the business of encouraging conferences of historians on the undeniable facts of the Armenian genocide.
Washington D.C. Office
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March 21, 2007 Contact: Sean Oblack (202) 225-4176
Letter To Mel Rogers & Ed Arnold : KOCE TV Foundation
Sent: March 29, 2007
To: firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com
Subject: Need your kind atmost attention regarding "The Armenian Genocide" Airing
President and Gen.Manager
Mr. Ed Arnold
15751 Gothard Street, Huntington Beach, CA 92647
Re: “THE ARMENIAN GENOCIDE” The documentary that everyone is talking about to be aired March 29, 2007 at 8:00 PM
It has been brought to my attention that KOCE-TV will be airing “the Armenian Genocide” on March 29th, 2007 again!
Naturally my first reaction was to look at your website for further information. The following words were on top of the page:
“The Armenian Genocide" documentary is is the complete story of the first Genocide of the 20th century - when over a million Armenians died
at the hands of the Ottoman Turks during World War I.”
I am not a legal expert, yet in my humble opinion it seems like KOCE-TV has been involved in "Misleading and Deceptive advertising" in relation to the above mentioned program. KOCE-TV is also in breach of the FCC regulations, for such reasons, sections of which I am sure you are aware of.
This movie and the same subject have been around the other PBS stations for the last few years or so. As representing more those 20,000 Turkish Americans residing in Southern California , I have to emphasize that this program misrepresents our heritage, culture and history. It expresses sympathy for the loss of the Christian Armenians, while ignoring Muslim and Jewish deaths at the same period. Clearly the words of the narrator do not tell the “complete story”.
Although the current and previous US administrations have refused to define the Armenian case as “genocide”, your headlines easily express it in the wrong context. This proclamation does however damage the image of the Turkish American community living in your air coverage area.
Your press releases spend the words as “KOCE-TV continues to be a leading resource for education, culture and local issues in Southern California” while airing the twisted misleading information. This action only fuels the hatred of a special interest group but does not reflect the reality for both the Armenian and the Turkish communities.
I am also adding the Press release by the Turkish Ambassador Nabi Sensoy dated last April for the same reasons that I am not repeating further reasonings why our community objects to airing such program, as well as Mr. Kirlikovali’s letter dated April 2006 addressed to you for the same purpose.
As you are well aware of that this is a repetitive act that has to be stopped for good and both sides should be encouraged to be open to free speech, research, dialogue and sustainable reconciliation as it was expressed by Dr. Condoleezza Rice and the Defense Secretary Roberts Gates just yesterday prior to the resolution 106 waiting on the Senate floor.
We do not intend to follow any costly litigation process to stop airing of this program but we are hoping that “the common sense” at your station would .If you still are intended to air it, then you should add the Turkish American's perspective immediately after program.
If you have any other questions, would like to hear our comments and make any arrangement of such on the air discussions, please feel free to reach me directly.
Association of Turkish Americans of Southern California
Message Of Ambassador Sensoy
The Turkish Embassy
For Immediate Release April 18, 2006
Statement By Turkish Ambassador Nabi Sensoy On The Pbs Program "The Armenian Genocide"
The program "The Armenian Genocide," which aired on PBS on April 17, provides a blatantly one-sided perspective of a tragic and unresolved period of world history. Its premise is rejected not only by my Government, but also by many eminent scholars who have studied the period in question. Instead of acknowledging that this issue remains unresolved, the program reflects a self-serving political agenda by Armenian American activists who seek to silence legitimate debate on this issue and establish their spurious orthodoxy as the absolute truth.
Contrary to the program's claims, Armenian allegations of genocide have never been historically or legally substantiated. Unlike the Holocaust, the numbers, dates, facts and the context associated with this period are all contested, and objective scholars remain deeply divided. The legitimacy of this debate " and the continuing lack of consensus " was recently validated by the respected scholar Guenter Lewy, whose latest book The Armenian Massacres in Ottoman Turkey: A Disputed Genocide documents the incomplete historic record and excessive politicization associated with the issue.
Regrettably, the producer of "The Armenian Genocide" does not let facts get in the way of his effort to identify a scapegoat for tragedies that befell many thousands of innocents during a period of World War I when the circumstances of war, inter-communal strife, disease, famine and instability took countless lives regardless of ethnicity or religion. As a result, the program is rife with errors, misrepresentations, exaggerations and unsubstantiated conclusions, with other widely accepted facts and interpretations conveniently omitted . The lack of objectivity, however, is common practice for the film's producer, who in the past has worked with funding from Armenian Americans on similar projects and who has done little to hide his antagonism for Turkey or his bias on the sensitive matter in question. Such predilections are to be expected from this program as well, underwritten by those who subscribe to the genocide thesis and who seek to ignore or suppress evidence that would in any way contradict their view. For this reason, PBS' own Ombudsman has expressed reservations regarding the almost exclusive participation of Armenian Americans in the funding of the program.
To its credit " and in recognition of the strong bias inherent in "The Armenian Genocide" " PBS also produced a panel discussion to accompany the program consisting of experts with a range of views on this matter. Unfortunately, as the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal have reported, many PBS viewers were unable to watch the televised debate, due to the concerted efforts of Armenian American partisans who embarked on a nationwide campaign to prevent its airing by PBS affiliates. By succumbing to overt pressure by these activists and their political allies, PBS affiliates became instruments of self-censorship that should have no place in American society.
For Armenian American activists, PBS programming is just one avenue by which to silence the ongoing debate on this issue. In another recent incident, the University of Southern California cancelled an academic forum featuring two prominent Turkish experts on the matter, due to pressure by Armenian American groups that openly took credit for this heavy-handed suppression of academic expression . Meanwhile, in Massachusetts, teachers and students have been forced to go to court to preserve the presentation of alternatives to the genocide thesis in a state-mandated curriculum guide, yet another incidence of overt and unacceptable censorship driven by Armenian American activists.
It is heartening that in contrast to those running from this debate, the Turkish American community in the United States has taken up the mantle to defend America's constitutional principle of free expression. This community and a growing constituency of friends have pressed for opening this debate to all viewpoints. As a result, in parallel to grassroots efforts to persuade PBS affiliates to air the panel discussion, over 40,000 individuals have signed a petition sponsored by the Assembly of Turkish Associations (ATAA), urging PBS to air other more balanced programs on this difficult and controversial period. In other instances when the right to undertake or express scholarly research has been threatened, Turkish Americans and organizations like the ATAA have consistently supported free and open examination of the facts.
Turkey itself has pursued the facts via numerous collaborative efforts. Last year, Prime Minister Erdog(an issued an unprecedented proposal to Armenian President Kocharian for an impartial study of the matter through the establishment of a joint historical commission, a landmark opening that has yet to receive a favorable response. And unlike U.S.C.'s recent forum cancellation, conferences on this subject are taking place in Turkey with the full support of Government leaders.
Today, Turkey and its expatriates are willing to address these sensitive unresolved matters. Yet each time an effort is made " even here in America, the world's exemplar of open and free expression " our Armenian interlocutors either run from the debate or do anything possible to quash it. Through their efforts, freedom of speech on this issue has been virtually eliminated, from the policy community to university campuses to the televisions of millions of Americans.
It is clear that until and unless the Turkish and Armenian peoples can begin an open, honest and introspective dialogue on this matter, genuine reconciliation will not commence here or in the Caucasus. The circumstances surrounding the PBS program and its airing unfortunately demonstrate that we are nowhere close to reaching a mutual understanding about our common history. Stifling debate and perpetuating a unilaterally established narrative may be expedient for some, but it will not bring about the closure that is needed to lay this difficult issue to rest.
# # #
ATASC President/Chairman 07-08
The Association of Turkish Americans of Southern California
Po Box 15115
Long Beach, CA 90815
Open Letter To Mr Vladimir Karapetian, Armenian FM Spokesman: Need For Reciprocity And Sincerety
We think The Turkish Government has displayed ample goodwill for the Armenian Government to reciprocate by restoring the ruined and destroyed Mosques in Armenia. Let's see what your Government will do for Turks in Armenia and only then Ankara should commence reciprocal building of goodwill.
Let's also remember that at one stage the current capital of Armenia was a Turkish city with mosques and minarets and kulliyes. So where are they now? where is the Turkish population of Yerevan and environs?
Committee of British Turks
Yerevan Downplays Armenian Church Renovation By Turks
By Emil Danielyan
Armenia on Thursday welcomed the inauguration of a newly renovated ancient Armenian church in eastern Turkey, but said that alone will not help to improve Turkish-Armenian relations.
The Foreign Ministry in Yerevan pointed to the Turkish authorities’ apparent refusal to reinstate the 10th century Church of the Saint Cross as a place of worship and accused them of using the high-profile event to prevent U.S. recognition of the Armenian genocide.
The ceremony marking the $1.5 million restoration of the church, located on the island of Akhtamar on the vast Lake Van, took place earlier in the day in the presence of senior Turkish officials, leaders of Turkey’s Armenian community and a government delegation from Armenia. The delegation led by Deputy Culture Minister Gagik Gyurjian attended it at the invitation of Turkish Culture Minister Atilla Koc.
Speaking at the ceremony broadcast live by Turkish television, Koc portrayed the restoration as a gesture of goodwill towards the Armenians and proof of his government’s commitment to protecting the cultural heritage of Turkey’s ethnic minorities.
“This is a positive move and holds the potential of a reversal of the policy of negligence and destruction,” Vladimir Karapetian, the Armenian Foreign Ministry spokesman, said in a statement. He urged Ankara to take the “same kind approach” to dozens of other medieval churches that have fallen into disrepair or been vandalized since the 1915 mass killings and deportations of Armenians in Ottoman Turkey.
“Unfortunately, this opening was not transformed to a new opportunity in Armenia-Turkish relations, because the Turkish government has not found it expedient to do so,” the statement said.
“Turkey’s announcements about the opening of this renovated church do not include the word ‘Armenian’ anywhere,” it added. “Names of kings and regions from medieval times are evoked, but no mention is made of its Armenian and Apostolic belonging. This is an evasion of the Turkish government’s responsibility not only to history and memory, but to its own Armenian minority.”
Also causing controversy in Armenia was the sight of a huge Turkish flag and a picture of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, founder of the Turkish Republic, hanging at the entrance to the Akhtamar church. Yerkir-Media, an Armenian television station that retransmitted the ceremony, aired a live phone-in program afterwards. It featured phone calls by angry viewers that condemned the display of Turkish state symbols on an Armenian religious shrine as blasphemous.
Earlier this week, the head of the Armenian Apostolic Church, Catholicos Garegin II, rejected an official invitation to attend the event because the Turkish government has converted the restored church into a museum and ignored calls by the Turkish-Armenian community to place a cross on the church's dome.
In a speech before about 350 people attending the ceremony, the community’s spiritual leader, Patriarch Mesrop II, urged the government in Ankara to open up the church for worship at least once a year. "If our government approves [the request,] it will contribute to peace between two communities who have not been able to come together for years," Mesrop said.
Koc promised to consider the request. Reuters news agency reported that Turkish officials removed some of the candles placed inside the church by Armenians that arrived on the remote island for the occasion. It said some of them whispered prayers and wept with emotion.
Turkish officials have made no secret of their intention to use the event for countering the decades-long Armenian campaign for international recognition of the 1915-1918 massacres as genocide. The U.S. Congress is to debate a relevant resolution co-sponsored by over a hundred lawmakers soon.
“It is no coincidence that this opening is being held just as the U.S. Congress is considering a resolution on affirming the U.S. record on the Armenian Genocide,” said Karapetian.
Karapetian also criticized Ankara for failing to reopen the Turkish-Armenian for the Armenian officials heading to Akhtamar. The Armenian delegation took 16 hours to reach the site, less than 400 kilometers from Yerevan, via Georgia.
In a related development, the Turkish police detained on Thursday five trade-union representatives who staged a demonstration on a jetty on Lake Van to protest the church's restoration. According to an Associated Press report citing the government-run Anatolia news agency, the protesters carried Turkish flags, pictures of Ataturk, and a banner that read: “The Turkish people are noble. They would never commit genocide.”
29, March 2007
Confident Turkey Looks East, Not West
Turkey was not invited to Europe's big birthday bash yesterday despite being an official candidate for EU membership. Ankara expressed disappointment at a "missed opportunity". Media reaction to the perceived snub was sharper.
"In the 1990s, the EU was a giant organisation governed by prominent leaders," said leading columnist Mehmet Ali Birand. "Today it has become a fat midget that lacks perspective and is governed by small-thinkers."
Disillusion with the EU has deepened since Brussels part-suspended talks in December after a row over Cyprus. The hostility, as seen from Ankara, of French presidential candidate Nicolas Sarkozy and the German chancellor, Angela Merkel, has poisoned the pot further.
But anger and frustration is slowly giving way to a new, more assertive idea: that perhaps Turkey does not really need Europe after all ... - ... and the EU will come to regret its insultingly complacent chauvinism as Turkey goes its own way.
"Europeans underestimate the importance and influence of Turkey," said Fuat Keyman, professor of international relations at Istanbul's Koc university. "If they are serious about the future of Europe as a power in global affairs, they need to change their thinking."
Turkey was recalibrating its external ties and the EU was but one part of the equation, Dr Keyman said. "Membership should not be seen just as a gift to Turkey. There are benefits for Europe, too."
Semih Idiz, a foreign affairs columnist, goes further: "The EU is off the radar. It has confirmed Turkey's worst expectations. At present, it's an irrelevancy."
Turkey's new-found confidence about life beyond Europe is based in part on a booming economy, whose sustained, IMF-supervised 7% annual growth rate far outperforms large EU states. Export earnings are rising too, including in the Arab lands of the old Ottoman empire.
Demographic trends are also boosting independent thinking, said Guven Sak, an Ankara-based economist. "In Turkey the working age population as a proportion of the total population is growing. In Europe, the opposite is true."
Nor should Europe fear a new barbarian horde at the gates. Rates of growth meant that by 2015, Turkey could become a net importer of labour, he said.
Turkey's increasingly important regional leadership role is also changing the way it views the EU. As a vital transit hub, it provides much of Europe's oil and gas from the Caspian basin, Russia and, prospectively, the Turkic republics of central Asia. This is leading to closer cooperation with Moscow and reviving ideas of a Turkic Commonwealth from Azerbaijan to Kazakhstan.
The "reformed Islamist" government in Ankara is also cultivating the Arab and Muslim world. It signalled a new strategic relationship with Egypt this week. It sent peacekeeping troops to Lebanon last year. It talks to Iran when many will not or cannot. Close links to Israel have not prevented the building of ties with Hamas and the Palestinian Authority. And despite tensions with the Kurds, Turkey is northern Iraq's main economic partner. Istanbul is the likely venue of next month's Iraq summit.
Rising ultra-nationalism and "neo-Ottoman" thinking, Islamist extremism and political instability are the acknowledged dangers of Turkey's rise. But its strength is its 70 million people's drive and energy, a dynamic resource that flabby, middle-aged western Europe lacks.
And then, there is fierce pride. "Ours is the only country to reconcile Islam with a fully functioning, multiparty democracy in a modern, secular republic," said opposition MP Sukru Elekdag. "Our experience shatters the myth that Islam cannot accommodate democracy."
Officially, Turkey still wants to join the EU, says Faruk Logoglu of the Centre for Eurasian Strategic Studies in Ankara. But Europe must banish its ignorance and acknowledge its own needs. "Europe is not yet ready for Turkish membership," he said. "It's going to take a long time to educate the European public."
