Thursday, March 30, 2006

The rise of 'ummah' ideology in Turkey

"Nationalism has seemed to be on the rise amongst the Turkish public.

Novels like "Metal Storm," "World War III" and the popular movie "Valley of the Wolves Iraq," all of which are about brave Turks fighting against the U.S and other Western powers, were interpreted as signals of this rise in nationalism.

However, behind the scenes there is another and certainly more dangerous tendency fueled by the current government, the "ummah" ideology.

"Ummah" is an Arabic word meaning "community of believers." The Ottoman Empire, which was ruled according to Islamic laws and based on the supremacy of Muslims over people with different religious beliefs, could be considered an excellent example of the dominance of the "ummah" ideology.

Almost everybody, both in Turkey and abroad, forgot that the popular "heroes" of the movies and novels who defeated the "evil Americans" had a Muslim identity as well as a Turkish one."

"Why would the AKP government, which has carefully suppressed its Islamic tendencies for almost three years after coming to power, publicly turn toward the Muslim world in recent months?"

"Our American friends seemed to understand the reason more accurately than the Europeans. In a speech earlier this week in Washington, U.S. Assistant Secretary for European and Eurasian Affairs Matt Bryza underlined the crucial role of Turkey's European Union membership in countering radical Islam.

Educated Turks who want to belong to Europe and other moderate Muslims throughout the world agreed with Bryza's comments. Only the Europeans appear not to have noticed this dangerous run of events.

So, obvious European procrastination about Turkish membership to the EU has not only fueled nationalism in the country, but it also seems to have encouraged the rise of the "ummah" ideology. This could potentially be more dangerous for the future of the world."
The New Anatolian

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Total Eclipse . . .

Media Bias Fans Anti-Christian Sentiment in Turkey

"Normally, Turkish nationalists threatening to hang local Protestants for operating a Christian literature stall at the Bursa annual book fair wouldn’t have raised an eyebrow. But it wasn’t long before Turkish television video and newspaper commentary was running. And some of that commentary only further fanned anti-Christian sentiment."

"On March 8, five teenage members of the Nationalist Party Movement (MHP) at the book fair in the northwestern city of Bursa challenged Turkish Bible Society volunteers Samir Serkek and Vahit Yildiz for selling Bibles in a “Muslim country.”

“We’ll settle with you by tying ropes around your necks,” one young man said before they left the Turkish Bible Society stall.

The five MHP youths quickly became loud and antagonistic, trying to block other people from approaching the stall. Before threatening the volunteers with hanging, one of them had yelled, “How can you sell Bibles here? This is a Muslim country!”

"Two days later, a group of five MHP young women approached the stall and began to shout insults at the workers for selling books that denigrated the Turkish culture and the Turkish people. “They accused us of trying to divide the country,” Serkek commented.

According to another bookstand volunteer, Sefa Gormezoz, a group of 35 MHP members, mostly young people, returned to the book fair on Saturday (March 11) at 1 p.m. and began to argue with workers at the Love Publications book stand. After 30 minutes, the group started yelling and chanting slogans such as “Turkey is Turkish and will stay Turkish,” Gormezoz said."

"While Serkek said that Show TV’s coverage was unbiased, right wing daily Yeni Cag spun what it incorrectly reported as free Bible distribution in a negative light.

“Missionaries who are taking over every part of Turkey have now taken up residence at book fairs,” the March 12 article’s subhead read."

"In the past, Turkish press and private television stations have consistently portrayed Christians in a poor light, causing recent concern that national media are partly responsible for violence against religious minorities."

"With negative media coverage fueling violence against Christians, skewed articles and slanderous television programs carry a very real threat for Turkish churches."

"Attacks against Christians in Turkey rarely received media attention until last month, when Santoro’s death made national and international headlines. Since then Turkish media have reported further attacks against priests in the western city of Izmir and the southern coastal city of Mersin.

