Friday, October 05, 2007

Talk with Turkey, talk with Holland..

Believe in Democracy

04-10-07 om 17:01 - Carlos

On the 8th of October VPRO Dutch television will broadcast the documentary 'Turkije - Het Dilemma van de Democratie': 'Turkey - the dilemma of democracy'. The documentary will focus on the issue of EU membership for Turkey and the role of islam in a democracy.
Here at Sargasso we will discuss statements made in this documentary by Newsweek journalist Fareed Zakaria, Turkish president Abdullah Gül and prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

From October 5th until October 12th, each day at 13.00h (Amsterdam time, 14.00h Istanbul time) we will post one of these statements. With these statements we will post the views on the statement by a Dutch member of the European parliament, a Dutch journalist and producer, a Dutch-Turkish rapper and bloggers from the Turkish blogosphere.

All posts of this Dutch-Turkish blogging project can be found here. This blogging project is part of the Dutch democracy week WijZijnDeBaas (WeAreTheBoss): the Dutch contribution to the International Week for Democracy.

The statements will be provided in text and after the broadcasting of the documentary also in short video messages. Although normally on Sargasso we write in Dutch in this case we will be discussing in English, because we feel it's important non-Dutch (and especially Turkish) bloggers can join in. In this case we also ask our Dutch 'reaguurders' (commenters) to discuss in English, for the sake of what the internet is all all about: enabling worldwide communication.

Here are some of the blogs from the Turkish blogosphere (turkish and expat) who were contacted and/or contributed to this project:,

The classical dilemma of democracy is that a majority of people can vote within the system to abolish it and therefor eliminate democracy itself. Is democracy about having a majority, or is it about how the majority treats minorities within the system?

In theory a democracy can introduce the sharia. That's why for political commentator and Newsweek journalist Fareed Zakaria Turkey is an interesting test case in the VPRO Tegenlicht documentary. In the VPRO Tegenlicht documentary 'Democratie voor beginners ' (2004): 'Democracy for Starters' Zakaria warns that a political system can end in tyranny of the majority. In the coming documentary VPRO Tegenlicht poses the question: can democracy and islam co-exist?

By engaging in an Dutch-Turkish blogging project Sargasso wants to take the discussions one step further: beyond our own borders. Why have one discussion in Holland and one in Turkey, when we can try to understand each other viewpoints in a bilateral discussion?

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