March 26, 2007
March 26, 2007 6:11 AM
"But anger and frustration is slowly giving way to a new, more assertive idea: that perhaps Turkey does not really need Europe after all ... - ... and the EU will come to regret its insultingly complacent chauvinism as Turkey goes its own way."
Spot on, Turkey. I am keeping my fingers crossed that this will be the "New Asian Century". Join us in the (ad)venture.
After I retire, Istanbul, here I come.
March 26, 2007 6:38 AM
"It's going to take a long time to educate the European public."
Hopefully hundreds of years. Turkey is not a European country and never will be.
March 26, 2007 6:54 AM
From 1945, Greece and Turkey were set at each others' throats by the US, to destabilise the region in its attacks on the USSR. England did the same in Cyprus for its own ends as well as the US's. Intellectuals in both countries always knew this, but were held in a trap.
In 1955 there was no more communal ill-feeling than is reported in Jugoslavia until the Croats were enticed into breaking up the country by Kohl under the orders of the pope.
Few countries suffered more than Turkey from the Maastricht or Catholic Central Party policies of mass unemployment that put Hitler into power. It was the "budget first and let the poor drop dead" policies followed by the Tsars in 1905 - anti Jewish pogroms - and Austria under an imbecile Franz-Joseph still living in 1848, that saw the decline of both empires and created the German wars. Turkey and the Balkans were the sacrificial lambs of the Treaty of Versailles and the League of Nations. It was a League against USSR, Thorstein Veblen said. It was a ditator's club, Keynes said.
Keep out of the EU, for your own sake. The British people are wise to be against it.
March 26, 2007 6:59 AM
It is very sad to have to conclude that Europe has developed a proclivity to shoot itself in the foot. There is not only Brussels omission to invite Turkey for the big birthday bash, or the enormity of the rejection, by referendum in certain key European countries, of the proposed EU constitution. There has also been the abdication of power and responsibility to elect an assertive candidate to replace Kofi Annan at the UN. The Turkish former Finance Minister, Kemal Dervesh, already then the Head of UNDP and the former architect of the very successful economic reform programme of Turkey and a former distinguished IMF Economist, would have been the best candidate to replace Kofi Annan, even though, because Europe allowed the dice to be cast in favour of Ban Ki Moon even before the official selection process started, Me Dervesh had not been among the official candidates.
The Turk Kemal Dervesh would have been the ideal internationalist to hyphenate not only Islam with the West, but also an asymmetry-plagued international financial architecture with a fast-changing global military-industrial and geo-strategic landscape. All this to add to the very physical fact that the country sits astride the East and the West.
But, there is no more blind than those who refuse to see no more handicapped of hearing than those who refuse to listen.
In such circumstances, all one can say is: long live the rising East.
March 26, 2007 7:28 AM
It is interesting to see exactly what the objections are to Turkey joining the EU. They seem to boil down essentially to two main points: religion and xenophobia.
With regard to religion Turkey is a secular state. Religion is not forced onto anyone and all religions are tolerated. (That is not to say, however, that there are not small-minded people within that country who wish to force people into their own limited mind-set. We also have similar bigots amongst us.)
Why cannot our religious leaders, for example, consider a fusion between the Judeo-Christian religion and that of Islam? There are many points in common. Is it beyond their capability of finding a greater glory? Or is it simpler to maintain the fiction that “my religion is better than yours” and that “I am sure that I shall go to Heaven but you have a lesser chance”.
Where, for example, in this black-balling of Turkey is the Christian ideal of brotherly love?
The Pope himself does not help in this by his comments. Is he honestly worried about his faith? Does it become anything less because he will come into contact with people of other faiths? Surely not.
And what is this (hidden) xenophobia? Do we really believe that the people of Turkey wish to conquer us? What are we – mice or men?
The Turks are hard-working people who just wish to do the best for their families.
The EU has admitted far less deserving countries into their its midst than Turkey, so why the coyness now - unless we really wish to prove our small-mindedness to the whole world.
March 26, 2007 7:45 AM
"Confident Turkey looks east, not west"
Good. I'm all in favour of that.
March 26, 2007 8:00 AM
Sibel Edmonds is the most gagged woman in United States because she exposed the treason of Dennis Haskert and others in the United States Congress for working as agents on behalf of Turkey.
Maybe this is a major reason on why EU leaders are not so hot on having Turkey join?
March 26, 2007 8:20 AM
Fine, but please stop the "shooting yourself in the foot" phrase that shows a lack of knowledge of its origin and meaning. In the trenches of the 1914-18 war, it was considered as a way of getting yourself invalided out of the army. I doubt it would work, because you would probably have been shot as a traitor, formally or informally.
Come to think of it, if New Labour is trying to show the 1914-18 Generals in a good light, it has succeeded.
March 26, 2007 8:38 AM
@Spartan300, you write '"Confident Turkey looks east, not west". Good. I'm all in favour of that.'
March 26, 2007 9:10 AM
"I am keeping my fingers crossed that this will be the "New Asian Century".
[Teacup], I like (and often agree with) many of your posts, but this one puzzles me. Can't we try to get away from such competitive thinking? Otherwise, it will be the end of us.
When I first left England's green and pleasant shores in 1971 (before it was transformed by mass immigration) and visited Western Europe, I felt for the first time that I was English (all those foreign Dutch, French and Germans!). When after a month or so I continued my travels to Turkey, I realized how much more I was a European. Granted, that was over 30 years ago, and a very personal and subjective experience, but it was a genuine culture shock that I've never forgotten, and I'm inclined to take my gut feelings seriously.
Besides which, the Turks are not a European people; nor do they share our European history and culture, as for example the Russians do. It is towards Russian membership of the EU that we should be working, not Turkish.
Let us be on the friendliest possible terms with the Turks, and Kurds, and everyone else, but not pretend (for the sake of strategic and economic opportunism) that they are Europeans. They are not. Certainly not to me - but then I'm just an ordinary native European citizen.
March 26, 2007 9:26 AM
Turkey thinks it has an unassailable geo-strategic position because the pipelines from the Caspian sea and central Asia pass through its territory. That's what Poland thought until Putin and Schroeder agreed on the building of a pipeline in the Baltic. A pipeline from Georgia to Romania is an interesting prospect....
Let's counter the Anglo-Saxon push for Turkey's adhesion to the EU by advocating the inclusion of Canada and Mexico into the United States
March 26, 2007 9:28 AM
@rogerhicks You write “Let us be on the friendliest possible terms with the Turks, and Kurds, and everyone else, but not pretend (for the sake of strategic and economic opportunism) that they are Europeans. They are not. Certainly not to me - but then I'm just an ordinary native European citizen.”
Certainly, the Turks, from way back, came from central asia and before that from Africa. We also descend from people from Africa.
What exactly is the difference between us? Cut them, and they bleed like we do. Insult them and they become enraged just like us.
What exactly is this difference? Is there a wall just outside Austria, say, which keeps the ravenous hordes at bay?
I am just a simple chap, but you have so much conviction that I am sure that you thought it all well beforehand and can give an answer that even I can understand.
March 26, 2007 9:46 AM
Some of the comments seem to overlook that there are in excess of 3 million Turks living as Turkish EU citizens in many countries of Western Europe. Besides, Turkey is a member of European Council, is a member of all European organisations with the exception of EU, probably the one that is likely to become the most irrelevant of all very soon.
March 26, 2007 9:47 AM
In the nineteenth century it was a commonplace that there was a "velvet curtain", roughly along the lines of the "iron curtain", that somehow separated a more prosperous west from the poorer east. The causes would be an interesting study.
March 26, 2007 9:58 AM
So - Turkey isn't acceptable to the EU because of the three Abrahamic faiths, it isn't Christian or Jewish - and its people aren't "European" (despite many people even on the western fringes having significant qunatities of DNA originating in the middle east). I'm afraid the Turks are right - Europe is dominated by hateful xenophobes and bigoted believers. Look to Poland for Europe's future - racist, homophobic and repressive, a fascist tyranny of the self righteous drawing their stunted inspiration from Rome and the USA.
March 26, 2007 9:58 AM
As a Turkish I see our future not in Europe, but in the East. I hope, The EU will continue to insult us, only then we can see the truths and decide who to trust. In 1997 Turkey made an important decision and formed the D-8 Project with 8 the most-populous Muslim countries in order to develop political, social and economic ties between Muslim Countries. This project was iniatiated by the then Prime Minister Necmettin Erbakan and aimed to balance G-8. I believe, only this and similar projects can prosper Turkey and Muslim world.
March 26, 2007 10:01 AM
Peterless - "@Spartan300, you write '"Confident Turkey looks east, not west". Good. I'm all in favour of that.'
Because Turkey is Muslim, non-European, poor, borders on Iran and Syria, and is rife with socio-cultural problems. Also because I don't give a toss about the EU being some sort of pan-global project and I actively oppose any such moves.
March 26, 2007 10:28 AM
[Peterlee], I do not take issue with what you say about us all being human beings, whom we should respect as we wish to be respected ourselves, but I do take issue with the ideology, which you seem to embody, of "forced universalism" and the "melting pot", which seeks to deny the importance (if not the existence) of ethnic, cultural and historical differences between peoples.
I am a native European and identify strongly with my fellow native Europeans, our shared ethnicity (ancestors), history and culture, which goes back to the ancient Greeks and on into prehistory.
This does NOT mean to say there are not many non-Europeans I like a lot more than many fellow Europeans: I'm with native Africans against white apartheid, with African Americans against discrimination and segregation, with native Australians against white discrimination and abuse etc., but I'm STILL (proud and ashamed) a native (ethnic) European. These are MY people, whom I love and hate.
March 26, 2007 10:43 AM
@diplodocus You write “Let's counter the Anglo-Saxon push for Turkey's adhesion to the EU by advocating the inclusion of Canada and Mexico into the United States.” Talks about this topichave already started between the countries you mentioned but this has little or no relevance to whether Turkey should join the EU or not.
@Keynes (above) appears to dislike the EU. If that be so I am, in large measure, with him. However, I see it as a fact that cannot be wished away. I think, therefore, that we must work within its constraints to broaden its philosophical and democratic principles and let loose the old Napoleonic rigidity (which is easier said than done).
@rogerhicks above suggests admission of Russia to the EU. This I also find to be a good idea, but I fear that their democratic principles have to be developed much further than some of the countries already admitted.
@Keynes re your last comment, that would be a very interesting topic.
@Spartan300 “... because I don't give a toss about the EU being some sort of pan-global project..”
Again, we are in it, the EU that is. We need to change it from the inside. The argument about Turkey in this context is fallacious.
@Spartan300 “our shared ethnicity (ancestors), history and culture, which goes back to the ancient Greeks and on into prehistory. “ Good, but it goes back even further to our common ancestry in Africa. We are all the same underneath. Please elaborate to prove to me the difference between the Turks and the Europeans.
March 26, 2007 10:45 AM
"Teacup], I like (and often agree with) many of your posts, but this one puzzles me. Can't we try to get away from such competitive thinking? Otherwise, it will be the end of us."
Sigh! You are correct, I was being needlessly jingoistic. However, I have often wondered if and why Turkey seems to want to be part of the EU? It seems to me more logical to be part of Asia, partly for the reasons Spartan300 has given in his/her latest post and partly I think Asia should steal a good idea when she sees one. Greater unity among Asian countries would a positive thing, I think. I feel that it may be harder for Asia to come together than it has been for Europe, as our cultures (within Asia) are very different. Of course, the biggest problem there is in the Indian subcontinent, I blush to say. Pax!
I should add that for some strange reason I always think of Egypt as Asian despite its location in Africa. No logic, I agree.
You bring up an interesting point. Traditionally, Islam has been kinder to Judaism and Christianity (people of The Book) than those two religions have been to Islam. Dorothy Sayers, in her preface to "The Divine Comedy" discusses why Dante placed Mohammad in hell (he was considered a heretic). Islam on the other hand considers Isaa to be a prophet and routinely announce "peace be upon him".
Posters from Turkey,
From my understanding of the history of Orthodox Christianity, there should be a significant Christian minority in Turkey. Is this correct?
I have trouble accessing articles in the leader and comment sections, so if I do not reply, it is for this reason and not rudeness.
March 26, 2007 10:45 AM
Neo liberals and their supporters in the media want to extend the EU to Turkey and maybe Azerbaijan in order to fully control the oil (and soon to be Nabucco) gas pipelines passing through Turkey. In spite of some reforms, certain subjects like the Armenian genocide, Kurdish rights etc remain taboo in Turkey. It's almost taboo to raise these issues here as well, and if you do, you risk being instantly smeared as "anti-Muslim" (by sworn liberals of all people!) as if right to free speech must be denied to Turks because they are Muslim!
March 26, 2007 10:51 AM
Peterlee - "@Spartan300 “... because I don't give a toss about the EU being some sort of pan-global project..”
Again, we are in it, the EU that is. We need to change it from the inside. The argument about Turkey in this context is fallacious."
We're in the European Union. We're not in the Pan-Global Union of Random Countries.
"@Spartan300 “our shared ethnicity (ancestors), history and culture, which goes back to the ancient Greeks and on into prehistory. “ Good, but it goes back even further to our common ancestry in Africa. We are all the same underneath. Please elaborate to prove to me the difference between the Turks and the Europeans."
You're quoting someone else's post here. It wasn't me who wrote this stuff about shared ethnicity etc so I'll leave that for the relevant commenter to respond to.
March 26, 2007 11:18 AM
I'm not sure what the definition of 'European-ness' is that some use to exclude Turkey, but I can speculate. Perhaps it is the dubious proposition that Western or European civilisation can somehow trace for itself a direct line of descent from Periclean Athens, the Hellenistic Mediterranean, Rome etc. More accurate to call that a selective appropriation by much later societies for their contemporary symbolic needs. Does 'Spartan300's handle hint at such blithe, jejune assumptions? I'm not sure if that username predates a recently released film that has more to do with a certain type of teenage boy's masturbatory fascist fantasies than a finely grained appreciation for the intertwined history of human civilisation, but a meeting of the minds strongly suggests itself.
If it is it 'Christendom', then which one? The EU has already absorbed large areas of what was the Byzantine world of Orthodoxy. Let us not forget that Western Christendom perceived these lands as degenerate, 'Oriental' and practising the 'wrong type' of Christianity and brutalised them accordingly when opportunities presented themselves. So leMar's invocation of 1453 is quite meaningless. If Greece, Cyprus, Romania and Bulgaria are deemed sufficiently 'Occidental', then Turkey's exclusion seems dubious on these grounds. If we are to extend our idea of 'European-ness' to include Orthodoxy, then we must concede that Islam has also been an integral part of that wider, more inclusive story and not simply an intruder. From Iberia and Sicily to the Balkans, there is a long cultural story of European Islam which it would do 'us' well to acknowledge and appreciate.
If it is standards of secularism, then Turkey is, along with France, one of the most militantly secular states anywhere. Priest-ridden states like Ireland and Poland, as well as the UK where an establishment Church is linked to the head of state were admitted to the EU with nary a murmur on that front.
Standards of democracy and civil society? Turkey can rightly be criticised on this front because of, for example, the unhealthy cult of Ataturk that still stunts critical discourse in the country. The scandal of the Orhan Pamuk trial (and that of other writers less well known to non-Turks), the Dink murder, the Kurdish and Armenian questions all need to be addressed openly in Turkey but not in an atmosphere where it is demonised simplistically by external critics. Let us not forget that states such as Spain, Portugal, Greece and the former Soviet satellites were all admitted to the EU with authoritarian histories as recent, if not more so, than Turkey's.
