Belief in Democracy 1/8

Views of people from Turkey and Holland on statements made by Newsweek journalist Fareed Zakaria, Turkish president Abdullah Gül and prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in the Dutch VPRO documentary ‘Turkije – Het Dilemma van de Democratie’: ‘Turkey – the dilemma of democracy’ that will broadcast on 8th of October. Daily at Sargasso from October 5th until October 12th, at 13.00h (Amsterdam time, 14.00h Istanbul time). This blogging project is part of the Dutch democracy week WijZijnDeBaas (WeAreTheBoss): the Dutch contribution to the International Week for Democracy. More information here.

Is Europe a home for an alliance of civilizations or is it a Christian club?

Recep Tayyip Erdogan,
prime minister of Turkye,
April 16th 2007, in ‘Der Spiegel’


Emre Kizilkaya | The Istanbulian
turkish journalist, Hürriyet newspaper, blogger.

“The EU has founded as a project of peace after the bloody clash between Britain-France and Germany ended up with disasters of the total war. The cooperation of Anglo-French and Germanic world was being seen then as impossible as today’s project of an Islamo-Christian civilization. Though, nothing is clear yet, because unlike during the foundation of the EU, now the European elite is not aware the importance of multiculturalism and it leaves it to the public. So European peoples are on the verge of deciding it by themselves. As long as the current trend -where the public opinion is manipulated by narrow-minded European conservatives (whom I dubbed as “Eurocons”)- continues, the natural consequence would be the ultimate exclusion of other cultures for sake of a ‘white Europe’ “.


Erkan Saka | Erkan’s field diary
blogger, thesis on Turkish journalism and the European Union, Ph.D candidate Anthropology at Rice University and instructor at the Public Relations Department of Istanbul Bilgi University.

“Aside from the fact that I am not too keen on the idea of civilization, this is a rhetorical counter-attack. Well, you see we are Muslims and we are not threatened with living with others but can EU do that, too? Once I believed the EU was the most secular political entity in the world, now i have doubts. Not because of the EU elites per se but the right-wing populist politicians like Merkel and Sarkozy encourage a Christian imaginary for the EU”.


Haluk Direskeneli | Energy Newsletter Turkey
blogger, energy expert.

“Who can say the opposite??”


Beatrice Vanni | Arabisto and Turkey & My Foreign Perspectives
blogger, lives in Turkey, and helps people gain visibility for their work and attract more clients through high-quality writing, editing and project development.

“I hope it isn’t a Christian Club because if so, I really don’t see how the world can live as one. Our religions should be something to share and celebrate for the good of all and not as a divider of people. Religion should be contributing to a better life for those who practice it, and none of the religions support hate, murder, disrespect, crime, violence and the lot. Maybe people should look at humanity’s overwhelming similarities instead of focusing on the differences which are actually a rare few.
In Turkey, people from many nations and faiths have lived side by side in harmony for many decades. Before that, the Ottoman Empire had synagogues, churches and mosques in the same neighborhood. Many Turkish seniors, especially in Istanbul, still remember when a neighborhood was made up of people from all over with many different faiths. Christian Club? No more so than anywhere else is a Jewish Club or a Muslim Club. Let’s not forget that the world has many religions and all of them give us something to share and celebrate together”.


Christine Quirk | Quirk Global Strategies
blogger, expert in political campaign and communications, worked, traveled or studied in more than 50 countries around the world.

“I’m neither Turkish nor European so I approach this issue as someone who doesn’t really have a dog in the fight. I think Europe would be good for Turkey and Turkey would be good for Europe.
It makes me crazy that US policy –driven hard by geopolitically irrelevant domestic politics — has been to stick the Turks in the eye. It seems to me that not enough people understand how critical Turkey is geographically and strategically. Wouldn’t it be nice to have an economically developed, stable, moderate-Muslim democracy in this region? Given the state of geo-politics today, I would think the US and Europe would be falling over themselves to encourage and support Turkey”.


Michael van der Galiën | The Gazette
blogger, frequent visitor of Turkey with interest in the politics and culture of the country, published columns in the Turkish Daily News and is correspondent in the Netherlands for Pajamas Media.

“The time that Europe was a Christian club is no more. Better; Europe has never been a ‘Christian club’ because when Europe was still strongly Christian, it wasn’t a ‘club.’ There was no unity. Today, there’s unity, but most Europeans country have become increasingly secular.
As such, Europe is and should be an alliance of civilized countries”.