Recent attacks against Turkey’s tiny Protestant community have gone almost unnoticed in the Turkish press. In January, church leader Kamil Kiroglu was attacked in the southern city of Adana and beaten unconscious, while in Trabzon two Protestant house church members were beaten and told to leave the city."

"But for Serkek, challenging disinformation about Christians in Turkey is not primarily about avoiding persecution. “Our goal is not to complain about Turkey or to defend ourselves, because that won’t provide a solution,” he told Compass.

According to the pastor, “persecution must come,” and he hopes that in response the Turkish church will further develop the “fruit” of love. “Our goal is to pray for Turks with tears, because when they threaten and attack us they don’t understand what they are doing. That is how we can be most useful to our country.”

This article is summarized from Compass Direct. For more information, subscribe to Compass Direct at Compass Direct

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Open season on Christians

"The parallels between Abdul Rahman and Reza are striking.

Both men are Persian, Rahman from Afghanistan and Reza from Iran.

Both men have been persecuted for converting from Islam to Christianity. Reza, 36, was almost killed for his faith, Rahman, 41, may yet be executed for his.

Both men were betrayed by those close to them -- Rahman by his own father and Reza by a very close friend."

"According to the Christian advocacy group Voice of the Martyrs Canada, most cases of Christians being killed for their faith receive no attention at all.

"There are more Christians being martyred today than at any other time in history," said Glenn Penner, communications director of the Voice of the Martyrs.

Penner says the International Journal of Missionary Research estimates that from June 2005 until June 2006, about 171,000 Christians are expected to be murdered simply because of what they believe. That's up from 168,000 murders of Christians in the previous year."

"Reza along with his wife and two children left everything behind and fled to Turkey, where they spent 14 months in the refuge of a church, before coming to Canada in Sept. 2004.

"Even in Turkey we feared for our lives from other Muslims," admitted Reza."
The Calgary Sun - Open season on Christians

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Non-Muslim places of worship to be repaired - Turkish Daily News Mar 25, 2006

" A decision made by the Foundations Department to renovate 750 buildings considered to be significant in terms of heritage has been praised by community leaders.

Among the sites slated for renovation are eight places of worship belonging to the Greek Orthodox, Syriac Christian, Greek Catholic, Armenian Orthodox and Jewish faiths."

"The plan involves the renovation of six churches and a monastery in Adıyaman, Ayvalık, Gökçeada and İskenderun and a synagogue in Edirne."
Non-Muslim places of worship to be repaired - Turkish Daily News Mar 25, 2006

Rising nationalism cause of ruin in human rights in 2005 - Turkish Daily News Mar 24, 2006

"Seeking either humanity or human rights is in vain in a country where both ethnic and religious nationalism have been rising, according to prominent professor of political science Baskın Oran, who drew up a report reviewing and analyzing developments in the human rights field in Turkey."

"Unbelievable ethnical Turkish nationalism escalated in Turkey in 2005, and this fact has penetrated even the judicial system, Oran believes. He revealed two reasons for this situation: reactions in Turkey against globalization and armed Kurdish nationalism -- armed attacks by the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK)."

"In 2004, there was a widely shared assumption and expectation that the atmosphere which was earlier dominated by religion and nationalism had been replaced by a human-centered atmosphere in Turkey. But it seems that we could not pinpoint the two reasons that caused the rise in ethnic Turkish nationalism and thus we experienced a very bad and saddening year for human rights,' Oran said."

"We believe the year 2006 will be a much better year than last year for human rights, that is to say, we believe that humans will be much more respected."
Rising nationalism cause of ruin in human rights in 2005 - Turkish Daily News Mar 24, 2006

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Freedom vs. restriction

"The study shows more than just the fact that Turkish society puts a lot of weight on the importance of family values, an emphasis on "moderation" with tradition, and a tendency to support change in economic conditions."