As for rogerhicks touching story: is he to be congratulated for having the narrow boundaries of his xenophobia extended by a trip to Turkey? From 'little England' to the 'Clash of Civilisations' no less - well done; now that’s progress! Setting aside its deeply sinister connotations, I'd be interested to know the definition of rogerhicks' new-found sense of European 'native-ness'.
mehmetaslan is right. 'We' make a mistake in assuming that Turkey is simply a perpetual supplicant that flatteringly wants to be 'one of us' but can, of course, never be accorded that privilege. If Turkey tires of the insults, it may well turn away and pursue other options. That would be Europe's loss and 'we' do a deep disservice to the true story of 'our continent' by encouraging that prospect with, at best, tiny minded xenophobia and, at worst, thinly veiled racism.
March 26, 2007 11:30 AM
“ Good, but it goes back even further to our common ancestry in Africa. We are all the same underneath. Please elaborate to prove to me the difference between the Turks and the Europeans."
[Peterlee], of course we are all the same (more-or-less) underneath, our common humanity and all that, but what a terribly monotonous and boring world it would be if we didn't acknowledge, cultivate and celebrate our differences!
Also, I want to be true to my feelings. I FEEL a strong sense of European identity: cultural, historical AND ethnic. Notwithstanding the importance of our common humanity (I want us all to live in just peace and harmony), I do not feel a strong sense of pan-global identity, as you seem to. Sorry.
March 26, 2007 11:37 AM
No, it's not Turkey which needs to stop throwing bloggers into gaol and torturing people demanding basic human rights we take for granted but we who need to educate our people about how we need to lower our standards and compromise our values. We've been doing that for too long and look at what stage we're at. I think our culture is superior for the gifts we have provided our children after the blood shed to preserve freedom and this writer now wishes to dilute such treasure.
Turkey is looking east now, is it? Best of luck to it.
March 26, 2007 11:45 AM
Turkey has the strong possibility of being an entrepot/crossroads country, the way that Singapore has done as a terminus between the Indian Ocean and the South China sea. Lebanon used to be a banking capital of the Middle-East. There is nothing to stop Ankara becoming a strong financial services hub for the Asian 'Stans' and the Middle East.
The fly in the ointment is the chaos in Iraq. As I have stated before, when the Kurds of ex-Iraq become even more autonomous ie, declare independence, there will be a strong temptation for Turkey to invade Kurdish Iraq. If you guys think Bush stuffed up Amrican foreign policy by invading Iraq, things will be equally disastrous for Turkey if it gets sucked into the Iraq quagmire.
March 26, 2007 11:47 AM
@Spartan300 “Because Turkey is ..... poor, ...”
@ZoltanTheWonderHorse “What is Turkey's excuse for a GDP per head of $8,900? (next door, Bulgaria's is $10,400).?”
Thank you gentlemen for providing a third reason why we should not admit the Turks to the EU. Apart from xenophobia, cultural and religious upbringing, we now have financial and economic reasons to keep Turkey out. (Zoltan.. even hints at a barrier somewhere around $10,000 for the GDP).
Why did the community start off as the EEU (the second E standing for Economic)? We wished to help our poorer neighbours, which is why the Republic of Ireland and some poorer parts of the UK have also benefited from the monetary pot.
I am against your thesis. Why should we not help them? Why do we send financial aid to Africa and parts of the Asian continent?
Where do we draw the line? Do we send no aid to people poorer than ourselves?
I am completely mystified. Please enlighten me.
March 26, 2007 11:48 AM
Hostage2Fortune - nah, I won't bother engaging in any facile attempts to deconstruct your nick. Mine was adopted to wind up a few people on a 300 thread last week. As I can't be asked registering for an alternative, I'll stick with it until I get bored with CiF.
Of course objections to Turkey joining the EU are "xenophobic". The EU is inherently "xenophobic" in conception, defining itself as it does in terms of a geographic/historical/cultural entity known as "Europe" and thereby conceptually and practically excluding "not-Europe".
I've given my reasons for not wishing to see Turkey join the EU. I've given them honestly: Turkey is Muslim, non-European, poor, etc. Europe is a concept. For the great majority of Europeans - as evidenced in countless studies and polls - it's not a concept that includes Turkey or other pretenders such as Morocco. The EU depends upon a sense of commonality; for the most part, its citizen feel no commonality with Turkey. Sure, it's xenophobic but xenophobia has its inclusionary aspects as well as its exclusionary ones. We are "us"; they are not "us". Long may it remain so.
March 26, 2007 11:52 AM
I've seen some comments about Turkey:'Eastern Country','Turkey belongs to East' or whatever.You're absolutely right to say Turkey is situated in East.But what about European Union?A technological slave of USA,a military slave of USA,a political slave of USA.
Ok,I'm Turkish and I don't wanna get in the EU.Why?Because of these reasons.I don't wanna be in a union of slaves(EU).Ok you may ask what about my country,isn't it a slave of USA in all these fields.Yes we are also slave of USA,but not a slave of EU.Coz I think whatever people talk about USA,they are less hungry of blood than Europeans.Especilally when I think about past.They never genocided Mayas,Inkas,Azteks,Algerians,Jews,Indians.
Yes You're right to say in Turkey there's no human rights,no independance, no democracy.But we did never genocide anyone.It means in Turkey, maybe we have problems about these fields but at least we are not respecting just our citizens and are genociding other nations;not like (bright)European countries.Have all these stuff in your country,say that you're defending human rights and democracy and then go and genocide other nations.Sorry but it's not something for Turkey.It's for EU.And keep going,keep going to underestimate east,but history is nothing more than a repetition.Sometimes some nations rise and some nations fall,but finally a turkish country comes and teaches Europeans to respect EVERYONE IN THE WORLD not just YOUR OWN CITIZENS.Don't forget EU nothing ever changes...
March 26, 2007 12:02 PM
Turkey is European by choice. When Ataturk formed the modern Turkey, he directed it to face west for good reason, believing that his country should try to benefit from the economic and scientific advances on offer only in Europe.
It joined Nato as a result of that west facing decision. It fostered good relations with America, the EU and Israel for that reason. And it became the most powerful economy in its region for that reason.
So it would be foolish for Turkey to look East now. The west still has the economic and scientific advancement that made it a valuable friend to turkey in the past. But Turkey is faced with a new question. What can it offer the west?
In the cold war its offering was clear. It had a strong and well trained army in a strategically vital part of the world. Post-cold war this mattered less, especially since Israel developed nuclear defences that should ensure it won’t be invaded again.
Instead it can act as an example of a functioning Islamic-democratic state akin to the British or French or German Christian-democratic state. This in turn makes it a valued partner in dealing with Muslim nations that the west must deal with to secure energy sources and improve their own security.
But the EU is something different. Far from a political body, it is primarily an economic body. As such Turkey has to hold out an economic prospect to the EU.
That prospect may be blurred by xenophobia and islamophobia, but that can largely be overcome just as the various fears about East European countries joining were overcome. (a good case can be made that the secular attitude of Turkey gives it much more in common with the UK than the highly religious Poland).
So what does Turkey offer? It has a large and growing population with relatively high standards in its higher education sector. There is a strong work ethic that has seen something akin to an industrial revolution take place in central turkey in recent years. And there is of course the oil pipeline factor.
But more than that – Turkey has time on its side.
Greek banks are growing into regional majors as Greece is the richest nation in its region. And they have started expanding operations in Turkey. Similar things are happening in other sectors, and it works two ways with Turkish firms winning over Greek markets.
Greece has thus become a significant proponent of enlargement to turkey, as have countries like Britain with older economic ties. And as Turkey’s economy proves its benefits more political will will back membership.
So Turkey shouldn’t turn its back on Europe, it should just have patience and remember that its own strength will eventually win Europe round.
March 26, 2007 12:07 PM
[Hostage2Fortune], We have very different attitudes (feelings) and standpoints, and what is your immediate response? To push me toward a corner (a box) with "racists" and evil people.
Unless you want this to end in possible civil war, you should try being as tolerant of differing views and attitudes amongst your own people (assuming that you are a native European yourself) as you are of those of non-European peoples.
If you don't (or don't want to) see yourself as one of "my people", that's OK. It is certainly no reason not to respect each other, or even to be friends (I certainly do not want to be enemies with you - or with anyone else). But I am not going to be told how I should or shouldn't feel, when I cannot even tell myself.
Instead of dismissing me (my attitudes) as (potentially) "racist", try understanding them instead.
Xenophobia (if you understand its broader meaning rather than the narrow, negative, one of "hate of foreigners") is the flip side of a single coin, on the other side of which is the "love of things familiar": "familiaphilia", perhaps.
I am not a xenophobe (hater of foreigners) but a passionate FAMILIAPHILE. Understanding that will take you a long way to understanding me, my attitudes and opinions, and perhaps those of a few other suspected "racists".
My homepage: http://www.spaceship-earth.org
March 26, 2007 12:21 PM
Apparently, the quality of mercy only rains on the just and unjust as long as they are Christians.
March 26, 2007 12:33 PM
Teacup, top of the morning (oops, afternoon already) to you.
"From my understanding of the history of Orthodox Christianity, there should be a significant Christian minority in Turkey. Is this correct?"
Sorry, though not Turkish, I cannot resist that question. There should be, there was, and between 1895-1925 it dropped from around 20 to 0%. The Why is not a pretty tale.
For the rest, I wish Turkey all the best, but I can't for the life of me see them as a European nation. I'm with RogerHicks on this one. Anyway, Turkey not being a member doesn't exclude mutually beneficial agreements and relationships of all kinds between Turkey and Europe.
March 26, 2007 12:34 PM
Teacap, you are right that Islam has been traditionally kinder to Christianity than Christianity to Islam. Christians had experience with polytheistic pagans. So when they met Muslims they had seen them as heretics (a heretic is worse than a pagan, naturally). They were not able to recognize Islam as a separate religion. Which speaks on behalf of Turks.
And, yes, you are right, there were large minorities of Christians in Turkey. A friend of mine visited Turkey some time ago and told me about very beautiful ancient Christian churches which are rotting down. I a decade or so, they will be gone. Political reason, I would guess. Which speaks against Turkey.
The idea of Europe ( a strange continent, basically part of Asia) or better of Christendom
was born from the encounter with Muslims (the other), from necessity to protect Europe against invasion. Which speaks against Turkey.
(I can imagine a redefinition of Europe to include Islam)
It was said that Turkey is a secular country. Yes, it is. But are secular the Turks? The wife of Turkish prime minister wears hidhajb, isn't she? And the ruling party is a islamist one.
And how many are Turks? And what about Turkey GDP? It is even lower than GDP of Romania and Bulgaria.
To accept Turkey into EU would meant the end of a dream about social just Europe, it would mean victory of Anglo-Saxon free trade Europe.
Even today the new member states do not get the same level of subsidies as the old ones. To accept Turkey would mean to ask Slovaks and Estonians to start to subside Turkey. Good luck with it.
My of my favourite colleagues is from Turkey. A young secular, emancipated women. I do not see a difference between me and her. I am glad that we "imported" her. But how many % of Turkish population she represents?
Two years ago was killed by her family in Berlin a young women. Her crime was that she wanted to live like Germans. She was not alone. A pol among young Turkish-German students have showed, that a great part of them agreed with the killing. You can not be part of Europe and in the same time to believe that when a woman wants to behave like an European she should be killed. Sorry.
March 26, 2007 12:36 PM
Turkey should not enter the EU not because it is Muslim, but because it is nationalistic.
Surely a country where an author goes on trial for insulting the nation is not ready for the EU? And imagine Muslims being treated in Western Europe as Kurds are in Turkey? We wouldn't hear the end of it.
Islam doesn't seem to be so much the problem in Turkey as does nationalist fundamentalism which resembles European ideology in the 1930s. Indeed the headscarve is banned in educational establishments in Turkey, the state there at least is a lot more secular than many EU countries, and no need to mention Poland which is practically run by the catholic church.
It is argued that it is thanks to the secular nationalist army which is ever-prepared to flex it's muscle that islam doesn't have any influence in the corridors of power. But if the state relaxed it's nationalist stance which the EU would encourage, would radical islam replace it? Difficult question to answer.
March 26, 2007 12:37 PM
'Spartan .003': (I'd better nab 'the Leather Y-Fronted one' before he/she gets too bored with Cif). O Olympian one, you state: 'The EU depends upon a sense of commonality'. Comprised of what, exactly? I've speculated above, but maybe you'll enlighten an eager reader!
Zoltantheblunderhorse is easily dismissed. Turkey's democracy may be flawed, with some lingering authoritarian traits that must be jettisoned before but it could be admitted to the EU, but it is emphatically not a totalitarian state. To suggest otherwise, as you have done, is to deploy a rhetorical tool commonly known as 'a LIE'. Simply shocking that an upstanding champion of European Enlightenment values like you would stoop so low.
rogerhicks may try to present himself as the cuddly face of eugenics, but is unlikely to fool more alert readers who can tell a crypto-fascist by its peculiarly malodorous spoor. I ask again, what are the defining characteristics of this putative European 'ethnicity' and 'native-ness' you conjure up?
March 26, 2007 12:45 PM
hostage2fortune - "'Spartan .003': (I'd better nab 'the Leather Y-Fronted one' before he/she gets too bored with Cif). O Olympian one, you state: 'The EU depends upon a sense of commonality'. Comprised of what, exactly? I've speculated above, but maybe you'll enlighten an eager reader!"
Don't panic, I'm not bored with playing here yet and my armour-plated lycra underwear is still comfy though getting a little sweaty.
A sense of European commonality - the sense that the citizens of "Europe" have a concept of being "European" at all - broadly, a long history of similarities and interactions, political, social, cultural, religious. Like it or not, agree with it or not, such a notion exists and underlies the very foundation of the European Union itself (hence "European" Union, and not "Random" Union).
Muslim, near-Eastern Turkey is not part of it and no amount of wishful thinking or rhetoric will make it so.
March 26, 2007 12:46 PM
"Am I xenophoic? Yes, probably, but not as xenophobic as Kemal Ataturk's successors, who have delusions of grandeur bordering on the psychotic, as no doubt our resident loonie PapaSmurf will demonstrate on this page today."
Putting 70 million people into one basket requires a skill more than xenophobia.
"PS Can we let the Kurds and Armenians into the EU? They know how to work, and it would have the added bonus of pissing these fascist Turkish freaks off."
You are no more than the European symmetrical of the Turkish fascists. Why don't you set up your own Fascintern and cry no all together against Turkey's EU membership?
I fully agree with left/liberal comments that my country has a long way to go for membership, which includes confronting the Kurdish issue, Cypriot issue and Armenian genocide -I name it as a genocide. You must be shocked there is one Turkish citizen who thinks it is genocide. Well, bigotry doesn't eradicate all brain skills such as reaction to surprise-.
On the other hand, I challenge the right-wing connotations of "European identity". Anyone who had a look at European history, let's say anyone who read Fernand Braudel or anyone from Annales School, knows that Europe is not a historical entity; but a political project. While it might be consistent that one doesn't want Turkey in that project; trying to link this demand to the context of history, identity, religion, etc. is related to, yes, xenophobia. No smart term could save the face. Again, which Europe? the Mediterranean basin? Scandinavia? Anglo-Saxons? Malta, where divorce is illegal? The fascist-land Poland or Hungary, where the Roma faces a ruthless segregation? Get them all together and draw an intersection circle regarding culture and 'habitus', you will see much common points with Turkey than you could expect.
