Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Happy New Years

Happy New Years everyone. Sorry I haven't been posting lately. I haven't had access to the internet lately, and the accessI have now is pretty temporary. I'll be posting regularly once again in about a week. Until then, just take it easy and enjoy the New Year. And good luck with all your overly optimistic resolutions (I know I'll need something more than luck to stay on task with mine).

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Finally, Some People in the EU with Sympathy for the Oppressed People of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus

As you probably all know, S. Cyprus has been trying to keep up a blockade of the Turkish Cypriots so as not to lose any bargaining chips for a possible future agreement. They have blocked any EU aid to N. Cyprus (which the EU had promised them). Now, finally, some EU countries have decided that it might be a good idea not the continue the unfair situation in Cyprus. Sweden, Estonia, and Belgium have all adopted a tough stance towards S. Cyprus's proposal that more Turkish accenssion topics be shelved, and then followed that up by backing a document that would pave the way for direct trade with the Turkish Cypriots. Sweden and Estonia also have expressed a wish to open up representative bureaus on the north side of the island. The office Estonia will open is supposed to be like the representative offices countries have in Taiwan. Estonia even went so far as to say they want to help Turkish Cyprus get international recognition. In addition, German Foreign Minister Steinmeier expressed his commitment to beginning direct trade with N. Cyprus during Germany's term as EU president. Also, apparently the Foreign Minister of S. Cyprus went ballistic when the British Foreign Minister referred to the "Northern Cypriot Turkish Republic." Finally, some developments in the EU I like.

Some links:

Hurriyet English on Estonia and Sweden

JTW News on Estonia

Hurriyet English on tension at metting

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

How to Silence the Greek

Because of finals I have been unable to dedicate too much time to blogging, but I have been commenting on some other people's blogs lately. It has been interesting, because there have been some words between Greek fascists (I don't mean that all fascists are Greeks, I mean these particular Greeks, or at least one of them, are actually admirers of fascism) and some Turkish bloggers. One thing I noticed was that when I brought up the fact that it was socially acceptable for a man to molest a boy in ancient Athens and Sparta, I got no rebuttals. I brought this up because the constant emphasis of their posts was Greece being a "cradle of civilization" (they were beat to it by China and civilizations in Africa) and Turks being "barbarians." To this charge though, they had not reply. So if you ever get into an argument with a Greek who is getting all high-and-mighty about their ancient civilization, remind them that Socrates would be one of those guys on those Dateline specials if he were around today.

Oh, and as some of you may know, "Greek Love" is a euphemism for pederasty (man-boy sexual relations) or even homosexuality in general.

Sunday, December 10, 2006


In my post about anti-Turkism by the band System of a Down, I talked about a great site, anti-soad.org. I had been unable to access the site for a while, and was worried it was gone. Well, I have good news. The site is up, and looks great. I urge everyone to check it out, I've provided a banner with a link on this blog.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Recent Turkish Read

I just finished reading the book Kopru, by Ayse Kulin (in Turkish too, I'm so proud of myself). It was an interesting book that delved into a lot of the social problems facing the economically deprived eastern part of the country. The book is about the governor of Erzincan trying to get a bridge built to connect a small, secluded part of the province. The government will not do it because it is too expensive and, in their opinion, not worth their while. So the book tells about how the governor goes about trying to get this bridge built with private funds and whatnot. At the same time there is a parrallel plot about a man who lost his wife in child birth because he was unable to cross the river in time because of the absense of a bridge. The governor sends him to a couple who also just had a child, so they can look after his child and the woman can breast-feed him. We then find out about the couple, whose lives are like a textbook of social problems. The book gives us insights into such pressing matters as Kurdish terrorism, abuse by genderme, religious conflict, "blood" feuds, and so much more. I'm not going to say its the best book I've ever read, but it was interesting. I'd give it a 7/10.

Friday, December 08, 2006

On Anti-Turkism, Part II

I'm sure you all know of Armenian-American group System of a Down. They are extremely popular. A year or so ago I stopped listening to them because a website, anti-soad.org, pointed out the blatant anti-Turkism in their song lyrics and poster art. I used to be a fairly big fan of their music, but after reading the lyrics of "Holy Mountain," there was no way I could ever listen to them again. There is no way I could listen to a group of people who called me and all my people a liar, killer, demon, murder, and a sodomozer, who had no honor.

Here is one excerpt from the song:

Back to the River Aras!
Someone's blank stare deemed it Warfare.
Back to the River Aras!