Hans A.H.C. de Wit | Internations Musings: Istanbul, Florence, Athens, Yerevan and Dubai | blogger, international communication manager, lives in Turkey, cross cultural specialist.

“Europe is not a Christian club, since so many people are non-affiliated. There are several civilizations already in the EU, so I don’t understand this critique of PM Erdogan. There are the Greek, Roman, Nordic, French, and British civilizations which are dominant in Europe. If Turkey, with its unique civilization and history is compatible with the EU is a different question. This statement about religions is not valid in my opinion”.


Altin |
dutch-turkish rapper

“The question posed by the prime minister is very much needed. Europe has to give openess on this issue and a clear policy. If Europe is an alliance of civilizations than Turkey will be part of it. Looking at the position and developments in Turkey this country is able to achieve this goal. Ofcourse certain background and history plays an important role, but I think that yoy have to look at the future , leran from the past and work together fro a better future”.


Nazan Ozcinar
Professor at the Sabinci University Istanbul

“Ërdogan also says that Turkey and all its citizens are afraid of loosing their religion. That is one of the reasons why there is such an active debate on this issue in our country. Secular-democratic minded Turks are afraid that Islam will gain more power. We, ordinairy citizens are confronted with this every day. More and more headscarfs are worn and religion is more in the open (where before it was a private issue). People who don’t join the ramadan and don’t live according to islamic laws receive more critical remarks from society. Turkey did it’s very best to be a democratic country, now we are going back in time.”


Joost Lagendijk | Groen Links
Member of the European Parliament: Group of the Greens/European Free Alliance, Chairman Delegation of the EU-Turkey Joint Parliamentary Committee.

“I am not able to look into the soul of Erdogan. But I dont believe he and Gül have a hidden agenda. If you really want to implement the sharia you would’nt put so much effort in a Turkish EU membership. Because no matter how you look at it: the sharia can not co-exist with EU memebership. The AK-party is even the most pro-European political party. I really think Erdogan and Gül realize that muslims are better off with the freedom of religion as we know it in Europe than the strict secularism in Turkey”.


The views of Altin, Ozcinar and Lagendijk were translated from Dutch, the text in Dutch is published on the website of VPRO Tegenlicht. Due to some misunderstanding these three people were provided with a statement of two sentences: “Is Europe a home for an alliance of civilizations or is it a Christian club? If the former is true, then Turkey should be part of it”.

  1. 1

    I would not say Europe is a Christian club – but at the moment it is a group of nations with the same religious background – a Christian one. Though there are a lot of differences in the way this religion is practised (Catholic, Protestant, Orthodox) it is a uniting factor – also in politics where parties that (claim to) have Christian values are present.

    On the other hand there are talks with Turkey about joining the EU, same for some countries on the Balkan that have large muslim minorities. This would indicate that the EU is at least open to discussion with non-Christian countries to join in.

    All in all I’m in favour of a secular state and the EU should be as secular as possible – it’s a political and economic entity which should look at the political and economic situation of countries that are interested in joining.

    So yes – the EU should be a home for an alliance of civilization and Turkey could be a part of that. Whether Turkey should be a part of the EU is a different discussion though.

  2. 2

    Erkan talks about “right-wing populist politicians like Merkel and Sarkozy”. I think you can hardly call Merkel a populist and Sarkozy turns out the be not so populistic as he used to be. Maybe we just don’t know enough of eachother (Europeans vs. Turks) that we fear Erdogan and Gul in the same way that Turks fear Merkel and Sarkozy. So it is good to start a discussion like this one.

  3. 3

    Erdogan’s question is legitimate. I do not know the context in which he poses the question but I do know we had many discussions here on Sargasso on this topic.

    Actually in one of those discussions – not the best one – I placed a bet that Turkey will not be part of the EU within 20 years. My argument being that the EU is too Christian and that she refuses any empathy with Turkey (which responds accordingly).

    This does not mean btw. that I myself oppose EU membership of Turkey. Contrary! But reality makes it difficult. The waves of religious fundamentalism on both sides are strong. It’s the wrong tide. Maybe after 20 years.

    It will happen though.
    And EU membership of Turkey will be good for both.

    Arabist Jansen states that The current Turkish viewpoint on EU membership is that in some ten years the population of Europe and its governments will be such that EU membership of Turkey will not be a problem anymore. The Turks mean that by that time the European governments will be by majority in Turkish hands. He uses this to show the arguments of Daniel Pipes who says:


    1) Europe capitulates for islam and becomes an islamic country.

