how the world sees america

Turkey to U.S.: Drop Your Orientalist Lens

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ISTANBUL - Lounging on a yacht in Istanbul’s Atakoy marina, four young Turkish filmmakers say America must see Turkey through their eyes, not through the hackneyed lens of old movies like Midnight Express, about an American imprisoned in an obscene Turkish jail, or the thirty-second bytes of television news.

Western audiences are still trapped in an “orientalist view of Turkey,” they say, replete with seedy bureaucrats, "dirty carpet vendors," and lonely allies. Americans imagine Turkey to be a land torn apart by a “clash of civilizations between East and West.” That’s what sells abroad, they say, but it doesn’t represent the “true Turkey,” the Turkey they want their films to show.

Hollywood movies, Turkish films directed at Western audiences, and the American students they meet here in Istanbul convince these four just how pervasive the negative images are.

Filmmakers Hakan Vural, Ferhat Sen and Cenk Erturk are all facilitators of Bosphorus University’s exchange program, which welcomes foreign students arriving in Turkey for their first time. One of the students they welcomed was a Washingtonian Turkish-American named Denis Metin, whose father owns this yacht. Denis goes to George Washington University in DC and is studying abroad in Istanbul for the year.

Sitting by Denis, Cenk says, “The exchange students [from the U.S.] always come here and see our [diverse] film crew and ask, ‘How do you work together?’” “‘Look,’” Cenk tells them, “‘Our producer is Kurdish. The director is from Cyprus. The art director is Armenian. And I am Turkish....What else to say? We have always worked together.’”

midnight_express.jpg
Nothing rosy in Midnight Express.

It doesn't look so rosy from the outside, Denis says. Movies by Turks living abroad often emphasize the divisions within Turkey and “exaggerate the East-West” clashes to fit consumer stereotypes. These filmmakers cite Fatih Akin's award-winning film The Edge of Heaven as an example. It's about a Turkish prostitute’s daughter who goes to Germany to seek political asylum. She's ultimately unsuccessful and ends up in a Turkish jail. (See the video clip.) The film won Best Screenplay at Cannes. “[Western audiences] love to see that sort of thing,” quips Hakan.

But what about "the hospitality of Turkish people, or how diverse Istanbul is…how we live together…the closeness of our families,” asks Cenk. "Why don't those stories make it overseas?"The images of "Istanbul’s narrow dark, narrow alleyways" and "corrupt bureaucrats" and "dirty lawyers...are all 20 years old!” Hakan exclaims.

When pressed, the crew concedes there are problems in Turkey. Their socioeconomic status makes them more likely than others to work past entrenched differences. But they emphasize that since 2000 things have improved much faster than the media images following Turkey.

For example, Ferhat says, recent years have proved more "productive and democratic than the coalitions we've had throughout 90s....For the past five years, GDP increased, inflation decreased, health services increased. I’ve lived with inflation like 80% and 90% -- I didn’t save anything -- but now we have improvements in the economy. It is some good news from the last six years.” He was surprised that these improvements occurred under the AKP, the "Islam-oriented" Justice and Development Party, but will take what he can get.

Cenk says, "Americans and the West talk about Turkey like an Islamic state...something that might fall into an Islamic state." He says the fear is overblown, and adds, "...An Islamic society can be democratic as well."

Denis says, "The way Turkey is seen outside," sometimes being compared to "a fascist state" or "an Islamic state" is just wrong." It’s too cliché, "too simple...too old fashioned” for this group; these are just the things young artists must avoid.

For the truth, they say, look at the films they'll make. And for now: "Look at us.”

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Bekdil, I don't direct that shot at ALL Muslims. I know a lot of Muslim friends of mine and they tend to be (surprise surprise!) exactly the same as I am most days of the weak. You just don't talk about how good the food you're going to eat is while they're fasting. The reaction from most of the Muslims I knew to that Danish cartoon wasn't anger, it was a sort of confusion. It's not like there aren't leaders in America already linking Islam to terrorism as a reflexive relationship. And those people are allowed to be as bigoted as they want as long as they pay for their airtime and someone is willing to listen. So a couple cartoons on the subject don't exactly roil emotions in Ohio amongst the Islamic community (if you can call it a community).

So I'm not talking about all muslims everywhere, all the time, no exceptions. The main point of what I'm saying is that we here in America are subject constantly to criticism over our imperial past. That I can deal with, I've been dealing with it any time I talk to someone outside my country. But when I hear Middle Eastern Muslims talking about the glory of the old Caliphate, it's a little agitating that, somehow, everyone else's empires can be vaunted while our past expansionalist tendencies define everything we are to some of our international friends.

Ours is, understandably, more recent (and by that, I mean CURRENT, Bush) but you can't glorify the Ottoman Empire and call American imperialism the bane of humanity. America is doing with Democracy what the Caliphate did with Islam, for good or bad, and comparitively America is tiptoeing around to do it.

That, and if you couldn't tell, religion as a set of organizations and I have had our differences in the past. You might catch that out of me from time to time...

Yol seems a little like the cultural civil rights films that came out here in America around the 80s, like Mississippi Burning. A lot of controversial wounds were opened up in those days.

Bekdil Karayol:

Victoria

Again we are back to insults and loathings of constans and to the use of "emotional" stuff.

"You don't advocate advancement, you advocate regression. You can't stand the slander of Muhammed or God or really anyone"

"This conversation has gone from irrational to a downright convention for the emotionally challenged, disaffected outcasts of society"

By the way Victor,Moslem converts in the US know about Islam more than Turks. They won't say that wearing a Tshirt showing Danish Cartoons is an act of rebellion aginst Prophet Mohammed s.a.s

I saw that YOL movie. It was so disgusting. it also showed the mentality of Secualr Turks and how they ruined the country with their backward policies.

Amar C. Bakshi:

Tom Miller, not sure if you're still checking this thread, but just saw your message re: movies about Turkey. One powerful one I just finished is about a group of prisoners in the 1980s taking a leave to visit their respective homes. It's called Yol. See it here. It's a "harsh portrait" says the review, but it is very well shot and presents compelling characters.
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0084934/

Other suggestions from readers? Please post away!

spidon:

This conversation has gone from irrational to a downright convention for the emotionally challenged, disaffected outcasts of society.

Vic:
"I'm just fine being somebody's Satan."

Victoria:
"i im happy that i have such a universal way of speaking that you coud both interpret such extreme opposite views in my posts-"

****

I think this is my exit cue.

There is no reason to reason when reasoning is unreasonable.

Vic and Victoria, Enjoy your irrelevant and irrational fatalism.

Spiridon
Montreal Canada

VICTORIA:

muslms take a hike- you are seriously confuisng me with someone else-

"Also note that when you say that "Turks will return to their Ottoman past", you wouldn't be able to do"

i never said that at all or even inferred it

unless you have a magic book, your access to turkish history is the same as the turks-

why should we believe that turks got it wrong becuase their alphabet was changed- but you somehow mysteriously got it right?

it doesnt make logical sense

i never mentioned 'pride' in any way-

MTAH- ARE YOU SURE YOU ARE TALKING TO THE RIGHT PERSON?

spidon accuses me of being a turkish islamist
you accuse me of being a turkish secularist

i im happy that i have such a universal way of speaking that you coud both interpret such extreme opposite views in my posts-

but IM NOT TURKISH!
im a eurocentric american mutt

i went to elementary school in pittsburgh PA USA-
(morse and phillips morse in the southside vic)
(boggs avenue too)

i think its possible you are responding to someone elses post?

ive only commented on YOUR comment that ruks dont know their own history becuase the language changed-

stay focused, reread what ive posted-

i think you'' find that you confused me with someone else

peace

Vic van Meter:

See, Spidon, this is why I don't trust what you write very often.

If you read my posts, you'd know I didn't join the military. I was all ready to go, then decided not to for one simple reason. I realized I wasn't just swearing to defend the country, I was also swearing to follow the orders of the President. And I don't like him anywhere near enough to want to put my life on the line on his say-so. I've said this pretty often and never once said I am a serviceman. If you glance through what I read, you miss these kind of glaring things. If you were actually reading my posts, you'd know I'm almost finished with college and I work full time. I have since high school.

If you'd read my LAST post, I didn't talk about change. I was bringing up your traditionalism, your orthadoxy. Your commitment to an old Ottoman Empire ideal that neglected the fact that all great power is built on a great crime is my focus.

You don't advocate advancement, you advocate regression. You can't stand the slander of Muhammed or God or really anyone. Guess what! My religion is slandered every day, sometimes to my face, and every day in the news. Somewhere, someone is mocking me, pretending they know my religion and not knowing anything. And am I going to be indignant about it? Of course not. These people have no idea what they're talking about. They haven't been here, where I am, and odds are they never will. So I adapt with the times, move without forcing anyone into my structure. I live in my own and if you've noticed that I don't give a lot of overwhelming respect to someone who needs to fit their life into a preconditioned mold, then you'd be reading my posts.

You don't know my experience; I've never talked about it and honestly I don't feel the need to. But what I can tell you is that any time you look back into the glorified past, you're looking at a pastoral picture of how, a hundred or even thousand years later, we've managed to paint over the crimson. Armenia wasn't even a molehill compared to the kind of murder perpetrated by the original Ottoman Empire on their conquest. Ottoman history doesn't belong to Muslims, Spidon, history belongs to every single person on this planet who cares to look it up. And the Persian and Ottoman empires have plenty of blood to show for their gains. And this isn't something you can sweep under the rug.

History isn't what Turkey needs. It's doing just fine in the present. Turkey will survive the way it's going, whichever way it chooses, as long as they keep making the correct political decisions. Sometimes US support looks like an idiot political move in their region, but Turkey, as long as they remain in NATO, have American opinion by the throat. If you think for one second that Turkey is going to ever allow something with legal ramifications to pass in America, you underestimate their influence. See how quick Pelosi's little gambit got killed in committee? It never stood a chance. Like a bottle rocket, sparks flew, it made a lot of noise, and in the end there wasn't much bang and it was too far away to matter much. Turkey knows where its best position is right now, secular or not, and it's with one hand on America's shoulder and both feet in regional power struggles.

If the American unpopularity in Turkey happened in, say, Jordan, there wouldn't even be a thread about it. But the second Turkey is mad, suddenly we're worried about a Middle East image. Because Turkey, whether you like it or not, matters a lot. And the Kurds and Armenians are either going to get with the program or get run over, because when even George "They'll Like Me Better With a Gun To Their Back" Bush is VERY concerned how Turks feel about America. Pelosi and her House cohorts are the only ones here screaming about the Armenian Genocide.

I think the killings were a genocide. We've all got genocides we don't want to talk about. But it's NEVER going to be solved by law, and America's a bad place to look if you want help with your plans. Americans don't care about Turkish ethnic groups, they only care about Turkey as a whole. And until the Kurds or Armenians are running Turkey, they aren't at the top of the list. That's just plain and simple. Until the Kurds or Armenians make themselves more important than the Turkish population (and they have to do that without finding their way into our terrorist organization hit list) then you can sit right there for a real long time.

Because unless the situation changes, this one's working best for Turkey and the United States. Tough luck. But don't look for sympathy and start mentioning old history lessons. In the list of cultural grievances, Africa hits probably 1-20 in some capacity or another. So if you're worried about a genocide predating the Holocaust retarding Turkey's social maturation, you can get in line behind the cultural slaughterhouses happening just southwest of you.