"Up to 80 percent agree that religion must not be repressive for the others. They also agree -- around 80 percent -- that "non-Muslims can practice their religions freely".
The New Anatolian

A question of religion

"Whether or not the identity card should continue to carry a section stating the holder's religion has created a controversy within the ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party.

Dr. Nevzat Yalcintas, the Istanbul deputy of the ruling party, expressed concern that the section on religion would be abolished in the new identity cards and asked Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Interior Minister Abdulkadir Aksu whether this would be the case.

Yalcintas said that removing the part defining the person's religion would be equal to depriving the holder of his religious identity, particularly when the majority religion in the country is Islam.

"There are certain things we can't agree to just because we are approaching the European Union. We have to guard our own values," he said.

He warned that Turkey would be full of missionaries once it becomes a member of the European Union and thus Turkish families would need to make even more efforts to maintain their Muslim identity."
The New Anatolian

Taxes, religion weigh on Turkey's wine industry - Turkish Daily News Mar 23, 2006

Muslims who drink and make wine. They have issues!

"When the Özbek family began planting vines, their neighbors told them they were committing a mortal sin and would face divine retribution.

"They said it was wrong, against Islam, to produce wine. They said our soil would dry up and it would no longer rain or snow. But that was more than 10 years ago," said Cengiz Özbek.

"Then they saw how much money we started to make. Now they too are planting vineyards," said the 37-year-old farmer, his weather-beaten face cracking into a smile."

"The old imam here was against the vineyards, but he left and was replaced by a younger, more pragmatic man who says it is a matter for the individual's own conscience," said Özbek."

"Atatürk -- who kept a wine cellar and was known for his love of the potent aniseed-flavored national tipple, rakı -- wanted to transform Turkey from a poor, religion-dominated society into a modern, European nation with European tastes."

"Turkey is the fifth biggest producer of grapes in the world, but only two percent are used in wine production."
Taxes, religion weigh on Turkey's wine industry - Turkish Daily News Mar 23, 2006

Ottoman Empire Granted Broad Religious Freedoms To Non-muslim Minorities

Turkey of the past compared to the present:

"Non-Muslim minorities were granted broad religious freedom under Ottoman Empire."

Many of these groups lost everything in the fallout after WWI.
The Anatolia Times

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

SABAH Newspaper English Edition

Sabah, one of the most popular Turkish newspapers and sites, has launched an English site.

SABAH Newspaper English Edition

Noah's Ark Controversy

I'm never sure what the major motivation is behind these projects, but it is interesting. Of course, it doesn't mean anything. Noah's ark happened, we know it's true.

"Recently released satellite images of an unknown formation or object on Mt. Ararat in Turkey have added fuel to archeologists’ ongoing quest to find Noah’s ark.

The “new and significant development,” an image from a QuickBird satellite, is relevant because the high-resolution view shows clearer detail of a “ship-like object … 1,015 feet in length,” Porcher Taylor, a professor of national security law, told

Taylor has spent 13 years investigating the mysterious item.

“I’ve got newfound optimism ... as far as my continuing push to have the intelligence community declassify some of the more definitive-type imagery,” Taylor told the online science news forum.

Taken over the northwest corner of Mt. Ararat, the picture shows a long, dark object—or rock formation, some say—resting sideways in glacial ice at an elevation of 15,300 feet."

The Baptist Standard :: The Newsmagazine of Texas Baptists

Friday, March 17, 2006

The Gagauz, a Christian Turkic people - Turkish Daily News Mar 17, 2006

"Following the disintegration of the Soviet empire on Aug. 19, 1990, a hitherto unknown Christian people suddenly emerged on the map of Europe. Wedged in between Romania and Ukraine in the southwestern corner of the 65 percent Romanian-speaking Moldavian Soviet Republic, the independent Republic of Gagauzia was proclaimed."