    2) Europe “wakes up” and starts taking measures of which we can not have any idea at this time but which will make us think of WWII.

    3) Integration of moslims and non-moslims. Unlikely because this has never happened in history of the islamic expansion.

    But OK, nr 3: here is a chance for Europe to add a golden page to the book of history of mankind.

  4. 4

    Sarkozy is indeed advocating a new “Mediterranian Club” that could include Turkey. There is no question that this would be a Islamic club. But Erdogan rightly recognizes that Turkey has much more to win through partnering with Europe. Through its sheer size, its economic needs and a 94% islamic population of 71 million people, it is perceived as a formidable bear that is trying to be part of the household. That is the root of the problem, but it has many face(t)s. The problematic factors that are cited (democracy, culture shock, imagery of EU) are not at the heart of the dispute. I think that these factors themselves are the result of the really single most important factor: how to sustain Europe’s future economy.

  5. 5

    De VS is ook een Seculiere staat. Daardoor heeft de godsdienst via alle verschillende wegen uiteindelijk toch zijn weg gevonden naar de regering. In tegenstelling tot het VK waar de vorst hoofd is van de kerk. Daardoor is het niet gaan etteren op de verkeerde plaatsen.

    — English translation supplied by the Sargasso editor because RennieB was a bit lazy —-

    The US is also a secular state. Therefore religion, through different channels, found it’s way to the government in the end. Contrary to the UK where the Queen is head of the church. That’s way it things didn’t went “smelly” in the wrong places.


  6. 6

    I would like to take the opportunity to comment on the arguments raised by Christine Quirk, since they are often raised, namely by the US government.

    Ofcourse it would be nice to have an economically developed, stable democracy in the region, muslim or non-muslim. Or in any other region in the world come to think of it. But I do not believe it to be carved in stone that in order for a country (like Turkey) to become an economically developed, stable democracy, they should join the EU. Note that there are some (more or less) stable democracies / democracising countries outside of the EU, like Norway and Switzerland, but also India and Brazil.

  7. 7

    True, Sir Humphrey, but one really good way to integrate Turkey into Europe and enshrine European economic and political values would be to allow it a seat at the table and have a means to hold it accountable when it goes astray.

    I suspect that if India and Brazil were on European borders the EU would be falling over itself to integrate those markets. And Norway and Switzerland –longstanding democracies both — don’t have 70 million upwardly mobile potential consumers, so I’m not sure any of those countries are good examples.

  8. 8

    @4: Basically I agree with Sarkozy. Within the current EU, there are clear cultural differences, which have their influence on politics. This puts sand in the wheels of the EU-mechanisms. Right now, the EU is trying to refrm itself, with a new treaty/constitution, that is meant to make the EU more effective, but it’s the wrong cure for the wrong disease. Europe already has expanded beyond a workable political union due to it’s internal cultural differences. What Europe needs is a sort of subdivision in regions that are culturally suficiently compatible to be centrally governed (as the EU is working more and more towards a central governement). This need will only increase with the addition of Turkey or other countries that add new cultures to the palette.

  9. 9

    The consumers in Norway and Switzerland are serviced regardless of their membership.

    Despite the strong economic focus of the EU, it is also (as explicitly articulated in the so called reform treaty) a community of values and cultural history. That component of the EU is exactly where the friction stems from. And in that respect my answer of the question of the prime minister gravitates towards a the EU as union of countries that are somewhat homogeneous and share history. With all the arbitrary distinctions that such a definition entails.

    Civilization is an excellent (and arguably best evah) computer game, but not a very constructive phrase to describe present day relations, other than to empasize the differences.

  10. 10

    The EU is already a group of civilisations, not a Christian club. If it were, the borders of the EU would be different. Being a Christian club means only allowing nations with a similar culture to join. This would exclude all those countries in Eastern Europe with Orthodox Christianity. Orthodox and Roman Catholic Christianity split more than 1000 years ago, and that shows in the culture. The split between Roman Catholic and Protestants happened much later. This is the reason why these two – culturally – look more alike then Orthodox Christianity.

    I think the differences between Western Christianity, Eastern Christianity, and Islam (in Turkey) are comparable, in how much they differ. Excluding one and not the other seems therefore strange.