It was bad when it happened, few argue anything but that, but there are a lot bigger issues on hand right now (namely, the United States government on the warpath that its citizens can't seem to stop) for us to be worrying about the Armenians and Kurds.

We have a lot of reorganizing to do, Turkey is probably the most stable ally of ours in the Middle East, and so you're on your own. Maybe instead of trying to convice a couple Americans with bigger, more globally important issues on hand (like Bush's nuclear armed friend near Turkey who just so happens to have made a power grab, or Israel and Palestine's next attempt at not shooting each other, or even Bush's own ability to lose sight of the ball and screw us over bigtime) you can go ahead and make a bigger stint in Turkey, where it actually matters, people have power to change policy, and everyone isn't just watching it like some kind of inter-relationship arguement in a grocery store.

Seriously, welcome to an angry, violent, painful reality. I'm sure the injustice stings. That will happen a lot. You might get blamed for things you aren't in control of, or you might be hated because the leader of your country goes crazy, or you might even be called to account for things your ancestors did some hundred or so years ago. Get used to that feeling of indignation. Because, truth be told, I don't even pretend 90% of the people here actually are concerned with what I'm honestly saying. They'll skim the post, pick up what they need, and post on me with whatever ammunition they think they have against us anti-whatevers.

I know nine out of ten people don't care where I'm from, why I say what I say, or even what I say. They've got an opinion about me without even knowing me. And if you get used to it, you too can tolerate the ongoing disappointment that is life.

Or you'll rail hopelessly against Americans sick of being villainized because no matter who they side with, they're certainly going to be the devil incarnate to somebody. Whichever you prefer. I'm just fine being somebody's Satan.

Moslem World to TR take a hike!!!!!! :

Victoria

Again you display a character of Turkish Secularists who hate Ottoman Islamic history.The secular-Islam hating-Turks use the word "pride" whenever the Ottoman past is referred to.

Elif Shafak once wrote in Zaman,the old internet edition, about the existence of those who take the Ottoman side and say that they are the best, and those who say that they are bad and backward.
Two sparring sides.

Elif Shafak tries to exist in the middle but the middle in Turkey regarding the Ottomans doesn't exist.

The amount of hate the Ottomans and their history received from Westerners,Easternes, and from the worshippers of Ataturk is absolutely abnormal.

I look for the bad sides of the Ottomans before the good one because I know that no one is perfect but Allah. There are also two reasons: by comparing the Ottoman padishahs to the current Moslem leaders, no matter how bad Ottomans were,they still by far better and more sincere than all of them.The second reason is because of you and people like you who use the word "pride" then"backwardness",then "Europe or modernity".

Just like you did when you brought the slaves, Germans, the Americans, the Armenians,....

WHAT HAPPENS TO TURKEY TODAY ISN'T BECAUSE OF THE OTTOMANS IT IS BECAUSE THE EDUCATED SONS OF THOSE SLAVES YOU TALKED ABOUT.THEY SPENT FEW DAYS IN EUROPE,LONDON OR PARIS, THEY GOT JOBS AS STATEMEN IN THE OTTOMAN SARAYS.THEY LOOKED EDUCATED BUT THEY DID'NT KNOW ANYTHING ABOUT STATESMANSHIP. TEHY WERE SLAVES FOR CLONIAL EMPIRES AND THE LIAISON OFFICERS BETWEEN THEM WERE "JEWS AND ARMENINAS" TEHY BORUGHT THE WHOLE EMPIRE TO ITS KNEES.

THEY NEVER MADE THE OTTOMAN STATE A MODERN ONE. THEY NEVER TRANSFERED TECHNOLOGY FROM EUROPE. INSTEAD, THEY TALKED ABOUT TURKISH WOMEN FORNICATING WITH EUROPEAN MEN TO HAVE SMART EUROPEAN CHILDREN AND IMPROVE THE TURKISH RACE!! THIS WAS THEIR VIEW OF MODERNITY.

So viki it is not the Ottomans who are still being called "traitors", like Padishah"Vahdettin" by people like the Ispartan former President,who caused Turkey's current problems. It is you and people like you 200 years ago who did it.

so don't get the idea that the matter is just "extolling" the Ottomans past. It is a very powerful knowledgable experience for me.

spidon:

@ Vic Van,

I find your position very interesting in that it displays your own personal experience rather than advocating a position of change.

It is interesting to me that your position is one of predetermined and rationalized fatalism on the subject of change.

It is no secret that all cultures and peoples are guilty of brutality toward our fellow man. It is also true that we are incapable of changing the past, but to be accepting of the past as a predetermining feature toward our future is very fatalist and dangerous. We learn history so as to advance our humanity, not for the purpose of repeating the past.

You have mentioned your service to your country in posts in the past, and I read your present post as quite the definitive aspect of your experiential sum, to draw the conclusions you have made above. It is one thing to see history objectively, but without the critical faculties applied to see the human errors errors therein, we only make lists upon lists of things, rather than things that have meaning

You call yourself a realist but I fail to see how, since you step beyond your experience of past and move toward the future without acknowledging that change is possible and even necessary. If we do not question the moral problems caused by our past actions how can we hope to not repeat them?

Vic, I sympathize with you and your experience, since I am certain that it has molded your present detachment; probably as a self preservating necessity; but I suspect that if you apply some criticism to your experience you will be empowered by the act.

This is exactly the same matter that must be acknowledged in our understanding and acceptance of history. Acknowledgement and criticism are necessarily preconditions when betterment is sought.
Germany went through a healing process by acknowledging the brutality it had caused during WW1 and WW2. This is by far, the most significant reason for why it has been able to achieve the great and profound rebuilding it has undergone since.
Turkey would be equally empowered by such an act and her neighbours would be happy participants in her maturity, knowing that in the process they are made to feel the relief of not having an aggressive neighbour, who's past determines her present. What we see however, is the evasive actions Turkey takes to not have to admit fault and as the propagandists are busy rewriting history, they are also busy repeating it.

The ongoing drama with the Kurds is not new and if we look back in Turkey's history and transpose Armenian when we say Kurd, we see the result of the fatalism of a nation that is on the brink of self-destruction. Turkey will not survive in her present way of thinking.

Spiridon
Montreal Canada

Vic van Meter:

To the Moslem World in Wherever You Are,

Technically, Americans were acting in glorious self-defense when they carpet bombed German population centers. In fact, after the surprise attack on Pearl Harbor, America launched a carrier raid and carpet bombed Tokyo. My country dropped two atomic bombs in the Great War. My ancestors drove a native people into the dust, kept a whole color of people enslaved for over four hundred years, and have contributed to the colonization (I won't mince words) of other pieces of land that were never ours.

If I were a prideful, unrealistic man looking at our past through rose-colored lenses, I'd say my country has a proud military history. Since I'm not a complete idiot, I'll say conflict has largely defined my people and it is how my people have affected the world.

The Ottoman Caliphate (or Ottoman Empire, depending on how you look at it) did very much the same. They were a conquering people who swept a bloody trail across three continents (but never took Vienna, of all places). Slavery was an important part of the Ottoman infrastructure, and as many as 1/5 of Istanbul's population were all slaves. And, on the fringes of society, slavery continues in the Empire's old territory. The Ottoman Empire is just like every other world power, it was built on a foundation of bones.

But you can always be proud of your Ottoman past. Of course, you can novelize everything that ever transpired in the Caliphate under those noble Moslem leaders. And in the end, I guess they were capable of great good. So were my ancestors.

But I get reminded, daily even, of all the blood on my country's founders' hands on this forum. The Armenian Genocide resolution popped up all sorts of unpleasantness, as if my country was the only nation in the world capable of a great amount of evil in the name of power. But I bear it when I look back at my past. I can try to relish it all I want, the American people of old have committed attrocities for which we shall never be forgiven.

It must be nice to be able to have Ottoman pride without realizing that the Ottomans were guilty of every offense my own country committed. I don't mind extolling the Ottoman Empire if that's your agenda, but you forfeit your right to criticize America's government even if they are, at the very worst, colonizing the Middle East with Democracy.

The Ottomans did it with Islam. It's not so much different.

Moslem World to TR take a hike!!!!!! :

Victoria

The way you are making fun of my reasoning prove that it is correct.

It also proves that a you are a secualr Turk who hate Islam and its prophet. You also hate Ottoman history because it reminds you of conservative Moslem padishahs like" Sultan AbdulHamid".

Remember what your secualr Greek grandparents told you about Padishah Abdulhamid.How he was a backward and how he stole the country and stood against the modernizer masons and zions of Ittihad ve Terraki,...,the Red Sultan,...etc Hating Ottoman History is in your blood.This what you learned form your God"Ataturk" in elementary school when you were a child.

The Ottoman history belongs to all Moslems. Moslems know that it was changed by the worshippers of Ataturk and its enemies including the Brits.

Also note that when you say that "Turks will return to their Ottoman past", you wouldn't be able to do that not only because it is written in another language but also because your not clean and honorable enough to return to it, for the time being of course! if you want an example check what your tourism authorities did to atract arab tourist in Aljazeera TV..A Turkish prostitute jumps from Beylerbey and her serseri jumps from Ortakoy Camii.

People are free to believe whatever they want.This is my discretion and my defence of my Ottoman Anatolian ancestors,who were servants and protectors of Islam. I don't make my living by writing lies and loathing Islam and its prophet.

victoria:


:)


whoo-hoo!

Vic van Meter:

Actually, Spidon, I put more stock in what Vicki says than you. At least she SEEMS to be interested in what everyone else is saying. Even if she's just pretending, she's doing a better job than you. I don't always back her, but I've always given her space to write whatever she wants.

So everyone attacking her spirituality can shove your attitudes where they belong, straight up your backsides. You can say all you want about how she practices Islam or doesn't, but she can honestly do whatever she wants as long as it makes her happy. If that's what she thinks Islam is, then that's what Islam is to her. She's still allowed to read the Qoran and form her own individual opinion about what it says. And if tomorrow idiots like you do to her what my old churches did to me, then she'd be just as allowed to throw the book away. How dare anyone call her less than they because of how she practices her religion!

So Spidon, if you don't want to hear about her life, then don't start asking her personal questions. It's not a difficult concept. I'm actually interested in hearing about people's personal experiences and the like. It helps me understand why they write how they write. So Victoria telling us about what she does helps me understand what she writes about.

Don't get angry because you can't garner the same respect out of us that she has etched. If I had to pick between her posts and yours, there's no question whose I'd go with, even if we aren't always in agreement. I'd want to hear from Victoria, no matter what she's wearing or does for a living. It's at least worth taking my time to talk to her.

spidon:

@ Victoria,

We have put up with your autobiographical, though none the less, irrelevant postings long enough. The topic of discussion is about Turkey; how it is seen in in the US; how Turkey sees the west; and why; and not about Victoria.

Please get yourself a blog of your own where you can rant all you want; where your opinions will be within context of the topic being discussed; where it will not be perceived as illiterate to use only lowercase letters; where you can forgo sentence structure; where you can work out your psychological issues without having to dump them onto the lap of people who truly do not care; and where you will be happier by not being questioned on the ridiculous things you say.

Do we have a consensus on the matter? How many posters agree?

****

OK, then, now back on topic!

