Thursday, August 31, 2006

Pinocchio, Heidi Receive Islamic Makeover in Turkish Books

"The latest victim in the rising tensions between the West and the Islamic world didn't want to become an international symbol for the clash of civilizations; in fact, Pinocchio's only wish was to become a real boy.

Book publishers in Turkey, reacting to controversy that arose over inclusion of such titles in the Turkish government's recommended reading list for schoolchildren, have reprinted several of the classics with Islamic elements inserted into the storylines."

"In "Pinocchio," when the wooden puppet arrives at the end of his quest, he exclaims to his maker, Geppetto, "Thanks be to Allah, I am a real boy!"

Earlier in the book he says, "If Allah wills it, please give me some bread."
Pinocchio, Heidi Receive Islamic Makeover in Turkish Books --

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Bardakoglu Writes About the EU, Islam and Religious Affairs

"The book, delivered to various officials and institutions via Turkish embassies, focuses mainly on the function of the Department of Religious Affairs.

The existence of such a department was widely seen as a contradiction in a secular country striving to enter the European Union.

Prof. Dr. Bardakoglu responds to such criticisms in his book."

"Bardakoglu, presenting Turkey as a country where peoples of different religions, languages and races live together in peace, elaborates on Turkey’s experiences with Islam and democracy.

Topics such as “Turkish model of religious affairs and a moderate Islam,” “Islam and democracy in Turkey,” “religion and terror,” “building of dialogue and tolerance,” and “relation of religion and state” are dealt with in an academic style."

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Miracle of Mary’s House in Ephesus, spared from the flames

Another "miracle", personally I have a hard time believing that God is concerned with a bunch of rocks, but to each his own:

"People are saying it is a miracle while religious admit the incident was indeed “extraordinary”. A devastating summer fire in Turkey wiped out 1,200 hectares of forest and came to a halt barely a metre away from the House of Mary, near Selcuk, a shrine that is the destination of pilgrims from all over the world, Christians and Muslims. The house of Meryem Ana is also likely to be a stage in the journey of Pope Benedict XVI to this country at the end of November. This led some of the media to think, at first, that the fire was caused by arson, while others suspected an attack by the PKK of the Kurds. Speculations were put to rest when it was found that the fire was probably caused by people who were picnicking in the forest: the heat, dryness and wind contributed to the fire, as happened in other coastal areas."
>>> <<< Miracle of Mary’s House in Ephesus, spared from the flames

Thursday, August 24, 2006

"Koran: a Resource for Growth and Prosperity?"

"Last night the show “Wide Angle” had a propaganda piece in which they claim Turkey is a secular state but with emphasis that the “teachings of the Koran led a group of businessmen to growth and prosperity.” From what I have gleaned Turkey is fast losing its secular status, as Muslims have infiltrated every aspect of Turkish life and are starting to impose Sharia on its population. Obviously someone is lying, let’s find out who.

“Turkey, (is) a Muslim nation secular by law where piety is on the rise and businessmen are pursuing wealth, faith and fashion.”

“They represent a new face of Islam; devout and profit-driven. They are earning the name ‘Turkey Tigers.’”

It turns out that all these tigers are pushing to convert Turkey from a secular state to that of fundamentalist Islam. They leave that to the end and use it as a punch line.

Believe it or not, the show’s main businessman designs and manufactures head-to-toe burkas to cover women according to the holy Koran. Woman must be starved for any conceivable nuance as our hero drives a Mercedes as “Allah allowed it.” He has three stores; one ten stories high with three basements. When he got to Turkey in 1969 women were in mini-skirts. Now with the resurgence of Islam women are starting to cover up. Ergo our businessman is part of the problem not the solution. He is just heading down the road to the further enslavement of women; enslavement into a world where Islamic men have a coronary if their buddies get a glimpse of their wife’s ankle and honor killings are restored if their daughters stray."
"Koran: a Resource for Growth and Prosperity?"

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Assyrians Experience Slow Cultural Revival In Southeastern Turkey

"Filled with honey-colored stone homes with exquisite relief carvings, Midyat, located in southeast Turkey, is one of the country's most beautiful ancient towns. It is also one of its most haunted.

Once almost exclusively populated by Assyrian Christians -- an ancient sect that traces its roots back to the earliest days of Christianity and that still uses Aramaic, the language spoken during the time of Jesus, for its liturgy -- the town is now almost completely devoid of its original inhabitants.