This 'border with Iran/Syria' argument is childish. The project Europe is based on soft-power. In case they would need an army, one couldn't find a more reliable partner than Turkey. So, is having a border with a rejected, pissed-off non-EU country, who is looking Eastward, more feasible?
I ask the confused minds, whether they would admit Turkey when it -hypothetically, let's say- fulfilled the Copenhagen Criteria, took important steps on respect to human rights, solved the Cypriot problem, and came on peaceful terms with its fellow Kurdish citizens as well as its Kurdish neighbours. Would you say 'yes' to the membership of Turkey in that case?
March 26, 2007 12:48 PM
So a country that nobody in Europe wanted in Europe doesn't want to be in Europe any more. Big deal.
March 26, 2007 1:05 PM
In citing pundits like Birand you are merely pandering to wounded AMOUR PROPRE:
In the 1990s, the EU was a giant organisation governed by prominent leaders," said leading columnist Mehmet Ali Birand. "Today it has become a fat midget that lacks perspective and is governed by small-thinkers."
From a broader perspective you have written a public relations piece for Turkish propagandists that their embassies in the West will no doubt be STENCILLING AND DISTRIBUTING for months to come. Do you see yourself as a critical commentator, Simon __or as a mere publicist?!
Teacup, I see that you're banging away at it again: when a 'westerner' like you is cherleading and endorsing a policy position (in this case on Turkey) it's time to get suspicious. At least you'll have MarkGreen0 to console you.
March 26, 2007 1:07 PM
Aristophanes evidently doesn't know his Herodotus. The Egyptians were the cleverest people there were, and they taught the Greeks most of what they knew.
The Victorians, ref Hattersley, rewrote history to justify some of their genocides and plunders. Black Athena by Bernal. They also downplayed the invention of the alphabet by the Phoenicians, early Semites (Arabs and Jews).
March 26, 2007 1:16 PM
I can assure you from first hand experience that Turkey is not ready for the EU, neither politically, nor economically, nor culturally. They are pretty full of themselves, but are unable to deliver the goodies.
Not inviting them to Berlin is ok by me. After all, they refuse to recognise an EU Member State. We can't let them get away with this, no matter what the (doubtful) geostrategic value of Turkey may be.
March 26, 2007 1:34 PM
Europe has just celebrated its 50th birthday. This event was about PAST achievments and NOT future aspirations - thus, to not include Turkey (like all the other EU-candidates) is but logical. Seen in this light there's no need for anyone to get upset.
What RogerHicks said about the Russians is worth debating (on another thread perhaps). The ex-Soviet Union is both rich and, yes, of predominantly European stock. We should, indeed, speak to these peoples first when we take into consideration EU expansion. Speaking of which, Angela Merkel (who also speaks Russian), thus, meets the profile of the new politician, i.e. politicians who are tri-lingual, pro-European and pro-neocon. The latter is necessary for a vision like a united Europe to flourish, because it takes values and traditions to build a solid foundation.
European History is rich in both values, and traditions.
Once we get our house in order (e.g. EU policies) we will be a productive world team player who both has the wisdom and the experience to get along with everybody else.
March 26, 2007 1:42 PM
I am British.We are keeping out of Europe wisely for the same Xenophobic reasons as Zoltan and spartan etc.Too many Greeks,Romanians,Bulgarians and such people that dont fit.We dont mind a trade relations but to have a constitution sharing with such diverse xenophobic people and losing our rights to making our own laws is lunacy.Turkey should take our example and stay out. Xenophobia is rife and ancient historically memories make some people still very immature.Not worth joining them.If the Turkish diaspora of Central Asia come together they will be a force to be counted particularly if they connect with China,India and Russia.Europe,sadly, is still very parochial and insular.
March 26, 2007 1:42 PM
After reading http://tinyurl.com/ybsrmb, I take back my earlier post; the fact that the country is Muslim is as much justification for Turkey to not join as the state's nationalist fundamentalism.
March 26, 2007 1:45 PM
Thank those who oppose Turkish EU membership. They at least tell us the true intention of Europeans. There is no doubt that Turkey does not belong to the EU, although Turkey have dominated Europe for centuries in the past. The EU Project is a union against its historic enemy Turkey. How can you expect a union filled with hatred and racism to digest its enemy by accepting it as its member. So, I enthusiastically support those Europeans opposing Turkish membership. Only by their opposition we can turn our face from the West to the East. Turkey does not deserve to join a Union whose basic elements and civilisation based-on mere imperialism. A civilisation which has murdered millions of people and their cultures in past and now. Turks must realise that while the Europeans leaders praising our secular establishment, they are becoming more religious and going back to their dark ages. By joining the EU, Turkey will be sharing the crime that the EU has committed against humanity.
March 26, 2007 1:45 PM
So, to sum up what I've read. We have a vibrant, young, hard-working, dynamic country with a higher growth rate than many EU countries, that straddles both East and West and holds key relationships with the middle east. It is a secular Islamic country which has successfully adopted multi-party democracy and is confident and optimistic about the future. And the EU is snubbing it?
I don't see what people are afraid of? There are already 3 million Turkish workers in the EU, and predictions are that many will be going back home soon because prospects are better there!
Our ageing, stagnant economies and societies could do with a foreign injection. Time and time again in history, this has been shown to shake up the status quo for the better. No, it will not always be smooth, but its for the best. Once you start to ring-fence a (European) culture against change, it will signal the start of the end. The EU should be chasing Turkey, because Turkey will increasingly become hard to get!
March 26, 2007 2:04 PM
@ Peterlee "It is interesting to see exactly what the objections are to Turkey joining the EU. They seem to boil down essentially to two main points: religion and xenophobia."
er, what about the fact that it represses free speech in a way that is completly unacceptable to modern Europe? What about the fact that minority faiths (e.g. Christians and Jews) are denied equal land rights in Turkey? Stop being an apologist for this country that refuses to even let its citizens discuss the countries history
March 26, 2007 2:07 PM
150 years ago Turks started to break down the cultural "iron curtain" between Turkey and Europe. In 1923, they founded a modern country, which is than become now an ascending candidate to EU, and the only secular democracy among the Muslim countries. Europe, on the other hand, despite the fact that it could show the strength to demolish the Iron Curtain between West and the Soviet Bloc almost 20 years ago, never had the courage to overcome its historical fears against Turks; fears which are mainly fuelled by Christian Democratic/religious circles. They don't even try to understand that, a country like Turkey, who has never been colonialized by any Western power, after winning its struggle against European powers, started deliberately to change by its own dynamics with the ambition of reaching the top level of modern civilization. Now, it's so close to Europe than any other episode of its history. It's true that the membership of Turkey would not be the same thing as of any other country, but it would show Europe's willingness to make a further step to widen the peaceful circle to another dimension; another big step after formation of EEC after World War 2, to break this virtual "iron curtain" deeply rooted in their minds against Turks.
March 26, 2007 2:20 PM
"The EU Project is a union against its historic enemy Turkey. " Nonsense, the Austria - Hungarian empire was a project against its historic enemy Turkey. The aim of the EU project was to prevent Germans and French from killing each other every 20 years.
March 26, 2007 2:26 PM
"rogerhicks may try to present himself as the cuddly face of eugenics, but is unlikely to fool more alert readers who can tell a crypto-fascist by its peculiarly malodorous spoor".
[Hostage2Fortune], you obviously have no interest in understanding me - just in putting me in a box and dismissing me, as Hitler did with the Jews, whom, together with Marxists, he referred to in much the same as you do to me: vermin to be exterminated, having following its "malodorous spoor".
But, of course, you don't need to understand "racists", do you? No more than Hitler needed to understand the Jews.
March 26, 2007 2:37 PM
Hey, doesn't anyone remember what how they treated those guys in "Midnight Express"? That really says it all.
March 26, 2007 2:43 PM
My mum owns a house in Turkey. I'm told that, if Turkey are ever allowed to join the EU, then the price will rocket.
Let 'em in I say. For the sake of my inheritance if nothing else.
March 26, 2007 2:48 PM
"Sorry, though not Turkish, I cannot resist that question. There should be, there was, and between 1895-1925 it dropped from around 20 to 0%. The Why is not a pretty tale"
correction: still there are some 20 000 of them at least.
there are even some churches in different parts and YES they are in use..
I would like to hear the not-so-pretty tale.
We also have a tale, and it is not funny either. stil I want to compare them.
March 26, 2007 2:52 PM
Turkey is not part of Europe. End of story. Stop discussion here. Move on to next topic:
1. Dismantling the EU and Britain's withdrawal at the earliest opportunity.
March 26, 2007 2:53 PM
Turkey is recognized as a European country by almost every international organisation. A hundred and fifty years ago it was accepted into the Concert of Europe. It is the idea that Turkey is not European which is new. And racist, isn't it? What happens to Indians or Africans living in the UK and other EU countries if Turks are to be excluded? Try reading this debate again and substitute the word "Jew" or "Black" for Turk.
The Spiegel article refers to horrifying crimes against girls who want to live the life of modern women but belong to the Kurdish community in Berlin. This sort of crime is exactly what Ataturk and the Turkish Republic have fought against for 80 years. And of course it appears in a German magazine, which like British broadcasters, is no friend of Turkish entry. In UK, you are not allowed to say in newspaper reports "This crime is committed by Indians or Japanese or whoever" because it is regarded in racism. but in Germany you can.
Then someone in England picks up the story, and tries to ban all Turks from the EU as a result of a single crime in another country committed among immigrants.
The EU has repeatedly promised Turkey that it was eligible to join and would be treated like another other member. Now it has glaringly broken its word because of racists in France, Germany, and other countries.
Turkey is reacting against this bad faith and insults (we read everything you write and say about us here) which is why ultra-nationalists and people who look east are riding high and may go on to reverse all the liberalisation of the last century and even create a religious state if they can.
If the EU had done what it has done elsewhere, then liberalisation would have accelerated.
It doesn't seem very smart move to me. Sixth biggest trading partner of EU, second largest NATO army, fastest growing economy,a country which set up an industrial customs union with the EU without any EU aid--and made a big success of it. And now it gets racialy insulted "You are not European" and expelled and destabilized. If EU really is that stupid, it must be more brain-dead than it was in 1914 and will have a lot of trouble in store. But it is going to be nasty for us all.
Thanks so much Europe.
March 26, 2007 3:00 PM
Can any of our resident Turkophiles list any benefits for Europeans in allowing Turkey into the EU?
March 26, 2007 3:00 PM
EU and TURKEY
It is absolutely essential to the national security of the EU that Turkey joins the European Union. The last thing that the EU wants is a destabilized Turkey – again the Sick Man of Europe – turning to nationalism and Islamic extremism. However we must be honest right from the start – there is no way Turkey will be allowed to join the EU unless a different approach is employed by both sides.
This is the defining moment in Turkish history. Turkey stands at a crossroad – completing its historical move to the West started by Kemal Ataturk in the 1920’s or away from the West and toward political Islam. We must do everything to ensure a Western future for Turkey.
Turkey must first of all realize that even if it was a 99.9% Christian country, the EU would still not want it as a member. Europe suffers from expansion fatigue. A phony disease designed by European politicians to keep others from sharing the economic fruits and power of the EU. After 9/11 and the bombings in Spain and London, and given that Turkey is 99% Moslem this sentiment has only increased. People are scared. Europe fears millions of poor, conservative, uneducated masses pouring across its borders and living on its streets, in its subway systems. Self segregating ghettos. Unwilling to integrate. Hostile to their new homelands. A European Nightmare.
In order to overcome this fear, the following strategy should be implemented:
Turks have to realize that joining the EU involves the Europeanization of Turkey not the Turkization of Europe. A long road started by Ataturk completing the Westernization and secularization of Turkey. Political Islam is rejected.
While Turkey is fulfilling its membership requirements, (an estimated 15 year process) both governments start an educational program whereby every class/ school in Turkey has a corresponding class/school in France, Germany, Austria and Netherlands. In this way through the internet and other means of communication - each Turkey child attending school has a soul mate of similar age in Europe to correspond and grow up with. At least once during the next 15 years, both governments fund entire schools from Turkey traveling to Europe to meet their pen pals and vice versa.
Upon completion of the 35 chapters, Turkey joins Europe but with the stipulation that the right of migration will be considered only when Turkey’s GDP grows to 85% of the old 15 member states and unemployment is reduced to 9%. A face saving mechanism for both sides. Studies have shown that very few people want to leave their homes unless forced to by a lack of economic opportunity. In a prosperous economy with income and unemployment levels at the stated criteria very few Turks will migrate to Europe. Upon joining - Turkey’s economy will boom and over time rise to a GDP rivaling the original founders. In the meantime, as Europe enters an era of massive labor shortages due to population decline, then Turks with skills needed by industry could apply on a priority basis for special working visas. Only in this way will Turkey be allowed to join. The peoples of France, Austria and the Netherlands who oppose Turkey’s entry should be persuaded by the above arrangement. Turkey joins Brussels with all the rights of membership. The feared right of migration is formalized later when GDP and unemployment criteria are met. By that time very few will want to leave except to visit.
Finally, to help Turkey resolve its Kurdish minority crisis, the EU sends a delegation to the Kurdish areas of Turkey to explain to them what a European future means and their place in a united democratic Turkey where all their rights are guaranteed. Allocates funds to re- build entire communities ravaged by civil war. (Over one million Kurds were made homeless.) An EU/ Turkey delegation travels to Kurdistan and offers the Kurds - a Special Relationship in Europe just short of actual membership - a special autonomous status - not nation state status. Kurdistan is guaranteed trade access, economic assistance, employment opportunities, education and technology – in short all the benefits of belonging to the EU. In return, they must implement freedom and democracy to all citizens including the Turkmen and Arabs, agree to share the oil wealth of Kurkik and if Iraq does not break apart, then the oil wealth of Kurdistan. And complete the 35 chapters. End the safe haven in the Kurdish mountains for both Kurdish rebels from Turkey and Iran. This special relationship will guarantee the future of Kurds. And remove a big thorn from Turkey’s political life. In this way the EU stabilizes both Turkey and Northern Iraq.
There can be no political correctness applied to Turkey’s membership bid. They must complete all the 35 chapters. And Turks keep their Secular Democratic Republic. In return the EU allows Turkey to join.
March 26, 2007 3:02 PM
I think Europe is in a sick mind of frame. Their racist seeds are so deep inside they don't even know it is there. They keep refreshing their memories about what happened 300 years ago and continue to have nightmares and strangely enough they seem to enjoy it. They give promises they do not even intend to keep. They sign treaties (Britain-Greece-Turkey) that Cyprus can not join any union (European Union), unless problems on the island are solved. They sign agreements that visas will be lifted by 1986 which they did not keep. They sign agreements to compensate for the loss under the customs agreement which they do not pay. They allow goods to pass free but not the businessmen who produce them. They want Turkish workers but they let them sleep on the pavements to get the visa to get to their work and without their family and children thus dividing families etc. I think they are trying to isolate Turkey and its people pushing them out of the house remembering times of the Ottoman Empire 300 years ago, even the article above mentions Ott. Emp. I think they need to see a psychiatrist.
March 26, 2007 3:16 PM
If you want to stick to facts how about stating that there were six crimes against Turkish women in four months alone and in one city - Berlin - and not "a single crime".
You may also want to explain why you feel the need to claim that the crimes were committed by Kurds and not Turks. Are Kurds of Turkish nationality not Turkish? If so surely Turkey needs to resolve its internal divisions before entering the EU?