Spiridon
Montreal Canada

victoria:

spidon- ive asked you several times - starting mildly curious, (but polite) to be responded to so personally insulting and vehemently, that i am really curious as to your motives.

they (as ive noted) cant be purely for the sake of humanitarianism, as a true humanitarian has compassion for all-not a select group-

and you never talk about the kurds- or the armenians (which a humanitarian would also)
unless it serves as a segue into turk-bashing.
your obsessive concentration on convincing everyone else to hate turks, hasnt had that effect on me-

but it has led me to wonder what makes you in particular hate them so much.

clearly its not encountering a 19 year old report on abuse

but has much deeper motives

i have nothing against greeks- im hand feeding a 2 week old kitten (which is quite job, believe me) that im giving to the greeks down the street in 6 weeks

i have no reason to hate turks- i know alot of them, spent every day last ramadan praying and eating with them

i have nothing agianst kurds, i took one into my home for a few months and totally supported them when they hit american shores, AND helped them marry my best friend!

(well, i did know one really creepy pervo macedonian guy- but he called himself turk, and i didnt find out he was macedonian until after hed moved)

so whats up with you, dude?

you hate truks, well, ok, we get that.

but why is it so important to you that you get others to hate them too?

would it justify your own racism to do so?

you cannot justfy it- even if every person agreed with you- racism and prejudice are ugly things.

so whats up with you?

Anonymous:

spidon- your ad hominems and rudeness dont deserve response


bekdil- if you are claiming to be muslim bekdil (and i dont know as you havent said)

you are dishonoring your religion by telling a msulimah to go get a job.

if you actually are a muslim- you should retract such a hypocritical statement.

also bekdil- the very NATURE of teenage rebellion is reacting against and doing the opposite of the parents

how can a turk rebel against their parents and islam?
thats what teenagers do- who cares?
take care of your own- my opinion in america isnt going to change some girls mind in turkey
there are really really more important issues to discuss than some hypothetical teenage rebellion in turkey

heres the actual post i made-
ps - i couldnt be less interested if you lke it , hate it , or are indifferent.

the question was, can girls wear t shirts, and do i like secular turks


personally- i think there cant be a really very noble motive to outwardly insult a group of people or try to deliberately inflame them.

so i would find it somewhat childish and probably ignore it.

i find denigrating others beliefs rather distasteful in general and extremely unimaginaitve.

if the secular turks are comapssionate and good mannered people, id like them as well as i like any good hearted people (which is a lot)

if they were pushy and angry about it id ignore them like i ignore any rude people

that sure is a funny question

the arificial boundaries of a nation are about the most contrived and superficial delineations one could imagine

if you're talking about nationalists- i have little use for flag wavers in general

but id have to meet them- how could i know if i like someone i never met?

peace jawad
November 13, 2007

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
now ill add this-

i LEAN towards hanafi teachings

Victoria, in a previous discussion you claim that you wear a hijab and that you are a follower of Hanafi.

and i dont claim- i state- i wear hijab and its not your business

i find it kind of sad that bekdil thinks the only opportunities in life consist of a basic job.

it actually want what i was thinking

it was in repsonse to bekdils accusation that im trying to look nice for the west

if i wanted to look nice, id take off the hijab- as it doesn nothing to help me socially in america and draws alot of antipathy

but it also givens many opportunities to give dawa- so i think the trade off is a good one

for 9 years, ive been asked every single week (usually more than once a week) if im a nun-

i relish the chances to give people a little insight into islam- it is so demonized here
i welcome the chance to angelicize it

i WISH our big overwhelming concern was what teenaged girls wear to school!

bekdil- if your overriding concerns in life is how someone elses daughter is expressing her fashion sense- say alhamdoulilah- thank the god-
you are very blessed to be able to obsess on such a minute issue becuase you have no large ones to contend with.

but in concentrating on this minutiae, you are probably ignorng bigger problems that need addressing.

first off- let your women and girls into your mosques, as demanded by the Propeht(pbuh)

even the qu'ran states that the mosque is the refuge for the woman.

by keeping them segregated and excluded- you are teaching your daughters to rebel to begin with

go to the root of the problem, the seminal impetus.
educate your girls islamically and they wont feel the necessity of wearing t-shirts with cartoons on them defaming our Rasul(pbuh)





spidon:

@ Victoria

It would appear that your ability to copy/paste irrelevant information, greatly overrides your ability to read. It is a fact that any monkey can be trained to copy/paste, but thinking requires some human abilities that are shown lacking in your irrational, erratic, disjointed style.

Victoria, what is shown in your actions, is that you have little faith that people can read and draw conclusions based on the information at their disposal. It might be interesting to note that the format of PostGlobal is one where people are obliged to read and as such, can judge on their own what is said.

Victoria, in a previous discussion you claim that you wear a hijab and that you are a follower of Hanafi.

newsweek.washingtonpost.com/postglobal/america/2007/10/turkey_fethullah_gulen_america.html
November 10, 2007 12:40 AM
"...if i wanted to look noce to westerners (or myslef i guess) id take off my hijab, and all sorts of opportunities (that dried up when i put it on) would be offered to me again... i lean toward hanafi teaching"

You also claim that you have worked in soup kitchens in LA and in NY, feeding the homeless (previous discussions on PostGlobal), though you spend all of your time being a Turkish propagandist on the net; copy/pasting irrelevant and stupid information that is meant to confuse and diffuse any topic in discussion. Is it possible that your hijab is too tight?

It was suggested by a responder in the discussion mentioned above; after your hijab story, that what you are lacking is a job, and I quote:
"Bekdil Karayol:
victoria
YES.
Please take of your HijaB and get a JoB!!!
peace be upon you
November 10, 2007 3:20 AM"

I agree with Mr. Karayol's conclusions and will add that you also lack purpose.


****

For anyone who is truly interested in formulating conclusions on Turkey's present state of denial, they can read through the thousands of human rights violations as listed in the HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH ON TURKEY that I have posted above. Victoria's assertion that I have posted 20 year old evidence is a way to discredit the information I have posted.

...And to address Victoria's assertion on this issue, the latest entries to the HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH are from:
October 16, 2007
July 19, 2007
July 18, 2007
June 28, 2007
April 13, 2007
.... and so on and so forth; approximately one or two entries/month, dating back to January 1, 1992, since there is a shortage of space on the database to display earlier cases.

****

Given the lack of respect for human dignity shown by the Turkish elite, the problem is made worse by the denial shown by the Turkish propagandists to avert our gaze from the truth.

Those who read will be able to tell.

Spiridon
Montreal Canada

Bekdil Karayol:

Moslem World to TR take a Hike

Victoria was asked about if it is ok for Turkish girls to wear T-shirts showing Danish Cartoons in Turkish campuses.... Read her reply

"well, my philosophy is that i always look to the seminal impetus of anything- the core- the root cause and intention

i guess a turkish college girl is either finding her own identity, wants attention, is following her crowd, or trying to rebel against her parent"

http://newsweek.washingtonpost.com/postglobal/america/2007/10/turkey_fethullah_gulen_america.html#comments.

Secular Turks are always like this. The are not spritual people and their philosophy as you can read stink!!!!!!!!!!

How could a Turkish boy or a girl rebel against their parents by attacking and loathing Islam and its prophet?!

victoria:

you're funny moslems take a hike

ill add that to my repertoire of weird identifcations and accusations ive received

anyway- you didnt answer the question!!!

if turks themselves cant read their history because the alphabet was changed (thanks for the redundant pointless non-reminder)

what makes you have the ability to circumvent the same circumstances that gives you special insight into turkish history?

do you have a magic history book that turks havent ever found?

or did you sit on your turkish grandma's knees while she recounted firstheand stories to you?
(which is another way history is related and recorded)

did you have that extra beneficial access to information? an aunite who fed you cookies and taught you eyewitness accounts of history?

or is it the magic history book that no turk can access?


in other words, why should anyone possibly believe your account over any other???????

Moslem World to TR take a hike!!!!!! :

"Mustafa Kemal Ataturk was similarly "modernising" Turkey at this time by forcing Turks to move from Arabic to Latin script (which is one reason, I suspect, why modern Turkish scholars have such difficulty in studying vital Ottoman texts on the 1915 Armenian Holocaust"http://news.independent.co.uk/fisk/article2941871.ece

By the way Victoria. Your are secular Turk and your name should be Victor the Secular Turk.

No nice old American woman who converted to Islam write the stuff you do.

victoria:

MUSLIM TAKE A HIKE-

that is the silliest reasoning ive ever heard-

turks dont know their own history because the alphabet was changed, but somehow,YOU DO??

how did you circumvent the language barrier?

was your tukish uncle telling you stories when you were a grasshopper?

SPIDON- i didnt point anythin gout to validate it
i find your obsession and your 20year old stories incredibly redundant

you are either

1) a goofball who thinks hes being validated when hes being discredited

or

2) deliberately disngenuous

Vic van Meter:

Baris,

This is why you rarely, if ever, see me respond to Spidon. He has a Bushist way of thinking, that by repeating the same thing, over and over, it reshapes the debate into simply attacking the point because that is all that is presented to debate.

Bushists deserve to be shunned. You don't need to follow a truck that only moves down a one-way street into a dead end. You know where it's going and you know it isn't coming back unless it breaks the rules.

So screw him.

Baris Tarim:

Cannot believe some of the non-sense junk which has been posted here.

And people like Spidon does show clearly that the Armenian lobby doesn't waste an opportunity to insult Turks, by pointing out reports from 16 years ago or from the Cold War for example :))

Grow up, will you? You pasted the same post how many times precisely? :)

Ali Riza Zvioglu:

These problems are a continuation of old Kemalist policies

SPIDON:

To anyone interested in formulating an objective and personal opinion on the matter at hand, a good place to start is by reading where the Turkish problems come from. Please copy/paste the line below into your browser and simply read the thousands of Human Rights violations by Turkey as listed by the organization HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH:

hrw.org/doc?t=europe&c=turkey

****

Spiridon
Montreal Canada

Bekdil Karayol:

"Result: Amplification of our prejudices maybe some relief of releasing the pressure / the hate / the oppressed feelings accumulated inside us. I find not much positive outcome."

Stay out from oppressed feelings and concentrate on what is written? Are they true or not?

Jews and Armenians in the US and TODAY are twisting Turkey's arm just like they did with the help of Talat pasha. History repeat itself.

TURKS ARE ACCUSED OF TRASHING THEIR OTTOMAN HISTORY!!!!! THAT IS JUST PLAIN SHAMEFUL.

Elif Shafak wrote an Article in Zaman claiming that KEMALISM WAS A MOSLEM REFORM MOVEMENT!
http://www.todayszaman.com/tz-web/detaylar.do?load=detay&link=116911

ISLAM HAS GOT NOTHING TO DO WITH KEMALISM

Shaihuleslam Mustafa Sabri Tokatli, the last Scholar to hold Shaihuleslam position, was told by Kemalist" Yes we will take whatever the EuropeanS have...the infection in their lungs...even the filth in their bowels".This scholar is considered the person who saved the Islamic world from the filth of Kemalism. The Kemalist fought him till his last day. He died in Egypt in poverty.

"One of the things I developed for myself to stay as objective as possible is that: Every human being shares a common soul. There is no superior race, superior culture, more virtuous clans. or hundred percent evil race, incapable cultures.. I could be in the place of the Hitler, if the conditions are set in that direction for my personal...."

ENOUGH WITH FANTASY.THIS IS TRUE WHEN ONE SOMKS HASHISH AND DRINKS FAKE TURKISH ARAK!!!

SPIDON:

I am hopeful that eventually, with enough insistence on our part, Turkey will be able to turn the mirror the right way and accept her past and boldly look the future in the eye.

