America's #1 Balance Bike Destination

America's #1 Balance Bike Destination
America's #1 Balance Bike Destination

19 October 2007

An Open Letter to the Armenian Diaspora

Mustafa Akyol writes to the Armenians with a very logical and balanced approach, and I recommend that you read it. I've posted a comment which I hope will be approved.. and since I'm fearful of my wireless router crashing as it so frequently does, I copied my comment here, and have decided to leave it up for you. Some things that have been incubating in my mind for a while, finally hatched and escaped.. Thought it worth sharing here also:

Hear hear! Love what you have said here..
One comment: the nationalism which you refer to as a virus.. I take exception to a little bit. Is it your opinion that nationalism on any/all levels is a bad thing? even in moderation? Is it not [one of, if not] the glue which binds us together? Doesn't an absence of nationalism result in division and disintegration of any sort? I'm a naive, uneducated American born Turk.. tell me, as a purely unifying factor, what is best?: Religion? Ethnicity? or Nationality? (how about self pity?) Have you ever heard the song, "Proud to be an American!" ? Using one word, how would you judge these lyrics?:

If tomorrow all the things were gone,I’d worked for all my life.
And I had to start again,with just my children and my wife.
I’d thank my lucky stars,to be livin here today.

‘Cause the flag still stands for freedom,and they can’t take that away.
And I’m proud to be an American,where at least I know I’m free.

And I wont forget the men who died,who gave that right to me.
And I gladly stand up,next to you and defend her still today.

‘Cause there ain’t no doubt I love this land,God bless the USA.
From the lakes of Minnesota,to the hills of Tennessee.

Across the plains of Texas,From sea to shining sea.
From Detroit down to Houston,and New York to L.A.

Well there's pride in every American heart,and its time we stand and say.
That I’m proud to be an American,where at least I know I’m free.

And I wont forget the men who died,who gave that right to me.
And I gladly stand up,next to you and defend her still today.

‘Cause there ain’t no doubt I love this land,God bless the USA.

How can it be, that in a country as diverse as the USA, with people from all corners of the world calling it home.. that no one bird dogs such a song (and dozens of others much like it) as a symptom of the "nationalism virus"? The US is the world capital of arrogant condescending patriotism.. which I believe to be nationalism in disguise.. yet no one here calls it a bad thing. When some slack jawed yokel in Alabama proclaims "America! Love it or leave it!".. no one bristles with shame or fear.. They nod approval, they say "Amen!" In America, anything considered to be a unifying factor, is GOOD. To wit, the words of the "Pledge of Allegiance":
"I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America and to the Republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."
For 12 years attending America's public schools, I was compelled to recite this every morning of every school day, facing the flag with my hand over my heart. Everybody does.. whether they came here last week or last year, whether they're Armenian or Turkish, whether they're Muslim, Jew, Christian or "other".
So I must know.. why the double standard? Why is it okay for Americans to speak and act in ways that make their country "indivisible", but not okay for Turks? Assimilation? Turkification? There's assimilation here too! There's Americanization here too! Yet.. the problem is that Turkey is full of people who don't want to be Turks (even expressed as a nationality, hyphenated with ethnicity or origin), who don't want to assimilate or salute it's flag. To them I say: "Love it or leave it".
Is there a word for the means which Armenians have been using as their "unifying factor" or their "indivisibility"? I can name a few words, none too flattering.
When will we ever see a march or protest in Turkey with people of all backgrounds shouting "We are all TURKISH!" If native Turks did it, it would be called "nationalism". If Armenians did it, it would be called "the most beautiful thing ever seen".
Turkey is also "indivisible", and we can't thank any one thing more than nationalism for this blessing, right or wrong.
I've drifted away from my original purpose here, but I think you get my drift.

46 comments:

Onnik Krikorian said...

Amerikan Turk, in my opinion there is a difference between nationalism and patriotism. Nationalism is usually ethnic or national pride to the extreme and which bases its premise on extolling the virtues of a race or country by feeling superior to, and acting with prejudice towards, other nations and countries. Nationalism usually leads to racism and wars.

Patriotism, on the other hand, is love of your nation without that negative side effect and also, in my opinion, includes the ability to be critical towards it for love of that country or national or whatever. This in the interest of pushing the country forwards and making it better for its citizens and residents and so on.

BTW: I don't say this in a Turkish context. I say this for every country. As someone who is half-English and half-Armenian, I say this for England and for Armenian worldwide. Because nationalism does usually end up being based on hatred or feelings of superiority to others, I despise nationalism in England, in the Diaspora, in Armenia, in Turkey, in Azerbaijan, in Georgia, in fact everywhere.

Patriotism, however, is something else and something that I think is more productive. Ultimately, however, I believe in treating people first as human beings and then hope all our lives can be enriched by cultural and ethnic diversity.

Murat Altinbasak said...

I agree that it's possible to confuse nationalism with patriotism.. but I do not make any connection between ethnicity and nationality. Except for some of the ultra nats, nationalism is not necessarily centered around "ethnic pride" in Turkey.. unless you're a Kurd or a Greek or Armenian. Those aforementioned who reject/diminish/revolt against the nationality of the country which they call home, are the ones acting with prejudice, racism, and superiority. Such attitudes are not only unpatriotic, they divide people and lead to wars.

Onnik Krikorian said...

Well, sure, but I also believe that suppressing ethnic identity is also another thing. For example, when Kurds say they are not recognized as such, until recently banning Kurdish language broadcasts etc. Or banning certain letters used in Kurdish, for example, and prosecuting Kurds for using them.

