Dear Yasemin / Beste Hans,
I am a dutch blogger of the collective blog Sargasso (http://www.sargasso.nl), we are actually one of the biggest blogs in Netherlands writing on a daily basis about politics, science and culture. We have around 5000 unique visitors per day and this results in lively discussions every day.
In the beginning of October we are planning to have a "Turkey & Democracy" week on our blog, coinciding with the International Week of Democracy (http://whydemocracy.net/home).
We do this in cooperation with VPRO Tegenlicht (http://www.vpro.nl/programma/tegenlicht): a Dutch television station, they will broadcast their documentary "The Democratic Dilemma" on the 8th of October.
In this documentary the journalist Fareed Zakaria and prime minister Erdogan make some propositions on the issue of EU membership, the role of Islam and democracy in Turkey. In the days before and after the documentary Sargasso wants to arrange a list of people (politicians, writers, opinion makers) to react on these propositions.
To inspire some Turkish-Dutch blog discussion we also want to invite Turkish bloggers to react on these propositions (for this purpose we will write in English, while we normally write in dutch).
Because your blog is part of the Turkish blogosphere I want to invite you to react on eight propositions of Zakaria, Erdogan and Gul (scroll down). You can send your reactions to me and I will place them online on a specific day before or just after the broadcast of the Dutch documentary.
If you like I will keep you updated on this project and you are free to forward these messages to other Turkish bloggers. Hopefully we can arrange an online discussion that crosses borders.
The Turkish bloggers and expat bloggers in Turkey I contacted for this project are:
http://weblog.angelvox.org/ (still looking for an email address)
http://istanbulexpat.blogspot.com/ (still looking for an email address)
http://jamesinturkey.blogspot.com/ (still looking for an email address)
I hope to hear from you.best regards,Carl Königel
(Chief editor of Sargasso.nl)
THE PROPOSITIONS TO REACT ON:
2004: Elections alone are not enough
1. ‘Elections don’t mean democracy. Elections can be very dangerous in young democracies if held in a wrong way and at a wrong time: it will appeal to a people’s hatred instead of to its hopes’.
Democracy has to grow
2. ‘Democracy can spread around the world, but it has to be a process of organic development from within societies. You have to be modernizing the country’. Are Islam and democracy compatible?
3. ‘The problem is not religion. It is the social-political context in which the religion exists. You can’t change the religion, but you can change the social-political context. It becomes a very hostile relationship with the 1.2 billion Muslims to tell them: the problem is your religion….’
Europe and people with different views
4. Recep Tayyip Erdogan: ‘Is Europe a home for an alliance of civilizations or is it a Christian club?’
Fear of Islam
5. ‘If your fear is about Islam – you already got it. You already have millions of Muslims within your borders’.
Tyranny of the majority?
6. ‘if you end up with a situation where people forget that there are other, large minorities in the country, that feel differently than you and you try to impose your will on them, then, yes, you have De Toqueville’s problem of the tyranny of the majority and that tyranny is as bad for a minority as it were a dictatorship’.
Turkey in the EU: a missed chance?
7. 'Europe can afford to deny Turkey a membership. You know, the world will go on - the world always goes on. And Turkey will survive, Europe will survive, but it will be a great missed opportunity. For both. And it will be a great tragedy because it would mean that Europe would have missed this opportunity to really use its influence and power to shape up the modern world. In many ways as I say, I think, to help itself economically.....by injecting this new, young nation into its midst, but most fundamentally, to take the central problem of our time, which is to take the one civilization that has not yet found its way into the modern world, and to make it happen. And wouldn't it be fascinating if despite the fact that we live in an era of American uni polarity, it was Europe that actually led the path in that process. It has that opportunity.....it just needs the political will. And courage, and generosity of spirit to recognize that it will be helped and it will help the world by doing it'.
Democratisation = islamization?
8. Abdullah Gül: ‘As Muslim societies democratize, you will see greater religious _expression everywhere in society. It is a consequence of democracy’