It is a historical fact that any progress has been preceded by long periods of peace and stability, of which Turkey has none. Turkey's position is to accuse anyone and everyone who is not in agreement with her aggressive and expansionist methods of the very thing plaguing her history and present.
Wanting to invade Iraq to resolve a problem that is clearly created by her unwillingness to accept minority and special interest rights; brutalize dissent; deflect blame and try to buy public opinion in the west, is really disconcerting. The end result from Turkey's actions is the continuation of the same human rights violations and abuses we have come to accept as normal from a state that is in complete denial of responsibility.

To what extent does the treatment of her minorities contribute to Turkey's problems?

For anyone interested in an objective and personal assessment on the matter, please copy/paste the line below into your browser and read the thousands of cases of Turkish human rights abuses.
From the HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH:

hrw.org/doc?t=europe&c=turkey

Spiridon
Montreal Canada

Moslem World to TR take a hike!!!:

Positive outcome?!!!!

AGNOSTIC:

The thing we name "history" is quite strange thing. And it becomes stranger when you follow these kinds of forums / discussion lists.

When I look at all the comments in the forums like that, most of the time I see that this is another battlefield. Instead of swords, axes, rifles, bombs, tanks and fighter jets; we use "words" backed up with our prejudices and our limited information. Result: Amplification of our prejudices maybe some relief of releasing the pressure / the hate / the oppressed feelings accumulated inside us. I find not much positive outcome.

Everbody says that history must be "objective", and I feel this is the most difficult thing if you are somewhat attached to that history. It is really really very difficult.

One of the things I developed for myself to stay as objective as possible is that: Every human being shares a common soul. There is no superior race, superior culture, more virtuous clans. or hundred percent evil race, incapable cultures.. I could be in the place of the Hitler, if the conditions are set in that direction for my personal history.

Than, I try to understand / differentiate what conditions are set the stage for this evil or good results.

I do not want to go in a lot of details since there is not enough space, I am not a philosopher and I do not want to bore you.

When I look at the history of Ottoman Empire, which I also somewhat belong, I see two things - which manifests itself quite obvious to me:

1. There are a lot of nations that were born from the ashes of the Ottoman Empire. They have a lot of pain they lived especially in the "falling stage of the Empire". This pain still lives. Lives and blinds and blocks any kind of positive relations with the remaining of the Empire.

2. The remaining of the Empire (not necessarily in the pure racist point-of-view since if you look at the gene pool is still quite varying) is also in pain. Pain of failing, losing too many people during the destruction of the Empire... In the fear and suspicion of the "destruction still continues"...This suspicion and fear still lives, and blinds and blocks any kind of positive relations with "old neighbors"...

Moslem World to TR take a hike!!!:

Halozcel

The Shereefs lost and their grandchildren are protectors of Israel now.

Florence of Arabia is best left to the union of Turkish homosexuals of Bilgi U. They will benefit from his legacy in hating Arabs. By the way this union must help Turkey in the US against the Armenian powerful lobby.

John Philbey is the best figure to read about if you are interested in attacking the Wahhabis. Unlike Florence, this guy won. He converted to Islam and bought female slaves from Taif. He was a British spy, double agent, Christian, Moslem, wahhabi,freemason, zionist.

Also note that Turks don't really know their history very well because it is written in a different language.And if the Turks are serious about learining their history, they will discover many facts. For instance, Mustafa Reshid Pasha, Midhat Pasha, Talat Pasha, Anver pasha,..etc are all worst than the Wahhabis because they were working against Turkey's interest. They enabled minorities to destroy Turkey, and they loathed the Islamic faith with August Comptes filth. These Pashas were the real destroyers of the Ottoman empire.

Turks might learn also that certain Arab tribes, whose living depended on attacking caravans and pilgrims and who cover the Area from Gaza to the Arabian peninsula, never liked the Ottomans and the Ottomans knew this for centuries and paid lots of gold to other tribes and local leaders to protect the Caravans and pilgrims.

So if it is not surprising that these brigands would deal with the Brits against the Ottoman. However, it is really surprising to see people who prospered under the Ottomans, like Armenians and Jews, and others who were pampered by the Ottomans to stab the Turks in the back.


Kenan Bilgili:

Halozcel;

Islam also says in a hadith 'the heaven is under the feet of mothers'

a mother is a woman.

and Islam's biggest award is heaven and it is under the feet of a 'woman'

it is enough.

spidon:

@ Victoria(the Turkish propagandist), November 6, 2007 9:43 AM :

Thank you for pointing out the link in question.

For anyone interested in the Turkish Human Rights Record dating back to 1992 (due to limited space on the database of The Human Rights Watch) all the way to the present:

hrw.org/doc?t=europe&c=turkey

Here are some of the highlights among the thousand or so Turkish violations:

Page 8:
Nothing Unusual
The Torture of Children in Turkey
Helsinki Watch has documented scores of cases of torture in Turkey since 1982, and Turkish lawyers who represent detainees claim that police routinely torture between 80 and 90 percent of political suspects and about 50 percent of ordinary criminal suspects, including children. Nothing Unusual documents the torture of children under the age of eighteen in Turkey. It concludes that such torture takes place in police stations and is carried out by police during the interrogation of children accused of both criminal and political offences. In addition, children are not allowed to see lawyers during their interrogations nor are their families notified by police of their whereabouts. It concludes with specific recommendations to end these appalling practises.
HRW Index No.: ISBN 1-56432-052-9
January 1, 1992 Report

Page 8:
A Matter of Power
State Control of Women’s Virginity in Turkey
An investigation of the prevalence of forcible virginity control exams and the role of the government in conducting or tolerating such exams, this report cites several separate incidents in the spring of 1992 when young females committed suicide after authorities ordered them to submit to examinations of their hymens.
June 1, 1994 Report
hrw.org/reports/1994/turkey/TURKEY.pdf

The above two links are from the oldest offences on the database. Page 1 will display the most recent but not any less serious offences.

****

To go to the above mentioned links, please copy/paste the addresses into browser.

Thank you once again Victoria for pointing this matter out to me.

Spiridon
Montreal Canada

spidon:

I am sorry to say Azarja, what you consider atypical is increasingly becoming typical, in the way Turkish society advocates the expansionist attitudes, that the old Ottoman Empire was so famous for.

Being poised to invade a foreign country under the auspices of targeting a small band of terrorists, who I might add, are more active within Turkey than within Iraq, is not atypical since we have so many historical references to draw parallels from.

You suggest that young Turkish filmmakers should be free to express themselves. I agree with you so long as you will agree that it should be their government that should allow them the liberty of expression as opposed to dragging them through the courts for not being Turkish enough as the Turkish government has done repeatedly. The most famous example is Orhan Pamuk, the Nobel Prize winner for Literature.

I happen to think that Orhan Pamuk is atypical and many of the regurgitated messages we see from Turkey are typical in that they promote intolerance to the typical and stereotypical Turk that the Turkish government is so ready to promote.

Is it not time for Turkey to grow out of its tainted past and become more tolerant of others as others want to be more tolerant even of Turkey?

Just a thought.

Spiridon
Montreal Canada

Azarja:

Just like 'Agnostic' I am not used to take part in internet discussions.
What I also share with agnostic is his or her view on the matter:

To me the article and the short clip are a glimpse of the healthy, cosmopolitan society that Istanbul is.
These are ordinary guys talking, trying to get their message across. And their message is, according to me: Turkey is not at all what it seems. This is a VERY GOOD message.

First, because I had the same cosmopolitan experience when I lived in Istanbul.

Second, because I experienced the same ignorance among some Americans. Of course not all, but there are American mothers who start to cry if their sons tell them that they want to study in Turkey. They get doom visions of beards and bombs.

Third, because I got so tired of all the east-west nonsense! Only look at Turkey or Istanbul in terms of east and west, or oriental and modern, or whatever opposition people come up with (as even some turks do)is to deny the unique and incredibly diverse turkish culture and society. Go and see for yourself: you'll meet open-minded students like these guys, but also over the top hospitable mothers. You'll meet poor Kurds who'll give you their last lira, deeply religious sufists who'll teach you how to love, and racist nationalists who'll teach you how to hate. There isn't but one Turk, there is a million.

In conclusion, I find it interesting that as soon as some motivated young filmmakers are given a second for a positive remark, people demand that they should have also spoken about genocides, human rights and other sensitive issues.
Why? Why are Turks suspicious when they smile and say they're modern? Such replies might be described as orientalist reactions: if the Turk says something a-typical to the image of Tuks in your mind, than either the Turk is not a real one, or the turk has a hidden agenda, that he'll come up with 'when pressed' (Quote from the article.

These are some thoughts that you're welcome to disagree with.

Azarja from the Netherlands

halozcel:

Dear Zubaida Finkel,

The woman has no name in islam.

The Book of Fear says,*women are your tilth* 2.223.Are you a *human* or *tilth* ?
Verse 2.222 describes woman as *pollution*.Dear Zubaida,are you *pollution* ?
A Hadith says *women are ''filthy creature''*.Are you *human* or *creature* ?
2.282 says *Two women equals one man*.Are you *half creature* ?
The Book of Nightmare says *man can take ''four women''* 4.3.To be one of four.Is this *dignity* ?
*Man can scourge woman*.Is it *your honor*.
Another Hadith says *women are deficient on ''intelligence'' and ''faith''* What is this ?
Woman has no right to divorce *her husband* and has no right to show her *unwashed hairs*(because,muslim woman take a bath once a month),but her husband may sleep *russian girl* or *german girl*

Dear Zubaida,Unconditional you shall leave islam.You shall try to be *human being*,not *half creature*.

VICTORIA:

spidon, have you still not mastered the task of posting a link?

http://www.hrw.org/

HAKAN TUTAL:

Selamunaleyküm,
Hakan seninle gurur duyuyoruz....

spidon:

On the matter of women in Turkey:

Please see the link below; it is from THE HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH.

hrw.org/reports/1994/turkey/

A Matter of Power
State Control of Women’s Virginity in Turkey
"An investigation of the prevalence of forcible virginity control exams and the role of the government in conducting or tolerating such exams, this report cites several separate incidents in the spring of 1992 when young females committed suicide after authorities ordered them to submit to examinations of their hymens."
June 1, 1994 Report

The main page where one may find countless other reports on Turkey's human rights violations:

hrw.org/doc?t=europe&c=turkey

****

What was it about Turkey that the West and specifically Hollywood misunderstands?

Spiridon
Montreal Canada

Zubaida Finkel:

Prophet Mohammed (PBUH) last words before his holy soul leaves to its creator were about the prayer and women.

Prayer keeps the Moslem connected to his creator and keeps him involved in a clean life, spiritually and physically.

Women are the soul of the society. In Islam, paradise is underneath Mothers' feet.

When Turkish women give up Islam, they give up dignity and honor.

Bekdil Karayol:

Halozcel

"Do you reject this *reality* Who said *women are ''filthy creatures''*"

Turks and Westerners.