" The most accepted theory claims that the Gagauz are descendents of the Turkic Oğuz tribes who in the seventh century, together with the Huns, the Khazars, the Avars, the Petchenegs, and the Kumans, left the Altai mountains, today the borderland between the former Soviet Union and Mongolia. Across the steppes of Central Asia and the areas around the Caspian Sea they finally reached the plains south of the outflow of the Danube where they settled. According to this theory, when the Bulgarians under Boris I converted to Christianity in 864, the Gagauz followed their example."

"However, conflicts within the Gagauz group were a major obstacle to efforts to revitalize the language and the national culture. Some of the leading personalities tried to link up with their Turkish background while others stressed the Russian roots of the Gagauz culture and tried to strengthen ties between the Gagauz community and the Russian Federation. For obvious political reasons the Popular Front in the capital Chisinau supported the first wing and, in 1993, a Latin alphabet for the language was adopted, which had been drawn up in collaboration with Turkish language experts."

"The Gagauz language is closely related to Turkish. Approximately 80 percent of the vocabulary is about the same, but the language has been affected by the fact that the Gagauz are Christians. Via church language, Slavic elements have been introduced and Gagauz has also been influenced by its Romanian-speaking environment. One problem is that Gagauz has stagnated as a language and, so to speak, remained at an everyday level without words and expressions for modern phenomena. However, through its close relationship with Turkish, this problem can be remedied and Turkey has recently made teachers available for Gagauz schools.

Furthermore, Gagauz students are welcome at Turkish universities and, through a special exchange program, Turkish teachers and students play an active role at the university in Komrat. A Gagauz library has been financed with Turkish money as well as the shift from the Russian Cyrillic alphabet to the Latin alphabet. Also, the Turkish Ministry of Culture has published a series of books on Gagauz history and culture."

"There are probably also many Gagauz living in Turkey today. However, unlike the Turkic peoples of Central Asia, the Turkic minorities of the Balkans and the Muslims in Bosnia, the Gagauz cannot count on Turkish citizenship should they move to Turkey. The Act on Turkish Citizenship, based on jus sanguinis, clearly has a religious component. Blood ties are not enough and the religious factor thus plays a part even though Turkey is a secular state."
The Gagauz, a Christian Turkic people - Turkish Daily News Mar 17, 2006

Poll reveals Turkish conservatism

"An opinion poll in Turkey has revealed deep conservatism on all matters concerning the family and sexuality.

The survey from across the country showed a strong intolerance towards homosexuality and co-habitation."

"You would not know it from a night out in cosmopolitan Istanbul, but it seems two-thirds of Turks across the country disapprove of people who go to bars and nightclubs.

Even more are apparently uncomfortable with homosexuality. And 56% say they disapprove of men who wear earrings."

"The poll reveals deep conservatism on all things concerning the family and on the role of women there in particular.

Whilst almost nine in 10 people questioned said women should be equal in politics and business, two in three also said a woman should give up her career if her duties to husband and home are suffering.

Religion is a key factor in all major decisions. But according to the survey most Turks are tolerant of other Muslims who do not fast, cover their heads or pray."
BBC NEWS | Europe | Poll reveals Turkish conservatism

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Media ignores assault on monks, reports prostitution charges against church

"The fact that a boy armed with a long knife had threatened two monks, and youth rehearsing for a Passion play, was ignored. The boy also broke a door and stole a cell phone. He was arrested and later released by police."

“Some newspapers said ‘the boy entered the Catholic Church, accusing the church of prostituting boys with girls coming to the church’, as if this was the main news”, thus leaving the attack aside."

What really happened was that “on 11 March, at around 7pm, while we were holding a rehearsal for the play of the Passion of Christ in the convent of the parish, a youth, of around 22 years, came in and mixed with the youth of the parish, and then elbowed his way into the convent. There were around 25 teenagers there, aged between 15 and 19 years. One of the boys called me, telling me there was a stranger creating problems, who wanted to talk to a priest. I went out of the room and started to talk to him; seeing that he was saying disjointed things and threats, I asked him to go outside. He refused and only threatened all the more, swearing. All this was happening in the corridor of the convent, where by now, the teenagers had gathered around. At this point, I decided to call the police. The telephone is in a booth in the corridor. I picked up the receiver and dialed the number of the police. All of a sudden, I saw the young people scatter and this youth came to the telephone booth with a sort of scimitar (a knife around 80 or 90cam long, used to cut Turkish doner kebabs) – it had been hidden behind his back – which he started to threaten me with.”