Surely if as you say ultranationalists are riding high and ready to even create a religious state simply because many Europeans are not ready to accepy Turkey in the EU, presumably all pretentions to being a western nation appear to be superficial and solely for financial gain, if all it rests on is the attitude of outsiders?
March 26, 2007 3:35 PM
RogerHicks and Vidocq are sensible when they root for Russian membership, first. One doesn't have to be a Communist either to embrace Russian cultural and economic exchange, right?
" ....Turkey have dominated Europe for centuries in the past ....."
maybe it's this oppression Europeans are sick of?
"Turkey's new found confidence about life beyond Europe is based in part on a booming economy, whose, sustained IMF - supervised 7% annual growth rate far outperforms large EU countries"
Speaking of large EU countries, maybe it has escaped your attention that these carry the brunt of feeding most of the Turkish dole leeches which Turkey very wisely pushed out of their own backyard. Would Turkey really care for its citizens it would see to these people by offering them proper education and jobs. The government should rather ask itself, why so many of its subjects prefer to turn their backs on Turkey and head elsewhere?
"Rates of growth meant that by 2015 Turkey could become a net importer of labour"
What as? You seem to forget that the IT branch, for example, is very well covered by India, already. So what's left?
March 26, 2007 3:49 PM
Dr Keyman said. "Membership should not be seen just as a gift to Turkey..." You've hit the nail on the head, sir. Western Europe views EU membership to Turkey as doing them a big favour. I don't know Turkey's strategic reasons for wanting to be part of EU or it's just a sense of belonging or feeling superior to their Eastern brethren. Reminds me of people I know...heh heh. Seriously though, I sincerely hope the recent snub will open Turkey's eyes to the possibilities of linking with their true spiritual and cultural brethren in the East...
March 26, 2007 3:54 PM
Just a few replies:
Many sensible people here, the ones who have not got too upset at the insults or were anti-western to start with, completely agree with most of what you say. Of course changes are needed. That is one of the reasons why anyone joins the EU. What is different about the Turkish application is that every shortcoming and failure is seen as a sinful reason for scapegoating us instead of helping us. But you have not looked so closely at the other members.
Actually, fyi folks, it is not widely known but the technical EU negotiations are going very very well at the moment. (The ones that the Greek Cypriots and Germans and French will allow to be held.)That just shows how the "cultural" objections to Turks and Turkish EU membership are really just hidden racism.
I was just making a comment about ethnicity and the way it is used to create hatred. Actually it is quitely likely that these people are German citizens. So the point is purely racial. But of course I accept people of Kurdish ethnic origin as Turkish . As for resolving internal ethnic differences, well the Europeans have been interfering in this for hundreds of years and generally making matters much worse.
As for your second point,
Surely if as you say ultranationalists are riding high and ready to even create a religious state simply because many Europeans are not ready to accepy Turkey in the EU, presumably all pretentions to being a western nation appear to be superficial and solely for financial gain, if all it rests on is the attitude of outsiders?
This is just prejudice isn't it? Turkey has over 70 million people, strong institutions, political parties, industrial economy etc. These are not pretension. But what you have done to us by European prejudice and insulting and racist behaviour to discredit liberal and western ideas in Turkey. That is what gives the fierce extremes and the ultra-nationalists their chance. They are saying "I told you so" and a lot of people are listening to them, just as they are listening to you. Not many people are listening to those who talk like Personalrept1. If there was no Merkel or Sarkozy or Papadopoulos, the Turkish Personalrept1 would be the main messengers.
As for your point about minorities, could I remember you that Muslim minorities were wiped out in parts of Greece from 1821, a lot of the Balkans, the Caucasus (Yerevan was once a Muslim Azeri Turkish speaking city--yes it was). Turks did not invent the monoethnic state, nor did they do it better than anyone else. About half the population of Turkey is the grandchildren of persons driven out from other parts of the Ottoman Empire and about 5-6 million Ottoman Muslims and also quite a lot of Jews were killed by the nationalisms of non-Muslims in the Balkans and Caucasus.
"Yes You're right to say in Turkey there's no human rights,no independance, no democracy.But we did never genocide anyone."
If that was really true, then you would not be be writing that sort of thing. There are some big shortcomings--which is why we want to join the EU. (Not that there are no shortcomings inside some of its members.)Saying human rights should be better and democracy should be better too is one thing. Saying they don't exist at all is something different and not true. You think human rights and democracy will get better if Turkey moves away from the EU?
By the way, YouTube is not banned in Turkey, which is what the British press are still saying. A court imposed an order. It lasted just one day. YouTube has been fully available in Turkey for two weeks. Was removing the insult censorship? Any website is in its right to remove "posts than contain racist, sexist, or offensive/threatening language, or personal attacks." That isn't censorship. So why do British press report something hostile which is not true? Could it be something to do with showing Turks as unfit for the EU?
March 26, 2007 4:02 PM
It is no longer a matter of EU accepting Turkey, whatever the convictions and reasons of the present fundamentalist government of Turkey may be, Turkish people are now overwhelmingly against EU membership and any proposed membership would be rejected outright.
March 26, 2007 4:16 PM
But anger and frustration is slowly giving way to a new, more assertive idea: that perhaps Turkey does not really need Europe after all ...
Anger and frusrtration are exactly why this eastern country has no place in a western club.
March 26, 2007 4:16 PM
'Sparta0.003' was asked to enumerate the features defining the European commonality he/she claims to understand and came up with:
'A sense of European commonality - the sense that the citizens of "Europe" have a concept of being "European" at all - broadly, a long history of similarities and interactions, political, social, cultural, religious'.
Notably, he/she fails to tell us what this 'long history of similarities and interactions, political, social, cultural, religious' actually consists of. I questioned the notions of a single European-ness on the bases of the legacy of Classical Antiquity, Christendom(s), secularism and democracy/civil society in brief terms that nonetheless referred to the intertwined cultural complexities of European history involving, for example, Western and Orthodox Christianity as well as Islam. Why won't you similarly support your argument?
I ask again. What are the defining features of a cultural (or to rogerhicks an 'ethnic' or 'native') 'European-ness' that can include such diverse figures as, say, the Irish, the Finns and the Bulgarians but which excludes the Turks?
Neither of you will answer in specific terms, either because you can't or because you know that by doing so you'll expose yourselves even more clearly as, to put it more kindly than you deserve, a couple of deeply unsavoury bigots.
March 26, 2007 4:40 PM
All these posts about who's European and who's not, on a genetic basis are twaddle. As a New Zealander of UK extraction, I could safely argue that genetically and culturally I am much more European than many UK passport carriers. Yet it's a pointless argument - as some have already pointed out, we're all more or less the same. At least if you take the "European" umbrella that says that the Finns in Lappland are the same as the Portoguese in the Azores (or that culturally the beer swilling Roman Catholic Barvarians are the same as tee-total Wee Frees in Scotland, and snaps-drinking superliberal Swedes in Stockholm).
If you don't want Turkey to be a part of the EU, come up with some decent arguments - such as the EU should stick to what it was created to do (make money and stop Germany from having another go at France), and the real problems be faced - such as economically, the EU hasn't coped well with the expansion a few years back, and it will take many years before the EU is economically ready to, by which time, and I hope, that Turkey will be independent enough to decide on its own without any economic imperatives.
March 26, 2007 4:43 PM
[Hostage2Fortune]: "Neither of you will answer in specific terms, either because you can't or because you know that by doing so you'll expose yourselves even more clearly as, to put it more kindly than you deserve, a couple of deeply unsavoury bigots".
Collins Dictionary: BIGOT (noun) a person who is intolerant of any idea other than his or her own, esp on religion, politics or race.
I propose a poll: who contributing to this thread so far is most worthy of being called a "bigot"? Those who have not posted yet, I also encourage to contribute.
If I find the time, I will attempt to answer your question, [Hostage2Fortune], but given your attitude, I'm not sure it is worth me taking the trouble.
March 26, 2007 4:56 PM
rogerhicks, it is not me who is conjuring up some sort of exclusionist European native ethnicity. You state:
'If I find the time, I will attempt to answer your question, [Hostage2Fortune], but given your attitude, I'm not sure it is worth me taking the trouble'.
Well, presumably something as revelatory as this Euro-ethnicity to which you proclaim 'native' and exclusivist membership is something that you've already taken considerable time to define in explicit terms and should therefore have no trouble in explaining it here and now. If you have to go away with your petted lip to think about it after the fact, I'm forced to conclude it is indeed a farrago of simplistic racist nonsense that you cooked up quickly in your tiny little mind.
...drums fingers and waits.....
March 26, 2007 4:56 PM
Turkey is a secular country. She has a rich culture and history. She is a member of NATO and has been an excellent friend of the west. Despite all these, if the other European countries such as France and Germany do not want Turkey because it is a Muslim country, then it is their loss. The EU has already admitted former communist countries with atrocious human rights records. These countries are still carrying on torture against their own citizens and on behalf of the US. Turkish people deserve much better than to be bunched with these countries and the racist countries such as France and Germany. In this context, in order to gain the US’s favor, France and Germany have started their anti-Muslim campaigns. Their racist policies against Muslims are very dangerous and will not have good results for Europe and Muslim countries.
Now, if you thought that the Nazis were dead and gone, think again because Europe has replaced them with the new racist leaders like Nicolas Sarkozy of France and Angela Merkel of Germany.
March 26, 2007 4:59 PM
When I read the Spiegel article, it is not racism which springs to my mind but the profound shock that in the twentieth-first century, half a dozen Turkish women in the space of 4 months are murdered in a European city for being too western, and by their own kin no less.
The point I was trying to make is that if Turks are truly european, they should want to adhere to western values such as secularism and respect for human rights (particularly women's)for its own sake; irrespective of the views held by foreigners. You either share the values or you don't - You don't pick and choose values depending on whether you get accepted to an international organisation or not.
There are two different groups of Europeans that oppose Turkish entry, the first are the racist philistines, and the second are those who fear a country where a significant proportion of the population hold on to extremely reactionary attitudes which are diametrically opposed to ours. We are talking of a country where there are still arranged marriages in the Turkish countryside...and it is these traditional reactionary religious Turks who migrate to Western europe in large numbers along with their values, not the westernised progressive secular Turks who mostly live in Istambul and would otherwise integrate perfectly into any European city.
March 26, 2007 5:22 PM
camera, where is the link to der spiegel article? I cannot find it, was it deleted maybe? thanks
March 26, 2007 5:29 PM
When a common press release about the benefits of the European Union was recently being discussed, reference to the euro was objected to by some of the members who haven’t joined the monetary union.
In case of Turkey joining the EU, might it not be considered by some as political marginalisation if the word “Europe” is included as a common aim? I’m impatient to hear proposals of alternative names for the EU.
March 26, 2007 5:33 PM
March 26, 2007 5:37 PM
[Hostage2Fortune], If what I have written already does not answer your question, nothing else I say is likely to change your hateful opinion of me.
Every response of yours to me so far has contained an insult. Maybe you are a lot younger than I was assuming. Learn to debate without throwing insults and come back to me - or not; the choice is entirely yours.
March 26, 2007 5:39 PM
"I propose a poll: who contributing to this thread so far is most worthy of being called a "bigot"? Those who have not posted yet, I also encourage to contribute."
Hostage2fortune get's my vote. one of those tedious types who whines "Racist" whenever anyone disagrees with them.
I still haven't seen anyone give one benefit to Europe of Turkish EU membership.
March 26, 2007 5:43 PM
The German article you mention actually suggests the problem is Muslim traditionalism and radicalism--which, if you didn't know, is much stronger in eastern Turkey than in the west of the country.Spiegel has put its own construction on it because the local Muslims are mostly from Turkey. I kind of doubt that these pathetic people said that the 'crime' was "too western" or "too German" to dress in that way. They said it was "too infidel."
That is why I mentioned Ataturk, the Republic, etc. They talked about "fanaticism." They tried to give Turkish women the highest rights of the modern times--and there are millions and millions of women who bless them for it. That is why they love Ataturk. But I notice that people on this page seem to have a wrong idea of Ataturk and think he was a repressor.
By the way, do you not also have "honour killings" in the UK--and not among the Turks? So what is the cause, a particular race or something else--and how should we cure it? The answer should be obvious. End poverty, ignorance, isolation, and fanaticism.
Camera, are you suggesting that among all the people I know such things happen? That it is a big part of life in Turkey? If so think again. The struggle for women's rights goes on. There are such case. I never encountered such a thing anywhere in my pretty wide circle--and to me taking the article on a racial basis is like saying Jews or Blacks eat babies. So when Turkish women struggle for the rights of women in remote countryside places, they publicize problems and the west, instead of coming to help them, turns round and says "Look at the Turkish barbarians. Keep them out of the EU." Then the nationalists say the women are traitors to their country and causing it to be insulted. In what other country do social reformers have such a problem?
You go on:
"The point I was trying to make is that if Turks are truly european, they should want to adhere to western values such as secularism and respect for human rights (particularly women's)for its own sake; irrespective of the views held by foreigners. You either share the values or you don't - You don't pick and choose values depending on whether you get accepted to an international organisation or not."
Of course. Naturally I and most liberal thinkers agree with you completely. But Turkey is a country which the western powers again and again tried to destroy completely.(If you doubt this it is only because you don't know history) Millions of Turks lost their homes, their families, and everything else at the hands of rival powers--I don't want to name them because I don't want to reopen old wounds, any more than anyone else in Turkey does--and those painful memories are brought back by Sarkozy, Merkel, and co. Hardliners use this as proof that unless we resist and fight the West, it will try to destroy us. The EU and the folk I mentioned, and some folk on this page too, are bringing back all those fears.
On your sociological ideas, what the people in Berlin do or do not do may explain why the Germans are so often racist, but it does not explain what Turkey is today or where it is going.
If you didn't already know, only one in four of Turkish workers are now in agriculture. Rural society is shrinking at high speed (in the 1990s there were 45%+ on land)
Yes Turkish urbanisation is very new and yes this is a social and problem. (Moving from rural to urban was a shock in all countries including some EU ones.) It is one reason why the Islamists captured power, though I admit that the other reason was the incompetence of the conventional parties. But Turkey is an urban and metropolitan society today. It is a question of giving time to society for digesting this and adapting. Reactionary influences wouldn't be so much a problem if there was a tolerant EU future waiting for us.
March 26, 2007 5:49 PM
There’s some real nonsense being posted in this thread about Turkey.
If it’s not European, tell me, why was it called the sick man of Europe?
If it’s not European, why did the Greek government send its army (and civilians) to invade after ww1 and try to make it their own? Would Greece really have wanted to become an ‘Asia’ country? If they had succeeded would we even be having this debate over whether Anatolia was European or not?
Poor Mr Hicks! I wonder what happened to him in Turkey that he found so shocking, culturally.
Here’s a point: Modern Turkey is like Israel. It’s where Europe’s Muslim populations were forced to live, should they wish to survive. Essentially, Turkey is peopled by Muslims driven out of Eastern Europe by the rampant nationalism that broke up the Empire. The ones that survived that is - massacres in Serbia, Greece, Bulgaria and various parts of the Soviet Union a literally millions of Muslims – read Turks – slaughtered in their own homelands.
Then, when the Turks too adopted this idea – the nation state, a European idea – they proved more successful in ‘nation’ building than any of their ‘European’ neighbours.