1- Because of their severe complex of inferiority to the West, Turks say that "Arab" Moslems see women as filth along with other accusations which westerners throw at Moslems in general to show them as inferior. Turks repeat that stuff like parrots because they want to feel like westerners and at the same time stress on the fact that they don't belong to the backward Moslem world. One would see a modern daughter of the Ataturk say "pislik Arap" to her American boyfriend and ex-German lover if Moslem Arab passes by her.
2- The Ataturk followed the advice of Abdula Cevdet which encouraged Turkish women to mix with European males to improve the Turkish race, to make it modern. Because Moslem women are the heart of the Moslem family and society, if anyone intends to degenerate the Moslem society, all what they have to do is to cheapen and harm Moslem women. Women who live with cheap moral values will pass them to their children. This is obvious today in the Turkish society. Therefore, the intention of the Ataturk, who was a descendent of Crypto-Jews, was to destroy Islam in Turkish family and make them like Europeans who today are suffering from immorality .
3- Turkish daily newspapers are full of photos of nude women, especially Turkish Models"manken" who would love to become European. These nude pictures are published daily in the first page of newspapers .
4- There is no powerful evidence of the degeneration of women other than Porn. Turkey is the only Moslem country which has a national Porn industry.
5- The fact that Turks consider adultery not a crime is another proof showing how the Turkish society is shooting itself in the foot. Many Turkish women complain that their Husbands cheat on them and they cannot do anything about it. This shows that Modern Turks undermine the institution of marriage. Modern Turks are submerged in the "aşk mşk" culture- the culture of being in love- which has got nothing to do with pure marriage life and their youth enjoy nothing but showing off their lust to each other.
6- Depriving Moslem women who wear the headscarf form attending university or working in government institutions.
7- Disaccrediting Islamic marriages and considering the secular process the only one that guarantees women rights. A process that deprives women form their rights if they marry in a religious way.
8- Istanbul Tourism authority had been running a tourism promotion ad in Eljazeera News Network targeting Arab Tourist. This ad begins with a Turkish woman wearing a red dress jumping form Beylerbey Ottoman Palace(Istanbul's Asian side) to hug a guy coming from the Bosphorus Mosque in Ortakoy(West side).

As one could notice in the tourist promotion ad, Turks are trying to be more western than the westerners themselves by showing how East meet West and at the same time promote the business in their brothels. The sad part is that the guy who is jumping to meet the girl in the red dress, who sold her Eastern values , from the back yard of the Ortakoy Camii and not form the night clubs which are located behind that mosque. According to that ad, Arabs are interested only in the Brothels of Istanbul and Izmir but not in Seljuk-Era historical sites in Anatolia; they are interested in the Hamams of Taksim not in Kapadokya.

This ad doesn't only promote sex tourism but at the same time imitate how Arabs was depicted in the Western film industry as lust mongers submerged in debauchery. Of cours, today Arabs are still depicted as debauchers but with emphasis on terrorism.

Turks will be surprised to see if they compare themselves to the Moslem world that they have contributed to the degeneration of women just like the west they love to join.

Kenan Bilgili:

westerner;

the events in Trabzon and Istanbul were 'personal' stupid actions done by silly street hikers. How can you say that it is a reaction of a whole nation.

Westerner:

In Response To Kagan Akcay:

I am not manipulating anything. While on paper Turkey is supposed to have religious freedom, the practice is entirely different. Christians and other non-muslims are "allowed" to go to church and their respective places of worship, BUT they don't have full proprietary rights and the authorities give them a hard time when it comes to maintaining their buildings. It is not unusual for municipalities to just take the property and not give them full if any compensation. In addition, christians and non-muslims are continuously smeared by turkish media as traitors to Turkey. You seem to have forgotten that last year a Roman Catholic priest was killed in Trabzon and an Armenian Christian editor was killed in Istanbul. Three christian employees in a publishing house were tortured for three hours before they were killed just this past April.

Turkey has a long way to go before it should be considered to be on par with Europe.

Metin Talks Turkey, Newport Beach, CA:

Amar,

You're right. I am still trying to figure out the relevance to Turkey of that James Bond movie. lol.

By the way, some people who comment here are being too sensitive by showing their insensitivity.

Have you guys heard of the Dutch play (by actresses of Turkish descent) called 'The Veiled Monologues' loosely based on the 'Vagina Monologues.'? And could a play like that be staged in Istanbul, or any other place in Turkey?

Second, what about the 'controversy' surrounding Selin Tamtekin's sexually explicit novel 'The Turkish Diplomat's Daughter,'? Why are some Turks (and mostly men by the way) in denial regarding the taboos in Turkey including women and sexuality in Turkey?

Stop making everything an Islam, Muslim, or religion issue. What about the cultural makeup of being Turkish, or everything Turkish?

SALIH GONCU:

Hi guys, I told I won't write here anymore, but following the discussion here, I couldn't keep myself out.
First is first, no country has eternal foes or friends in the history. The states work as the situation arises. We know that Germans and French slaughtered each other at every given opportunity. Remember the "War of the Roses", involving France, Germany (Roman-German Imperium) Great Britain and many other parties.
And when you talk about this religion is good and other is bad, I'd like to remind you the "30 Years War" between the Catholics and the Protestants. I can go back to many millenia this way. 12th crusade was made against Constantinople. Do you know this? Crusaders plundering Constantinople of Roman Empire, not after the Ottoman Reigh. Romans had to ask for Ottoman help.
I am a Turk. But like any other Turk who was born in Turkey, I can't call my ancestors all Turks. There were Turks, Greeks, (maybe-I can't confirm) Armenians, Russians (Yes, confirmed), Kurds in my ancestry. So, who am I? From the point of biological view, I'm much less Turk than a resident of Athens. But the rest, besides the biological point of view, "I am a Turk because I call myself Turk" That's the point in our Nationality. And, opposite can't be thought at all!
We are called as barbarians, and still being called so. I can understand the idea behind it. We were trying to expand our empire, like any other empire. Well, now USA is trying to expand. Defeating USSR. No big deal on that.
And we are shown as terrible homosexual, polygamist (even more, we rape every woman we see), and whatever you can see as bad. Well, maybe, we should also tell you how bad you are too: For example: "the person with blue eye brings extremely bad luck" Sorry, I can't remember more, but you know, your politicians needed you to stand tough against your enemy "we" and our politicians needed us to stand tough against our enemy "you", for some time. So they needed every kind of "misinformation" possible. (I'm saying they, it's not only "our" politicians but yours also)
Bottom line, I'm a Turkish Muslim married with a Ukrainian Orthodox Christian girl. She's still a devoted Orthodox Christian and it's not a problem between us, as long as we live "our" religions in "our" spheres of life and don't interfere with each other. (Now some Orthodox Muslims will say that attending non-muslim rituals is a sin. Hey! Don't forget what Koran says: "Everyone's sin belongs to him." It's a problem that I myself have to deal. OK?)
Bottom line: All we have 23 pairs of chromosomes, which makes us human. All "states" which wish to exert their power is the problem. Not nationality, nor religion.

Enes:

OK every body I don't have so much time to read all the text here.
Turkey is a secular country this is written as this in constitution.
Most of the people in Turkey are Muslim but it's a doubt that all that people live on Islam. And nobody can know this.
And also Islam doesn't accept secularism because Islam has rules for life which includes laws. But in the last quarter of age there is so much development in world. Countries in Arabian Penisula which called Islamic countries have Sharia Law. Islam is an open to development religion. As you know first order of Allah (c.c.) to prophet Mohammed (s.a.v.) is "read", and one of the hadith of Mohammed(s.a.v.) is "Find and learn the science evenin the China". For example in Sharia 'You will kill people by throwing stones to whom has adultery crime' but you can perform this punishment buy electrical chair or something else. The type and some content was written according to condition in that years but you can change the methods. In Turkey you can see some portion of the rules like to in Islamic Countries and some portion are like to western countries, and samo are unique to Turkey.
And if you ask 'What's the problem of Turks with Arabs?' During WW1 Arabs DID NOT attend to call of Calif and attend to call of an English spy and betray to Ottoman Empire and Ottoman Empire lost the war on the south and east fronts. So we don't like a bit Arabs. And nowadays why Kurds are showing on their TVs southeast part and some times all south part of Turkey as Kurdistan. Why PKK is attacking to civils and soldiers on the east part of Turkey? And why 1 governor or Iraq says that if Tukrish army enters to field to fight with PKK we'll attack-back to Turkey, and the other governor says it's right of Turkey to enter field. Also according to international rules Turkey has right to enter the field.
And about Armenian Genocide in war everything is possible. Killing peoples a nation is not a genocide it's allways done inwars. But when you plan to kill all the peoples of that nation and perform this as an planned action with all the organs are in act than it is a genocide. And if the States accept Armenian Genocide we have right to ask 'During establishment of States what Englishmen do to Indians?' (And how they call two different race with same name?)(At the moment I'm a Turk and Muslim)

Bro-taser:

I notice you changed the subhead so that it no longer reads "Amar C. Bakshi talks to America’s lovers and haters around the world." That's a small first step in the direction of closer accuracy, since you've never talked to anyone who loved America. Now, in the main blog title, can we strike the words "the World" and replace it with "Muslims" since theirs' are the only views you elicit? No, I didn't think so, since you probably think Muslims ARE the world and everyone else is s sub-human.

Andrew:

What about the way in which Turkish media presents the United States, like Valley of the Wolves Iraq? Which was the highest grossing Turkish film of all time and depicted American soldiers as the villains with Gary Busey as a crazy Jewish doctor who harvests organs. There are exaggerations and half truths in that movie as well, but I don't think anyone in Turkey is worried about the false impressions they hold about Americans anymore than most Americans worry about what Turks think of a movie from the 1970s.

Alex / H34DUP:

Another interesting take here-- I admit to having some of these perceptions of Turkey, severely influenced by biased news and reporting.

After I studied in China and got to see just how hackneyed the American (or is it more so, the media-influenced) perception of other countries. You would think that with all our technological, world-flattening advancements, our perceptions of other cultures would be more accurate...when in reality, they are often formed not through the lense of the photographer but by the words of the reporter('s agenda).

At any rate, I do my best to talk about the cultures of my international friends, Turkish included...very interesting to see where they come from on certain subjects, especially Armenia and the Kurds. It is as if that same American ignorance has been transplanted into the mind of the Turk, or is it my own American ignorance clouding my judgement?

From what I have seen, Turkey appears to be the shining example of democracy in the region. They hold a (now) commanding presence, and in regard to the Kurdish issue, are being portrayed in a light of restraint and power by our media, while behind the scenes, they are trying desperately to keep the situation defused (to prevent the Kurds in Turkey from catching on).

Great article, Mr. Bakshi.

AGNOSTIC:

Dear Bakshi,

Currently, I am living in Ankara.

I want to say that I am not a historian, so I can't provide you too much data on Turkish - American relations. (I have an engineering background with some interest of history and literature.) What I can provide is the "general sense & feeling" of "almost-middle-class" Turkish people, at least, around me.

For the start of the Turkish - American relations, I remember from the books I read, there were a lot of discussions on “how to survive” in the newly-established parliament during our independence war (1919-1923). Some of the representatives of the parliament think that this newly established mini-state cannot live on his own, he needs a "father". This father should not have a "hidden agenda" like Britain or Russia. Then it comes to America. They strongly defend the idea of an "American Mandate". However, the support of America for an independent Armenian and Kurdish state in the parliamentry-declared boundaries of the Turkish State (Misak-ı Milli) is used against them.

I think, "the love and hate" dilemma of the Turks (as you pointed out, USA is our friend and our foe) also works here. In spite of all the fights with West, in spite of all the glory and defeat, deep inside, we (especially the high and middle class of the society) love the West; Europe or USA. We want to be like them. We enjoy & appreciate using all the technological advancements the Western cultures created. We like to watch Western movies, soap operas. We are ready even sacrifice some of our cultural traits (we have changed our outfit, just to be like Westerners). Also we want to be “sincerely” loved & appreciated. But here starts the dilemma: We are not loved by the one we loved! In fact, we are the unwanted, the other, the barbarian... Then comes the hate and arrogance... Also, the suspicion and sometimes hopelessness. (We try to hide that with our arrogance).

