Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Staatsbezoek Turkije

The Queen of the Netherlands, Beatrix is making the first visit of a Dutch sovereign to Turkey at the moment, taking along with her the Crown Prince Willem Alexander and his Argentinean wife, Maxima. This is to mark 400 years of relations between the two countries.

It comes at an appropriate time, given the recent discussions in Holland about the Armenian 'genocide', the dual nationalities of two state secretaries (one of whom is Turkish) and the question of Turkey's future membership of the EU. The Queen has been strongly advised not to upset the Turks by bringing up the subject of what happened to the Armenians in 1915. It is felt best that the Turks deal with this issue amongst themselves rather than be lectured to by a visiting head of state, a position I thoroughly support.

The issue of dual nationality has been brought up by a right-wing party which did very well at the last elections going from one seat to nine, on the basis of policies which are predominantly anti-Islam, appealing to people's base sentiments. This party is saying that a person with dual nationality has divided loyalties which could affect the way they think about and deal with various issues which some up. I do not believe they really feel it is such a problem but are using as a way of undermining the confidence of and in these two politicians and creating an atmosphere which is hostile towards Islam. The party calls itself the party for freedom, but the only freedom they particularly seem to stand for is the freedom to avoid Muslims.

Most important though is the question of Turkey's future membership of the EU. The Dutch government has been relatively neutral on the issue, being neither in favour, like the UK, or against, like France. Somewhere in the middle. However, our new Christian-tinged government has agreed to be tougher on new entrants to the EU, in what is basically seen to be a blocking of the door for Turkey. Maybe because it does not have a Christian heritage? I don't know.

We were watching the 1964 film The Fall of the Roman Empire, with Sophia Loren, Alec Gioness, Stephen Boyd, James Mason and Christopher Plummer, dealing with the time around teh death of the great Marcus Aurelius, when he was followed by his son Commodus, rather than his chosen Livius. Marcus Aurelius had made the Roman Empire great again, not necessarily by force, but through diplomacy and good government. Commodus only believes in force and gladiator fights. Livius wants to carry on the good work of Marcus Aurelius and it is the struggle between the two men which forms the basis of the drama.

Livius defeats the (German) Barbarians and offers to make the leaders, against whom Rome has been fighting for centuries, citizens of Rome, to share in the ideals of Rome, the Pax Romana. He reasons that by letting them partake in the Roman Empire as equal citizens will make them appreciate the values of Rome and will stop them continually fighting Rome. Livius is the voice of reason, of hope, of peace.

Of course, Commodus thinks he is mad and wants to kill and subdue the Barbarians, reasoning that they are different from the Romans culturally, that they have done bad things in the past and they need to be punished.

These look a lot like the arguments for and against Turkey's future membership of the EU where, as ever, the words of darkness and negativity seem to shout louder and be better understood than the words of hope and postivity.

This photo shows the old Roman bridge over the River Tigris at Hasankeyf, in south-eastern Turkey. Still here after all these years, a fitting tribute to the might of the Roman Empire.

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7 Comments:

Anonymous Jacques said...

"However, our new Christian-tinged government has agreed to be tougher on new entrants to the EU, in what is basically seen to be a blocking of the door for Turkey. Maybe because it does not have a Christian heritage? I don't know."

Muslims, both Arabs and Turks, were enemies of Europe and Christendom. The Arabs conquered Byzantine Syria and North Africa, then they conquered Visigoth Spain and marched further to the north-east towards France, where they were stopped by Charles Martel, Duc des Francs, in Tours. In the east, the Byzantines with some help from the Bulgars defeated the Arabs in Constantinople, halting Muslim expansionism for 700 years until the advent of the Ottoman Turks who after the fall of Constantinople to Mehmed II, conquered what is now the Balkans, Romania, Hungary, besieging even Vienna where they were defeated by the Polish King John III Sobieski in the Battle of Vienna in the 17th century.

The United States founding fathers fought Muslim pirates from North Africa during the two Barbary Wars in the 19th century. The Muslim pirates demanded tribute from American vessels in the Mediterranean, taking American prisoners and demanding ransom.

These days there are about 20 million Muslims living in Europe, rioting whenever someone dares to draw a cartoon of Mahomet or quotes one the last Byzantine Emperors. Preaching hate in their Mosques http://sweetness-light.com/archive/youtube-has-uks-undercover-mosque stirring hate on the streets, burning cars, killing their women for “honor” http://littlegreenfootballs.com/weblog/?entry=24518_Honor_Killing_in_Britain&only http://www.spiegel.de/international/0,1518,344374,00.html blowing themselves in public to go to heaven and receive no less than 72 virgins.

Türkiye may be nominally secular, but the bulk of its population is Muslim. Hrant Dink, a Turkish-Armenian journalist was murdered by a 17 y/o Turk for “insulting Turkishness” i.e. denouncing the Armenian Genocide during the government of the Young Turks from 1915 to 1917. And before that, the Armenians were massacred by the Ottoman Sultan Ikinci Abdulhamid in the 1890s.

The Turks are also guilty of the Dersim massacre of Kurds in between 1937 and 1938 where at least 40,000 Dersimlis were killed.
http://www.christiansofiraq.com/iski.html

If you’re Christian (other than Catholic, that’s it) you may like to read what Martin Luther (the German reformer) wrote about the Turks http://preview.tinyurl.com/2emwke Things like “to fight against the Turk is the same thing as resisting God, who visits our sin upon us with this rod.” and “a Christian shall not resist evil, but endure all things, let the coat go and the cloak, let them be taken from him, offer the other cheek” are definitely dumb. Had they not fought the Turks, Christianity would have been wiped off the face of Earth, and we all would be doing the salat instead of using Internet. Luckily, Luther changed his mind "if it comes to the point of war against the Turk, we shall arm and prepare, and not hold the Turk too cheap, acting as we Germans usually do, and coming on the field with twenty or thirty thousand men.”

02 March, 2007 15:49  
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