Even European understanding of the Turkish nationalism is severely flawed. In Ottoman times, Turk was a dirty word. It was used by the Ottomans to describe ‘villagers’, poor folk, simple folk. Europeans used it in order to define the ‘other’ – and be derogatory. If someone ‘turned Turk’ – they had become a muslim. So what Ataturk and others did, was reclaim the word, take pride in it and use it as an umbrella term for the peoples of the new republic – not matter where they came from. True, this has caused problems latterly, but it helps to know how the term came about and how it is applied. And befreo you get started on the Kurds, get fresh with Turkish politics first. The leader of the military coup of 1980 is now proposing a United States of Turkey – wherein Kurdish lands would have autonomy. This issue is being debated – in a more lively and considered manner than our own devolution debates. It’s time to put aside your prejudices - really, now, regarding Turkey – you must do your research.
It’s true that at times Turkey seems paranoid, closed to the world. But there’s a reason – it was almost wiped off the face of the planet after ww1. Britain, France, Greece, Italy, Armenia and Russia were looking for a carve up. The Turkish fight back - which saw the creation of the republic – still sticks in certain European throats – it was never meant to happen.
Most on this board seem wildly ignorant of the Ottoman Empire and its European heritage. For a start, most of the ruling elite came from the Balkans. Did you know that the Ottoman Empire was more European before it developed its middle eastern ties? The European lands were conquered some two centuries before the holy lands.
Even from a genetic point of view, Turks, certainly on the western edges are as European as Greeks, southern Italians and the Balkanese. True, it changes the further east you get, but who wouldn’t want to be as genetically diverse as the Turks really are. Nice to be Indo-Iranian, Circassian, Georgian, Armenian, Balkan, Greek and Syrain too, eh?
Ironically too, an early Turkish invasion, that of the Huns in the 5th century, left such an impression on Europe, particularly Germany, that that country’s people have come to be known by the term.
And anyway, here to a great performance by the Turks in Athens last Saturday night. 4-1, a real beating - and on the night before Greek Independence Day! Maybe if it had been played in Sparta the outcome would have been different.
Doubt it though.
March 26, 2007 5:56 PM
Thanks for your postings of 8:20 a.m. and 1:07 p.m.
I learnt a lot in just a few lines.
But, I hope that you don't soon run out of breath being a walking encyclopedia.
March 26, 2007 6:00 PM
Bang on the money Simon.
There was once a time when cringing Turkey would gratefully scavenge for any breadcrumbs BXL would throw at it. Not any more. The country is awash with FDI (outstripping India's), the pro-business, pro-reformist Islamic government has done wonders for the economy and Turks are increasingly realising that they may not need the EU at all. Wooed from the East as well as business circles in the West, Turkey is calling the shots. It's a shame the fossilised EU can't see the balance of power tilting.
March 26, 2007 6:29 PM
I would also like to hear your side of the story that Osman in his posting of 2:48 p.m. asks you to elaborate on.
March 26, 2007 6:35 PM
Simon writes Turkey can offer the EU:-
"a booming economy, whose sustained, IMF-supervised 7% annual growth rate far outperforms large EU states"
Well, yes, large, mature economies don't grow at those kind of levels, the question is, how does Turkey compare with other developing/newly developed countries?
This real growth table http://tinyurl.com/yc4sxj shows Turkey in place 90 for 2006, behind Armenia, Cyprus, all the succession EU states, Serbia, Bosnia and even that oasis of economic stablility, The Democratic Republic of Congo. So by Simon's logic, all these countries should get the nod before Turkey.
March 26, 2007 6:43 PM
MightyMouth thank you for your passionate speech. You make a lot of good points, unfortunately most are biased by a nationalist propaganda perspective.
I accept the fact that former multi-national (and multi-racial) empires have trouble finding a nation-building identity after the empires collapse: Russia today is experiencing problems similar to Turkey at the end of the 19th century and up to WWI.
Unlike Turkey however Russia does not go around preaching, to its own young inclusive, xenophobic rant like Turkey does - that modern Greeks were actually Turks enticed to rebel by foreign powers (and have nothing to do with ancient Greeks), that Armenians were inherent traitors by blood ant therefore it is OK to deny that roughly a million of them were massacred, that the other populations on the Balkans e.g. Slavic were once "raya" i.e. "a herd to be milked and slaughtered", and will again become such...
No, Turkey is not European like Hungary, although the Magyars may have come to Europe later than the Turks. Not yet, at least. I cannot imagine the visit of an ayatollah or any high-ranking Muslim official into any European country being anything like the "Papa go home" rallies during the Pope's visit!
A lot can be learned in trades and economics; culture you grow up with and almost suckle with your milk; that is why it takes many generations to change. So good luck to Turkey with its economic progress, but EU membership - no!
March 26, 2007 6:44 PM
Turkey was called The sick man of Europe because, at that time, it still held large parts of the Balkans. On the same level, why has the major part of Turkey been called "Little Asia" since Roman times? The answer is: Geography.
I have great respect for many countries around the world, but would you call, say, Argentina a part of Europe?
March 26, 2007 6:48 PM
Telescreen, Personalrept1 and others have given good reasons, but here are a few.
1. Seventh biggest economy in Europe already, 17th in the world. Large market, dynamic private sector.
2, Huge competitive advantages in trade with areas beyond Europe including Middle East, Caucasus etc.
3. Permanent peace, we hope, in the Eastern Mediterranean, Black Sea, Caucasus etc. Or at least better chance of it.
4. Access to the Black Sea via the Turkish Straits.
5. Friendly and powerful voice for Europe in the international Muslim community.
6. Proof to Muslims and non-Europeans everywhere that the EU is not a rich Christians-only club.
7. Vigorous cultural life in all the arts and many different styles and civilisations.
8. Large armed forces. Some folk in Brussels see that as a possible big asset for the EU. (Yes, I agree...)
9. Energy route.
10. Strategic route to Middle East etc. (The EU will never be able to have much of a Middle East policy if it has kept Turkey out because it is Muslim.)
11. Young workforce with rising skills levels. They might be needed to pay your pension, Telescreen.
12. Istanbul, economic, historical, financial, and cultural hub of a huge region and also a fun city.
But the main argument is destabilisation and costs of failure With Turkey kept out, we are all going to have bad times. I'd like to think it was not inevitable yet, but look at Merkel, Sarkozy, and Segolene.
Can you give me 12 equally good reasons for Estonia or Hungary or Slovenia, Romania, or Bulgaria or even one reason for letting in the Greek Cypriots and sticking the EU to an international dispute?
(Funny thing is that as I write that, I think people will be hating me for rudeness to Estonia, Hungary, or Slovenia or Romania etc. A question about them is rude, but a question about Turkey isn't. Just try writing that any of those should be thrown out of their own country--let alone Europe. But it is p.c. to write it about the Turks.)
Anyhow I gave you some reasons.
March 26, 2007 6:56 PM
Briar: 'Look to Poland for Europe's future - racist, homophobic and repressive, a fascist tyranny of the self righteous drawing their stunted inspiration from Rome and the USA.'
Out of interest, have you ever been to Poland?
(Evidence that life for gays in Turkey is any better than in Poland would also be welcome.)
March 26, 2007 6:56 PM
The EU was rapidly expanded for geopolitical reasons. Whatever economic advantages Turkey may have seen in being part of the EU have evaporated, in fact having seen the mess to the south its not surprising that it doesn't want to get too close to W.Europe or America. Its an Asian country, its part of an old empire spanning the region so its not beyond hope that one day it would be part of a local union of states.
(By now it should have become obvious to anyone in Europe that by rapidly expanding the EU to include as much of Eastern Europe as possible the EU's been subverted from a union of states with similar societies, economies and histories into a sort of politi-NATO. It doesn't matter if the union gets screwed up so long as you can "Get Russia".)
March 26, 2007 7:36 PM
I don't understand why the British press, be it the BBC or the Guardian, keep publishing this kind of out-of-date (or -relevance) commentary. The fact of the matter is, Turks by and large divorced themselves from the EU idea (I did, quite thoroughly indeed). Or do you think that the EU project will be the centerpiece of the upcoming election campaigns? Of course, some liberal Turkish columnists necessarily engage in this if-not-in-the-West-then-in-the-East kind of either-or non-sense. They must have something of a guilty conscience as they have helped create the EU-is-the-one-and-only-one-hope-that-remains craze.
March 26, 2007 7:38 PM
StichToFacts, is there a reson why you included Estonia, Hungary and Romania in the apology, but excluded Bulgaria?
Is it because of the alphabet (Greek also uses a different one)?
Is it because of being Slavic (Poland and Slovenia also are)?
Is it because of being poor? Romania is as poor.
Britain belongs in Europe less than all of Eastern Europe does, if you ask me - yuou drive on the wrong side of the road, use the wrong (Imperial) measures etc. - apply to become a US state and stop discussing accessions to the EU!
March 26, 2007 7:46 PM
Thanks for your 12 reasons to let Turkey into the EU. As a potential buyer, here is my point-by-point take on your sales pitch:
1) Seventh biggest economy in Europe already, 17th in the world. Large market, dynamic private sector.
Well you do have the biggest population in Europe. 20% of you are below the poverty line though. Do we have to pay for them? Dynamic private sector sounds good though.
2) Huge competitive advantages in trade with areas beyond Europe including Middle East, Caucasus etc.
And these unnamed countries won't trade with us unless Turkey is in the EU? Baku is stuffed full of oil workers
from Aberdeen now.
3) Permanent peace, we hope, in the Eastern Mediterranean, Black Sea, Caucasus etc. Or at least better chance of it.
And if peace doesn't come off, the EU gets borders to some of the most unstable regions in the world. Great.
4) Access to the Black Sea via the Turkish Straits.
You mean Turkey currently blocks access to EU ships? That's not very nice...
5) Friendly and powerful voice for Europe in the international Muslim community.
Sounds nice, will our trains stop being bombed if the EU lets Turkey join?
6) Proof to Muslims and non-Europeans everywhere that the EU is not a rich Christians-only club.
If anyone needs proof the EU isn't just for rich christians, we can just show them Berlin or Bradford. But thanks, though.
7) Vigorous cultural life in all the arts and many different styles and civilisations.
Nice. But can't we watch just the dervish-belly-dancing highlights on eurosport or get a budget flight to Istanbul and catch it live?
8) Large armed forces. Some folk in Brussels see that as a possible big asset for the EU. (Yes, I agree...)
I find this scary. No thanks.
9) Energy route.
You just invested billions in that nice new oil pipeline that opens up on the Med. If you don't let EU companies use it, who will? Those oil-hungry Moroccans? The Atlanteans? Who?
10) Strategic route to Middle East etc. (The EU will never be able to have much of a Middle East policy if it has kept
Turkey out because it is Muslim.)
Might be useful. Please expand.
11) Young workforce with rising skills levels. They might be needed to pay your pension, Telescreen.
When will these pan-European pension contributions/benefits be coming in? I must have missed that EU directive. And if it does, I wonder how Mustafa and Metin will feel about being taxed through the nose to pay for Wolfgang and Giuseppe's retirement. Sounds like a recipe for disaster.
12) Istanbul, economic, historical, financial, and cultural hub of a huge region and also a fun city.
Yeah, thanks, it used to be called Constantinople. This argument reminds me of a robber selling stolen goods back to his victim.
March 26, 2007 7:57 PM
Can you provide any knowledge of who was the Antoni Plutynsky who wrote "The German Paradox" in 1933. He was obviously a Polish government offical, quoting a mass of figures, who complained that the real victims of the Treaty of Versailles, 1919, had been Poland and the Balkans. He said that the peasants of Poland were no better off than their cousins under Stalin.
He later wrote during the war "We are 80 million", a plea for better treatment when it finished. The publishers say their records were destroyed in the bombing of London. Taylor quotes that 9 million Poles died in the war, but only about half a million Czechs, from memory. It isn't indexed.
March 26, 2007 8:10 PM
had a look at your website, and there was a lot I agreed with - I certainly do think that there are some severe problems ahead for humans - based around resource scarcity and the coming scramble for them, and also the unknown consequences of ecological damage and species extinctions that could spiral out of control.
But I'd like to ask you a couple of questions:
1. do you think that distinct cultures should or even could stay apart for ever? after all, where are the saxons, angles, jutes, romans, normans etc now?
2. I don't know if you have a partner - but imagine you didn't - would it not be possible for you to fall in love with and possibly have children with someone from another culture - india, china, africa? lots of people are getting together with people from different cultures. i'd almost go as far as to say that opposites attract. do you see this as a negative thing? if you had the power, would you stop it?
March 26, 2007 8:18 PM
Brilliant VladimirTepes. Was thinking of doing the same myself, but why bother now. The frightening thing is that Sticktofacts arguments are quite popular in Brussels. They seem to have this deluded notion that the Turks 'mighty army' will defend Europe from evil, the Turks massive workforce will gladly look after Europeans in their old age, and that somehow saying no will either antagonise either A. European Muslims (yet polls show they're not too keen on 70 million more people competing with them at the bottom) or B. 'the Muslim world', that endless, diverse mass that must be forever plactated lest it spin into violent nothingness.
The Economist opined last week that the Turks should be admitted to solve the Cyprus problem, which was an interesting if illogical angle to take. About four sentences later they said we should admit Israel, clearly the Cyprus issue was not enough, we have to import the worlds most intractable problem... journalists HAVEN'T GOT A CLUE...
March 26, 2007 8:24 PM
Evkaristo sas "Vladimir." Your contributions make it plain what really lies behind the campaign against Turkey. Hatred, prejudice, contempt---and a lust to seize back Istanbul which you see as "stolen property."
It's kind of sad that the EU could come to this.
March 26, 2007 8:25 PM
I think the mightymouth post nicely sums up the reason why Turkey must be kept off the EU for several decades.
It consists of a fiercely nationalistic narrative, whereby turkey is a glorious, impleccable nation, under siege and under attack by neighbours and foreign nations. Nothing to blame turkey for, his own country spotless, all to be blamed on the vile outsiders. A typical fascist siege mentality that turkish propaganda indoctrinates their populace with, hence the trials against people acknowledging the Armenian genocide or calling Abdulah Ocalan Mr. Ocalan, and of course the ethnic cleansing of turkish christians to virtually 0%.
This country is so fiercely nationalistic and militaristic in its internal and external policies, it really needs a deep paradigm, narrative and national propaganda shift to approach european political culture. The essense of the EU is one of a common political and human rights culture and Turkey is now, and for decades to come, entirely alien to that culture. It needs decades of social and economic development to become european. And that won't change no matter how much let's-kill-the-EU-into-a-free-trade-zone propaganda the british establishment pour via their media outlets.
March 26, 2007 8:46 PM
hmmm, poor etiquette, Greek4GodsGift
you praise my words, then call it propaganda,then present a counterpoint as if it is some kind of refutation of what I said when in fact is is nothing of the kind, rather it is propaganda of your own.
that's a bit snide and the points you make read like hearsay. be a bit more rigorous, then I might take you seriously.
but that could take time. here's a quick fix:
be true to your perspective, and show me which part of my 'speech' as you put it, is factually incorrect.
don't assume that a fair appraisal of Turkey, it's history and culture, is propaganda. If you have a genuine interest in historic and politics its better to know the facts - so, as I said: show me where I'm factually wrong - I'll gladly concede.
And to Roger Hicks:
S'funny what you say about european culture and the shared vibe you got until you hit Turkey - that is the jist of what you've said, yeah?
I've travelled through much of Europe and was struck at the extent of the cultural similarities stretching from Bosnia to Bursa. And you think Greece and Iceland have more in common than Greece and Turkey?