Of course, if those rights mean calling for armed insurrection and so on, that's not right also, but at the same time, as in the U.K. I believe that yes, people should consider themselves first as citizens of that country, but they should also be allowed all the rights to freely express their ethnic, cultural and linguistic identity.

Onnik Krikorian said...

BTW: I also think that 301 really needs to be sorted out. Not for Armenians, not for Kurds, but for every Turkish citizen who wants to be able to freely express themselves.

Metin said...

Ornik: You make some very valid points.

AT: Doe your description of 'Turkish' include Armenian-Turks, Greek-Turks, and Kurdish-Turks. And what and who are Turkish Turks as compared to 'non-Turkish' Turks?

As for the 'Turkish' branding of 'nationalism' and 'Islam,' I say the description is unique to Turkey and Turks of Turkey, as opposed to the 'real' definition of them as we know it, or as we perceive it.

Onnik Krikorian said...

Well, I admit that in this region it's not easy. Unfortunately, in my opinion, ethnicity takes precedence over citizenship and I think that this is an issue we all need to resolve.

For example, I believe that terms such as "Turks," "Armenians," "Georgians," etc should first refer to citizens of those particular countries.

Then, I think it is up to those of whatever ethnicity to determine how they are called. However, I know, it doesn't quite work like that. The term Armenan refers to ethnic Armenians, the term Georgian to ethnic Georgians, and so on.

I don't know what the solution is, to be honest, but first of all I believe that citizenship should be considered more important than ethnicity. As long, of course, as ethnic minority groups have the right to their language, culture etc.

Yes, yes, I know. I'm speaking from a Western perspective, but I can't see an end to problems in this region unless the issue is tackled.

Onnik Krikorian said...

Sorry, thought your question about "Turkishness" was directed towards me. Now I see that it wasn't.

Anyway, for the record, this issue of identity and how ethnic groups are referred to is a big problem here in the Caucasus.

Armenians consider Yezidis, Molokans and Assyrians by those names as if the term "Armenian" can not refer to being an Armenian citizen and Georgians do the same although it's more common to hear phrases such as Georgian-Armenian there and so on.

I daresay Azerbaijan is the same. Anyway, it's a problem that is rooted in the ethnic rivalry between nations, but for democracy and human rights to evolve in every country, first of all citizens of any ethnic background must be treated equally.

Selene Verri said...

The issue is actually simpler than it appears. It happens that the world is no longer the 19th century world, when nationalism (and the Nation-State) was created. Nationalism is out-of-date, it has no longer a reason to exist. Of course, just as it happened during the era of the Copernican revolution, there are people who can't accept this, because it means throwing away a lifetime of beliefs, without having alternative ones, which is quite destabilizing, especially - and that's just an example - for someone, like the Kemalist Turks, who have already lost their faith in religion and in their traditions following the Kemalist revolution.
All this is of course exploited by some powers, to the point that now we have created a sort of "macronationalism", which opposes the West to the East of the World (once upon a time it was US against URSS...) or, even worse, Christianity to Islam.
Personally, I don't mind. History goes its way, no matter if a few - or even many - cowards can't accept it. Provided that we don't annihilate ourselves in the process.

Hans said...

Murat, with all my respect for you:
'a foreigner in Turkey is a wild and wounded animal'. Yes, we withdraw our selves in safe areas, yes, we live in communities'...but not me...
Life is tough for a foreigner in Turkey...
I can settled up a company in USA in 1 week...also in Turkey..but have to appoint a Turk as a CEO...
Murat and Metin are out of touch what's going on in Turkey...
Happy that we have a powerful Dutch community...
Today in Zaman a lawyer: a foreigner can start a business in Turkey easily...but a work permit will hard to achieve....
Our friend of Hurriyet claims the opposite, but I know better.....
Regards

Ardent said...

Nationalism is not a bad thing.

But one needs to differentiate between Nationalism and Untra-Nationalism.

Ultra-Nationalism has no positives and can lead to fascism.

I cannot understand when I see footage of American suburbs on TV and they all have an American flag in front on their homes? Is this to remind themselves of where they live, or is it an implied statement that they are not open to foreigners?

I cannot understand this phenomea. Israel does the same thing, their Israeli citizens all have Israeli flags in front of their homes. Well 20% of the population of Isreal is Arab(both Christian and Muslim). Is the flag meant to represent a meaning to those Arabs who have not left the country?

I truly home that the citizens of Turkey do not take up this inane practice.

When I was little we would sing the Australian national anthem every Monday morning at Assembly, which was 'God save the Queen'. But that National Anthem was not Nationalistic enough, so it has since been replaced with a more appropriate anthem.

Since 9/11, I have observed that a very small amount of homes in Australia are putting up the Australian flag. What the hell for I do not know.

I see myself as an individual of the world and have no trouble accepting any other nationality or religion. I hate the way Politicians, especially the U.S., are using nationalism to warp the psyche of its citizens. That the American flag is a symbol of 'Freedom and Democracy'!

The symbolism of the Red, White and Blue is fast becoming a Disneyland fantasy.

Ardent said...

Hans,
It is not advertised, but to become a high ranking official in the American Army or in the CIA, one must be Jewish or should I say Jewish American.

Metin said...

Hans:

When I put forth my opinions about 'Turkey' I am doing so as an American. When I speak of 'Turks' then I am relating to them as a Turk.

When I ramble on about things that are of NO concern to me (as a Turk or 'foreigner' living in Turkey) I should learn to stay more quiet as you suggest as I am ignorant of life in Turkey, in the technical sense.

But simply because one doesn't physically live in Turkey (as a Turk or as a 'foreigner') does not make that person less of an 'expert.'

Sometimes, things are clearer when you're looking from the outside in . . .

