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Turkey and Europe: Two peas in a pod
Posted by: mcq on Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Turkey is putting an author on trial for "insulting Turkishness" (whatever that means):
Turkish novelist Elif Shafak faces trial here Thursday on charges of “insulting Turkishness” through comments made by a fictional character in her latest novel, The Bastard of Istanbul.

Shafak, 34, who teaches Middle Eastern studies at the University of Arizona, splits her time between Tucson and Istanbul, where she is helping set up a master's program in American culture and literature at Bahcesehir University.

The charges against Shafak — the latest of at least 60 cases involving authors and journalists here — raise questions about Turkey's readiness to become a full member of the European Union, a move the United States supports as a way to bolster a secular, democratic Muslim state in a pivotal geographic and political position.

She could face up to three years in jail on charges she violated Article 301 of the Turkish Penal Code by having an Armenian character in the book say that “Turkish butchers” killed her family and that the deaths were “genocide.”
Turkey's concern? Well it wants into the EU and the EU, apparently, is telling them they can't if they do stuff like that:
Turkey has been making efforts to change its criminal and justice systems to meet European standards to qualify for full EU membership. That's the goal of negotiations that started last October and could take a decade.

The failure to remove restraints on freedom of speech has led to charges against writers including Shafak. Under the 2005 law, anyone who criticizes the state or denigrates Turkish identity in any form can be prosecuted.
Seems to me, they're just like Europe for heaven sake. Just ask Michel Houellebecq, David Irving and Oriana Fallaci (deceased) about the state of free speech in Europe.
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Previous Comments to this Post 

"raise questions"

You’ve got to be sh*ttin’ me. That’s worded with no small dose of tentativeness.
Written By: Unknown
URL: http://
Wow. Al Franken wouldn’t last a day in some of these countries.
Written By: Joab
Oriana Fallaci was a fascinating woman, but even she sends mixed messages.
Of course, prosecuting writers for their exercise of free speech is scarifying. That it should be happening in France and Britain, as well as Turkey, is even more scary.
Ms Fallaci’s statement that western culture will die when it abandons its values, however, is a more subtle and much more difficult idea to interpret and to apply in real life.
Britain has, belatedly, become tougher on radical imams advocating violence. That is certainly a justified and welcome defensive action. The use of torute for the sake of self defense goes way too far in forsaking our values.
There must be some rational response to the extremist pressures between ’let’s rush around kicking a—’ and ’let’s give in to every demand they make’ approaches.
If ever we were in need of cool headed rationalists, it is now.
Written By: Laime
URL: http://
There are other examples of the "progressive" Europeans shutting up people who don’t toe the multicultural line. Still, the Turks are worse simply because the thing they are trying to cover up are demonstrably true. Even in recent years they have killed Kurds and engaged in ethnic "cleansing". That is the real reason they should be kept out of the EU.
Written By: kyle N
A positive note: I read an article by a moderate Turk who said that Turkey was losing interest in joining the EU. His approach was that Turkish problems were best settled by Turks, incependent of outside pressures. He was for opening up the society in incremental steps, not under the gun of EU demands.
It made sense. Turkish modernizers would best be able to gauge a pace that would move forward without alarming the conservatives too much and inviting push-back. According to this article, there are artists and intllectuals pushing at the boundaries, but most of them keep a sense of proporion and don’t go too far. He predicted a measured evolvement, based, in part, on Turkey’s businessmen wanting to deal with western interests.
I hope he’s right.
Written By: Laime
URL: http://

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