“I put the phone down and tried to calm him. Anyhow, if he wanted to, he could have harmed me; I was able to come out from the booth. In the meantime, Fr Robert too had come into the corridor. This time, the boy turned on Fr Robert and threatened him, clutching the knife. I managed to sneak out and to go to the police station near the church. Even Fr Robert tried to keep the youth calm. Then the boy turned towards the hall where the young people had rushed to. He broke the glass of the door with the long knife, opened the door and started to rummage in the jackets of the teenagers, taking a cell phone with him. The teenagers had left the hall and had locked themselves about the place, in rooms and bathrooms. The boy continued to shout and threaten. Within five minutes I was back in the convent with three or four policemen. They crossed the boy on the stairs of the convent. He threatened them too and they tried to talk to him to calm him down. In the meantime, journalists and a dozen police reached the scene. There was some 15 minutes talk and finally the boy surrendered to the police.”

"in Turkey, there are elements seeking to instill in people’s minds the idea that the Church is “converting” Turks and posing a threat. Thus, less than month after the killing of Fr Andrea Santoro, on 28 February, the national daily Vatan, reported that Fr Andrea used to distribute dollars to draw youth to church. And other national news media continue to talk about missionaries and their proselytism, about the distribution of money and making other inferences, without ever revealing the identity of interested parties. Some say this approach hides the political struggle of religious fundamentalism against the current Turkish government and its resolve to take Turkey into Europe."
>>> <<< Media ignores assault on monks, reports prostitution charges against church

Monday, March 13, 2006

Capuchin Priest Attacked in Turkey

"For the second time in the last two months a priest in the southern Turkish city of Mersin has been attacked.

Early Saturday evening a young man with a knife entered the parish of Capuchin Father Hanri Leylek, saying that he wanted to speak with a priest.

The young Turk insulted the priest and then threatened him with an 80-centimeter (31-inch) Kebab knife.

The priest was able to repel the aggressor, and that same evening the police arrested a suspect, a young Turk."
Zenit News Agency - The World Seen From Rome

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Creation Museum Opens in Istanbul

"A Creation Museum has been opened by the Science and Research Foundation and the Foundation for Preserving National Values in Kucukcekmece, Istanbul."

"The visitors will also be able to watch a film on "The Reality of Creation and Collapse of the Evolution Theory" from a holographic screen in the museum."

Religious freedom in Turkey under EU microscope

"Ankara knows all too well that it is just a matter of time before such thorny issues as religious freedoms and human rights come up for discussion. For the Alevis, a cultural and religious group facing religious discrimination in Turkey, there is hope that the negotiations will bring needed relief."

"Thus far, Brussels has treaded carefully with regard to issues of religious freedom in Turkey, and has preferred to approach the Alevis' status piecemeal. Over eighty thousand pages of EU rules and regulations must be made a part of Turkish law before actual membership, however the spirit of the law is just as important, and Turkey's commitment to upholding human rights and religious freedoms will be watched carefully by many, both in and outside of Brussels."
World Peace Herald

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Sacrificing Should Be Concealed From Child

Many of you know about Kurban Bayram, the Muslim holiday of the sacrifice. A common practice is for the family to buy the animal they will sacrifice ahead of time and have it live with the family while they take care of it. Several of my Turkish friends have said how traumatic it was for them when their new "pet" was killed. Apparently, Turkish Psychologists are starting to agree:

"A research by Dr. Degirmencioglu and his students reveal that the children establish an emotional bond with the animals that are brought home to be sacrificed. The research also shows that the children aren't informed that the animal will be sacrificed."