  11. 13

    Because we can ;)

    @Christine Quirk

    One really good way to integrate Turkey into Europe and enshrine European economic and political values would be to allow it a seat at the table and have a means to hold it accountable when it goes astray.

    Is that what we want? Is that the goal of the EU? I think that the EU is indeed more about a group of civilized countries working together, it should not impose its political and economical values on other countries. The EU is of course setting certain thresholds in political and economical areas that countries need to reach if they want to join, it would be bad for the general balance within the EU if countries that are highly corrupt and economically way below the average of the EU could join right away. But the goal should never be to force our values on others.

  12. 14

    bir chai no sugar.
    Anyway the Hurriyet is not an objective newspaper at all

    We are far from civilised over here and that is why christianity still has influence.
    A bit like your country untill we both are equal in freedom
    of religion and speech there will be no intercourse
    perhaps a little foreplay fumbling around nipple twistin
    maybe base 1 or two but no homerun.
    Read my lips.i did not have sex with that country

  13. 15

    By that logic (economically corrupt and economically way below average), Tjesch, there is no way Bulgaria and Romania should have been allowed entry and no way Ukraine should ever be considered.

  14. 19

    Alliance? Well, yes please. But I would call it: home for a tolerance of civilizations. Maybe that would be in order. First.

    “The time that Europe was a Christian club is no more.”
    “Turkey did it’s very best to be a democratic country, now we are going back in time.”
    “Wouldn’t it be nice to have an economically developed, stable, moderate-Muslim democracy in this region?”


    But: at least try… for the benefit of the many…at least TRY…

  15. 21

    It is interesting that the USA and some Americans are keen to have the EU allow Turkey to join. One wonders at the reaction if Europeans pushed the US to allow a completely open border, common currency, etc with Mexico – a market of 100 million people.

  16. 24

    Well Richard. That’s not a bad idea. Maybe they (US) get similar ideas. In the long run, if a big fat EU is working. They probably háve to. 5 United continents or so…at the end?

    We have to work towards leaving this round spec of dust, this mudpile ányway…someday.

    …but then again…(and I would like to emphasize this) maybe I’m talking bollocks again. Conflict between my beliefs & wishes to “The Real World”…

    Well…that’s life.

    “Zoem…what was that? That was your life mate. Can I have another one?”

    Sorry mate…time’s up.

  17. 26

    That was exáctly what I was dóing Sik, “thinking about our children”. The future man. I wás thinking about our children you ignorant vinagar pissing son of a motherless goat you…

    Never ever say I wasn’t thinking about our children..or else..

    I am a Uniter NOT a Divider!

  18. 27

    I agree with Richard et al. It’s not only about the bill. In the geopolitical arena there is for the USA nothing nicer than a simplifying rotating double star (EU+Turkey) to play quadruple strategic power/mindgames with.

  19. 30

    Always thrilled to encounter split personality Sikbock.


    It’s a fair cop though.

    *nudge nudge, know what I mean*

  20. 31

    @ Mescaline: it’s not that simple.. more countries in the EU ( but internally devided) could simplefy things for the US. But on the other hand they might loose a dependable ally.

  21. 32

    @sikbock. It just doesn’t work out, to cope with 20 countries on 100 issues and review targets/asstes/gains/losses each week over. Wouldn’t it be a godsend to them to have all those quibbles reduced to two poles that you can stick a spearhead in.

  22. 34

    You may compare it with a country’s province that is ordered to lay out a new highway. The more autonomy of small townships, the more difficult it will be to get the damned plan ready. So then, as a country legit planning body, you want to take away power from the townships and concentrate the power to build roads and highways into much larger bodies, perhaps even the province itself. Imagine USA’s delights.

  23. 35

    I understand what you’re saying Mesc.. reality is that very few people (in Europe) benefit from the changes you’re proposing. Bigger is not alway’s better

    i’m turning in, nightie night

  24. 36

    Then again, you may differ from opinion.

    Just like I am inclined to do that with almost everyhing that Reinier Rustema has written during the past three days on Sargasso. I haven’t had the time to think all of it it over, but it’s just uncanny, that superfast and huge mouthwaterfall of big words.

  25. 38

    Remember, this discussion was about democracy. Whether Turkey is part of ‘European civilisation’ is irrelevant for its EU membership. EU membership is, at present, determined by existing members. The existing members, such as the Netherlands, are democracies. And the democratic verdict is clear: the majority does not want Turkey in the EU, no way.