And as an American, I am exercising my rights of free speech.

Besides over here we are used to meddling in other people's affairs anyway . . .

By the way, no one is forcing anyone to live where they don't have to. But for some, they have no choice.

Metin said...

Ardent: Are you referring to Jewish by race, or by religion, or as a citizen of Israel.

Please clarify.

Because sometimes when I make critical observations of Israel's policy, I am careful not to be labeled an anti-Semite as if the people doing the labeling know what it means to be a Semite or semitic.

Or why is it bad to be anti-semite versus pro-semite?

What about Zionism, the 'club' that Ahmadinejad (and others) claim dangerous, not 'Jews' or 'Israel.'

As for your comment about Americanism and red, white, and blue.

I find that quite patriotic myself.

And if the Americans want to 'gloat' about being on top of the world when it comes to certain elements of the global community that really matter, (some may think justifiably and/or deservedly so), than so be it.

At least they are not walking around always talking about how great they were hundreds of years ago, or how glorified their 'past' history was, or its full of heroes that we still look up to, and erect monuments in front of which we'll kneel on daily basis and thank for giving us the true path-ological direction . . .

Metin said...

Onnik Krikorian:

I appreciate your thoughtful response.

And I find you to be a great motivator in the continuation of dialogue between the two peoples.

Thank you for your efforts . . . which I support!

Murat Altinbasak said...

"I believe that yes, people should consider themselves first as citizens of that country, but they should also be allowed all the rights to freely express their ethnic, cultural and linguistic identity."

Exactly. I'm all for Kurdish people feeling "at home" and living their lives as they choose to, no restrictions. I've defended Article 301 many times, even on the radio once.. but defending does not mean liking or agreeing. I'd hate to open another hornet's nest here, but if more people abided by Article 301, fewer would die senselessly. It's been argued before... Hrant Dink is an unfortunately tragic example. I may be the only person in the universe who says that Art301 can save lives. It protects people from the unltra nats. Not exactly a redeeming quality.. but believe me, even if it were eliminated, the ultra nats would enforce their own 'justice' upon those who they believe violated it.

Murat Altinbasak said...

AT: Does your description of 'Turkish' include Armenian-Turks, Greek-Turks, and Kurdish-Turks. And what and who are Turkish Turks as compared to 'non-Turkish' Turks?

Yes it does. I naively believe that the hyphenated nationality-ethnicity we have here in the US, is possible in Turkey. This is a principle which is clearly demonstrated by the name of my blog. I chose it, 27 months ago, because I consider myself American first, Turkish second. "Turkish American" is a name I reserve for those whose hearts remain forever in Turkey, who use the US as a "present location" instead of as a true home.

Of course, using my logic, an Armenian living in Turkey would call themself a "Turkish Armenian". but I doubt they call themselves that. It's probably reversed. Semantics? Maybe so. Symbolic?

Murat Altinbasak said...

"..I believe that citizenship should be considered more important than ethnicity"

My point exactly! But when citizenship is tied to a word like nationalism, it causes problems and misunderstandings. In my view, giving big importance to ethnicity is something wich can easily evolve into racism.. One could call me racist for marrying a Turkish person! I didn't want it any other way, same as many other Turks.. Greeks think along similar lines.. Marrying outside of their ethnicity is akin to disrespecting ancestors by "diluting the blood".. This is what the core of the matter might be, even if there are those who marry purely to comply with tradition or have somthing very big, in common. It can be interpreted to be something quite a bit more ugly. Superiority.
Ask yourself this question:
How many married couples exist in the WORLD, where man and wife are different nationality, different ethnicity AND different religion? Few, very few. Seems to me that people are attracted to those who share at least ONE of these three "values". Two is more likely, and three is most common. Food for thought. It's all about compatibility, even if it seems racist.

Murat Altinbasak said...

"Murat and Metin are out of touch what's going on in Turkey..."

Hans, point taken. I was born in Queens, NY.. Metin's been here from a very young age.
Speaking for myself, you're absolutely right: It's harder for me to understand how things are in Turkey, even though I visit almost every year.. I didn't attend any Turkish history classes, or Turkish language classes. I wasn't indoctrinated by Turkish teachers with a state regulated curriculum. Small miracle then, that I'm tagged as a 'nationalist' so often. Well, a "blind" one actually. When you're 10,000 kilometers from Turkey, a place where you love spending time, a place that you feel connected to, you miss it an awful lot, and you love it blindly. Think of the old addage "absence makes the heart grow fonder"..

Murat Altinbasak said...

Ardent:
You've not been to the US in a while, if at all!?
After 9/11 flag companies couldn't keep up with the demand! MANY American homes display American flags in their porches, windows and flag poles. Not as a reminder of who they are, but rather as a proclamation of which "side" they're on. You will recall the words "you're either with us or against us".. A war on terror was declared six years ago. In the American psyche, terrorist=Muslim. You can be sure that most every flag bearing home in America is populated by either W.A.S.Ps (white anglo saxon proestants), or closet Muslims who are fearful of thier neighbors' low opinion of them. My home has no flags.. though I used to have a sign which read "never mind the dog, beware of owner" (and there's a picture of a gun on it, yes)

Finduk O. said...

After reading through the original post and all 19 comments (19 presently) I want to make a few points myself.

Hans, it is not MORE difficult for you because you are a foreigner. It is EQUALLY difficult for you, but with specifics varying from those of the locals. (You have to jump through different loops or are blocked for different reasons altogether) In fact, if you look at the "locals" and the lives they lead, they come across greater difficulties than you would in setting up companies. That is why Turkey is not like the States, with the majority of companies being family-run businesses. From taxes to laws on who can own shares to who can sign the lease contract and on and on and on. There is always a catch if the official who you are working with wants there to be. Life in Turkiye is easy when you "know somebody," and not when you are a foreigner or a Turk. Since you can experience and view the country only as a foreigner, I wanted to provide this point of view for you as someone who has family experiences both as a foreigner and a local in Turkiye, especially in setting up companies (of course I am only experienced in setting up limited corporations).