Sacrificing Should Be Concealed From Child

Turkey's Reform Efforts Wane

"On both sides, doubts are growing about a successful integration of Turkey into the EU."

Erdogan wanted to emphasize Turkey's role as a regional power and its connection to the Middle East by inviting Hamas.

"But it's not clear yet whether Turkey sees this role as a supplement or alternative to EU membership,"

EU representatives -- the Austrian and Finnish foreign ministers as well as EU External Relations Commissioner Benita Ferrero-Waldner and foreign affairs chief Javier Solana -- are expected to talk to Gül about a possible mediator role between the West and the Islamic world in the aftermath of violent protests against Danish caricatures of Mohammad. Turks demonstrated as well, but they remained peaceful.

"Turkey's behavior during the conflict shows that Turkey no longer is a typical Islamic country," Kramer said. "But that's exactly what makes it less credible as a mediator."

Kramer added that Turkey needs to recognize that it is a multiethnic nation -- something that's far from becoming reality.

"Turkish nationalism is rising again," Steinbach said, citing current Turkish literature and the discussion surrounding Turkish action movie "Valley of Wolves," which has been described as anti-Semitic, anti-Christian and anti-Kurdish in the West.

"A lot remains to be done when it comes to Turkish policies towards minorities."
Turkey's Reform Efforts Wane

Monday, March 06, 2006

Christians need buildings in order to be trained and train others for ministry.

A Turkish Christian leader talks about being a Christian in Turkey:

"Fury over the Mohammad cartoons hit with intensity in Turkey, the largest unreached nation in the world. Muslims make up 99.7% of the population of 70 million people.

Although the Turkish government is more secular and directed people not to react with violence, IN Network's Behnan Konutgan says, "People are not secular, and people hate Christians, and because of that, the Christians are scared."

The Christians are also scared because recently a Catholic priest was killed in cartoon-related violence. But even in the midst of the violence, Konutgan says the church is called to display Christ and love those who persecute them. "So the church should forgive these people, the church should be hope to those people, the church should love these people and pray."

Although the Muslims in Turkey are more secular than most Arab Muslims, they are not open or receptive to Christianity. There is a huge rift between Muslims and Christians in Turkey, preceded by centuries of violence, enmity and antagonism. "Turks don't like Christians," says Konutgan, and he says that only God can heal that.

But the Body of Christ is growing in Turkey, and IN Network is providing support and training to the church in Turkey, to help believers reach out to their neighbors. "Our aim is really to be a channel to Muslims in Turkey to reach them through some methods, and through evangelizing and through training them," says Konutgan."

"Konutgan issues the Western church this challenge: "Lastly I would like to say that people who live in, let's say the West or America, are privileged, they have a lot of things. So they should use this privilege not to be spoiled, but taken as a warning to cling to the Word of God more and more, and to love people and do be hope to the hopeless, and to be light to those who walk in darkness. This is a great, great responsibility for the church, and I ask God to bless all of you, Amen."
Articles - Mission Network News

Sunday, March 05, 2006

'Smokes like a Turk' no more - Turkish Daily News Mar 05, 2006

I don't know if I would know how to react if I didn't come home smelling like smoke. It's hard to imagine getting smokers to enforce penalties on other smokers:

"Parliament gears up on imposing tough anti-smoking rules as part of its efforts to fight the addiction, but there are some who believe this law will end up like the similar laws that came before, constantly violated."

"The anti-smoking lawmakers have drawn the ire of the owners of coffee and tea houses, who see the bill as a threat to their business.

Smoking is also an ancestral tradition that goes back to the 17th century, when the "nargile" -- the hookah, or water pipe -- became a fixture in Ottoman coffee houses.

The contraption is now enjoying a revival among the youth of Turkey's big cities after several decades of being out of fashion.