    The present state of public opinion is western Europe is relentlessly hostile to Islam, and to any Islamic country. Apparently, most people in Turkey are completely unaware of how much Turks are hated, in countries like the Netherlands and Germany. All theoretical issues of democracy become very complex, when cross-border decisions are taken. Normative democracy theory refers almost exclusively to the internal political process in one state. It offers no solution to the EU-Turkish questions: the more democratic Turkey becomes, the more Islamic it will be. The more democratic the EU becomes, the more Islamophobic it will be. So, if democracy functions, Turkey will probably never join the EU.

    However, there is another solution, and it should be considered. Turkey can unilaterally join the EU. In fact, if it threatened to leave the NATO and close US bases in Turkey, it would probably be admitted tomorrow. That is not democratic – but democracy has nothing positive to offer on this issue, anyway.

  26. 39

    Paul, most Turks down here in Turkey are aware of the prejudice against them, especially in countries with a large group of Turkish immigrants. But writing here that they are hatred is nonsense, and a pretty harsh statement.

  27. 40

    The issue also centres around the nature of the EU. Is the EU going to be a kind of expanded free trade zone as the British apparently see it? Or is it to be a confederation of like-minded states – a United States of Europe – with common laws, foreign policy, army, budget, social norms, etc? In the latter case, Turkey, a relatively poor country of 75 million people, soon to be 100 million, in a system based on representation by population will have a dramatic impact on the polity of Europe. This would be a quantum leap from allowing in small countries such as Bulgaria and Rumania.

    The EU is a club and the members of the club are entitled to decide who can be a member.

  28. 41

    An Alliance with Atatürk’s Anatolia, not with Middle Eastern barbary.

    Is there an Islamic Civilization?

    Centuries ago, yes.

    But in today’s context, can we really speak of an ‘Islamic Cİvilization’?

    Of course, Anatolia; birthplace of Christianity, land of the Romans, Eastern Romans, Hittites and the Turkic peoples and the – original Christians – the Aramaeans, the heart of the former Imperial Turkey – Ottoman Empire; Today’s Turkish Republic of Atatürk, cannot be compared with the Middle East and Islamic World at large,

    And this, despite the obvious historical link of Anatolia with the Middle East that used to be under the same state, because:

    A fundamental rupture appeared with the post-Ottoman political and social situation that created two opposed identities (one positive and one negative)

    1/ The Turkish Republic, based on Atatürk’s implementation of the Universal values of the West;

    2/ The ‘Arabic World’, based on hate of the West, of Civilization and of humanity.

    As a result, Anatolia belongs to the – one and only – Civilized World along with Israel and the West, and, of course, does not represent the ‘Islamic Civilization’ in a clash against Civilizations.

    The ‘Clash of Civilizations’ concept, (and the subsequent invention ‘Alliance of Civilizations’) in reality describes a clash between the Arabized (Barbarized) World with the Civilized World.
    The first necessary step of which, constitutes the destruction of Atatürk’s Republic, therefore making Anatolia with Istanbul, as the historical heart of the Ottoman Empire, the uniting and leading force in the clash against the West and Israel.

    The ongoing rise of Islamism in Turkey, with the West’s unfortunate push of the traditionally secular country in this direction (i.e. backing of the AKP and attacks against Turkish Laicism before the last elections that would expand the Islamists’ grip on power) constitutes the country’s highest insecurity of its existence since its foundation in 1923.

    This is the heart of the issue; and of course not Erdogan’s ridiculous quote on the top of this page, that reads,’Europe a home for an alliance of civilizations or is it a Christian club?’ (compare that to Atatürk’s quote a century ago: ‘There’s only one Civilization’)

    It’s also interesting to note that Fareed Zakaria was a student of no other then Prof. S Huntington; The Father of the ‘Clash of Civilizations’ concept!

  29. 42

    It is not secularist Turks who determine whether Turkey belongs in the EU. It is the electorate in the EU member states. Anatolian heritage and Atatürk mean nothing to them, for them Turkey is Muslim, Muslim, Muslim. And in most cases, they see that as the opposite of ‘civilised’.

    What do people in the Netherlands associate with Turks? Crime, fundamentalism, honour killings, forced marriages, headscarves, unemployment… and they don’t want all that in the EU. That’s the reality. Proclaiming that the Arabs are the ‘real barbarians’ is not only racist, it is futile. It won’t change EU attitudes toward Turkey and the Turks.

  30. 43

    @Paul: I don’t think the majority of the Dutch people associate all these negative things with Turks.
    But I do think it’s an issue that colours the debate over here.