Cumon. that's silly.
March 26, 2007 8:56 PM
There many reasons to be listed here as to justify Turkey's entrance into EU. To list them here would take a lot of time and space. So, I will only mention here the Nr.1 reason on my list:
There were two main reasons behind the idea of creating an European Economic Union,: (1) to put an end to the wars between major European countries. (2) To unite major Western European countries in order to create an economically booming zone, where the working class could be turned to a consumption society, so that, the USSR and her satellites could not export their system to the West.
To achieve these ends, economic reasons for any political dispute among major European countries should be minimized. Hence, the basic agreement was made on issues like coal, mining, nuclear energy etc.
After 50 years, we see that EU was successful until the end of Cold War. Today, however, one of the two reasons of its existence is no more present; there is no any communist bloc in East, nor strong communist parties in West. Working class is loosing its old benefits due to the high unemployment rates and the threat of globalization. Many European companies either moving their factories to overseas or they remain in their native countries by just threatening the trade unions/governments with it in order to decrease their labor costs. It is no more sustainable for European countries to achieve economic growth and at the same time to meet social expenses which are very high compared to new emerging industrial economies like China and India. Globalization forces major European countries to follow different policies than each other, which would lead interest conflicts within the EU countries. After the in creating a common European constitution, further contradictions would mean the end of peace in Europe.
Turkey, as an EU candidate, is rapidly industrializing and urbanizing. It's a secular democracy. With a great majority, Turkish people are transforming into a secular society. Secularism is one of the basic articles in the constitution, which cannot be changed (even any proposal is out of question!). Her economy grows steadily at an average rate of 7%, while annual population increase is falling.
Facing the outcomes of globalization, Turkey has still the dynamics to adapt itself to the new economic climate in the world. Exports are mainly industrial goods (more than 90%) with good quality. Labor costs are significantly below EU average. This will prevail as long as Turkey stays outside of EU. That means, EU membership could mean some sacrifices for Turkey.
For EU, a Turkish membership would mean to import a dynamic and balancing factor which could add a further 50 years stability and peace in Europe. European investments wouldn't go to a non-EU country. Instead, they would contribute to European productions which in turn become again European capital which would support social funds throughout Europe. This would not possible with any other global economy than Turkey, because, Turks already are a member of the Customs Union, hence; many laws and regulations are compatible with those of the EU countries.
In short, the economy and a common threat is is the mere essence for the existence of EU. As a rapidly developing industrial country, Turkey would extend the peace and stability of Europe against globalization and its outcomes like American postmodernism and religious fundamentalism)
March 26, 2007 9:09 PM
Somebody deal with UniversalFighters rubbish, especially that last sentence, I'm too tired.
March 26, 2007 9:19 PM
Psyops, you think that isolating a large country for a few decades is going make it more in tune with the rest of Europe on human rights?
And your reason to ban Turkey is Mightymouth's accurate account of Turkish history --- but it is obvious that MM is not Turkish but English! First it was immigrants in Berlin. Now it is a British commentator who provides the pretext for keeping 70 million people in the darkness.
If you think that Turks should recognize your interpretation of history, then first try and learn a bit more about what actually happened here. Mightymouth's account is by and large the standard account that any academic historian gives. The idea that Turks are totally ignorant of their own history and that it should be imposed on them by people like you who have privileged access to truth is in my humble view, just a new face of imperialism and the product of racist contempt for Turks and Turkey. Anyhow thanks for thinking that eventually Turkey might be ready--but actually by then it will be much too late.
By the way, Vladimirtepe gave you growth figures from the CIA yearbook, not my most favourite economic sourcebook. Somehow he forgot to mention that the league topper is Azerbaijan with an extraordinary 32% growth--a bit ahead of the 13.4% for Armenia. It is more surprising since Azerbaijan is starting from a much higher base.
Another ten years of growth and Turkey will not need EU membership or so the economists say. After today's exchanges, I can't wait.
March 26, 2007 9:21 PM
You lot just don't get it do you? WE DON'T WANT TO JOIN YOUR STINKING HAS-BEEN CLUB!
Read Dilip and see Why Russia owns you now. THAT's who we want to join and will, with the turcophobic nutters' help. Russia and Turkey are now in the same boat. Europe tore apart our multinational state and tried to kill us Turks off. Ditto Russia and Russians, albeit it was more the US than its wimpy old lackey Europe that did the tearing and killing.
Russia was our main competitor once, no more. We were on the same side against the Euros in 1919-1922. Then we decided Bolshevism wasn't for us and decided to make nice with the Euros, which made Stalin turn nasty on us, and we found ourselves on opposite sides of the cold war.
Now that's over and we find we have loads in common. We're even helping them out against Chechen terrorists even though we still glorify Sheikh Shamil, the old anti-Russian Chechen warlord, after whom Shamil Basayev the Beslan butcher was named. Likewise, the Russians help us clobber the PKK. As for our NATO "allies" from the EU, if there's a terrorist killing Turks somewhere, you can be sure they support him.
Anyway pretty soon the Taliban will finish off NATO so we won't have to worry about that any longer and will be free to join the Shanghai Cooperation Organization or any related defense treaty.
March 26, 2007 9:50 PM
Lets come out with it. The real "problem" of whether Turkey should or shouldn't join the EU is ISLAM. -After 9/11 Europeans are rightly worried about whether Islam is compatible with secular democracy. It is very arrogant and totalitarian of those who dismiss these very real fears of a substantial majority of the common European folk, as not worthy of any consideration.
The cult of Ataturk which has elements of totalitarinism is directly proportional to the militant secularism you find in Turkey. Turkish membership in a liberal EU, will weaken this cult.Except for the urban elite and the military which adheres to this cult-the natural choice of Turkey is Islam and all that comes with it. The EU is not equipped or the right body for "reforming" Islam.
A "liberal" democratic Turkey joining in a sort of Islamic commonwealth is a good thing for the rest of the world as it can maybe set about a Islamic reformation and then mabye some of those fears imagined or otherwise can be assuaged and then who knows...
March 26, 2007 9:54 PM
Always nice to read the PapaNut delusional grand narrative. As to turkey's eastern potential, when to the east of turkey lie Iraq (trashed by the US) and Iran (about to be trashed by the US). Nice options there. And I bet China lies a lot further than europe, hell why not enter a free trade zone with New Zealand while you 're examining your eastern options. As for Turkey, wasn't Putin in Athens last week signing into a Bulgaria-Greece pipeline, sidelining Turkey and the straits? I bet Russia too has no need for the chronic sick man of europe to ally itself with...in fact the turkish eastern option is one big obvious bluff, turkey actually has no other realistic stability option than the EU.
Sticktofacts, mightymouth is obviously turkish, hell he even rejoiced at the greece-turkey football match, he's either turkish or a euro football qualifiers freak...and his narrative of poor, innocent turkey under siege by evil foreigners is typical kemalist nationalist propaganda, not the standard historical narrative. An objective historical account would acknowledge ottoman brutality's part in the balkan peoples' revolt against the empire and following ethnic conflicts.
And yes, Turks are generally ignorant of an objective historical account of their country's past. History teaching in turkish education if full of fierce nationalist propaganda and the kemal personality cult. Anything else is deemed an insult to turkishness and leads to prosecution or death at the hands of far right hitmen. The Dink murder and Pamuk prosecution are obvious facts supporting the above claim, dear sticktofacts.
As for greece and turkey being alike...well, i grant, the weather and scenery are more similar...the people and societies are not. Greek and turkish fates parted roughly 200 years ago, greece by now is a firmly european nation as far as its social, political, demographic and economic parameters are concerned. Turkey is still faced with choices. Hopefully it will make the right one, mend its ways and move forward into the present century mindset.
March 26, 2007 9:57 PM
"Vladimirtepe gave you growth figures from the CIA yearbook, not my most favourite economic sourcebook. Somehow he forgot to mention that the league topper is Azerbaijan with an extraordinary 32% growth--a bit ahead of the 13.4% for Armenia."
Yeah, that was a bit naughty of me. Sorry Azerbaijan, and great figures for 2006.
Turkey still finished 90th though.
March 26, 2007 10:44 PM
We have an article on Turkey by a major liberal daily that limits the discussion to business and geopolitics. Kemalism was close to Mussolini's fascism in the 1930s and anyone who challenges this ideology will be quickly bundled into prison. "Turkey for the Turks" was Keaml's rallying cry. Funny, Simon Tisdall and others feel comfortable hinding these facts in order to push for their "Turkey in EU" project, which is probably more a case of "BTC pipeline in EU" or "Nabucco gas pipeline in EU". Turkey's economy has grown thanks to huge remittences over the years by Turkish workers in the EU and the decade long Iraq-Iran war allowing Turkey to start exporting for the first time to both those countries. Imagine discussing Russia without saying something about Chechnya. Unthinkable. Turkey on the other hand will be regularly discussed without mentioning Turkish Kurdistan, the Assyrians, the Laz, Alevis etc. Wonderful standards of journalism !
March 26, 2007 10:59 PM
"Flabby, middle-aged western Europe." Simon, have you been taking lessons from Donald Rumsfeld?
I know the British love to kiss American butt and hence are very willing to accommodate the American desire for Turkey to be included in the EU, but this vision of dynamic Turkey ruling everything, of an uber-country that he EU should beg on its knees to join us, is so over the top it's mind-numbing.
March 26, 2007 11:04 PM
PsyOps, PapaKarl just proved to UniversalFighter and StickToFacts our point about MightyMouth, and how all Turks (the ones I have contact with at least) are brainwashed!
March 26, 2007 11:13 PM
Turkey is an Asiatic country. The same as Russia and Japan. The future of Turkey is in the conquest of Europe; not in getting integrated into it. The Europeans must be civilized and the Turks can do it: it is the sacred mission of Turkey.
March 26, 2007 11:13 PM
Honestly, this thread is laugh-a-minute. Lots of xenophobic ranting from Turk-haters and nationalist reflexive responses from the sons of Kemalism.
Many of the posters seem to be engaging in a mysterious debtate as to whether "we" should allow Turkey into the EU.
Haven't you read the blog? It's no longer a case of Turkey coming cap in hand, Turkey is in need of the EU less and less. Look at the long-range forecast to 2050 produced by PwC - Turkey leaves the EU way behind. It is becoming increasingly clear to Turks that if their economic prosperity continues, the EU will be a burden on THEM not vice versa (see Merrill Lynch's forecast which predicts Turkey would be a NET contributor to the EU by 2020). As for those pseudo-economists here who seem to think that GDP/capita alone is somehow a litmus test for EU entry, it isn't. Key to an economy's potential are a range of factors, macro-economic growth, calculation of the Output Gap and demographic trends amongst others. The sheer potential of the Turkish economy is only just becoming apparent - no wonder it is flavour of the month in financial circles and the financial press (the FT just can't get enough).
The arguments here about what "we" want or do not want are peripheral in the extreme. The Turks are now in the driving seat and they seem to care less and less about what "Europe" thinks.
March 26, 2007 11:24 PM
So Hackettlad, Turkey is 13 years away from economic cohesion with the EU..without EU cohesion funds...
Yep, this thread is laugh-a-minute and this time you 're the joke!
March 26, 2007 11:53 PM
Er psyops, I wasn't talking about "cohesion", I was talking about "contribution" - not synonymous. The figures I quoted were from Merrill Lynch, one of the world's largest investment banks, with a renowned research expertise. But I guess in comparison to you, they must be jokers. I fear your atavistic hatred of all things Turkish (I suppose you are Greek) blinds you to any positive comment about that country's prospects. Unfortunately, it doesn't make such comment any less true or accurate.
Like I said, THE TURKS AIN'T BOVVERED ANY MORE.
March 27, 2007 12:22 AM
So the EU should accept Turkey just because they will be richer than the union in 15 years or so?
Despite cultural and other "cohesion" differences?
No thanks. Besides, I have heard similar predictions before, like: "Watch Argentina in 10 years as it is following the Neocon's dream - the IMF and World Bank advice!" How did it all end? Economic predictions are a delicate thing, to say the least.
March 27, 2007 12:37 AM
hackettlad, one of the reasons for Turkey's recent growth may be the $16 billion rescue package from the IMF and the privatization efforts that they had to undergo as a condition for help from the IMF.
Another reason for Turkey's economic growth is likely the prospect of future membership in the EU.
If EU membership is not longer on the table they will likely have fewer investors.
Also the predictions of future economic growth of Turkey was based on membership in the EU and the resulting funds that the EU would give to Turkey.
Here's an article from 2001 explaining the 2001 crisis and how help from the IMF helped turn it around:
Here's what the Merill Lynch firm had to say about Turkish growth:
Merrill Lynch's emerging market economist Mehmet Simsek, himself a Turk, takes a more optimistic view.
"Initially, Turkey will be a net recipient [of EU aid]," he told the BBC. "But I think probably from 2018, 2020 onwards, Turkey will actually be a net contributor to the EU budget, on the basis of the fact that Turkey is currently growing three to four times the EU trend growth."
I personally hope that Turkey is now allowed full membership in the EU.
If you look at the poll results from Germany, the country with the largest number of Turkish immigrants, you'll there is widespread disapproval with 69% of respondents saying they do not want Turkey to be a part of the EU. That's even after Turkey complies with all the conditions set by the European Union.
As they have the greatest experience in dealing with Turks I think the rest of the EU should perhaps give some thought to the reasons for their objections.
http://ec.europa.eu/public_opinion/archives/ebs/ebs_255_en.pdf (page 72)
March 27, 2007 1:01 AM
Europe is being very short-sighted if it rejects Turkey for EU membership. Instead, it should use the membership talks to help Turkey in its process of 'westernization.' It is the best link to the 'moderate' Islamic world, and it has been a honorable NATO partner. (but then again, I'm an evil American trying to manipulate and enslave you all. Boo!)
March 27, 2007 6:08 AM
A belated good morning to you, Sluijser. Naine, thank you for the details about orthodox Christianity in what was once Constantinople. I shall look into it (i.e. ask my father about it).
Did you call me a Westerner? Pistols at dawn, Sir or Madam (and watch me shoot myself in the foot)! I shall continue banging away, welcoming Turkey to look East. After reading through various posts, I shall have to disappoint RogerHicks and call for a New Asian Century again. Perhaps I can become the Francis Fukuyama of the Orient.
March 27, 2007 7:58 AM
Kaos GL is one of the well-organised Gay-lesbian organisations in Turkey. They are definitely not underground, and they are producing very good projects in the country.
Of course homophobia is there. A couple of weeks ago, the first gay/lesbian student club has been established in a university, and I definitely had some fun having a look at Islamic and fascist newspapers. The homophobia in the mainstream media is using the similar techniques that the Western media uses: presenting them as 'legitimate' freaks, using a 'cynical' language, etc.
Actually, Turkey has quite an hoosexual culture thanks to our kinship with Greek culture. The ordinary Turkish Muslim man is not ready to confess it to himself; but homosexuality is very common in this country than anyone could think. My best example is that you can rarely see any female prostitutes in the streeets of Istanbul. Indeed, Istanbul has the 'transvestite' business -did I write it correctly?-; and they have quite a diverse set of customers -I used to be neighbours-
There is of course homophobia in action. They used to be assaulted, robbed, even raped by the police. Now due to the progess in human rights, the police delivered the job to civil militias, mostly formed by fascists. A couple of months ago, there was a wave of attacks against the 'transes' in the capital city. But their lawyer =-my old old friend he is- worked very well and found the group that attacked them. Now they are being sued and some of those fascists are already in jail -as far as I know-.
