Thursday, December 08, 2005

'So-called' citizen of Turkey

Elif Shafak addresses Kemalist critic in Turkey.
Turkish Daily News - 'So-called' citizen of Turkey: "For years the dominant ideology in Turkey used the term �so-called� in order to refer to the �so-called Armenian genocide.� It now appears that they have found a new usage for this term; now they are talking about �so-called Turks.�
If anyone ventures to criticize any part of �this exquisite republic founded by Atat�rk,� one is immediately branded. �How dare you? You are a traitor, you are a so-called Turk,� they say. If a foreigner eavesdropped on this discourse, they would think that we Turks are divided amongst ourselves into three groups: the so-called Turks (the minority), the beloved Turks (the majority) and the 100 percent Turks (the guardians of the hegemony).
Underlying this discourse is an aggressive nationalism. Whenever one voices a critical opinion, this kind of nationalism always recoils by using the same three accusations:
(i) Are you betraying Kemalism?
(ii) Are you trying to revamp the Sevres Treaty?
(iii) Are you a pawn of foreign powers, conspiracy theories, etc.?
Thus, for instance, if you happen to maintain that the �ban on the headscarf needs to be lifted,� they fire back, �Article one!� If you happen to vouch for minority rights, they retort, �Article two!� If you are a resolute believer in Turkey's European Union accession and support the implementation of the necessary reforms fully and immediately, you are accused of �Article three!� Year after year, we hear the same kind of accusations. There is something in common between the fervent advocates of Bush's foreign policy in Iraq and nationalists like Halit Refig in Turkey. Both stances are based on the attitude: �If you love your nation, you will never criticize it. If you are a patriot, you wil"

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