  31. 44

    Paul, I didn’t argue for Turkish accession to the EU. When I made clear some of the Anatolian heritage it was to stress the identity and purpose of Atatürk’s Republic of Turkey to help my point against Islamism. This heritage is World Legacy, and as a fellow member of a civilized country you should feel solidarity for people and the indigenous mechanisms that aim to preserve this in another country, especially if that one is under threat.

    My aim was to refute Islamic Fundamentalism, and I identified the concept of ‘Clash of Civilizations’ as a masqueraded campaign against Eastern secularism.

    In regard to the crime, fundamentalism, honour killings, forced marriages, headscarves and unemployment among Turkish immigrants in The Netherlands:

    If that’s the case, I am sorry, but am I supposed to feel guilty for this?

    I think it’s not to Turkish Seculars you should complain for Islamism in West Europe.

    What should be interesting to you however, is the message near the top of this page courtesy of Dutch politician, member of EU-parliament mr. Joost Lagendijk, where he legitimizes Turkish Islamists and opposes Turkish Laicism and rejects Turkish seculars’ fears of Islamization of the country.

    This isn’t an exceptional case, but shows the general attitude of West European politicians and press, towards Turkey.

    Oppose them, not Turkish seculars. :-)

    As for your statement that I must be ‘racist’ for opposing the ‘Arabic World’:

    You may consider the ‘Arabic World’ as a legitimate entity, eventhough it means the gravest discrimination of various peoples and women, whom are isolated from life, disfigured and turned into reproduction objects.

    You may consider this situation is good enough and characteristic for Orientals. At the same time you may oppose secular Easterns who believe in the values of the West, and believe they’re racist for opposing the ‘Arabic World’. And at the same time complaining about Islamism in West Europe.

    I think one shouldn’t be a genius to see the irony here!

    But it’s the sad reality.

  32. 46


    Hear hear

    Although, I think Huntington’s work was quite good. You’re right, he kind of neglects (subcultures and) secularism.

  33. 47

    Paul, if most of the Dutch associate Turks with all those negative points, why are more than 1 million Dutch people visiting Turkey, and why is Istanbul so full with business people from all over the world?

    I see more crimes committed in the Netherlands by people from Bulgaria and Romania than any other country.
    But its time for Turkey to take that negative image away.

  34. 48

    Dear William,

    Prof. Huntington’s ‘Clash of Civilizations’ is on the one hand a work made to impress, rather then being based on objective, correct analysis.
    On the other hand this concept is one of geopolitical wishful thinking and thus a highly subjective – not scientific – work describing the reality.

    Fareed Zakaria, as a Muslim evidently he opposes his professor’s anti-Islamic position, however, and as you might have observed yourself, he does not oppose – (as he can use to his benefit) – the concept of ‘Clash of Civilizations’.

    Instead of writing against Vietnam, (Prof. Huntington is also famous for his support of Lyndon Johnson’s mass extermination policies in Vietnam and wrote in 1968 an article in defence of heavy bombardment in Vietnam’s rural areas.) which brought fame to his controversial professor, he writes against Turkey!

    This country that, in prof. Huntington’s work isn’t part of the ‘Muslim World’ but stands out as an isolated island.

    As you have read yourself on Zakaria’s articles, (I couldn’t reach the link you provided but I know his articles) he opposes the Turkish Secular Democratic Establishment and favors the Islamic Extremists of the AKP. In fact, he wishes the latter to replace the former!

    You see, this should ring a bell to the readers: the famous American-Indian Fareed Zakaria is a disguised Muslim Extremist presented as a ‘moderate’ interlocutor in the dialogue of cultures. (Just like Mustafa Akyol in Turkey)
    In this context it’s easier to grasp how his professor’s work and intentions possibly benefits him.

    The only obstacle for the (barbarized) Muslim World to unite and clash (‘Clash of Civilizations’) against Europe and Israel is Atatürk’s pro-Western, Secular and Civilized Turkey.

    Both Zakaria and prof. Huntington wish this country to join the ‘Muslim World’ (supported by Russia?)- one as a hater of Islam, and the other as a Muslim Extremist.

    I don’t need to mention the catastrophe it would be for Europe, Israel, and of course Turkey.

