Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Country of tolerance

"We often boast that Turkey is a country of tolerance. We say it is a country where the mosque of the Muslims, the church of the Christians and the synagogue of the Jews can coexist in one neighborhood of Istanbul, the cultural and business capital of the country.
Sometimes, however, we demonstrate in a very cruel manner our obsessions and lack of tolerance; we put aside a culture of democracy that requires one to be capable of at least listening to ideas that he may not share.

What boiled over at the Armenian conference in Istanbul during the past few days was a bitter reminder of that obsessive face of our national character, which makes many people afraid of what serious problems could indeed take place in this country if rising ultranationalism cannot be controlled."

"Tolerance cannot be defended with rotten eggs and tomatoes but with respect to differing views, arguments, beliefs and cultures.

We share the view expressed by Diyarbakır Mayor Osman Baydemir, for example, that the Turkish flag represents the entirety of citizens living in this land and their cultures. Similarly, this country belongs to all the different elements of society that together form the Turkish mosaic -- the inseparable togetherness of different colors."

"Representatives of the three monotheistic religions have come together for a conference in Hatay -- ancient Antioch -- to discuss cultures that have existed in Antioch over the ages. The representatives of the three monotheistic religions highlighted a common point: the common longing of humanity for a peaceful world and the need for mutual respect among different civilizations."

"Talking peace and commonalities but ready to accept all the differences we may have. This is the Turkey we want to live in. This is the Turkey we believe is a model country for our region and beyond."
Turkish Daily News - Country of tolerance


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