Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Turkey is Not Europe

A perfect example of why Turkey is not culturally compatible with the other members of the European Union which it seeks to join, can be found in the proceedings that will begin Friday in a Turkish courtroom.

Turkey's most internationally-acclaimed novelist will go on trial here charged with "insulting Turkishness".

The charges relate to a magazine interview in which Orhan Pamuk said 30,000 Kurds and one million Ottoman Armenians were killed in Turkey and no-one dares talk about it.

He could face up to three years in jail.

In some European countries, it is illegal to deny the Holocaust due to those countries’ particular involvement in the Holocaust. In Turkey, it is a crime to admit the fact of the Armenian genocide. To even suggest that the Turks committed genocide is a crime against "Turkishness." This alone should be a stark warning that Turkey is culturally foreign to the nations of Europe, that is shares few if any values with Europe and that its admission to the EU would only erode the values that Europeans cherish (by virtue of Turkey’s much greater birth rate).

This high-profile prosecution has caused a stir in Brussels.

It has raised serious concerns about EU-hopeful Turkey's commitment to the basic democratic principle of free speech.

Raised serious concerns? Is the BBC kidding? The fact that Mr. Pamuk is being put on trial for comments in a magazine is objective proof that Turkey has little commitment to the principle of free speech.

Fortunately, Mr. Pamuk has emerged as a champion of truth, a glimmer of hope for Turkish society in the future.

Orhan Pamuk fled the country after the interview was published amid what he calls a hate campaign.

Now he is back, determined to use his time in court to defend his comments, and his right to make them.

"What happened to the Ottoman Armenians in 1915 was a major thing that was hidden from the Turkish nation; it was a taboo," the writer explains, at an Istanbul cafe overlooking the waterfront.

"But we have to be able to talk about the past."



Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home