  35. 49

    @ Paul # 42

    Now that’s what we would call a bold statement Paul. To say it mildly. “The people of the netherlands associate Turks with crime, fundamentalism, honour killings, forced marriages, headscarves, unemployment…”?? Maybe you are confused with ongoing problems with Moroccans and Antillians or or did a Turk step on your toes without saying sorry?, put salad in your sjis kebab while you specifically told him nót to or or…or are you just a plain blabbermouth? What?

    Speaking with many Turks that I come across my experiences are totally different. Most of them speak proper accent free Dutch. Turk only by name. Astonished to see signature and name on a paper: “A Turk? Well, wouldn’t you know, I never would have guessed it”. My impression is that of hardworking, never complaining, familyloving people. Islam/ religion? Only around ramadan. Those habits. No other signs that I was dealing with a muslim. Never ever drifted a conversation with a Turk in that direction. In contrast with square hardheaded christians I’ve come across over the years.

    But…maybe I ’m narrow minded. Maybe I’am (was) just lucky.
    So, can you show us studies/ crime- rates/ publications etc. to prove one another Paul? Please enlighten us with information?

    Prove that you’re statement is not a disgrace.

    *Sorry for this off topic remark*

  36. 50

    Turkey is already part of the Muslim world. It is a Muslim country. That’s why it is not welcome in the EU.

    I suspect that many Turkish intellectuals have lost touch with reality, and fail to understand the development of public opinion inside the EU. Turkish accession to the EU is seen in the context of the future islamisation of Europe. It is indeed seen in the context of a clash of civilsations, and Turkey is 100% identified with Islam.

    In this context, Turkey is not seen as a civilised country. It is identified with barbaric practices such as female circumcision, forced marriages and honour killings. European culture and Judeo-Christian values are seen as superior, and a positive attitude to Turks is seen as ‘cultural relativism’.

    Turkish immigrants build mosques. They speak Turkish. They read Turkish newspapers and watch Turkish television. They marry Turks, and have Turkish children. People in Turkey itself don’t see what is wrong with that: after all, the country is full of mosques, Turkish is spoken everywhere, and the media are obviously in Turkish. But what is acceptable inside one country becomes threatening and controversial in another. Speaking Turkish is seen as a hostile act against the host country. ‘Importing a bride’ is seen as a form of treason, and evidence of lack of integration. Turks who immigrate are expected to stop being Turks, but they refuse to do that.

    The Netherlands and Germany are not Muslim countries. The German people and the Dutch people do not want to live in a Turkish-speaking Islamic country. They generally don’t want to see mosques near their homes, and they don’t like to hear Turkish spoken on the street. Most of them simply don’t want any Turks in their country, although they might not say that openly. Turkish accession to the EU is, for them, the same as allowing unlimited Turkish immigration, and the loss of their national identity. So the majority in the Netherlands and Germany are opposed to Turkish accession, and without their approval there will be no Turkish accession.

    It is pointless for Turkish intellectuals to say that the country is ‘western’ and secular. It isn’t, and they are making fools of themselves. Western Europe is increasingly defining itself as a value-based community, with explicitly Judeo-Christian and humanist Enlightenment values, and as emphatically non-Islamic. Turkey is obviously not Jewish or Christian, and historically its Ottoman predecessor did not participate in the Enlightenment. So if these are the values of the EU, then Turkey does not belong.

    Please do not argue with me about these points. Argue with Geert Wilders, or the British National Party, or the Nationaldemokratische Partei Deutschlands. They set the tone for the debate on Turkish accession, I don’t.

  37. 51

    Yevgeny Podorkin, go to Stormfront or Holland-Hardcore or, and make your point there. When you have convinced all those xenophobes that Turks are wonderful people, and that Turkey belongs in the EU, then I will withdraw my claim.

  38. 52

    O, you confuse “people” with plain dead simple ass- holes.

    Why didn’t you say so in the first place. Needlessly stirring up the place…saves a lot of energy, agrivation….

  39. 53

    Islam in Europe illustrates some reasons why Turks are disliked. In English, accessible for those who speak no Dutch, Danish or German…

    Studies of immigration show that part of the reason people continue to immigrate is that the immigrants themselves do their best to show they’ve “succeeded” by building ostentatious houses in their ‘homelands’ and coming on trips with flashy cars that are in some case bought specially for the trip.

    Muslims see European or Western cultural values as decadent.. though it is easy to forget when starting to discuss rights to gay marriage and abhorrent artwork, Western values are liberalism and human rights. It is those values which European want to protect and which they feel are being threatened by a growing Islamic population.

