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Thank You, Mr. Havas, for your comment, which truly adds circumstantial evidence to my initial post

Reader comment on item: Islamist Turkey vs. Secular Iran?
in response to reader comment: to michel zala

Submitted by Michel C. Zala (Switzerland), Dec 11, 2010 at 12:48

Sometimes it does not feel good to be confirmed. Especially so, if indeed you speak for a majority of the Turkish people. I will take some of your statements in particular and add my two cents:

>>> ı am a muslim. this is my belief and culture. ı wont accept any bad comment against islam. so ı disgree with your opinions about islam. on the other hand ı agree with you that turkish islam and others are different. >>>

While I, once again on an emotional level, fully understand, that it must be incredibly difficult, to hear so much criticism voiced by "foreigners" and members of another culture (religion), something which usually causes any humans to become defensive, can create and amplify inferiority complexes, then subsequently almost reflexively lashing out in response, I can only ask you to bear in mind, how in our own culture, Christianity, we feel free to be inquisitive and critical versus our own religion. Only because that happened, were we able to undergo a reformation or enlightenment, as the atrocities committed in the name of the Christian God centuries ago are as despicable as terrorism in the name of Allah is today. As Dr. Pipes correctly states, moderate Islam (however one wishes to define it) can only stem from within Islam, but many westerners have become impatient, especially during these fast-paced times and finding themselves under permanent attack by islamists.

Islamophobe reflexes (in the west) are in that case as logical and human, as your reflex to deny any questioning of Islam by Infidels must be understood. Ironically we have a common enemy, radical Islam, Djihaadism, Islamism, who have set this vicious circle of reflexes in motion. For as long, as we on the one side do not understand, that this problem must be solved by Muslims, thus do not further add fuel to the fire by patronizing and indiscriminately alienating the "average" Muslim, and you on the other side do not see the need for addressing your own fundamentalist fringe, I do not see any chance for resolving this conflict.

>>we wanted to join eu. but we are rejected and humiliated by their leaders. and european people dont want us there. so today including myself, great majority of us dont want to join eu any more.ı feel very much insulted by the attitudes of europeans.>>

I feared as much, even though I disagree with your conclusions, knowing for a fact that most western Europeans regard people from the former Jugoslawia for instance, or people originating from former Sovjet Republics with much more distrust, than our citizens of Turkish origin. While I definitely understand your feelings of humiliation and rejection, you should nevertheless bear in mind that in the case of the Turks, it had nothing to do with the people, but everything with pure politics. No other muslim country has so many people living freely and well integrated throughout Europe. I know of at least 3, playing football in the Swiss National Team and several in the German, being celebrated as heroes. Kebabs have become integral part of our national diet.

I dare to venture that the Cypress occupation had something to do with the rejection too, even though I myself find it a bit hyppocritical, to keep on punishing the Turks for it, yet be silent in the case of the Russians in Georgia.

It is my strong belief that this is not a problem between peoples, but politicians. In the end, if Turkey leaned on the EU, instead of moving towards an increasingly fundamentalist Muslim block, it would be most beneficial to both parties. It would also be almost natural, as much more Turks live in Europe already than in the middle east.

I can only hope that European politicians recognize that fact and engage in serious and honest discussions as equals with your government, and your government can find the courage to allow for Cypress to govern itself (with a strong and represented Turkish minority), as in most other aspects (democracy, elections, structure, economical) Turkey is close to complying with all standard requirements for all EU members. There is to my opinon a much greater chance for success here, than for instance achievieng peace in the middle east, where there is simply no room for compromise left.

ı think mr erdoğan is doing this job very well. we started to get self confidence now. it is quite possible that in few years turkey will drop its demand for eu membership.because we started to have a better democracy, we started to be richer now.so maybe we dont need eu anymore.

I invite you to be watchful and monitor your own government carefully, as we do (and have to continuously) in America. Remember, Hitler too started with "granting his people more self-confidence", until all of a sudden the Germans found themselves living in a brutal dictatorship.

Bear also in mind, that Turkey's standard of living and GDP is a long way from any average European nation still. Whenever an earthquake hits Turkey, ask yourself, from where the assistance usually comes - without question and without conditions. The rich oil exporters usually help comparably very little and history has shown that there is very little solidarity within the muslim world. I know that you are a proud, patriotic people, I admire that, as I myself love my country (America), but, as in all things human, there is a thin line between arrogance and cockiness and healthy self-confidence.

ı will not sit in the same table with any israeli who defends these murders.

War is ugly, dirty, nasty and usually creates a lot of collateral damage. I can not and will not defend anyone here, but offer the thought, that a nation under siege since (and before) its inception must logically manifest the same human irrational reflexes. 1915 1.5 Mio Armenians were killed under Ottoman rule, an example for us all that we have commited grave sins and nevertheless must learn to live with them and draw the right consequences. The very same empathy, we in the West should extend to the Turks, may be required of you too, when commenting on Israel, having been a strong and steadfast ally of the Turks for years now, after all.

Lastly, I think that you are wrong in your assessment of the acceptance of Turks in Europe. If we did not want the Turks here, why do you think, do they comprise the single largest minority in countries such as Germany? If life was so difficult for Turks in Europe, why so many emigrants?

As opposed to many readers here who support your notion of Turkish independence and neutrality, I do not see an option here in the foreseeable future, as there will be a time for Turkey to decide. If you pursue the way of a western style democracy, individuality and secularism, thus follow the way to prosperity, you will become a target for exactly those muslims, who go the other way and will fall into stagnation and decay because of it.

Due to jealousy and their own inferiority complexes, they will consider and condemn you as inferiror and haphazard muslims. If you follow the way of Civil Rights and liberties, you will by sheer design and nature of the beast have to compromise on muslim dogma (e.g. Interest on loans, banking, women's rights, equality etc.) thus become the natural enemy of "true" muslims in Iran, Saudi Arabia and so many others.

If I understood one thing about Islam, it is that fundamentalists hate muslims who are "corrupted", or what we call here moderate muslims, even more than the straight forward Quffar. They are not considered pure and treated worse than Infidels. I think therefore that Turks will very soon have to make a decision. For the sake of your own stability you can not continue to be sitting on the fence right in between two blocks, right in between the front lines of an upcoming war of cultures.

But consider this not just as a dilemma, but a huge opportunity to come out of this as a shining beacon of hope for the world itself, as I consider Turkey to have a chance to become a leading example for a western style democracy with a muslim population. The right decisions can propell Turkey to become the true leader of the entire islamic world, an example others will aspire to follow. That takes a lot of courage and may go at present against the mainstream in Turkey proper.

But you say it yourself, Turkish Islam is different.... While it seemingly follows the same book, the same words, it evidently is interpreted less restrictive than for instance in SA. If you really mean that, you will have the support of people like me in America and Europe, all your people living already there, to define those interpretations in a way so they can become the one leading principle, thus incubating, what we call Moderate Islam. The Turks have with their unique position a historical, moral mandate to bring light to the dark ages in the muslim world.

You want to be respected? You will be admired.

With much respect

Michel C. Zala

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