Thursday, March 05, 2009

And now for something different

Its not often I write about things unrelated to football but sometimes you have to despite Bill Shankly's quote that "football is not a matter of life and death......its more important."

I am not an Amerikan Turk like others in the blogosphere who were born in the US of Turkish heritage, I was born and lived the first thirty yeasr in Istanbul and only moved to the US due to the Husbands job. We have just recieved ou Permanent Residence or Green Card here in the US and I must admit we are thinknbg ahead to becoming US citizens, even though the Husband is of course a former colonial overlord of Amerika even he is thinking of getting a Blue Passport to go with his maroon one.

A few years ago I would hardly have thought about doing such a thing. So why am I. Well its not necessarily because the US is the most perfect country or place to live but it has more to do with what is happening in my home country. The culture of denial and repression of free speech and freedoms that has grown in the last few years is so depressing to watch that I can honestly state that at the moment I would not even want to go back to live in Turkey for the foreseable future. And that from someone who is very touchy, like most of my countrymen and women of criticism about Turkey from non Turks.

The author of Talk Turkey I think summed it up when he posted on the Istanbulian's blog the following list of issues whihc althoiugh rather long reflects the way I feel as well.

The following are not issues I openly deal with non-Turks, at my convenience or at my delight. In fact, I try to keep the conversation short, and find myself covering up most of the time, just so Turkey is not ridiculed!

First and foremost, for what it's worth, good or bad or ugly, Let me know when you can discuss Ataturk openly! without the fear of imprisonment!

Let me know when you end religious persecution!

And I am not talking about just non-Muslims!

Let me know when you deal with the 'Genocide' question!

Let me know when brain washing kids stops!

And let me know when YouTube is back on!

I am tired of having to defend Turkey, when I am asked ridiculous questions that I know the answers to be painful and show the backwardness, but convince my fellow Americans it ain't so... when it is in fact so...

Let me know when you deal with the Kurdish problem!

Let me know when you deal with minority rights, and 'foreigners' in Turkey!

Let me know when you stop blaming others for your problems, instead of yourselves!

Let me know ONE AREA in sports/entertainment/arts/politics/education/science/religion/pop culture where Turkey is a leader or is looked up to! or is a winner! (in a consistent manner/not some isolated exception)

And let me know when some exception does occur, the majority of the people have to find something faulty, or not worthy, with the whole event!

Let me know when you stop sending students to be educated in the fine institutions in the U.S., and beg them to come back!

Let me know when you excel in anything that really matters!

Let me know when you have the creative ability to invent anything, instead of 'copying/pasting' others' successes!

Let me know when the defense industry is more than just importing weaponry and arms from Israel or the U.S.!

Let me know when assembling parts is not called manufacturing anymore!

Let me know when bribes and corruption is not a matter of daily occurrence!

Let me know when Turkey is invited to the EU instead of trying force its way in as if it has lepresy!

Let me know when you deal with the Cyprus problem! Let me know when you admit your soldiers kill civilians too!

Let me know when Turkey's GNP is better than many of the countries it criticizes!

You and the your fellow Turks in Turkey should look in the mirror in your glass house you seem to have built, before you decide to throw stones at the U.S.

You can't be serious if you're comparing U.S. and Turkey?

You can't pick and choose a few bad apples in the U.S. to make your case, when the whole apple batch is rotten in your case!

Gitmo is purposefully not on U.S. territory; but in Turkey, you don't have to leave its borders to be abused by police... to be forced into a confession!

Where you are guilty before proven innocent...!

You make fun of Rush Limbaugh; but you can hardly have your own Rush, or he is sued by the Prime Minister for insulting...

Your major corporations and private industry is all sold out to foreign nations/corporations!

Unlike what Turks think, Turkey is not the center of attention, at least here in the U.S.

Whenever Turkey or anything Turkish is ever mentioned; it is merely worth seconds of air time, but if you read the Turkish papers, you'd think the entire U.S. was holding its breath waiting for the next bit of info out of Turkey!

Turkey doesn't matter!

And is irrelevant!

You make fun of Blagojevich; yet he is impeached. When was the last time Turkey impeached any of its members so corrupt, it would even put Blago to shame!

The TBMM is full of illiterate, immature members, who are out to waste everyone's time and money.

How many times did fists and guns interrupt the sessions in Turkey's legislature?

The evidence is clear that almost every 'leader' Turkey has elected and reelected a few times over have been failures!!!

Yet Turkey still recycles the same old people, except in cases where the military has to intervene!

Turkey is ridiculous! and is ridiculed! And I am sorry but it's a shame! and a sham!

Get ready to own your shortcomings! That's the only way Turks will rise to the occasion!

Not by hiding behind attacking and accusing the U.S.!

So if the U.S. is doing it; then Turkey doing it should not be criticized?

Start by admitting first! and trying to correct yourself and your ways and your stature!

Instead of attacking and criticizing the U.S., as if Turkey was U.S.'s equal!!!

Reform Turkey not because the EU or the U.S. pushes for them, but because it (Turkey) wants to do it for its own reasons!