Caught up in the violence that resulted from the separatist war that was fought in the area in the 1980's and 90's between the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) and Turkish security forces, Assyrians from Midyat and several other towns and villages in the area fled to Europe, particularly Germany and Sweden, leaving their ancestral homeland behind.

Some 30-40,000 Assyrians lived in the area around Midyat, known as the Tur Abdin Plateau, 40 years ago. Nobody is sure what the population is today, although in Midyat only 100 Christian families remain."
Assyrians Experience Slow Cultural Revival In Southeastern Turkey

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Turkey has 2nd thoughts about EU

"Once, Europe was a sweetshop, and Turkey was an eager kid with his face pressed to the window. Just two years ago, polls showed that more than 70 percent of Turks wanted to join the European Union, convinced that following the road to Brussels would make them richer, healthier and freer. Now, only months after long-delayed negotiations finally began, support for the EU has slipped to just 43 percent, and is falling fast."

"Turkey is already in Europe's Customs Union, and enjoys largely tariff-free trade with the EU. Ankara's politicians continue to insist that Turkey will accept nothing less than full membership—yet those with their eye on the bottom line are starting to recognize that that may not be the best deal. "Farsighted people are realizing that it's not ultimately in Turkey's best interests to join [the EU]," argues analyst Attila Yesilada of the Istanbul-based news station Business Channel. "But at the same time everyone knows that it's important to maintain the façade."
Turkey has 2nd thoughts about EU

Saturday, August 12, 2006

'Protestant work ethic' in Muslim Turkey - Business - International Herald Tribune

We don't see this much in Istanbul, somebody stopping work to pray. Usually it is just to drink tea:

"In European countries, workers take a 15-minute smoking break; here we take a 15-minute prayer break," said Ahmet Herdem, the mayor of Hacilar, a town of 20,000 people in this deeply religious and socially conservative region of Central Anatolia, which has produced some of Turkey's best-known companies. "During this time, you are in front of God and you can ask him to help improve business and this is good for morale."

"If you're not a good Muslim, don't pray five times a day and don't have a wife who wears a head scarf, it can be difficult to do business here," said Halil Karacavus, managing director of the Kayseri sugar factory, one of the biggest Turkish businesses, which expects €500 million, or $642 million, in revenue this year."

"Not everyone at the factory, however, views Islam as a benevolent influence. Halil Karacavus, managing director of the company, complains that the region is too much under the influence of the governing AK Party of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. It is a traditionalist party with Muslim roots and won 70 percent of seats here in 2004 municipal elections.

Karacavus said that the AK Party too often had tried to mix religion with business. He said that because he was known as a secularist in a region dominated by Islam, government auditors have audited the sugar factory at least five times this year, and the government had tried to install religious- minded people on its management board. The effort did not succeed, Karacavus said, because the company was successful and that insulated it from interference.

"For me, Islam doesn't come first, which can bring problems because the best contracts, land and tax breaks are given to people who share the AK Party's religious beliefs," Karacavus said."
'Protestant work ethic' in Muslim Turkey - Business - International Herald Tribune

Thursday, August 10, 2006

The Joy of Steam

A trip to a Turkish bath:

"Arriving in the Sultanahmet district of Istanbul, built atop the ruins of the Greek city of Byzantium and the Roman capital of Constantinople, I already felt like I’d traveled halfway back in time to the ancient world. Then, in tea houses all over the city, I found dog-eared leaflets advertising the pleasures of Cagaloglu Hamam, the city’s oldest bath house:

World Hum | Travel | The Joy of Steam

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Turkey at threshold

"For centuries, Turkey has had one foot in Asia and one in Europe. Now it’s seeking more: Membership of the EU and a role as a global peacemaker. First, it must deal with its changing Muslim identity and increasing acts of Kurdish terrorism."

" Face-to-face interviews with 1,846 adults in 23 cities throughout Turkey, conducted in March and April, found a strong religious influence. More than 60 percent of those responding said they would refuse to let their daughters marry non-Muslims. Also, 60 percent blamed a lack of religious beliefs for overall ‘‘failure in life’’. And 46 percent favored schools specialised in religious teachings for their children over schools with secular curriculums." :: Turkey at threshold