And sometimes this love and hate dilemma blinds our eyes and we cannot see (or find it too difficult to accept) our own mistakes.

Tom Miller:

Agnostic: I hope that you will comment more often and that you aren't trashed for your thoughtful contribution to the discussion by those who just seem to enjoy out doing each other in outrageous comments.

From the little history that I know of the Ottoman Empire and certainly the birth of Turkey itself yes, truly the European powers were constantly conspiring to get pieces of the "Sick man of Europe" and I can see where this would clearly lead to skepticism in Turkey about external motives. I'm not surprised, however, that this "sensitivity" sometimes baffles those of us outside of Turkey. For example, as an American if I worried about the number of times that the media, usually our own has unfairly portrayed U.S. history and the intentions of the U.S. Government and the American people I would be constantly in turmoil. In fact the truth is alarming enough without embellishments but that happens in a free society so I accept that. The out-of-date story told in Midnight Express has been so discredited over the years that I find it difficult to believe that anyone would draw much reality about Turkey from that. Lawrence of Arabia showed the Turks as no more barbaric than Lawrence himself who if you recall ordered "no prisoners".

Do we all need to see more of the modern reality of life in Turkey today? Absolutley and I hope that these young film makers will create that art and put it out for export. I have seen a few modern Turkish movies that were funny, creative, and great dramas. Multi-national films are very vogue today even in Hollywood. I hope more Turkish creative artists will participate and express their views.

My thoughts about Hollywood: I think Hollywood takes a bump rap. It is giving the world what it wants just like Metal Storm gave the Turkish readers something they wanted. If more people were truly interested in their world and a better understanding of the diverse cultures of all peoples, Hollywood would shift immediately to different stories and in fact, over the years has created a lot of wholesome and often thought-provocative fims. If more people inside and outside of the U.S. choose to watch the action-packed violent films that often treat history as fiction, I don't believe that is the fault of Hollywood. No way, the fault is us and I mean all peoples in the world.

Great post Amar. If anyone has a list of Turkish films that would be recommended to help us all better understand Turkey and accessible in the U.S., post them here. I would be interested and I bet that I'm not alone.

Hasan Can From Turkey:

to SRI-JAGGU-GANDHI:

yes everyone knows Bulent Ecevit, actually it is his death anniversart today. He died in 05/11/06. He is one of the biggest patriotic symbols of Turkey as he was the one had send the army to Cyprus.

to AGNOSTIC:

welcome and to the things you have said today, i totally agree.

to AMAR:

America did not use to fit into this "operation divide turkey" until the iraqi invasion. In 70's thousands of Turks killed each other because of "left - right" war. In 80's armenians killed upto 100 turkish ambassadors all around the world. In 90's Kurdish seperatist movement and terrorism begin and USA seemed by Turkey's side until they invade iraq. Shortly because they blocked turkey to inter N.Iraq and it became a terrorist haven. Before the 2.nd gulf war PKK was based in Syria not in Iraq.

sri-jaggu-gandhi:

Guys,
Did you know Bulent Ecevit (Prime Minister during the '70s) could read Sanskrit and even translated Rabindronath Tagore into Turkish? I had a Turkish pal, Erhan Ilksoy, who told me that.
-sri-jaggu-gandhi

Amar C. Bakshi:

Agnostic, thanks for the comment. Hope you stick around. What city do you write from? I am currently writing about Erdogan's home section of Istanbul and the sentiments of people dwelling there who knew him. They all emphasize this same point of foreign powers seeking to re-divide Turkey, and see America as both friend and foe at once. How does America fit in with this history, do you think, since WWI powers involved in Sevres were largely led by Europeans and Russia?

agnostic:

Dear All,

I hit here merely by chance. I normally do not comment since most of the time there is no "constructive" discussion, only a blame-game.

I am a Turk, living in Turkey. I lived and worked in USA for around 5 years.

I do not know whether people around "really" want to understand the mentality or feelings of the Turks, but I am writing for the one's who really care.

The Ottoman Empire, like most other Empires, was really a multi-cultural, multi-ethnic society. Different races, different religions, different languages, different cultures lived side-by-side, of course not in a great harmony but more or less stable for some time. But the Ottoman Empire did not perform the advancement from the agricultural economy to industrial economy while the European empires/countries did. Get this non-adapting economy together with bad government and add the desires of Europe's industrialized countries' needs for raw materials and markets to this mixture, last but not the least add the national aspirations of the 1789 French revolution... End of the Ottoman Empire... Rapid and fast... The Empire almost diminished... People killed each other... Neighbor killed neighbor... The land of the Empire become smaller and smaller... People had to leave the land where they were born...

Ok, of course the history is not that simple... There were a lot of complex relations in this equation... But mostly this trauma "defines" the feelings and mentality of the Turkish people... The trauma of a failing and falling Empire... The feeling of there is no place left to go... We see enemies all around us... We see secret agents and traitors inside and around, wishing to divide the last land we have... Everybody wants us to go back to the Asia where we are assumed to come... We are the barbarians that should be forced to hell... Some people find us arrogant, but most of the time this is a kind of defence mechanism...

Anyway I do not want to write too much... But this reference point may help you understand and predict some behaviours of us.

Hasan Can From Turkey:

to KAGAN AKCAY:

please fresh your memories.

The hotel was targetted because Aziz Nesin was there for a conferance where he openly critised Koran and Aziz Nesin was at those days publishing Salman Rushdi's "satanic verses." Aziz Nesin barely escaped death in that hotel that day.

In the year 2006 in Trabzon/Turkey a catholic priest was shot to death just because someone wanted to protest "mohammad cartoons published in holland"

In the year 2007 in Malatya/Turkey a christian Turk from Izmir was tortured to death just because he was a christian who was working in a bible book store!

Do You remember any muslims killed in USA after 9/11? there is NONE!

%?7.!%:

I was precise to mention 5m out of 70m. Only 5m people in Istanbul live to a relatively modern and average European standard. Not all 17m in Istnabul. This is to say, there is only a potential 5m out of 70m people in all of Turkey worth talking to.....

Kagan Akcay:

to Westerner,

again a manipulation. why do you do this i really cant understand. the following sentence is totally wrong.

westerner says:
"christians and other non-muslims are not free to build new and/or maintain their places of worhsip."

have you ever been in istanbul? have you ever been in Turkey? Haven't you seen people going to the churches and doing their prayer whenever they want? havent you seen jewish people going to the synagogue and doing their prayer? have you been in taksim, the city center of istanbul. there is a huge cathedral in the middle of the center. walk a few steps down you will see St. Antoin Church. All non-muslims have the freedom to do their prayers in Turkey. They have their temples built.

why do you manipulate the news in this comment line. what do you get out of that? what will you gain by telling unreal events or by manipulating real events.

Kagan Akcay:

Hasan Can, please do not manipulate the news. The following sentence is totally manipulating. How do you make it muslim-nonmuslim issue. How dare you tell this lie.

"10 years ago muslims in Sivas/Turkey burned a hotel and killed 30 people just because they have said that they don't beleive in Koran!"
The ones who died in that hotel were also muslims. But of a different order. The clash between them was political not a muslim-nonmuslim tension. I cant believe you tell this lie with a cool gesture.

Hasan Can From Turkey:

to %?7.!%

istanbul's population is not 5 million it is 17 million.

Hasan Can From Turkey:

to BEKDIL KARAYOL:

Anyman who reads Koran will see that it has only way to spread its words "by sword!."

Who can deny the killing of non-muslims turks being killed in masses by ottoman turks?

10 years ago muslims in Sivas/Turkey burned a hotel and killed 30 people just because they have said that they don't beleive in Koran!

Last year a Turkish Christian - Necati - was tortured and killed just because he is christian!

Yes it is true i am from Izmir and it is true that we are the few Turks left in this country because we all came from Greece we had to protect our own Turkishness in Greece but the rest of the anatolia was arabilised by people like you who prefers to be an Arab than a Turk.

Why dont you immigrate to iran and produce a nuclear bomb?

Hasan Can From Turkey:

to BEKDIL KARAYOL:

i have never said that "Ottomans were forced to became muslim."

the period i am talking about is much before ottomans the period just before Selcuk Turks (before 1000 AD).

?!$%&:

Istanbul is not representative of the true Turkey, at all! It is a beautiful place and a hub of a hodge podge of evey one from everywhere. They are more western-oriented, relatively speaking. But in all, that is only about 5 million Turks, essentially a ghetto within a country of 70m people.

Turks always want to fool foreigners by showing the good bits of Istanbul, its "Beverly Hills" and its Manhattan (the Sisly district or Besiktas areas--around the Hilton, Hyatt or SwissHotel... are two such areas)....and then tell you, see, we are "modern", "European" and ....whatever!

But go to a state-owned hospital (even right there in the middle of ritzy "Manhattan" part of Istanbul, try the Sisly Hospital) or say the Sisly courthouse or just two streets away and....you will realise that you are certainly in a backward and an absurd place. No need to go to slums or even other towns!

More than 50% of all houses in Istanbul are built without a construction permit. Now, is that "western" or just lawless orientalism at its best? Because of dirty, corrupt state employees or because of that superb levels of education and compliance with law and order?

Come on man...they are still cheating carpet dealers, no matter their profession.

Westerner:

Turkey a model of democracy and Islam??!! "...a more Islamic society is even more democratic..." I wouldn't hold my breath. It is way better than Iran or Pakistan but the bar is set real low in those countries.

Freedom of speech is limited if you can't criticize Turkey or turkishness. Free expression of religion is also limited; christians and other non-muslims are not free to build new and/or maintain their places of worhsip. Their country people still practice backward customs such as forced marriages and honor killings.

If these four are really filmmakers (I think they're really just students) then they should follow their own advice and make a movie that fits their vision instead of griping about how Turkey is perceived.

stereotypes:

Time is scarce resource in movies. Instead of developing characters, which would take at least half an hour, Hollywood movies tend to use stereotypes.

Of course, Turks have the right to be annoyed by these stereotypes. If Americans knew what sarcasm was, they would be annoyed by the movie, Borat. However, most of them still thinks Borat makes fun of Kazakhstan :)

halozcel:

Moslem World and Bekdil Karayol(blackpath,your name fits islam,but most of Turks like to follow whitepath,not *blackpath desert rules*)

You are writing *sophistry* and *tale*.

Moslem World,
Who was *Sharif Hussein of Mecca* and what did he do ?
Who was *Lawrence of Arabia* and what did he do ?

Bekdil Karayol,
Where are living ? You or Turkmenistan knows better *history of central of Asia* ? If it is an evidence of the greatness of this cult,why Turkmenistan(and Azerbaijan*Uzbekistan) kick them(agents of wahhabbi) out of country.They are doing very,very well.
Besides,it is *thousand times better* to be *porn stars* instead of living in *black cage* without face.
And,if you have *Hotbird* TV satelite,you can view *arsegiver* arabic women all day on the screen(X free,dream,sex view,dorcel)
Stop *empty words*,show me any *muslim country* living like *human being*,although some of them have a lot of money.That is the point.
By the way,why do they lick *leek* of European to enter EU ?