Why is it that when it serves Turkey's purpose to brag, the Ottoman Empire's successes are widely discussed; but when the history is not favorable, the Turks can't wait to mention out loud they like to distance themselves as far away from the Ottomans, and insist that was the past and Turkey is now the Turkish Republic?

You can't have your cake and eat it too!

You're either proud of your history or you're not!

Turks in Turkey! Wake up and smell the coffee!

And stop being in denial!

Taking cheap shots at the U.S. is not going to improve Turkey's stand in the world... Own up to the responsibilities that it needs to hold itself accountable for!

Lead for once! Instead of always being a follower! and instead of criticizing who you follow!

Educate your people!

Send your daughters to school!

Stop killing hundreds of thousands of people every time an earthquake occurs; when higher magnitude earthquakes result in less deaths in more 'civilized' nations!

Building permits and inspections done by the book, not by how big your wallet is!

Using proper code and the right materials instead of cheap labor, bribed paperwork, and cheap parts... a recipe for disaster!

Teach your people to drive with licenses that are not paid or bribed for!

Teach your people not to drink the entire bar!

Teach your people not to drink and drive on two lane roads at more than 100 mph!

Teach your businesses that customer is the king, not the nuisance!

Teach your people to be honest, trustworthy, and respectful!

Teach your people to read!

Teach your people to learn how to speak intelligently!

Teach your people to practice patience!

Teach your people to respect others, and say 'thank you' or excuse me'!

Teach your people to not rub themselves against women in public buses!

Teach your people not to fire guns into the air at weddings, or any reason to celebrate, killing innocent bystanders!

Teach your people not to stare at every tall blonde who walks by, holding hundreds of cell phone cameras at her, as if she was some sort of a circus animal!

Teach your people sex education!

Teach your people to not hit their women!

Teach your people to learn how to give credit when credit is due!

Teach your people to learn 'etiquette'

I'll stop now... I guess you got the point!

Ne Mutlu Turkum Diyene!

Maybe we should all work toward changing Turkey for the better, instead of comparing our negatives, as if that's an excuse to stand pat!!!

As if... if the U.S. is doing it, so can Turkey too???


And what make me even more depressed is the attitude exhibited here with this knee jerk reaction to commenst such as the above and this totally ridiculous notion of the West whihc implies that the West is some form of lump that cannot accomoodate a multitude of different viewpoints and belief sets whihc of course the East does!! Plus when does someone migrate to the West, a Turk who lives in Amerika to be labelled with such a tag just reinforces what is the above.

I could go on and on with every single point that you have made and find you something much worse in the West, but I think you get the point.

Why not fix your own crap before criticizing others? How about it? :-)

2 comments:

TT said...

Gulay,

Unfortunately, Turks in Turkey should stop blaming others for their problems.

And pointing out the deficiencies of the West does not make it right for Turkey to be excused of their own deficiencies.

The said post (I commented on) was about the question of democracy in Turkey. It was not about the discussing of the evilness of the West.

But it quickly turned into tit-for-that and keeping score on who is the bigger offender of impropriety between the West (or the U.S.) and Turkey.

It just seems to me as if the Turks in Turkey just need to feed their appetite for being critical at all times, so if they keep exercising the same erroneous ways of being stubborn and selecting the right or the wrong government (it doesn't really make a difference), it will starve their appetite for being destructively critical.

Maybe the Turks have a problem with authority, or they have an inferiority complex. Or they need to be (really) educated instead of the brain washing that goes on in the child development process.

One thing for sure, Turks need not be rushing to judgment, without looking and examining every piece of evidence, and quickly and erroneously declaring everyone else the culprit, and then when the truth comes out, look like fools, even more so when they try to justify their erring ways.

Some maturity and leadership qualities of restraint, and cool headed attitudes are what's missing.

Maybe the Turks, in the interest of wanting to become Western, and wanting to be included in the Western club, need to embrace the West's tried and true accomplishments and ways, instead of concentrating only on the trash that the West can 'afford' to spew onto others, and hope others will interpret that as their means of Westernization.

I am sure that's not what Ataturk had in mind. And if Ataturk were to be alive today, he'd probably start by committing those 'seculars' who like to hide behind Ataturk at every chance they get to prove their worthiness, but really have no idea what it means to be a follower of Ataturk's footsteps.

Thanks for your honest insight of the need for self-criticism that the Turks need to do from time to time to shake off the indifference and the non urgency!

DelmonteMan said...

Gulay,

I agree almost word for word with what TT wrote (i.e. what you quoted). I'm curious why you think it is getting worse though.

I first came to Turkey in 1995 an in those days even saying Kurd was enough to get put on trial. I seem to perceive less restictions in Turkey than before. However, with this I see more visceral reactions to the free expressions.

I guess what I am saying is that back in the 1990s freedom of speech was really curtailed so there was little or no ugly reaction as there was no free speech. Now though, the rules on speech have relaxed somewhat (EU process, Internet etc) and what we are seeing are more and more violent responses to comments on these taboo topics.

Also communication is such today that we can see and hear what is going a lot more than we ever could before.

I guess we now see things that disgust us whereas before we didn't see them.

I wonder what your take on that is.

thanks