    And see this report on Turkish honour killings:

    A 42-year-old man with ingrained traditional Turkish views was jailed for 54 months in Germany for the attempted manslaughter of his teenaged daughter after a row over family “honour.” .. Passing judgement, a state court judge told the accused he lived in a “parallel world” dominated by Turkish concepts although he was the third generation of a family that had resettled in Germany . “Equal rights between men and women was an alien word to him,” said the judge. “It is a miracle this girl survived.”

    That’s what Germans think of ‘Turkish civilisation’. Don’t complain to me, complain to the xenophobes.

  40. 54

    Paul, I am a Dutch married to a Turkish secular women. And with me, many others.
    Istanbul is more Western than you can imagine.
    Since when are setting these obscure groups you mentioned the benchmark?
    Turkey is built upon several layers of civilizations.
    I agree that there are integration problems, but it looks like that you want to criminalize all the Turks.
    Turkey is a complex country with several faces. It is up to them which one will be dominant.

  41. 56

    @But not that much is over from his group.
    Or are you telling me now that Geert Wilders is the guy to follow?
    Fortuyn established a protest party, like Wilders now, with not that much program points and content. But that’s also democracy, right?

  42. 57


    Not that much program points and content? Please, the guy had ideas all over. Fortuyn was a true statist, he even taught Marxist theories once in his life. He wrote many, many books.

    Many objections towards Fortuyn can be made, but for one person he had enough ideas. His party was filled with idiots, don’t confuse them. I think it’s the Christian-conservative and socialist-progressive parties who are truly out of ideas. At least, they don’t seem to have any.

    Deniz made a good claim on something Huntington overlooked. There is an inner struggle in Turkey, any other muslim countries, between modernist and reactionary forces. Let’s hope the modernist forces win. A modern, Westernized Turkey would be an asset in the long struggle for civilization as a whole.

    We often long for moderate muslims and secular Middle Easterners to speak out. In Turkey they did on several occasions this year. I hope they will convince their compatriots on the virtues of modernity and freedom.

    It’s not going to be easy though.

  43. 58

    @Jimmy, I am not fond on Dutch politics and politicians.)
    I read long ago several things of P. Fortuyn…but found him pretty populistic.
    Secularism is an answer, but sad enough the party which was the frontrunner of Kemalism in Turkey became totalitarian.

  44. 59

    i just want to say, that i like turkey how it is now… maybe when it comes by the EU it will change… but i think that’s a pitty, because it’s a realy nice country with his own things and markets etc. .. on the other side it can be good to… but anyway it doesn’t matter anymore for me. it must happend or not.

    and i think that they in hollanda just must accept, that the world just is a world from many cultures and from us all…

  45. 60

    08-10-07 21:58 10Turkey will never be a member of the western European countries. Maybe member of the EU. But it will always be 1 step behind the top countries. When Turkey is a member, then is the United States of Europe (USE) complete. Like the change in 1991 when the EC become the EU. Turkey is member since 1995 of the old EC (the Custum Union). Thus do the math..

    Turkey will get richer. Absolutly. They have the potential. Like the 5 asian tigers and other examples. They will even be richer than most of the 1st world countries. But Turkey never will change to a Christian land. Thus it will never be at the other side off the table.


  46. 61

    I see these programms for citizens of the EU to create a positif or negatif view of Turkish membership of entering EU. But there is one good reason for Turkey joining EU as the entire population non European population living in EU countries will get the final message they do not belong in Europe. (Africans, Asians, South Americans )

    And Turkeys joining or not joining EU is becoming bigger then itself. At the moment there are 27 EU countries if they can’t handle Turkey joining EU then EU should be eliminated because how poor and how weak is this EU after so much years en so many countries.

  47. 62

    From the perspective of destiny: Turkey is prepared for the key role in the region with the reformation requirements of the EU. These reformations will make the turkish democracy one of the best in the hole world. This democracy and the potentials of turkey (like yought, rich history, economy, connections with islamic countries, the west and russia, etc) will make turkey such a rich and powerfull country that they don’t want to be a member of EU. They will just become a good friend and a strategic partner of EU because of the masses of turks living in EU. With this powerfull role in the region it will end all problems in the region because the arab countries will see turkey as a big brother and example of how islam and democracy can unite.
    Gul and Erdogan can see all these things and they will embrace not only the turks and arabs but all humanity with the aid of “islam is love” and the teachings of Fethullah Gulen movements.