Murat, you mention marriage as an example with regards to racism. It made me want to point out that I agree with you that that example is a personal preference. Each individual has a right to his/her personal preferences and choices, as long as actions stemming from any personal choices do not break any of the laws of his/her country or international human rights laws.

Onnik has given the differences between "patriotism" and "nationalism." The way he defines "patriotism" is how I see the word "nationalism." This reminded me of how important definitions are (again, like Murat said), and how any person's intention needs to be given equal weight to his/her statement. In other words, all of you guys are coming together on this site with the intention of finding common ground and getting along with one another. Therefore you take care to make sure your intentions are clear when provide your point of view and use terminology that can easily be misconstrued or manipulated.

For example, "nationalist" somehow carries a negative connotation like "racist." "Racism" was a word that the French coined because of the Nazi's, and it began being used in 1935 or 1936. Before that there was the word "racialism" and that was from the beginning of the century and began being used when European races took control (citing being more civilized as their excuse) over countries with African races, in Africa.

The Ottoman Empire never had a "racialism" or "racism" issue. The Republic of Turkey, by it's definition of who/what is a Turk cannot possibly be racist because it defines it's citizens without race.

It does, however, define its citizens with the language it uses and the religion each individual uses. At the time, in the 1920's, with all of the different groups of people that got together to fight for an independent nation free from both Ottoman rule and Armenian/Russian, French/Armenian, Italian, Greek/British rule, the majority of the "freedom fighters" were Turkish. So the Turkish-speaker Mohemmedian came to be in this way.

If Ataturk was the ruthless dictator as some would like to portray him, he would not have put religion in the constitution of a country, because he believed the role of religion can only be in a personal scope and not a political one (i.e. secularism). However, the people that came together at the time could only agree on those terms.

So maybe certain things should be changed, so what? Ataturk himself said you need to always be evolving/changing in order to prevent a revolution or a huge and fundamental change ("Devrim gerektirmeyecek kadar devrimci olacaksin").

Does the necessity to evolve give anyone the right to put down Turkish nationalism and say it "usually leads to racism" or that a hesitation to change a fundamental document stating nationalist beliefs makes you a "coward" for wanting to thoroughly review the facts first?

If a majority of a people are not yet ready to evolve with respect to a law that is not against any international human rights laws, then does the desire for change by the minority of that country or by some outside country's dictates require that that country "evolve" in that sense?

If the minority's or the foreign country's desires carry more weight or are more important or are more "correct" than what the majority believes, then does that minority/foreign country really believe in democracy? Because when you whiddle down democracy, it amounts to "majority rules."

Now, if you take consideration of my emphasis, that the country's laws do not violate any human rights laws, then if the majority of a country declares they are Muslim or that they speak Turkish, how is that racist, or any other word with a negative connotation (I dont think "nationalism" has a negative connotation but for those who do, insert that word here).

I hear Kurdish in the streets here, and more often than not, when I do business with Kurds, they speak Kurdish among themselves in front of me. It is my personal choice to learn or not learn Kurdish. As a citizen of Turkey, it is--by definition of the consititution--their responsbility to handle any official business (meaning concerning the government, not talking to their girlfriends or something like that) in the Turkish language. But when a Kurdish businessman is doing business with another Kurdish Turk, by all means speak Kurdish.

There are no laws in the Republic of Turkey that forbid any of that. There are more difficulties in Christian countries of building a mosque than there are in the Turkish republic of building churches. Regardless of the hype that the media tries to stir up since Islamic religious sites are government funded (God knows why, but it was setup that way via Demirel) but Christian or Jewish or other religion's are not government-funded.

That is inequality right there. As is saying that the language of Turkey is Turkish. Why isn't it Chinese? Because the majority of the people are not Chinese. Unfortunately, with democracy, majority rules. As long as there are no human rights violations (such as killing your daughter for family pride---which is a law among Kurds that dates to pre-Islam).

So is Turkey a racist country for not allowing Kurdish honor killings or Islamic marriage rights of 4 wives to one man?

There are plenty of racists under the guise of being "patriotic" as there are under being "nationalist." There are plenty of anti-Kemalists who are racist as there are Kemalists, because there will always be people who identify themselves with an ideology but who do not properly follow the ideology as was originally intended.

This was a long post. People who want to find common ground will probably go along with most of it while people who are objecting solely with unconstructive/destructive intent will tear it apart. From what I have read (not on this post/site) the Armenian diaspora lacks the responsbility, that all of you guys have shown here, in stating their point of view with a rational and democratic point of view, free of racism or hate. It is their personal choice/preference to hate or to be destructive instead of constructive. And my personal choice to make a point that that is how I view it. Turning personal preferences into Congressional bills is a different matter...

Metin said...

I LOVE the American Flag. I've loved it ever since my parents and I were at the American Consulate in Istanbul (me at a very young age sitting next to the American flag in the waiting room) where my parents were being interviewed by the Consul General so they can receive their green cards.

It has a special meaning unique to me. And for a lot of people in the U.S. it has similar meaning. Especially foreigners who immigrate here and become very appreciative of the things we have here that we may not have elsewhere!!!

I fly, wear, affix,carry, draw, respect, the American flag whenever, wherever, and however I can. I've done it prior to 9/11, and post 9/11. And doing so (for me anyway) has nothing to do with hating Islam, or terrorists, or being one of the "Muslims who are fearful of thier neighbors' low opinion of them" as Murat states.