Turks in Europe Through the Eyes of a Consul General
Turkish bureaucrat Gürsel Demirok, whose family was killed by Armenian soldiers disguised in French uniforms, wrote a book about his memories in line with an investigation on both European and Ottoman government archives .
Gürsel Demirok was the first Turkish diplomat to make concrete proposals in a report called the “Demirok Report” to the Turkish government suppressed by the European Union's criticisms and expectations concerning human rights at the end of '90s. Having become famous for the report proposing the abolishment of the death penalty and protection of the freedom of expression, now a retired diplomat, Demirok, during his new job in the National Security Council (MGK) as a first civilian researcher has just published his book titled “Turks in Europe through the Eyes of a Consul General.”
The book consists of historical facts especially about the Armenian genocide and touches upon the reactions of European Turks to the decisions taken in the Europe parliament. Born in 1945 in Gaziantep, where the Armenian minority is mostly located, he claimed that his family was assassinated by Armenian soldiers disguised in French uniform during World War I. “Despite such memories, we have no hostility to Armenians,” said Demirok in an interview with the Turkish Daily News, just after the distribution of his book.
In the book, he gives a very wide range of information and documents about the Armenian genocide claims found from archives. “In 1919, the Ottoman government requested an investigation into the Armenian genocide claims from Switzerland, Sweden, Denmark, the Netherlands and Spain - countries that did not take part in World War I,” said Demirok by publishing a note in his book. Another document he discovered was from British archives that prove that England was against the establishment of a commission composed of these five countries. And then he questions these states. “Why didn't you reply to the request of the Ottoman Empire?
Demirok argues that the Armenian diaspora is trying to oppress Turkey, adding: “Our archives are open to Armenians. We call them to come and investigate them but they reject to see and hear the truth.” He also blames the Armenians for committing genocide in Khojaly in 1992. “They cast aspersions on other countries to cover up their crimes,” he concluded.
At the end of his book, he pointed out that the Turkish society in Europe would welcome a better future as long as they continue struggling for the problems that they experience in Europe.
Hostility against Turks in Europe:
The book also explains the emotions and disappointments of Turks in Europe and tries to attract attention to their problems, concerns, desires and expectations. Demirok especially stressed the alarming degree of hostility against Turks relying on his observations during his post as a consulate general in Zurich and Mainz. He underlined the reactions of Europeans and blamed Germany for not taking necessary steps in education.
“There occur adverse events that cause our people concern and worry. In recent decades, we have observed in various countries alarming racism and biased attitudes towards Muslims and Turks. The generation gap and adaptation problems were obvious before 2000,” said Demirok.
He now has two aims: one to find sources for the translation of his book into German and English and secondly, to complete his memories in the MGK before his retirement.
March 26, 2007
ANKARA - Turkish Daily News
Swiss Justice Is Like Swiss Cheese -- Full Of Holes
Turks Do Not Need Civics Lessons From The Swiss Who Are Among The World's Worst Inhabitants When It Comes To The Concepts Of Racial Tolerance. These Xenophobic Swiss Are Also Known As Heartless Money Launderers . Just recently Switzerland has reacted angrily to a French parliamentary report which accuses it of continuing to be too soft on money launderers. A statement from the Swiss finance ministry said it rejected the report's accusations of laxness. Meanwhile, top Swiss bankers have harshly criticised the report and its authors
Swiss And Their Idea Of Democracy
The Swiss have also been known to brag about their "model democracy".Yet the first official launch of the European Year of Citizenship through Education in Switzerland did not begin until the year of 2005. At a time when asylum applications are falling worldwide, the Swiss government is seeking to raise the obstacles faced by people seeking a country of safe refuge from persecution at home. By rendering access to this landlocked country more difficult, Switzerland is failing not only those fleeing persecution and mortal danger, but is also shifting the burden of their initial reception to its Mediterranean neighbors on the periphery of the European Union.
Switzerland was among the original signers of the 1951 Convention on Refugees, which it ratified in 1955. The country hosts the international headquarters of the United Nation’s refugee agency, the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, which oversees compliance with the convention.
Switzerland projects itself as “the home of human rights and also of strict humanitarianism,” but this claim can only prove true if Switzerland lives up to its own commitments in abiding by the letter and spirit of the Refugee Convention. The aim of activities in Switzerland in Education of Democratic Citizenship , is to raise awareness in those who are not yet educated concerning the country's main problems. The 'civilized' Swiss is universally criticized for having also given the right to vote to its female citizens until fairly recently.
The Dogu Perincek Trial
The first hearing in the trial of Dogu Perincek, the leader of the Turkish Workers' Party who has been charged by Swiss prosecutors with publicly denying the Armenian genocide allegations, took place recently in Lausanne, Switzerland.
Dogu Perincek is a courageous Turk who put his neck on the choppng block, as they say, thinking that freedom of speech he enjoyed in his country of Turkey would be even more acceptable in Switzerland. His experience showed that this was not true in this day and age.
A large contingency of Perincek supporters who left Turkey for the Swiss capitol to show support for Perincek during his trial were not allowed by Swiss authorities into the courtroom last week.Turkish journalists among the group were also barred by the local security from entering the Lausanne Courthouse, on grounds that written accreditation had not been received beforehand.
Dogu Perincek, received a $2,500 fine and a three months suspended prison term from a Swiss court last Friday for calling the genocide an "international lie" at a political rally two years ago. As expected, the Perincek's trial found him guilty on all charges.
In statements made earlier last week to the Swiss newspaper "Le Matin," Perincek asserted that he had come prepared with many WWI-era documents from various countries, and that he would prove in court that what occured in Turkey during those contested years was not in fact genocide. They were totally rejected by the Swiss court.
Perincek had studied in Russia during his student days and knows the language well. He had researched on a variety of documents published in Russian language pertaining to the subject. However, the Swiss had a different penalty in mind for the Turkish man.
The Swiss Hypocrisy
In Switzerland and elsewhere political fairy tales tend to make their perpetrators the laughing stock of true historians. As fiendish, and diabolical and contemptible as they may be, they are nevertheless as transparently deceitful. And as long as the world allows them to pull the wool over the eyes of those who do not bother to search for the truth, the unsuspecting bystanders will be watching and approving, inadvertently, their dishonest political charades.
Latest News Rocks Switzerland
Recently the country's vast news media is busy discussing the case of a Swiss citizen tourist, Oliver Rudolf Jufer, (57) who got involved in trouble in Bangkok, Thailand for having insulted the country's King Bhumibol Adulyadej. It was the King's 79th birthday and the city of Bangkok was decorated with his picture posters. According to the Thai police who arrested him, Mr. Jufer had used black spray paint in plastering the King's poster. Mr. Jufer was arrested after his identity was obtained through electronic surveillance cameras which caught him during the act. The Thailand justice was swift. Mr. Jufer was quickly tried and he was given a heavy sentence.
The Swiss tourist's offence and that of the Turkish Labor Union President Perincek's in Switzerland have striking similarities, that of each expresssing their freedom of speech in their own way. The Turk's sober and valiant statetment was punished by the Swiss justice system, yet the Thai sentence given to their Swiss citizen for defacing the King's picture was crushingly criticized and loudly ridiculed throughout this so-called civilized country of Switzerland.
Mahmut Esat Ozan
The Turkish Forum- USA
Armenian & Turkish Musicians Arto & Yasar Release a Disk
Turk composer of songs and singer Yasar Kurt is in Armenia. The first visit of Turk musician to Armenia . . is a peculiar mission: K. Yasar and musician Arto Tuncboyacian are going to release a disk dedicated to the memory of their friend, Agos newspaper's editor Hrant Dink. As Noyan Tapan correspondent was informed by Armenian Navy Band's manager John Grigorian, the two musicians were united by the circumstance that like Dink they are against hatred, intolerance and revenge.
In their opinion, the mankind should be united, as life belongs to everybody and atmosphere of hatred will result only in misfortunes and losses. J. Grigorian said that as a result of this initiative a band has been formed from several well-known Armenian and Turkish musicians, which by names of Yasar and Arto is called Yas Ar (translated from Turkish means living). The band will record a disk, then will shoot a video clip on one of the songs.
Y. Kurt was born in Turkey. He started his professional music career in the 1990-s by recording three disks of author songs. In his songs Yasar struggles against wars, violence and obtacles of human life.
Mar 22 2007
The Armenian Archives
Lraper, the bulletin issued by the Armenian Patriarchate, reported that the Chairman of the Turkish Historical Society, Prof. Yusuf Halacoglu expressed the view that to be able conduct historical studies, the Armenian Patriarchate archives were also required. He is quoted as saying “We ought to conduct our research there; why do they hesitate to make their archives readily available?” In response Patriarch Mesrop II stated that the archives of the Patriarchate were transferred to the newly formed Patriarchate of Jerusalem in 1916 by government order and was further quoted as saying “I sincerely hope that the archives in question can someday be made available.” However, alongside expressing his sorrow, could not the reverend Patriarch have requested the above mentioned archives from the Patriarchate of Jerusalem on the basis that they essentially belong to the Patriarchate of Istanbul?
With this in mind we would like to take this opportunity to inform our readers that the Armenian archives pose a serious hindrance to conducting research on the Armenian issue.
While the official Armenian line maintains that the Armenian archives are readily available, this is seemingly so only on the surface. The truth of the matter presents itself in the policy of trying to dissuade those who would strive to research less than desirable topics. It is with pertinence to the above mentioned issue that we remind our readers of the arrest of Yektan Türky?lmaz which took place two years ago. Yektan Türky?lmaz was a doctorate student and researcher fluent in Armenian from Duke University; the arrest took place as he prepared to leave the country after having examined the Armenian archives. It was a hard-nosed letter from Senator Bob Dole to President Kocharian that secured Yektan Türky?lmaz’s release (those that would like more information on this event can find further reading at www.eraren.org by accessing The Review of Armenian Studies, Vol.3, No. 9, 2005, pp. 20-22).
In terms of providing material on general Armenian history and especially the activities of Armenian gangs in Anatolia; the Dashnak Party archives located in Boston are of prime importance. However, due to the fact that these archives are privately maintained they are not publicly accessible and require special permission to be accessed. To our knowledge no Turkish researcher has been able to view these archives till this date.
The documents of Bogos Nubar Pasa- the representative of the Ottoman Armenians at the 1919 Paris Peace Conference- are of great importance to researching the subject of the territorial claims advanced by the Armenians against the Ottoman Empire. These documents are currently located in Paris as part of the “Bibliothèque arménienne Nubar” private library administrated by Raymond Kevorkian. Research conducted by Turks at this library is unheard of.
In short and in contrast to the claim that the Armenian archives are readily available for research, the truth is that explicit permission is required to view the Diaspora’s archives and the archives of the Patriarchate of Istanbul are not located on its premises which effectively makes researching Armenian sources impossible. However, access to these sources is especially important today due to the increasing number of Turkish researchers fluent in Armenian.
We do not believe that any Turkish researchers will in the near future be allowed to freely benefit from the Armenian National Archives or the Archives in the possession of the Diaspora. However, in closing we express our belief that the Patriarchate of Istanbul has ownership rights over the archives currently stored at the Patriarchate of Jerusalem and reiterate our suggestion to have a request placed for their return.
Ömer Engin LÜTEM
23 March 2007
Rice: US Should Not Be Involved In ‘Genocide' Dispute
US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said yesterday that the United States should not be involved in a dispute between Turkey and Armenia over whether the killing of Armenians almost a century ago constituted genocide.
Under intense questioning from Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff, the sponsor of a resolution that would declare that Turkey's Ottoman predecessor state committed genocide, Rice repeatedly avoided answering whether she believed there was any basis for historical debate on the matter. "What we've encouraged the Turks and the Armenians to do is to have joint historical commissions that can look at this, to have efforts to examine their past, and in examining their past to get over it," she said. "I don't think it helps that process of reconciliation for the United States to enter this debate at that level."
Turkey categorically dismisses charges that Armenians were victims of genocide at the hands of the late Ottoman Empire during World War I and says the killings took place when the Ottoman authorities were trying to quell an Armenian revolt in collaboration with the Russian army invading eastern Anatolia.
A delegation from Turkey's leading business group, the Turkish Industrialists and Businessmen's Association (TÜSIAD), is currently in Washington as part of lobbying efforts to prevent passage in the US Congress of a resolution that urges the US administration to label the World War I events as genocide.
Arzuhan Yalçindag, the TÜSIAD chairwoman, said Tuesday that the prospects for Turkey preventing the passage of the resolution were better now than they were two months ago, although the risk that it could be passed was still in place.
Yalçindag likened the resolution to a "dark cloud" over US-Turkey relationship; she said, however, initiatives on behalf of Turkey to prevent the resolution's success have been successful so far. Answering questions at a news conference after the TÜSIAD delegation's meetings at the US State Department and think tanks, she said relations with Armenia could be improved and that TÜSIAD has been developing ideas in that regard but the present situation does not allow it.
"First, the dark clouds should be dispersed, then the Turkish Foreign Ministry will evaluate the circumstances," she added.
Today’s Zaman with wires Istanbul
U.S. Secretary of State dodges Armenia genocide questions
The Associated Press
March 21, 2007
WASHINGTON: U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said Wednesday that the United States should not be involved in a dispute between Turkey and Armenia over whether the killing of up to 1.5 million Armenians almost a century ago constituted genocide.
Under intense questioning from Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff, sponsor of a resolution that would declare that Turkey's Ottoman predecessor state committed genocide, Rice repeatedly avoided answering whether she believed there was any basis for historical debate on the matter.
"What we've encouraged the Turks and the Armenians to do is to have joint historical commissions that can look at this, to have efforts to examine their past, and in examining their past to get over it," she said in a congressional hearing. "I don't think it helps that process of reconciliation for the United States to enter this debate at that level."
The dispute involves the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Armenians during the waning years of the Ottoman Empire. Armenian advocates, backed by many historians, contend they died in an organized genocide; the Turks say they were victims of widespread chaos and governmental breakdown as the 600-year-old empire collapsed in the years before Turkey was born in 1923.
"Madame Secretary, your comments that there should be some kind of debate or discussion about the genocide suggests that you have a question about whether genocide occurred," Schiff said in the hearing on the State Department's spending for foreign operations.
The Bush administration, which has heard threats from top Turkish officials that passage of Schiff's resolution would damage relations, has been trying to quash it.
"I believe that this is something that the Turks and Armenians are best to address," Rice told Schiff.
Rice recently wrote to top members of congress, including House of Representatives speaker Nancy Pelosi and Tom Lantos, chairman of the House Foreign Affairs committee, both Democrats in a position to decide the resolution's fate.
In her letter, Rice said the measure could inflict significant damage on U.S. efforts to reconcile the long-standing dispute between the West Asian neighbors.
She also noted that Turkey ended military ties with France after its National Assembly voted in October to make denial of Armenian genocide a crime. A similar move by Turkey with U.S. ties could have drastic repercussions on operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, which rely heavily on Turkish support.
In Wednesday's hearing, Schiff continued to press Rice on her own opinion about the early 20th century violence.
"You come out of academia. Is there any historic debate, outside of Turkey; is there any reputable historian that you are aware of that takes issue with the fact that the murder of a million and a half Armenians constituted genocide?" he asked Rice, a former professor at Stanford University.
"Congressman, I come out of academia, but I'm Secretary of State now, and I think the best way to proceed is for the United States not to be in the position of making this judgment," she responded.
Copyright © 2007 the International Herald Tribune