Then later in the song:

They have returned resting on the mountain side
We have learned that you have no...

That's just the begining. The posters for their Souls benefit concerts (one annually from 2004-2006) were blatantly racist, attempting to show Turks as barbarians. The concert did not benefit any worthwhile charities, instead the money went to Armenian propaganda efforts, including trying to get legislation passed in the US Congress to recognize the so-called genocide. Here is a nice video which points out System of a Down racism.

Unfortunately, I have been unable to access anti-soad.org recently, so I fear that the site may done with. However, I hope to carry their message here to some. If you are a Turk, or are just plain against racism, don't support them. If you hear them on the radio, change the station. If your friend begins to play them in his/her car, respectfully ask them to play something else. That is what I do. As much as I used to like thier music, I just wouldn't have a clear conscious listening to people who probably want me dead even though they don't know me.

Turkey Offers Concession on Cyprus, Still not Enough for EU

Yesterday Turkey offered what I think is a very fair agreement. I even think Turkey may have offered too much here, honestly, yet the EU was quick to shut it down. Apparently the EU has a "my way or the highway" attitude that very much resembles the Bush administration many of its members have critisized. Turkey offered to open one port and one airport to trade from Cyprus for a year, on the condition that the EU would open trade to one N. Cypriot seaport (Famagusta) and one airport (Ercan). After that, Turkey would commit to intense talks with the UN aimed at ending the Cyprus standoff. I think this deal is more than fair, but Cyprus has already ruled out allowing any traffic to Famagusta or Ercan. They don't care that they will get to trade with Turkey, denying any economic opportunity to the deprived Turks in the North is much more important to them. I've said it before and I'll say it again, Turkey's chances at EU membership died the day the Greek Cypriots voted against re-unification and the EU still let them in.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

On Anti-Turkism, Part I

When I started up this blog, my intention was to bring news having to do with Turkey from the perspective of a Turk. In my opinion, what I have seen in the American and European media makes me believe that these stories are often reported with a strong anti-Turkish bias. Anti-Turkism is defined as hostility towards Turkish people and culture or the Republic of Turkey. In some countries I honestly believe anti-Turkism is almost as strong as anti-Semitism was prior to the Holocaust (the atrocities of the Holocaust are often seen as the most important factor in curbing anti-Semitism in America and Europe). Looking at the negotiations between Turkey and the EU, it is apparent that many in Europe aren't even bothering to hide their biases. The argument that Turkey is too culturally different from Europe is no different than saying that, because of their culture and religion, Turks will never be able to modernize to Europe's standards.

Anti-Turkism dates back hundreds of years to the Crusades. Throughout the Middle Ages publications depicting the Turks as bloodthirsty savages were spread. Martin Luther claimed that God had sent the Turks to punish Christianity for allowing the corruption of the Holy See and the Church. In some parts of Europe to equate someone to a Turk was to curse them, and Turks were associated with such vices as being un-cleanly, barbaric, and crude. Voltaire claimed Turks were "tyrants of the women and enemies of arts." It would be great if we could blame these misconceptions on the ignorance of that time. However, in 1926 the Venerable Cardinal Newman (venerable means that he is two steps away from sainthood) wrote in his book The Blight of Asia that Turks were, "The great anti-Christ among the races of men." And in 2004, in a international soccer match between the Turkey and England national teams, a very large number of English fans chanted, "I'd rather be a Paki than a Turk." There were enough fans chanting this that it was easily audible to viewers watching on television.

This post is basically my introduction to the concept of anti-Turkism as an actual racist movement that actually exists and is more prevalent than most would think. When I see an example of anti-Turkism worth noting, I will write about it in this continuing series.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Turkey and Iran Decide to Improve Trade Relations

While Turkey's chances of joining the EU are looking less and less likely, Turkey's relationship with Iran is improving. This is both what I had expected and feared. Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad agreed that trade between the two countries should be increased to an annual level of $10 billion. The proposal apparently originiated from Erdogan, and would increase trade from around $6 billion annually according to the article. The article also states that in 2002 the countries agreed to increase trade from $1.2 billion annually to $5 billion annually. All this means that relations between Turkey and Iran are improving almost as fast as relations between the EU and Turkey are disintegrating. This is all expected though. Does anyone doubt that if the EU continues to push Turkey away it will push the nation right back into the Middle East?