Murat, you must have a very low esteem as a Muslim or as a Turk or as both to be making such a statement to suggest that Turks or Muslims or both who are Americans would do so only under that pretense. I take issue with that.

I also do believe in the significance of the Turkish flag and its meaning, and the respect that (any) flag deserves (symbolically). It's an identification of the nation, and its people. Not a politically incorrect case of ultra-nationalism. (and may not even be considered 'blind' patriotism in my case).

Case in point: Ataturk's gesture of not stepping on the Greek flag in izmir after the Greeks were dumped at sea???, as we were taught in schools in Turkey.

Murat Altinbasak said...

"And doing so (for me anyway) has nothing to do with hating Islam, or terrorists, or being one of the "Muslims who are fearful of thier neighbors' low opinion of them" as Murat states."

Take a pill dude. I'm not painting everyone with my ideas.. just drilling towards a point.. mainly about the surge in flag bearing homes and cars..

"Murat, you must have a very low esteem as a Muslim or as a Turk or as both to be making such a statement to suggest that Turks or Muslims or both who are Americans would do so only under that pretense. I take issue with that."

Now you surprise me. If I had "low self esteem as a Turk" I would not have this blog.. As a Muslim, that's a different story. I do not share my religious beliefs with anyone outside of family, and I also dislike the assumption that everyone who calls themselves Turkish is a devout "moose-limb" (to borrow some Redneck Texan lingo) So you're right, I don't consider being Muslim to be a badge of honor. Is this an insult to Turkishness? You are quite correct about immigrants who love the USA and feel proud to be American. I totally forgot about them.. but still you've read into my remark too deeply. I was just shooting from the hip, to answer Ardent. I own an American flag- it's a small one that I found in the gutter while out during a bike ride about 4 years ago. I stopped and rescued it.

Onnik Krikorian said...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nationalism

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Patriotism

Anyway, in my opinion as a journalist who writes stuff from Armenia that many in the Diaspora especially doesn't like, I always consider that it is the nationalists that threaten and attack whereas it is the patriots who may or may not agree, but are always ready to discuss and debate.

Incidentally, I have the same argument about nationalism versus patriotism with Armenians too. For example, I would consider that a nationalist Armenia would NOT consider ANY concessions or conciliation with Turkey and Azerbaijan because of nationalist ideology rooted in the past.

However, a patriot who might accept certain aspects of the past would consider a more moderate stance in favor of the future and human or moral concepts and idea that would be considered more important than the nationalist knee-jerk reaction which always appears to be to argue, attack, threaten, accuse, and sometimes fight.

Hans said...

By the way, no one is forcing anyone to live where they don't have to. But for some, they have no choice.
================================
Yes Metin, I don't have a choice: my wife will never leave Istanbul..))
Anyway, I love to live in Istanbul. Better than in the Joined States of America..))

Hans said...

I may be the only person in the universe who says that Art301 can save lives. It protects people from the unltra nats
=================================
Murat, the ultra nats are using art 301 on a daily base to prosecute people...
regards

Hans said...

How many married couples exist in the WORLD, where man and wife are different nationality, different ethnicity AND different religion? Few, very few. Seems to me that people are attracted to those who share at least ONE of these three "values".
================================
Murat, time for me to send you to the Netherlands...the population in Amsterdam: 60% foreigners.
In my family people are married with Black from Suriname (Hindu) German (Wasp) Australian (Wasp) British Anglosasksian, Singaporese (Bhuddist) American redneck, Dutch Jew and Turkish Muslim..and of course people call me in Turkey racist since we mix our blood..))

Hans said...

When I ramble on about things that are of NO concern to me (as a Turk or 'foreigner' living in Turkey) I should learn to stay more quiet as you suggest as I am ignorant of life in Turkey, in the technical sense.
==================================
Metin, did I wrote that you have to stay quiet or that you are ignorant? Since our telephone conversation I know better..))

Finduk O. said...

real quick, from the online etymology dictionary (etymonline.com):

"one devoted to his nation," 1715, from national in a now obsolete sense of "patriotic" (1711), from nation (q.v.). Nationalism in this sense first recorded 1844; earlier it was used in a theological sense of "the doctrine of divine election of nations" (1836).

---
I never go to wikipedia as a source of knowledge or information.
Ever.
It is not a reliable source in any sense of the word.

Lastly, knowing the origins of any word in any language helps you to keep in mind what the original intention/connotation/meaning of the word is. So that you don't confuse it with alternate meanings that others create with malintent or simple ignorance and misuse of the word. To be a "patriot" and "patriotism" is a positive thing in American English, but a negative one in British English.

But literally they are the same. It is just the recent rush of political jargon that confuses people.

Hans said...

Finduk, interesting last post!
I wrote an article about Cross Cultural Communication (worked in 8 different countries and worked with more than 50 different nationalities. You can find that article on my blog, entry October 11.
Will reply to your other post later.
Have to do some shopping: Efes Extra, Whiskey, Cigarettes..))

Hans said...

