Friday, November 27, 2009

Some Turkish opinion makers will welcome Wilders in Turkey.

The Dutch journalist Bram Vermeulen, based in Istanbul Turkey, wrote an excellent piece for the centre-liberal Dutch newspaper NRC which is well known for its quality and investigation journalism. Here he shows that both secularists and moderate Islamists will welcome the controversial visit of Geert Wilders, the anti-Islam party leader of the PVV, scheduled for the 4th of January 2010 to Turkey.

It’s interesting to see how two totally different persons are looking forward to the visit of this controversial populist. Here two excerpts:

Leyla Tavsanoglu is a columnist for the republican newspaper Cumhurriyet, which has campaigned against political Islam ever since it was founded in 1924. "Geert Wilders is a very interesting man. Do you think he would have half an hour for me when he is here?" she asked eagerly.

"I fear political Islam as much as he does", she said. "Because more and more villages in Anatolia banned alcohol, because my phone is being tapped, because my 80-year-old boss has been arrested, because someone trew a bomb over the fence here 18 months ago. But," she paused, "Wilders solution is wrong. It is precisely because of these fears that we should admit Turkey into the European Union. Or we will lose this country to radical Islam and Europe will have a second Iran at its border. Surely that's not what he wants."

How different speaks Mustafa Akyol, a columnist and deputy editor of the Hürriyet Daily News and a practising Muslim. "Wilders forgets that Ataturk in his time [the 1920 and 30s] turned Turkey's face to the West, but that the West wasn't a very pleasant place at the time. Many of the European fascist and nationalist ideologies of the time, like that of authoritarian one-party state, were thus imported to Turkey and the secular Turks have held onto them until now.''

When Akyol saw Wilders' film Fitna in 2008, he invited the Dutch politician for a Turkish coffee to explain why he should not fear Turkish Islam. Given the chance, he would tell Wilders the ruling AK party, with its roots in political Islam, has done more for democracy in Turkey than any of its predecessors. The government has continued its overtures to the Kurds and neighbouring Christian Armenia, despite opinion polls showing many Turks oppose them.

"The Islamic movement in Turkey has changed radically since the 1990s. The anger against the West originated from the anger against authoritarian secularism. This disappeared as soon as people realised European democracy would actually give them more rights as Muslims. Muslims are the West's biggest fans here. Wilders has nothing to fear. I would like to explain that to him."

Here the article.

Personally I think that a debate between Wilders and these two opinion makers will Turkey do more good than harm. But by refusing Wilders entrance toTurkey, the anti-Turkish segments in the European society will only grow. In the end you can ask your self why Turkey host, on a friendly way, Hamas, branded by the USA and EU as a terrorist organization and roll out the red carpet for people like Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the president of Iran, notorious for the slaughter of many of his own fellow men and Omar Hasan Ahmad al-Bashir, the President of Sudan (wanted by the ICC in the Hague). Because both are Muslims?
If Wilders will be refused entry to Turkey as an elected member of the Dutch parliament, I am afraid that Rasmussen, the Secr. General of the Nato will be next. And who knows Sarkozy and Merkel and some 250 other EU MP's who oppose Turkey's EU bid.
Turkey have a lot to loose these days.

Day Opening - November 27

Eternity of the Moment by Jure Kravanja