Iran, Turkey Decisive to Boost Exchanges

Friday, December 01, 2006

1st Muslim US Congressman Already in Controversy

Keith Ellison, who became the first Muslim elected to the US Congress only weeks earlier, is already in a controversy over his beliefs. The controversy is that he wants to take his oath of office on the Quran, not the Bible. Some conservatives don't feel this is right, with Dennis Prager leading the charge. He likens Ellison's taking his oath on the Quran to someone taking their oath on Mein Kampf. First off, Ellison has a right to take his oath on any book he wants. Second, don't you want an elected official to take his oath on a book he believes in? Isn't that the entire idea? I don't usually talk American politics here, but I think this story illustrates the mentality that is partially to blame for the rampant anti-Turkism in Europe. Maybe Sarkozy should share some of his crayons with Prager, the guy seems to be irritable.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

It's Been a While and More on the EU Not Wanting Turkey

Due to Thanksgiving break and a lot of school work to catch up with, I haven't posted in a very long time. Sorry for the few of you who may have missed me. A lot of news in the last couple of days from Turkey. The pope is visiting, and some people protested in a peaceful fashion. Yup, peaceful Muslim protesters. Take that Islamophobic Europe.

The much bigger news is that the European Commission recommended 8 of the 35 areas of negotiation between the EU and Turkey be suspended. Tony Blair, probably the only European leader who actually wants Turkey to join the EU, has condemned this decision, Germany has said the decision is appropriate, and *surprise surprise* officials in France and Cyprus don't feel the decision is harsh enough.

Cyprus is threatening to straight up veto the EU-Turkey negotiations, thus ending Turkey's EU bid. The reason is that Turkey has failed to open its ports to ships from Cyprus, a measure the EU has demanded repeatedly from Turkey. Turkish officials have repeatedly said they will open ports to ships from Cyprus when the EU ends the economic isolation of N. Cyprus, as it pledged to do. So, if the EU pledged to end N. Cyprus's crippling economic isolation, then why hasn't it? Because Nicosia has vetoed any attempts at doing so. Therein lies the folly of the EU, one of the biggest foreign relations blunders in recent memory. By allowing Nicosia to enter the EU whether the island was unified or not by the deadline, they took away any incentive Greek Cypriots would have to negitiate and thus doomed the extremely balanced Annan Plan. Now, Nicosia can use its EU position as a bargaining chip to obtain all concessions it wants from N. Cyprus without conceding anything itself. Turkey needs to play hardball instead of keeping the soft stance it has now, or else there will never be a fair solution to the Cyprus problem. Turkey should threaten annexation if the economic isolation is not ended. This will ruin Turkish chances for EU membership, but I think those chances were ruined the moment Greek Cypriots voted against the Annan Plan.

At the same time France's interior minister and presidential hopeful Nicholas Sarkozy wants EU negotiations with Turkey completely suspended as well. Of course Sarkozy's argument is even more ridiculous than the Cypriots. Sarkozy says negotiations should be suspended because Turkey is not geographically in Europe. This is the type of argument a third grader would make for his one page paper on why Turkey shouldn't join the EU (I'm sure French third graders are given such assignments). Never mind that parts of Turkey actually are within the generally accepted geographical definition of Europe, or that Cyprus is no more geographically European than Turkey is. The real issue here is that the EU is an economic and political entity, not a geographic one. Nobody argues that the Israeli football association shouldn't be a member of UEFA or that the St. Louis Rams shouldn't be in the NFC West, because geography is pretty irrelevant to soccer/football or football/American football, just as they are to economic and political relationships.

The worst thing about this is that the Turkish people will suffer, especially those who value democracy and secularism. As we are shunned by Europe, many will join those who argue Turkey should look to ally itself with its neighbors in the Middle East. I am against this. Certainly Turkey must look for economic and political allies in this globalizing world, but the Middle East is not the place. Europe would have been nice, but they'll never have us. I personally think Turkey should look to improve relations with Russia. Sure, we've had our problems in the past, but as of late relationships have gotten much better. And although Putin's Russia is more than questionable when it comes to democracy and civil liberties, I wouldn't be too quick to call some EU members as liberal democracies either (remember, no free speech in France or Netherlands). Plus Russia is a big market and a growing economy.

Cyprus veto article

Give Sarkozy his crayons

Oh, and here is some nice anti-Turkish propaganda. Apparently Turkey's entrance into the EU will mean the Islamization of Europe.