There are more difficulties in Christian countries of building a mosque than there are in the Turkish republic of building churches.
==================================
Dear Finduk, Turkey is the birthplace of the apostle Paul and Luke the evangelist – the population is close to 70 million, and today is almost entirely Muslim. The remaining minority is made up of, among others, approximately 60,000 Armenian Orthodox, 25,000 Jews, and fewer than 3,000 Greek Orthodox belonging to the patriarchate of Constantinople. These three groups are the only ones recognized by the government as having a special minority status, according to the government's interpretation of the 1923 Losanna treaty: a statute which does not, among other things, extend legal recognition to religious hierarchies; the government does not, in particular, recognize the "ecumenical" character of the patriarchate of Constantinople for all of Orthodoxy.
Then we have the Roman Catholics, the Protestants.
Apart from lacking legal recognition, in fact, these minorities are prevented from constructing, and even from restoring, their places of worship, from possessing buildings and land, and from opening schools. Christians are forbidden from taking up some offices and professions, particularly in the military.
A tiny minority of 20.000 German's are trying to build a church in Antalya. This is by Turkish law not allowed.
The miniscule Greek Orthodox community is one of the groups most afflicted by discrimination.
When more than 100.000 Greeks were deported in 1963, since theey have double citizen ship (Greek and Turkish) not that much is left in Turkey for Greek Orthodox. In fact the birthplace of Eastern Orthodox church is Istanbul. But they are whipped out!
about building a mosque in Europe: most of the time the governments of these countries paid and are paying for it:
http://www.indiawijzer.nl/religion_and_spirituality/islam/mosques_in_netherlands.htm
So dear Finduk: you are talking nonsense.
regards

Hans said...

Murat: So I must know.. why the double standard? Why is it okay for Americans to speak and act in ways that make their country "indivisible", but not okay for Turks? Assimilation? Turkification? There's assimilation here too! There's Americanization here too! Yet.. the problem is that Turkey is full of people who don't want to be Turks (even expressed as a nationality, hyphenated with ethnicity or origin), who don't want to assimilate or salute it's flag. To them I say: "Love it or leave it".
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Murat, we have in the Netherlands a minority of 600.000 Friesch people: their language is an official language.
You, as a Turkish American can publish a journal in Turkish o
if you want. Of today, several Turkish Kurdish majors are prosecuted because they published before the elections of 22 July, the rules of engagement in Turkish, Kurdish and English. The point here is that English is legal, but Kurdish Not.
The Native Americans can speak and publish in their own languages. They don't face prosecution.
So, who are using double standards?
Another example: the Dutch State minister of Justice is a Turkish Dutch. She both has the Dutch as Turkish nationality. When some MP's in the Netherlands raised question's, Turkey was in arms: Discrimination etc. In the end: she still have both citizen ships.
Now the Turkish minister of treasury Cetin, faced the same problem: he had the Turkish and British nationaly. Turkey was again in arms, and he had to give up his British citizen ship. Different outcome or not? Double standards? yes, Turks are good in that...)))
and i still love you..))

Hans said...

Hans, it is not MORE difficult for you because you are a foreigner. It is EQUALLY difficult for you, but with specifics varying from those of the locals. (You have to jump through different loops or are blocked for different reasons altogether)
===================================
Finduk, thanks. Can you show us foreigners the way? We face day by day discriination, on legal issues. I am not talking about social life (which is great here).
If I put tomorrow 250.000 Euro on the table, rent an office, employ 20 people, a work permit for me, as investor will not be granted.
Btw, I have a work permit for the USA, still..
As our friend E. of that bourgouis newspaper H. said: we have to claim our rights. reciting a UK lawyer who said: even if a Turkish citizen has only 1 euro to spent, he/she has the right to establish a company....in Europe!
Hallo, are we still there..))

Hans said...

And coming back to the topic:
Onnik, you make sense.
Lets see if people like you and Mustafa Akyol, with peaceful intends, will be understand.
regards

Finduk O. said...

hans, first of all, my apologies for saying "christian countries" in the quote of mine that you quoted and then concluded is nonsense. Because of such a broad generalization, that single statement became nonsense, as you have in your statement concluded. And I agree with you in this regard.

Now as an agnostic, which I am, (which I am coincidentally positive that you are not solely due to your statements and the various pictures of churches on your webpage) I have very little knowledge on the specific numbers in the United States. So I had to go look them up. You made me do some research do back up my comparison of two countries :)
I still insist in my conclusion that things here are not more difficult for foreigners. By the way, the Turkish government also does not pay for any Shiite mosques (actually they are called Cemevi) and go as far as tear some down in the process of being built, citing lack of building permits, etc (statistically speaking the majority of Istanbul is gecekondu---residential housing without building permits---but I would have to find the book that I read this in, in case you again label all of my statements as nonsense).

Now back to Muslims in US (a christian country, but not on paper, on paper there is a division of church and state, emphasis on church)....

First here are the links, and then I'll provide statements that are direct observations from these pages :)

http://www.chroniclesmagazine.org/?p=169
http://www.jannah.org/popstatistics/usamuslims.html
http://usinfo.state.gov/products/pubs/muslimlife/musmap.htm

Population stats in 1990 say that the total number of 720,844. Now I can go look at the latest census--what, it would be 2000 probably, if you want me to do even more research on religions (like I said, as an agnostic, this is sort of pointless of me, and I'm doing it solely of my respect for you). However, I'm going to make an assumption right now and say that the Muslim population probably hasn't tripled or doubled since then, especially since 9/11.

The total number of mosques, you ask? 1,625 according to one US government webpage, and 2,000 according to another which is just an estimate.

So let’s take 1 million for the population (it may have increased to more than that) and 2,000 mosques--which may also be more, despite US government claims.

That's about...1 mosque for every thousand people, right? But if you consider, for example, the State of Texas, which has 33,973 people with 67 mosques that gives us 507.06 people per mosque. That state has a high Muslim population, perhaps that’s why the per capita is also so high, at a whopping 500 per building.

Now finding Turkish statistics and comparing them to the Christian country of the United States has been a little bit more difficult.
So I'm going to take your numbers, source not cited by you, as truth (not nonsense).

