A New Outlook?

Published on The Cornell Daily Sun

A New Outlook?
By Rob Coniglio
Created Mar 16 2008 – 12:20am

Since its founding after World War I, the Turkish state has had a
clouded history with the integration of minorities. Founded out of the
multi-cultural Ottoman Empire, Turkey forged an ethnic identity that
came into conflict with Greek and Armenian residents of the Anatolian
Peninsula. The conflict with the Armenians is often referred to as
genocide, though the Turkish government steadfastly refuses to
characterize it that way. Kurds are spread across the Middle East;
they live in Turkey, Iran, and Iraq. The Turkish Kurds have had the
most sustained conflict with their government. The Kurdistan Worker’s
Party (PKK) has been fighting since the 1970’s and in general, the
Kurdsin Turkey have faced legislation that discriminates against
them. For one, Kurdish language has been severely restricted over the
years. With the newfound autonomy of Kurds in Iraq, the Turkish
government has had to confront the possibility of a strengthening
separatist feeling and the possibility of an independent
Kurdistan. Such fears and increased PKK activity have lead to Turkish
military action in Iraqi Kurdistan. It seems, however, that the
Turkish government realizes the importance of integrating Kurds and
has _adopted more forward-looking policies_
( /europe/12turkey.html?ref=3Dworld)

Then there is the question of the EU. Turkey has wanted to become an
EU member for quite some time but unfortunately, due to anti-Turkish
feeling in Europe, roadblock after roadblock have been put up to block
Turkey’s accession.

Some have been legitimate, including the EU’s demand to loosen
restrictions on freedom of speech and better incorporate the Kurdish
minority. Other times, EU members are stalling because they feel
uncomfortable allowing a Muslim country into `Europe.’ It is good then
that Turkey is taking the policy-based EU objections seriously,
finally moving to offer an alternative to insurgency to the Kurds by
expanding economic investment and cultural empowerment. Though these
polices may result from necessity, they are signs of progress.

Progress in Turkey has not been based in the secular elite. Instead,
it has come from the Justice and Development Party, Turkey’s Muslim
version of Europe’ s Christian Democratic Parties. Given the paradigm
that we live in, it is ironic that the force behind modernization and
opening are the forces of political Islam. Granted, it is an extremely
moderate form, but the Justice and Development Party should remind us
that we do not live in a black and white world of `us versus them.’
Turkish reforms should give us hope for the future, and reinforce our
confidence in a westward-looking Turkey, even if it is one led by

From: Emil Lazarian | Ararat NewsPress


Emil Lazarian

“I should like to see any power of the world destroy this race, this small tribe of unimportant people, whose wars have all been fought and lost, whose structures have crumbled, literature is unread, music is unheard, and prayers are no more answered. Go ahead, destroy Armenia . See if you can do it. Send them into the desert without bread or water. Burn their homes and churches. Then see if they will not laugh, sing and pray again. For when two of them meet anywhere in the world, see if they will not create a New Armenia.” - WS