"How can you prevent someone from lighting up while sipping a cup of Turkish coffee?" asked İsa Guven, president of an Ankara chamber of cafe owners. "They are using the EU as an excuse to kill off our ancient profession."

"For about half the adult population of Turkey, smoking is an absolutely normal activity, the result being a permanent national health disaster with anti-smoking campaigns making barely a dent in the habit.

Health Ministry figures show about 110,000 Turks die of smoking-related illness each year. About 60 percent of men and 20 percent of women in the country of 71 million people are smokers, one of the highest rates in Europe.

The lung cancer rate is high, and two-thirds of the 150,000 cases recorded annually are a direct result of smoking, said Dr. Murat Tuncer, head of the Health Ministry's anti-cancer unit."

"Among the reasons for the high smoking rate is relatively low prices, for example $3.30 for a pack of Marlboros, and the fact that Turkey itself is a major tobacco producer, responsible for 4 percent of the world output."
'Smokes like a Turk' no more - Turkish Daily News Mar 05, 2006

Honor killings and feuds claim nearly 1,200 lives in Turkey

"Honor killings and blood feuds have claimed 1,190 lives in Turkey in the past six years despite tougher penalties for such crimes, according to police figures released Friday. The figures show most of the victims and suspected perpetrators were from the country's mainly Kurdish east and southeast, where the practice of killing to clear one's honor is still widespread among the largely feudal population, according to a police statement.

Of the victims, 710 were male and 480 female, but the proportion of men who were suspects in murders was far higher at 1,413 men to just 180 women.

The most common motive - found in 29 percent of murders - was to cleanse honor, the statement said, without detailing the other categories.

The government and civic groups have in recent years stepped up efforts to stamp out honor killings, but opinion polls have shown they enjoy considerable support among the population.

A survey published in October found 37 percent of people in Diyarbakir, the main city of the predominantly Kurdish southeast, believe that a woman who has an extra-marital affair should be killed. Only 16 percent said she should not be punished."

The Daily Star - Politics - Honor killings and feuds claim nearly 1,200 lives in Turkey

Saturday, March 04, 2006


That was fast:

"Turkey is set to allow its citizens to choose whether or not they want their religion specified on identity cards. The move which for Turkey marks a step towards complying with European Union regulations doing away with people being classified by religious creed, is expected to be approved by Parliament soon. Turkey’s Islamic ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) last week tabled in parliament the bill which states that the religion section on identity cards issued to newly born children can be left blank if their families so wish.

In addition, the bill would allow people to change the information appearing under the entry 'religion' on their IDs.

Currently all IDs indicate whether a citizen is Muslim, Christian or Jewish - Turkey's three recognised religions."

"Most AKP deputies have come out in support of the bill, with some saying it will mean that only people who are serious about their Muslim faith will have it stated on their documents.

"The fact that not being able to change the religion on IDs means that even atheists and even enemies of Islam are classified as Muslims has made my blood boil," says Resul Tosun, a AKP lawmaker.

Another AKP parliamentarian, Tayyar Altikulac from Istanbul thinks that people's committment to their faith should not be gauged by what appears on their IDs.

"What is written on the ID as the religion is just a detail. The contact or support a Muslim person has with a local mosque is what really matters, like the relationships between Christians and their churches in European countries," he says."

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

The World Sees Turks As Lazy, Crazy And Ignorant

This is a lot to overcome! Let me assure you that, much like America and the rest of the world, those Turks that appear on the news to give their opinions are not what we would call the "creme of the crop" of society.

I was reading a quote about a protest in Washington and they commented that people protesting against the same thing had signs that not only conflicted with reality, but also with each other. He also pointed out the fact that people who are productive members of any given society tend to be too busy providing for themselves and their families to attend such things.

I'm always amazed when a protest of several hundred people with nothing to do makes the news in a city of 15 million. Now that is crazy!
The World Sees Turks As Lazy, Crazy And Ignorant