Bekdil Karayol:

(HasanCan(halzocel))

"we had been forced to became muslim thats why their an inner hatret against islam and arabs within turks.. thats why they was they are muslim but never live according to koran... thats why islamic law contradicts with turkish culture (original one). thats why in turkic countries (turkmenistan etc...) people who are making an islamic propaganda are kicked out of country."

Good try man. Ottomans were forced to become Moslems….so funny

By the way, people of Izmir and its surrounding villages are Greeks. They aren't really Turkish. Their looks and their values are really very very modern!!! More European Christian and not Moslem. These guys always tell you that there aren’t any Anatolians today.


Moslems must read the history of how Islam came to central Asia. It is an evidence of the greatness of this religion. It will show you how real Turks became servants and protectors of Islam. You will also be able to compare them to modern Turkey's porn stars!!!

victoria:

as an american garak (are you a cardassian by chance? i find it highly hypocritical of us to demand others to do what we have never done.

where are the 40 acres and a mule promised to every freed slave on whose backs the wealth of our country was built?

what about hiroshima and nagasaki?
and reparations for the japanese americans who were interred during WWII? while their relatives were serving in the services, their mothers and sisters were sitting in american concentration camps?

what about the genoicde perperrated by americans in columbia, resulting in the world court charging america as the only terrorist state in the world?

the list goes on-
500,000 children under 5 years old whose lives have been snuffed out DIRECTLY linked to the 13 years of sanctions against iraq-(according to unicef and world health organization, or do you find them disreputable?)
these figure EXCLUDE the statistics of natural or disease causing deaths- only those drectly resultant form the sanctons included.

the arecurent4.2 MILLION IRAQI REFUGEES as a direct result of our war on terror.

we have so many CURRENT shameful activities, ad just keep propelling ourselves to new ones- (iran, pakistan?)

id say western values of "facing the truth of history" only seems to apply when it is focused outward on the "others" and never seems to find time to focus on its own deeds.


as for "free speech" in the EU- didnt they send that austrian to prison for denying the jewish holocaust?

and didnt they enact laws punishable by imprsionment for denial of the 'armenian genocide"

we have different concepts of free speech my friend

and my definition of it doesnt send you to prison for exercising it

but its okay, i guess, if europe breaks its own "rules" and then excludes the turks from the christian club of EU for accusations of same



Garak:

Looking at Turkey through Western eyes, and not Orientalist eyes, necessarily means looking at Turkey in the context of Western moral and ethics. Western values include facing the truth of history. The Germans admitted what they did to the Gypsies, Poles, Slavs, gays, communists, Jews, and other victims of the Third Reich. This, and only this, allowed Germany to put its past behind it. If the Turks want us to look at them as we would look at the Germans and other Western nations, the Turks will have to come to terms with their own history first. Anyone who refuses to accept their own history simply cannot be trusted.

The EU simply cannot trust Turkey to obey EU laws if Turkey won't even admit its own past. Turkey may decide that free speech is not appropriate even though they promised the EU they'd allow it. After all, this is a country that until about 10 years ago made speaking Kurdish a crime.

Michael van der Galiën: "It's always nice to see the Armenian lobby show up and insult Turks whenever and wherever they can." So you don't go to Holocaust Museum to avoid insulting Germans.

As for 007, the first Bond flick to set in Turkey was "From Russia With Love."

Erdenay:

Dear "moslem world to TR.."
Turk has a brain to remember about the “moslem” contributions during the Ottoman empire and especially during the WWI and salvation war tereafter.

James:

Recently I purchased a compressor to fill SCUBA tanks. One I considered was made in turkey by Alkin. The price was good and the quality is good but all of the problems between east and west made the Alkin seem problematic. I went with another company. I wish people would get over it. Religion poisons everything.

Sala Sur:

Hi Bakshi,
Pleas when you interview educated Turks just use word of Kurdistan and look to their reaction. Could you ask them why they are against haveing constitutional right for Kurds and Alawis.Pleas share your observation with us. Thank you.

Michael van der Galiën:

It's always nice to see the Armenian lobby show up and insult Turks whenever and wherever they can.

As for the article: great, great article. I also highly recommened "Clouds of May" (Mayis Sikintisi) by Nuri Bilge Celan.

Babam ve Oglum is also a great movie.

It's true that Western movies and TV Shows often portray the Turk as the other. It goes back ages actually (with regards to books, etc. that is).

HASAN CAN FROM TURKEY:

to HALOZCEL

only in Turkey, muslims are living like human beings.. it is not because of islam it is because of their racial/national culture..
the first turks who became muslim were forced to became muslim under the sword of arabs.

turkish people left central asia because they were running from unstopable chinese invasions and when they came closer to anatolia they had to make a choice, killed by chinese or accept islam and get help from arabs to survive..

we had been forced to became muslim thats why their an inner hatret against islam and arabs within turks.. thats why they was they are muslim but never live according to koran... thats why islamic law contradicts with turkish culture (original one). thats why in turkic countries (turkmenistan etc...) people who are making an islamic propaganda are kicked out of country.

Hasan Can From Turkey:

to Yusuf Asim:
about illegal armenian immigrants in turkey:
it is not 150.000. it is 100.000 and it is the total number for the whole country not only istanbul.

halozcel:

To Moslem World to TR Take a Hike(!)(!)(!)

You have *inferiority complex* as well.
You say *American and Westerners love to be told that their cultures are best*.The first condition of *inferiority complex* is *rejecting the realities*.Do you defy *two plus two makes four*.Civilization and Saudia(homeland of islam).From islamofascist Malaysia(fast police) to Morroco,what do you advocate ? Does islam have right to speak ?

You say *Many Turkish intellectuals hate the moslem ''East''.Not only them,whole world hate *islam*,doesnt it ? Do Denmark,France,USA,India,China love *islam* ?

You say *they see Arabs as filth*.No,they dont see,*Arabs are filth* Do you reject this *reality* Who said *women are ''filthy creatures''*

*73 percent of Turks think that their country will not be based on sharia law(stone age mentality) in the future*.Yes,that is *very reasonable*,because most of Turks want and try to live like *human being*,not like *desert creature*.

Dear Moslem World,could you write any *moslem country* living like *human being* ?

YUSUF ASIM:

According to unofficially data, more than 150.000 Armenians illegally live in Istanbul. They migrated to Turkey recently and dont want to return back. They love Turkey and Turkish People. Armenian Genocide seems to one-way for Armenia getting money without working. Armenian Government has just the policy no other policy to develop their country. Turkey play the game ethically and open, but Armenian Government just escapes. Second, so many Armenians served as Ministers or high-level positions in the Ottoman Government. This is Historical Problem, not political. Turkey offers that if a history commission will be made up from scientists including Armenian historians, and from other countries, Turkey will accept the commission's findings. Other side of the coin, my grand grand father was killed by Armenian rebels in the south of Anatolia, like others. Who will defend the Turkish Genocide? Just 15 years ago, Armenians killed so many Azeri Turks, why any country did not bring up the issue. Turkey and Turkish people believe the Rumi's priciples, which teach us "to live with others in peace and love". We dont want to move old and needless things to future. US, France and Armenia should give a chance for eliminating the problem.

Steve:

If Americans begin to see Turkey for what it is, they will see an ally that repeatedly acts like an enemy. Case in point:Turkey refused America to use the Northern corridor for the invasion of Iraq. In WWII Turkey was not an ally of USA, the same in WWI. America pays dearly for the Incirlick Airforce base, which it built and maintains and provides thousands of jobs for the Turkish people.Turkey does not allow our planes to stay in our Incirlick Base longer than a month at a time. Americans should see that Turkey is only interested in Turkey and disregards most American requests. Yes, if Americans open their eyes, they will see the real Turkey which is an ally in name only!

Hasan Can From Turkey:

Amar hope 2 c u next week then.

About movies/fiction:
The historical Vladamir Dracula is actually a Romanian prince who started a rebel against ottoman rule. He traped around 10.000 turkish soldiers in a valley and tortured and killed them all over 1 night. He was a physco who was also killing Romanians expecially he was holding virgin girls in his castle and killing then etc. His evil ways made his own people hate him too.
Anyway in the end an army was send to kill him and destroy his army but he ran out of Romania to Germany. Ottoman spies spend years trying to hunt him down but they never could. .

Zerdest:

Dear Bakshi,
I think you are been too plitically correct in your reporting and responding. Your discussion is lossing ots creadibility....

maxiths:

As we read this comments above, one cannot comprehend the mental brainwashing being done even now at Turkish university's to all turkish students, on preparing them to attack Kurdish students and citizens.
Don't take my word for it, after all who am i.
But please follow the Turkish news for a few days and you will understand. You i mean any discent human being that cares for another!
Angry crouds burning an effigy of the U.S. Minister, Condaliza Rice, burning the U.S.flag,
Conspiring with the Iraq Goverment to attack the Kurds in the North, the Turkish military getting ready for a stage of siege, The political unrest is creating unstable situation.
Ineresting when we see this!! a WAR WILL START! Now i wonder, who are the next genocide victums will be?

Amar C. Bakshi:

Hey Metin,

Looking forward to seeing Broken Angel. Yes, the Bond film indeed. I remember it, though not too clearly on how it presented Turks. Thoughts on that?

Metin Talks Turkey, Newport Beach, CA:

There's a new movie produced by American Turks out of Hollywood, being released early 2008, called 'Broken Angel,'

It will be an attempt by the Turks to show the real story of Hollywood behind all the glitz and glamour.

As for recent 'foreign' films portraying Turkey, or Turks, or at least Istanbul, the 007 movie, 'The World is Not Enough' with Perce Brosnan, Sophie Marceau, Denise Richards, and dame Judi Dench comes to mind.

Metin Talks Turkey:

Midnight Express is so seventies. Enough using it as a reference point for Turks to think the whole world is against Turks and Turkey.

I am personally tired of it.

A lot of people of the new generation don't even remember the movie here in the U.S.

But some people want to keep it as relevant by bringing it up at every opportunity to seek sympathy for their own incompetencies or dysfunctions.

JRLR:

JWC, your post reminds me of fans of "bloody racist" Conrad, defending "Heart of Darkness" against Chinua Achebe's "Things Fall Apart".

JRLR:

JWC writes: "Said's thesis as set forth in Orientalism has been thoroughly discredited and does not merit reference in serious conversation."

How about you substantiate that statement, JWC?

Is it too much to ask?