So there are 3,000 Greek Orthodox. That would mean the country of Turkey, if on equal par with the free, democratic, and secular US, should have 3 churches for them, right? Well there are supposedly 79 Greek Orthodox churches in the country, with 72 of them in Istanbul. (http://www.turkishweekly.net/news.php?id=18263)

Per capita that gives you 37.97 people per building.

Now, you may freak out at this point and say, "but oh no Finduk, most of those are ancient buildings built before the Turks ever came to these lands!"

If that is the case (I didn't research on the year built of any of this stuff) then it should go to saying more about the acceptance of Turks of different beliefs, of tolerance. Not anything less than that.

My original statement that you quoted and dismantled said there were more *difficulties* and did not talk about whether it was legal or not. Do you think it is illegal in the US to build mosques, and that is why there are so few compared to the number of Muslim minorities in that country?

Again, my apologies for making a broad-sweeping statement about "christian countries" in general. You referred to one christian country which funded the building of a mosque. Good for them. Like I stated before, the Republic of Turkey was originally brought together as a secular country.

The Sunni Muslims of the country have, throughout the years, tacked on new laws, often against the fundamental beliefs of the secular republic. But no overturns of these changes have been made. I suppose additions of other religions (and of Islam's non-Sunni sects) will really have to "claim [their] rights" as you mention in your post.

Because that is what Sunni Muslims did to the secular country of Turkey since its initial creation. The ezan, the Muslim call to prayer, was in Turkish until Menderes changed that. Within the first 30 days of power, in 1950, Menderes changed the Turkish call to prayer into Arabic. And no one has even overturned that.

Demirel's first government is responsible for providing a salary
to imams, Islamic religious leaders. Before that, the *secular* republic of Turkey paid no religious leader any salary, which would make sense in the division of church and state.

The local secularists or pro-Kemalists are not rising up to claim their rights as citizens of a secular nation. Instead the money that is taken from their income taxes and KDV is given to Sunni Muslim leaders.

There is quite a bit of inequality in this country. I stated that same point of view in my original post. That inequality is increasing as the majority is increasing their rights in the eyes of the government, and the minority is not gaining or claiming new rights. When it comes to imams salaries, the government of Erdogan has just declared that not only are they going to continue to be paid, but there is going to be a hierarchy of them now. So you will have different levels of imams, with different titles, and different salaries and retirement benefits.

Hans, with your second post, I am unfortunately not going to respond to that in detail, beyond telling you that I can speak to my accountant/lawyer here in Izmir and have him speak to you in case you need any assistance in obtaining the rights to have a foreign investor, since we haven't faced that problem here and do have a US investor. I will not go into a more detailed response to that post because you have ended that post with "Hallo, are we still there...))" Not only do I understand the point of publishing such a comment, but I find it borderline sarcastic and obnoxious. Of course, I am still here. Just not online at the same time as you are :)

But I've thoroughly enjoyed this dialogue with you.

Murat, thanks for making it possible :)

Hans said...

Dear Finduk, (we're complete off topic btw)
You 'google' too much..))
I was talking about Europe btw, not the USA.
Thanks for the offer of your lawyer, but with Pekin @ Pekin I feel okay..)) And I studied (international) law as well..))
I am not going to dump here all kind of links, but base my opinion on 5 years experience in Turkey, 6 in the USA and 15 in several countries in Europe...
Will come back later, get a visitor (American Turk) from nyc over..))
regards

Hans said...

Dear Finduk,
I dont want to complain here too much, you and others will get the feeling 'what the heck is this guy doing in Turkey'..)
I only try to explain that life for a foreigner is difficult here in contrary with Turks in Europe where an army of consultants, social workers, governments incentives etc. made life for them more easy, although they, not all, don't take the opportunities.
Let me give you a personal example: I am using an innocent drug, medicine for over 15 years. In the Netherlands I didnt get that easy, but my home doctor gave a a prescription for me. When I lived and worked in Prague and USA, I came back at least every three months so my doctor give me a prescription for 3 months all the time.
When I moved to Turkey, this medicine, which cost 3 YTL - for 4 weeks - was for free, you can buy it withouth prescription. But since last year, you need an prescription of a shrink. Now shrinks in Turkey thinks it is good for their ego to have a foreigner as 'client'. Although most of them don't speak a foreign language. But they charge me around 100 EURO for 30 minutes b.shit talking, and then I get my prescription.
The simple medicine of 1.5 euro...
2 weeks ago I took my wife with me, to three different shrinks: all wanted to sell me a more expensive medicine, up to 120 USD for 1 week. Which I simple refused. I had to pay in total 350 USD to get a prescription of 3 YTL...
This is a simple story, but I can tell you, there are thousands of these kind.
The biggest scam was when 'they' diagnosed me with cancer...which gave my wife almost a heart attack...only to sell drugs to me...the diagnose was fake, and was done by an Internist of American Hospital...
The poor guy is fired, since I know the people there pretty well.
But all this takes time, energy, emotions and so on.
With the ordinairy Turks on the street, I can dance, talk, drink, have fun, not with to so self proclaimed 'intelectuals' and 'Western Turks'...These Turks only see Euro's in their eyes when they see me...
Kindest

Mitat Yerli said...

'Majority rules' alone does not democracy make dear Finduk; it has to be coupled with strong minority rights. And since modern Turks are amalgamation of various minorities forming the 'majority,' glued together by Sunni Islam, it is hard to talk about any minorities other than religious- and only those defined by Lausanne. This leaves the Kurds and Alewis out in the cold, as well as the Protestants and others as Hans pointed out. Granted, even the minorities as defined by Lausanne have very limited rights in Turkey today. Of course, article 301 does not even allow a 'minority' opinion from someone like Orhan Pamuk who is as much of a Turk as any of us. I think Murat is talking rubbish when he says 301 should be there to keep the nationalists pacified.

