Wednesday, June 20, 2007

An ideal multicultural Turkey can show the way - Turkish Daily News Jun 20, 2007

"Hakan Akçura, painter, poet and video performance artist, who implemented the “Love at the Hatred Tunnel” Project, is presenting his attitude toward discrimination and racism along with the visual works he prepared."

"Akçura said that he was concerned about the racist messages posted on the Internet right after the Dink assassination. The period that started with Dink's assassination has prepared the ground for a nationalist wave to continue, he said. He noted that the “wave” continues even as wounds have not yet healed, other nationalist attacks have followed, including the killing in May of three missionaries in Malatya."
An ideal multicultural Turkey can show the way - Turkish Daily News Jun 20, 2007

Turkish Weekly Opinion - The Ferocity in Malatya is the Heritage of Hrant Dink Murder?

"I can’t get rid of my gloomy mood since I have heard the news about the attack on a publishing house that propagates the Bible and about the murder of 3 people committed by 5 men in Malatya who claim that these victims were propagandizing Christianity and working as missionaries. Why? For what reason could such kind of ferocity be committed? How can one demean himself this much? At the risk of embarrassing our religion, nation and ethics, what for such kind of murder could be committed? Is it not possible to end that kind of inhuman ferocity?

It is apparently so easy to corrupt aimless and chronically tense people. Then, who does corrupt them? The number of these questions may be improved; however we can remove obscurity about the ferocity in Malatya through two basic approaches. The first one is subject of security, criminal and justice in which works are mostly speculation or lack of information until specific reports will be issued by prosecutor and other investigators related to the case. On the other hand, the second method is rather close to the researchers in order to identify the process of murder as well as to help the identification. The main debate in analysis of these kinds of murders is the consideration of the process causing murders, an attempt to resolve under what circumstances men could be corrupted and by which reason men could simply commit murder and later putting forward a formula through emphasizing on external factors causing the process."
Turkish Weekly Opinion - The Ferocity in Malatya is the Heritage of Hrant Dink Murder?

If George Orwell were a Turkish journalist... - Turkish Daily News Jun 20, 2007

"Certain reactions to the mass demonstrations held in various cities just recently precisely exemplify this phenomenon. Do you remember those who implied that the insane massacre of three Christians in Malatya was presumably the outcome of the mindset of these gatherings' participants? Do you remember persistent efforts at trying to find similarities between the mass demonstrations on the one hand, and “Mussolini's march to power” on the other?"
If George Orwell were a Turkish journalist... - Turkish Daily News Jun 20, 2007

Turkey's Christians like AK despite Islamist past

Note: This article doesn't take into account the Protestant minority.

"Its foes like to accuse Turkey's ruling AK Party of plotting to create an Iranian-style Islamic state, but many among the country's Christian minority seem to prefer the alleged Islamists to more secular parties."

" Turkey is overwhelmingly Muslim but hosts several ancient Christian communities -- dwindling remnants of sizeable populations that prospered for centuries in the Muslim-led but multi-ethnic, multi-faith Ottoman Empire.

Modern Turkey was founded on the empire's ashes in 1923.

Those communities include some 70,000 Armenians and 20,000 Greek Orthodox -- mostly based in Istanbul -- and 20,000 Syriac Christians, who speak a form of Aramaic, the language of Jesus.

Turkey's Christians have often voted in the past for secular parties such as the centre-left CHP, analysts say. But the CHP has joined a rising tide of Turkish nationalism, making Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan's AK Party a more attractive option." Business - Latest News - Turkey's Christians like AK despite Islamist past

Monday, June 11, 2007

Uncivil society under a jealous god - Turkish Daily News Jun 09, 2007

"And here lies I think, the mother of many problems in Turkey. The state is just too powerful, dominant and vigilant. It is, to recall an ancient text of wisdom, like a “jealous God,” which wants to see no other identities and ideologies before him."
Uncivil society under a jealous god - Turkish Daily News Jun 09, 2007

Friday, June 08, 2007

WEA Religious Liberty Commission on Turkey, Europe & the Challenge of Islam

Really good interview with the head of the World Evangelical Alliance's Religious Liberty Commission:

"The recent horrific killings of three Bible workers in Turkey once again threw the international spotlight on religious liberty and the ongoing persecution of Christians in many countries around the world.

Christian Today spoke to Johan Candelin, head of the World Evangelical Alliance’s Religious Liberty Commission, to find out more about some of the challenges facing the worldwide Christian community"

"With a few exceptions, like Brazil and a couple of states in Central America, the church is growing under pressure.

I don’t think it is growing because it is persecuted. I think it is persecuted because it is growing. We should avoid a romantic approach that says if we are persecuted then the churches would be full. I don’t think that would be the case. If there is pressure on the church it will either die or grow. It will never stay the same. It is the untold story of our time."

CT: And nationalism is a big challenge in Turkey where the three Bible workers were recently murdered. What implication is that going to have for Christians living in Turkey?

JC: Well, I think what happened in Turkey was no surprise and I met with a couple of Christians a few weeks ago when I was there who said this is not the beginning of the end but the beginning of the beginning and that there will be more of this.

Turkey is very different from all other nations because for historical reasons Turkey has a very split identity. You have one part promoting Islam but then you have another part which is very strongly nationalist. And then in the middle you have a group of very Western-minded Turks who would love to see Turkey join the European Union. So there is a fight within Turkey for the mind of the new generation and it would be interesting to see who will come out as the winners.

But the losers are the Christians because they are targeted. The ugly word in Turkey is ‘missionary activity’. When you ask them how they understand that, they say it means an agent for a foreign country who is paid by that nation to split the Turkish nation. They don’t see it in religious terms at all, as we do, but in completely political terms.

But if Turkey joins the European Union then it will surely have an effect on other nations with a Muslim majority. It could be a prototype for a new kind of partnership. But it is a long way to the European Union for Turkey."
WEA Religious Liberty Commission on Turkey, Europe & the Challenge of Islam

Sunday, June 03, 2007

A Showdown In Ankara - Newsweek: International Editions -

"Yet Turkey itself is increasingly divided. The secular establishment is deathly afraid of losing more power to the AKP, which draws much of its support from poor, pious Muslims. Secularists despise the party, and are sure that, given the opportunity, it would use the state to promote Islam in all aspects of Turkish life.

I was confronted by such attitudes on a recent trip. One friend, a professor, insisted, "You simply miss the increasing pressures that religious elements are impinging on our daily existence." He and others cited a mass of anecdotal evidence: their children are being harassed, liquor is getting harder to come by, religion has become the key to promotion in public institutions, and many parts of Istanbul now look more and more like the Middle East—boys and girls separated in many public places and women covered from head to foot. "Is this what Ataturk fought for?" I heard over and over. A prominent mathematician said: "You Americans believe in moderate Islam. There is no such thing."
Worldview: A Showdown In Ankara - Newsweek: International Editions -