Zerdest:

Dear Bakshi,
Did you ask the "progressive modern Turks" about relgious freedom, ethnic and cultural freedom under their constitutions? I wonder how progressive they were about cultural and ethnic diversity and constitutional rights and protection for minorites? Thanks.

victoria:

Said argues that Orientalism can be found in current Western depictions of "Arab" cultures. The depictions of "the Arab" as irrational, menacing, untrustworthy, anti-Western, dishonest, and--perhaps most importantly--prototypical, are ideas into which Orientalist scholarship has evolved. These notions are trusted as foundations for both ideologies and policies developed by the Occident. Said writes: "The hold these instruments have on the mind is increased by the institutions built around them. For every Orientalist, quite literally, there is a support system of staggering power, considering the ephemerality of the myths that Orientalism propagates. The system now culminates into the very institutions of the state. To write about the Arab Oriental world, therefore, is to write with the authority of a nation, and not with the affirmation of a strident ideology but with the unquestioning certainty of absolute truth backed by absolute force." He continues, "One would find this kind of procedure less objectionable as political propaganda--which is what it is, of course--were it not accompanied by sermons on the objectivity, the fairness, the impartiality of a real historian, the implication always being that Muslims and Arabs cannot be objective but that Orientalists. . .writing about Muslims are, by definition, by training, by the mere fact of their Westernness. This is the culmination of Orientalism as a dogma that not only degrades its subject matter but also blinds its practitioners."
Said's Project

well, as a westerner whose read a great deal of orientalist authors in her life- i can certainly recognize the validity of the statements made.

from richard burtons footnotes to 1001 arabian nights(so copious they actually outweigh the actual texts) to edwin arnolds books-

a quick google produced this-

hero as prophet by carlyle-

"Every candid eye, I think, will read the Koran far otherwise than so. It is the confused ferment of a great rude human soul; rude, untutored, that cannot even read; but fervent, earnest, struggling vehemently to utter itself in words. With a kind of breathless intensity he strives to utter himself; the thoughts crowd on him pellmell: for very multitude of things to say, he can get nothing said. The meaning that is in him shapes itself into no form of composition, is stated in no sequence, method, or coherence; — they are not shaped at all, these thoughts of his; flung-out unshaped, as they struggle and tumble there, in their chaotic inarticulate state. We said "stupid": yet natural stupidity is by no means the character of Mahomet's Book; it is natural uncultivation rather."

and then-
Carlyle writes of Muhammad as a "wild man of the Desert, with his wild sincere heart, earnest as death and life, with his great flashing natural eyesight"

In his subsequent chapter "The Hero as Poet," Carlyle writes, "Alas, poor Mahomet; all that he was conscious of was a mere error; a futility and triviality, — as indeed such ever is...His Koran has become a stupid piece of prolix absurdity; we do not believe, like him, that God wrote that! The Great Man here too, as always, is a Force of Nature: whatsoever is truly great in him springs-up from the inarticulate deeps" (112). In this passage, Carlyle emphasizes that Mohammad's actions, voice, and feelings made him great and that the sheer power of his "thunder-voice" combined with his sincerity made him a hero. Yet he argues that Muhammad falls short of the Poet in terms of heroism because, unlike Dante or Shakespeare, his message is not universal and will thus become obsolete."

the qu'ran a stupid piece of prolix absurdity?
the message not universal and destined to obsolescence?

well thats harsh-


Moslem World to TR take a hike!!!:

Turkey is a very confused nation. Turks have a very severe complex of inferiority to the West. One would see government officials, college professors, Journalists, and ordinary people talk on and on about how the West should look at them: Europe should look at Turkey this way so that they could understand…..they shouldn't look at it this way……

It might be strange to see how little Americans know about the Middle East, but it will be even stranger to see how Turks look at other Moslem nations.

Many Turkish intellectuals and famous writers hate the Moslem "East".

Americans and many other westerners love to be told that their cultures are the best. Turkey is the best place to feel this superiority.

Turks are hospitable only to Westerners and not with Moslems especially Arabs.

They see Arabs as filth. You think this an exaggeration?

One would really be surprised at the extent of hatred that many Turkish generations, who grew up with the understanding that Moslems are backward, hold for other Moslems.

One would even question why Turks object to the American occupation of Iraq- holding the fact that their government supports this occupation with the use of Turkish bases, fuel,…etc Is it that Turkey cares about the plight of the Iraqi"Arab" people? Do they really care about the poor Turkmen? Or is it about the fear of the eventual creation of the Kurdish state?

“If America…is looking…for democracy and Islam -- a model of democracy and Islam,"

THE AKP ISN'T AN ISLAMIC PARTY. If it is Islamic Turks would not have voted for it.( Yeni Safak, a Turkish news paper, published a statistic on its website on 15/10 indicating that 73,1% of the Turks think that their country will not be based on Sharia Law in the future)

Islam is the religion of more than 1billion people and if one search more, one would find that Moslems want Sharia Law to be the source of legislation or one of the sources. Turks reject Sharia as a whole.

Islam is compatible with democracy only when the source of the legislation is sharia. Islam is never compatible with a democracy which doesn't criminalize adultery and allows the drinking of alcohol. (Allâh never commands of Fâhisha. Do you say of Allâh what you know not?)(7:28)

"secular Islamic"

Is there secular Christianity? Is there secular Judaism?

Is it true that the West is 100% secular?

Secularism and Islam are opposites. Secularism repels Islam and vice versa. Those who use this term are not Moslems but freemasons. Turkish universities are full of them!


victoria:

funny you should say that JWC- (actually, they're not bakshi's comments- they're the comments the the filmmakers he's interviewing-)

are you saying that instead of relying on theirown young lives and experiences living between the east and west, these fellows haven't developed their own ideas of what 'orientalism' means?

also youre going to have to provide mroe than your subjective opinion that edward said's thesis has been discredited.

actually, the bulk of the interview is quotes with very little input from mr bakshi-

i was just coming back (because it seemed like a nice respite in here) to remark that, as a properly indoctrinated american-

i was going to share a personal experience-

this is the pervasive power of the media on young minds-

i actually had the impression, complete with a firm image in my mind- that turks had large sweepy mustaches, rode horses, pillaged and plundered and stole women (like me) and always had large knives clasped firmly between their big white teeth- o- and the teeth and knives both flashed in the sun too-

i have no idea what cartoon i saw that on at what tender age to produce that impression- but- it was mine and i imagined it was true, when i thought about it, which was never.

talk about an 'orientalist' caricature.

now im not familiar with the thesis by edward said- but i am familiar with his work and i do lament his passing.

also- i do not see one single referece to any orientalist scholar- let alone 'so many fine ones'(plural)

let ALONE any equation being made, anywhere-

are you sure you're responding to the right question?



JWC:

Bakshi's comments are off the mark because they rely on Edward Said's conception of orientalism. Said's thesis as set forth in Orientalism has been thoroughly discredited and does not merit reference in serious conversation. Bakshi is really arguing that Americans lack sufficient understanding of Turkish history and culture, which is true, but results not from orientalism, but rather from insufficient orientialist scholarship. I should add that equating the movie, "Midnight Express" with so many fine orientalist scholars is shameful.

victoria:

phil- i think you're REALLY missing the point here-

these guys think 20 years ago is old!!!

it seems unlikely they'd consider 92 years ago as a fresher topic to explore

victoria:

gallipoli? (ive never seen it)and its australian

lawrence of arabia?

also ive heard that the orcs in lord of the rings are supposed to be turks

and empire of the wolves with jean reno

on the flip side- as an american - i fell in love with the song ya edve yaksun which comes from the movie nesriden firuze-
and i love the movie too (but mostly because of the song and colors) also the fact that it had a bit of depth in exploring the effect of the goofy lead guys behavior on their wives-

well, i cant say i LOVE the movie- but i liked the self critique- and the colors
great colors

i doubt my spelling resembles turkish but what can you do-

we arrogant americans filter everything through our own lens- so american spelling it is
peace

Vic van Meter:

We all have an image to be sold. I'm sure that stories of a benevolent America don't sell well abroad. Truth be told, there are a lot of good things that America has done for the world. But they're not marketable things.

To be honest, I've never remembered seeing a movie about Turkey at all. If I did, I certainly wouldn't think it was accurate. Technically, Edward Scissorhands was set in America, but nobody really takes Tim Burton's movie as a gospel for how America actually looks. Sure, it is based in reality, but you'd be an idiot to think that it truly represents America.

As filmmakers, I'd think these men, if any, would take the portrayal of Turkey in film culture in stride. I know America doesn't always get a fair shake in international films, but I don't gripe about it. Anyone who sees a piece of film and thinks that it is a 100% accurate representation of a place is fooling themselves.

Still, there are an awful lot of fools out there nowadays. Maybe the filmmakers are nervous because some of those ignorant idiots are starting to make it into public office...

Oracle:

Phil,

Yea, what about those pesky backstabbing Armenians, eh? Now, those little pesky buggers are backstabbing US. Are you growing tired of them, eh? How about those American Japanese concentration camps? You are thinking what I am thinking. Let's put the Armenians into those camps and grab their houses, land, orchards and don't forget their money. They, too, live in California, don't they?

Amar C. Bakshi:

Hi Hasan,

I've been wanting to give you a ring. I am not coming to Izmir today as planned, but want to talk out some ideas for the coming week.

David, looking forward to hearing more about your experiences in Istanbul. I just watched Valley of the Wolves Iraq a few nights back, and talked about it with Victoria on a prior message post:

http://newsweek.washingtonpost.com/postglobal/america/2007/10/usa_turkey_war_novel.html

Which some people have rather dramatically called "an answer to Midnight Express" even though they cover wildly divergent topics. You get the impression watching Valley of the Wolves that the villain is just so bad, it's ridiculous. I've heard that from a lot of people here, but it magnifies Turkish anger with the Iraq War, and the perceived infringement that's had on their national security:

http://newsweek.washingtonpost.com/postglobal/america/2007/11/general_edip_baser_on_turkeyus.html

Hope to hear more of your experiences, and Hasan, looking forward to talking soon.

Tom, and anyone else here, have there been recent (post 1980) big movies about Turkey out of Hollywood? Would love to know about them. These students couldn't think of many, nor could I.

Hasan Can From Turkey:

To Amar: :)

Very great article. Now i know why you did not come to izmir and stayed in istanbul but you did the right thing. You had the chance to hear the sound of the common man.
As for me i am not so sure about AKP's democracit rally. Before they come to power 7 Turks out of 10 loved USA & EU. Now 3 out of 10 loves West. AKP is playing a very dangerious game by showing USA and EU guilty of PKK.

Phil:

So sensitive! I'm sure their image is sanitized and equally nonsensical, especially regarding the Armenian Genocide and their continual denial of it.

David Roderick:

I had the privilege of teaching EFL (English as a Foreign Language)at a topnotch university in Istanbul for two years. "Midnight Express" it is not. What I found was a group of very hospitable, fun loving, modern young people who loved their family first, their country second, and Islam third. Nearly 70 percent of the nation is under 28 years of age in this secular Islamic nation that provides a real model of how Islam, personal and political freedoms can coexist moving into the 21st century.

I was intrigued by the film "Wolves of Iraq" which was made in Turkey and became their best selling film of all time, a very pro-Turkish, anti-American film that cast the CIA as villains and the Turks and local mullah as heroes. It was in fact the first anti-American film I had ever seen and was cleverly based on a few truths here and there that gave a sense of reality to this well made film. One thing that I found everyone could agree upon in my travels and work in the Middle East, was that the war in Iraq is a total disaster. We will be paying for this Republican fiasco for generations to come.

I believe that Turkey has a very bright future ahead whether they join the EU or not. The key is whether they can educate their expanding population and find meaningful jobs to prevent civil unrest and Islamization.


Mike:

Oh yeah Turkey is so very progressive and cool.

gezelda:

"Orientalism" is a convenient tool for war-makers because it emphasizes differences between cultures rather than similarities. It is easier to kill people you feel are "strange" than to kill your friends and neighbors. Governments and media emphasize differences in order to promote war; similarities can be emphasized to promote peace.

gezelda:

Playing up differences between people is one way to keep the war industries going. So long as war is generally regarded as morally justifiable and the only way to settle disputes, differences between people will be emphasized because war requires enemies and enemies are "people who are not like us." It is easier to kill people who are "not like us" than to kill peoplel we regard as friends and neighbors. "Orientalism" is a convenient tool for war-makers because people who are undereducated are easily frightened by "strangers."

Tom:

How many times will we see Midnight Express referenced? Have Turks ever wondered how many Americans have seen or even remember this movie? Methinks they do protest too much.

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