Murat Altinbasak said...

"Murat, thanks for making it possible :)"
No, thank you guys for making yourselves at home here. I love it. Been a bit distracted lately though.. and fighting a cold which my son gave me.

Murat Altinbasak said...

Hans.. so sorry to hear of your medicinal problems.. What total bullshit! It sounds like you would definitely do better if you weren't a "Euro" in everyone's eyes. My wife used to take NEXIUM for her stomach.. It's NOT covered by our health insurance, so we pay full price: $430 for a month's supply.. Ouch. That's like a car payment. In Turkey, she found the equivalent drug and bought a 6 month supply for $150!! One other thing I like about Turkey is that if you have a cold, you simply go to the pharmacy and ask for antibiotics. They give you a whole assortment to choose from. Try that in the USA! Never happens. You must go to a doctor so that they can swab your throat and test for bacteria.. if no bacteria, no antibiotics! They say that antibiotics are useless against viruses.. No wher near as silly as your situation, but still, the doctor bills my insurance $1001-150 for a 5 minute visit, plus he/she gets a "Co-pay" from me of $20.. Then of course we also get to pay another $20 co-pay for the medicine, insurance picks up the rest of the cost (except for Nexium!)
BTW, I've heard of people bringing suitcase loads of Nexium here from Turkey and making a FORTUNE selling it under the table to people like my wife. Smart, but risky.

Murat Altinbasak said...

"I think Murat is talking rubbish when he says 301 should be there to keep the nationalists pacified."

Not my exact words, but you're close.. Regardless, your low opinion of my thinking is no surprise and I take no offense.. To stir the apple cart some more: Article 301 is like a seat belt law or a motorcycle helmet law.. Violators don't harm anyone, and obeying the laws doesn't cause you any real harm either, but the consequences are potentially deadly. Right ot wrong, human rights abuse or not, the law saves lives. That doesn't make me proud of it. but hey.. when life gives you lemons, make lemonade I guess.. Hopefully Article 301 is one day repealed or modified into something which requires you to burn a flag in order to get arrested. (I'm against flag burning) Until then, let's all behave in the house where this law is enforced. Either that or get out.. no one is forced to stay in Turkey.

Anonymous said...

Ardent said...

Hans,
It is not advertised, but to become a high ranking official in the American Army or in the CIA, one must be Jewish or should I say Jewish American.

Ardent, get over your self importance. That is pure bullshit!!!!

Anonymous said...

Murat said....

You can be sure that most every flag bearing home in America is populated by either W.A.S.Ps (white anglo saxon proestants), or closet Muslims who are fearful of thier neighbors' low opinion of them.

Murat, you claim to hate the way everyone generalizes Turkey, but isn't that what you are doing here? I have a flag and don't fit in any of your generalizations. I have a flag because it is the symbol of my country. I refuse to be ashamed to be an American as many people do (including, it seems, you).

The US is not always right, and I don't always agree with our foriegn policies, but it is my country and I am blessed witht he fact that I CAN disagree without worrrying if some secret police will knock at my door.

Murat said....For 12 years attending America's public schools, I was compelled to recite this every morning of every school day, facing the flag with my hand over my heart.....I often wonder why you seem to hate the US so much?

Mitat Yerli said...

"Either that or get out.. no one is forced to stay in Turkey."

How charming! This is what Bush tells to liberals in America: 'Love it or leave it!' It must be the American culture and its foothold on globalization. Erdogan is saying the same thing and now you are repeating it. Who is Bush or anybody else to ask anybody to leave their home country? What kind of a true democracy is that? By the way, even my dog laughed at your analogy of seat belts saving lives just as the 301 does; he said, even he has more rights in America than a Turkish journalist in Turkey because he can bark at anybody he wants and it's OK.

Murat Altinbasak said...

"By the way, even my dog laughed at your analogy of seat belts saving lives just as the 301 does; he said, even he has more rights in America than a Turkish journalist in Turkey because he can bark at anybody he wants and it's OK."
Only because we don't know what his barks mean.. He'll probably laugh even harder when you tell him that you dream of a democracy where burning, pissing and defecating on the flag is a national hobby that even the President loves.

"How charming!"
Funny I wasn't trying to charm anyone. If I wanted to be charming, I'd paint my face, wear a mini skirt, high heels and tube top, then I'd go for a walk down Main Street and wave at cars to stop.. such as fools like you do when pretending that "democracy" is the holy fucking grail. You'd put a bag over it's head fuck it no matter what it looked like, as long as someone said it was democracy.. that's all that matters. Pfffft.

Murat Altinbasak said...

"Murat, you claim to hate the way everyone generalizes Turkey, but isn't that what you are doing here? I have a flag and don't fit in any of your generalizations. I have a flag because it is the symbol of my country. I refuse to be ashamed to be an American as many people do (including, it seems, you)."

Uhh yeah.. that would explain why I said "most every" and not "all".. Get over it.

"I refuse to be ashamed to be an American as many people do (including, it seems, you)"

Please don't project your own feelings upon others. I was born in this country and I love it to death. I'm not required to express it with a flag. Take a pill.

"I often wonder why you seem to hate the US so much?"

Must be your poor reading comprehension skills, because I've never in my life said that I hate the US, on this blog or otherwise.

Mitat Yerli said...

“…the holy fucking grail. You'd put a bag over it's head fuck it no matter what it looked like…”

Construction worker talk! Try not to let the lack of your college education take over when you attempt to express yourself.